They were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said…, “No. He will be called John.” –Luke 1:59–60
What’s in a name? Often more than you think. Consider how your name, first and last, has been a help or hindrance to you. Have you changed or adapted your name to reflect new realities? How has the story of what you’ve called yourself, or been called, evolved?
Old Zechariah had never had children, so when his wife gave birth in her advanced age, the relatives were eager to honor him and carry on his legacy by naming the child Zechariah Jr. It was a good family name meaning “God remembers.” Elizabeth wouldn’t have it! Her son, she knew, wasn’t about the past but was born to lead his generation into the future. A bold new way deserved a bold new name, something that hadn’t appeared in this family before. So the child’s name was John: “God is gracious.”
Identity matters. Sometimes it’s set for life, and sometimes it needs to be reset many times, the way biblical folks often changed their names in the face of new circumstances. If your identity feels uncomfortable, it may be time to consider what has to change.
Which aspects of your identity have remained through the years? Which ones have needed to shift or evolve?
LET US PRAY…
God of generous graces, you offer us your friendship through our companionship with your Son, Jesus. Make us attentive to his teaching and eager to follow in his steps. Help us to make sacraments of our lives, so that we may reveal the true presence of Christ everywhere we go. Amen.
Image credit: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons