If Jesus were to pop in on you today, say driving home or while you’re getting dinner ready, what would he call you? Obviously, Jesus knows your name, but what name would he give you?
Today’s Gospel reading is from John 1:35-42; it is the calling of Simon Peter. Simon was minding his own business when his brother comes along and says, “We’ve found the Messiah!” If one of my brothers came to me saying that he’d met the Messiah, I’d go along to see who it was. Jesus tells Simon his name (which is a little crazy since Jesus and Simon had never actually met) and then tells him his father’s name. If it were me, Jesus would have my undivided attention. Then, Jesus does something extraordinary, he gives Simon a new name, Peter, which means ‘rock.’
Jesus clearly knew things and I always wonder did Jesus know what Peter was going to do? Peter tried to silence Jesus and then denied Jesus three times. Simon deserved to be named Weak or Denier or Turncoat, but Jesus named him Rock.
It got me thinking about what I deserved to be called: Doubter, Scaredy-cat, Mute When You Shouldn’t Be. Yet what does Jesus call me: Sister, Daughter, Friend, Committed, Perseverer. God looks into the heart of everyone, beyond flaws and failings, and sees the person He created. God sees what we are capable of, even when we can’t see it ourselves.
The world saw Simon, son of John, as a backwaters fisherman; Jesus saw the Rock on which he would build his Church. What does Jesus see in you? By what name does Jesus call you?
And then, this is the harder part, who do you need to see differently? Who needs you to see not what they deserve, but what they could be?