#MyMassTakeaway for the 7th Sunday of Easter.
Find the Mass Readings here: 7th Sunday of Easter, May 13, 2018
The Transformative Power of a Name
Something unexpected caught my attention in today’s Gospel. It’s when Jesus called Judas, not by his name, but “the son of destruction.”
Names are pivotally important. There’s something about a name that captures the essence of our identity.
Throughout the Bible, Jesus is referenced by many names that speak to the depth of His Being: “Son of God,” “Emmanuel,” “Messiah,” “Lamb of God.” Every name hints at the Truth behind Who Jesus is.
We also see renaming as a Biblical theme. Abram becomes Abraham; Simon becomes Peter; Saul becomes Paul.
The name change signifies transformation. The person being renamed takes on a new mission in life. The old name just doesn’t cut it any more – it doesn’t do the job of identifying who the person truly is.
The Change Symbolizes Make or Break
Most of these name changes are for the better. Something important or joyful sparks the change.
But poor Judas! He lost his common name and took on “the son of destruction.” He became one of the most infamous bad guys on earth.
However, I can’t help but think that the essence of the transformation – whether good, or bad – isn’t something imposed with the name change.
It’s something freely chosen.
Peter didn’t have to be “the Rock.” He sure did waver at times. He denied Jesus during His Passion, and Peter could have decided to give up.
But after Jesus rose from the dead, He re-extended the invitation. “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
Peter accepted the invitation and turned back to Jesus. He remembered who he was, who he was called to be.
I can’t help but wonder who Judas could have been if he had turned back to God and accepted forgiveness. Could he have been one of the greats like Peter and Paul? How much transformative mercy was there for the taking?
But Judas despaired.
He chose to believe the lies of the devil, the accusing indifference of the chief priests. Judas chose his identity apart from Christ.
He embraced the darkness and transformed into the “son of destruction.”
What a sad, sad identity.
I Can Choose My Identity in Christ
But it serves to remind me that I have a choice. I can choose mercy and forgiveness. I can be transformed like the Saints – like Peter and Paul and Abraham.
Or I can choose to believe the lies that tell me I’ll never be enough. The lies that tempt me to give up.
I can choose to be a child of God or a son of destruction.
My choice will spark a transformation. I will never again be the same. I’m always becoming something new – either with Christ or without Him.
Let Us Pray…
Lord, let my transformation be one of growth and beauty. Let it be like that of a flower in the spring – which starts out as a shoot and blossoms in a glorious display. Draw out the beauty and goodness that You’ve planted within me.
Keep me from withering in death and decay like a plant in parched earth.
Help me choose life and hope over death and darkness.
Jesus, You call me by name. Your voice touches the very heart of me and reveals the essence of who I am.
I am a child of the King.
Thoughts from my blogging friends:
I want to know your Mass Takeaway too! Comment with your thoughts on the readings, your pastor’s homily, or anything that struck you during your time at Mass.