Second Sunday of Lent – 8th March
When people speak our name does it bring a blessing to others? There is importance to being recognised by name. There is a sense in which the use of the name is not just the sound but also the tone with which it is used. What we notice is that our response to the other is often guided by how we are drawn into a relationship with the other. The name is something deeply personal which shapes our own identity and helps us to notice our own self-worth. When our name is associated with something positive, we feel good about ourselves. In the same way when it is used in a negative way, we can feel the world collapsing in on ourselves. What is important is that we need to hear our name called out as a blessing by God. That what we have been created for is for something good and that we have been loved into being.
When we encounter this for ourselves, we start to use the name of others not just as a way of identifying them but as a discovery of how they too have been blessed into being. This willingness to use another’s name is not just about recognition but it is a desire for a relationship to be formed between two people. This is the smallest of communities which are echoed in Jesus’ call that where two or three are gathered in His name He is present in their midst. This daily encounter with others causes us to reflect on a world which would often prefer we were nameless rather than discovering our true self.
The use of the name is, therefore, central to our daily life. It says that this other person has intrinsic value and worth. Often this can be a difficult discipline to remember each person’s name and some of us need prompts to call them to mind, even if it is writing down where we met them and with whom. Yet when we bring that person before God in prayer, we seek a bond which is deeper than words. It becomes a place where each person’s name is called to become a blessing.
Fr. John Armstrong