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Called by our name

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In today's Gospel, Matthew clearly sees the importance of naming the twelve that were called to follow Jesus and to cooperate in his mission. The names are important, because these disciples and their mission are part of the foundation stones of the Church. Everything that happens in the early Church relies on the testimony of these men, who are witnesses to the Good News that came in the person of Jesus Christ.

But beyond the ecclesial importance of the twelve, there is perhaps something to be said about naming. Our names are so important - they pick us out as particular individuals in the crowd. When people get to know our name, the possibility of relationship begins. When Christ calls us - and after all, he calls each and every one of us - he calls us by our name, speaking lovingly and tenderly to each one of us. To Christ, no-one is just a random face or a number - we are all precious in his eyes. We are the ones whom he has known and loved from the very beginning. Part of our task as Christians is to open our ears so that we can hear him calling to us, and to recognise and respond to his call in our daily lives.

Fr Bede Jarrett, Prior Provincial for many years and founder of our Priory in Oxford, spoke of the link between being loved and being sent. 'God created my soul, [and] has something for me to do ... moreover, since he knows my foolishness and blindness, he will go out of his way to make it clear'. From this we can see how Christ truly is the shepherd of his sheep, constantly working to draw us to him, and to make himself known to us. Even when we fail, he will come and look for us and put us back on the right road. Today's Gospel also reminds us to put our trust in those whom he continues to charge with the task of caring and guiding us in the Church: let us pray that they may always help us to seek his face, and guide us in our journeying towards him.

Robert Gay OP


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