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HALLOWED BE THY NAME

Father Francis's picture
Fourth Week of Easter

Acts. 11:19-26 & Jn. 10-30

Antioch, we are told in the first reading, is where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. For some people names are very important.

To the Jews they carried great significance. We can quote many instances of this in the Bible. Adam, called his wife Eve, because she was 'the mother of all the living.' Abram, our father in faith, had his name changed to Abraham, because he was to become the 'father of a host of nations.' When God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush telling him to go to Pharaoh to allow His people to go into the wilderness to offer sacrifice, it was very important to Moses that he should know the name of the person who was speaking to him. Knowing His name would add weight to his message.

How wonderful it is when God tells us through Isaiah that all our names have been written on the palm of His hand. This is God's way of saying, 'Each one of you is very special and personally known to Me.'

Very often when God had a special task for a person He changed their name to indicate what they were to do for Him. And so it was that Simon, the apostle, had his name changed to Peter, which meant rock. He was to be the rock, on which Jesus was to build His Church,

We all love that touching incident after the resurrection when Mary Magdalene was weeping in the garden, and Jesus appeared to her. Knowing that someone was near her, and presuming that someone was the gardener, she enquired that if he had taken away the body of Jesus would he tell her. In the conversation that followed she still did not recognise it was Jesus who was speaking to her. It was only when He spoke her name, that she knew it was Him. No one ever said 'Mary' as did Jesus.

What joy it would give us, if when we prayed, we could hear Jesus address our name, Susan, Mark, Helen or Henry as the case may be. Perhaps when we pray we should try to listen to Him call us, for no one can say our name as He does. It is because of the way He loves us.

Jesus loves calling each one of us by our name so that we can follow Him. In today's Gospel He tells us that He never wants to lose any of His sheep because He is the Good Shepherd and He cares for us. When He calls our name, we recognise His voice.

When you pray, imagine Jesus calling you by name. Ask Him to speak to you and make His will known to you. At, first, there may be silence on the part of the Lord, but He has His way of communicating with us. He assures us that the sheep that belong to Him listen to His voice. If you are eager to hear that voice and follow where He leads, then you will never be lost. He will give you eternal life.

But by far the most important significance given to a name is made by God Himself. In the Our Father we see the importance Jesus gives to the name of God when He made the first petition the honouring of God’s name. And His Father made the reverence of His name the Second Commandment.

Lord Jesus, may Your name and that of Your Father always be loved and revered by everyone. If ever we hear it abused may it upset us and may we make reparation for the abuse.

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