The Transformative Power of a Name

#MyMassTakeaway for the 7th Sunday of Easter.

Find the Mass Readings here: 7th Sunday of Easter, May 13, 2018

My takeaway:

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.


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#MyMassTakeaway: The Transformative Power of a Name I went all out with today's takeaway – and wrote an entire blog post, so make sure to hope over (link in profile) and catch the whole thing. I was thinking about how in the Gospel Jesus mentioned Judas, not by name, but as "the son of destruction." Names sure have a lot of power. They're deeply connected to the essence and identity of a person. I love when someone calls me by name. It makes me feel known, cherished. Something about it reaches out to me and touches my heart. Anywhooo, (expanding on today's post), for Mother's Day, I was reflecting on the generations in my family, and how deeply our names carry our identity. There's my Grammie. She's not just MY Grammie, she's "Grammie" to one and all. She introduces herself that way, and always has – to my friends growing up, to my kids' friends and even their moms. She has such a silly (crazy, certifiable, out there) strong personality. People are drawn to her and all her quirks, and she becomes "Grammie" to everyone. There's my Mom. She's "MamaBear." I call her that more often that I call her "Mom" these days. She has this loving, protective, nurturing, give-everything-for-love-of-you personality. Like my Grammie, she's MamaBear to all. You can hear toddlers and tweens cheering her name in Church parking lots and grocery stores. Then there's me. My children call me "Mom." On the blog I reflect how we can choose to be transformed by name changes in our lives – for better, or for worse. I can let myself feel trapped and burdened and resentful of my duties as a mother. Or I can choose to be transformed in love. Today, I'm praying for the blossoming of transformation that Christ wishes to work within me in my vocation as a mom.May I accept my identity as a daughter of Christ, as a wife to my husband, as a mom to my children – to its very core. And may you accept your identity in Him, and be transformed into who He calls you to be. Amen. #catholicmom #whatsinaname #mycatholiclife #mothersday2018 #generations

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Thoughts from my blogging friends:

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#mymasstakeaway // All in the Family Do any of you resemble your mom? Talk like her? Mannerisms? I know I do. People tell me ALL the time. I’m also very much like my dad but… it’s Mother’s Day so we’ll focus on mama. . You’re just a branch off of your mom and dad’s tree, right? But what about Jesus? He was literally a chip off the old block. . God is invisible and all knowing. He’s HARD for our human brains to wrap our minds around. So, just like if you want to know what my parents are like… look at their offspring. Aka, stupidly organized, talk with my hands, will do anything for a stranger, can talk to anyone anywhere I go… and the list goes on. . Well, if ya want to know how who God is, how he acts, what he would say… look at Jesus. . Jesus is kind and forgiving to people who sin, he’s helpful, strong, willing to sacrifice himself out of the love of others. He’s humble – being born not in royalty but in a stable. He calms the waters, he lifts up the lowly, he comforts the sick even touching them when Jews of his time weren’t to touch *unclean*. He’s powerful but he welcomes the children. . And, since God is our Father… He took us into his family into Jesus’ inheritance of heaven, we can turn our eyes upward just like the disciples did in the reading today as Jesus ascended into Heaven. . We, being in the family with God – can look to Jesus to figure out how in the world we’re supposed to act, how to behave, what to say, how to speak. . So that maybe, just maybe – when we encounter others we leave them saying, “Wow, because I know that person, I get a glimpse of God the Father through Jesus the Son!” . If we all lived our lives like that, what a beautiful, loving, humble, caring place this would be. After all, Jesus isn’t here anymore so who else to emulate the Father… than us?

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Your turn:

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.

The Transformative Power of a Name

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