What’s in a name?

Have you ever thought about the significance of a name or a title? A name is used as a means of identification, not just for recognition, but often to identify a special characteristic about the person. A name change is also representative of a change of direction.

When we are baptised, we are given a forename to our family name, but we also assume another identity and title. Christian. This identifies the direction or the way we lead our lives, the way of Jesus Christ. Jesus identifies himself as “The Way”.

In today’s Gospel (John 1, 35-42), there are three instances where a person’s name or title is changed:
• John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”
• We are told that “Rabbi” means “Teacher”
• Jesus changes the name of Simon to “Cephas” – meaning “Rock”

For Peter, his name change resulted in a significant change in direction – a transformation that led to him being a fisher of men and the Rock on which Christ’s Church is founded.

On the third day of the Medjugorje apparitions, Mirjana, one of the visionaries, asked of the Lady who was appearing to the six visionaries, “Who are you”? The Lady identified herself saying, “I am the Blessed Virgin Mary”.

A similar question features in today’s Gospel when two of the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, where do you live?”

Some six weeks after the first of the Medjugorje apparitions that began on June 24, 1981, Our Lady appeared to the visionaries and re-identified herself as the “Queen of Peace”. From that moment her Medjugorje mission was announced.

Significantly, this change, this new identity and purpose was revealed on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1981, the occasion when three disciples were confronted by a remarkable change in Jesus – revealed in the full light of his glory – and when a heavenly voice repeated the words used when Jesus had been baptised: “This is my Son, the beloved.” At the Transfiguration, the voice added, “Listen to him.” The Transfiguration also heralded a change in the life of Jesus, the beginning of his journey to Jerusalem.

When Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje, carrying the Prince of Peace in her arms, she revealed herself to the visionaries amid a wonderful light; a mother calling her children to the light; echoing the prophecy of Isaiah that Jesus proclaimed when he began his mission: “The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light: on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned”; echoing again the words of Isaiah that John the Baptist proclaimed (on whose feast day she first appeared in Medjugorje), “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight”; echoing the words of her own Son when he began his preaching with the message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” Her words that echoed to Marija on the third day of the apparitions were: “Peace, peace, peace! Be reconciled! Only peace. Make your peace with God and among yourselves.”

The “Queen of Peace” comes intent to change the direction of her children on earth. Her “gospel messages” are designed to teach and lead us to the place where Jesus lives, to discover the Messiah, the Annointed One, the person the disciple Philip described to Nathaniel as “the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one whom the prophets wrote: Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

The “Queen of Peace” comes to rid us of the identity that the world endeavours to impose on her children, She desires to bring us to new life, to change our direction, to make us wise in the ways of the the Lord. Did not the three kings become wise men after their meeting with Jesus and his mother in Bethlehem? Instead of returning to Herod and collaborating with his wicked desire, they changed their route and avoided the path they led to evil.

Dear children! I am with you even if you are not conscious of it. I want to protect you from everything that Satan offers you and through which he wants to destroy you. As I bore Jesus in my womb, so also, dear children, do I wish to bear you into holiness. God wants to save you and sends you messages through men, nature, and so many things which can only help you to understand that you must change the direction of your life. Therefore, little children, understand also the greatness of the gift which God is giving you through me, so that I may protect you with my mantle and lead you to the joy of life. Thank you for having responded to my call. March 25, 1990

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