25 Jan 2018
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
When Paul was riding his horse on his way to Damascus, the Lord didn’t call out and say, “Hey, you!” He didn’t do that. He said, “Saul! Saul!” Jesus called him by his name. And that’s important.
When each of us was born (and that includes the adults here, too), our parents didn’t say, “Oh, just name the kid whatever; it doesn’t matter.” They probably didn’t do that. Instead, they probably thought about it, and said, “We’re going to name our child…your name.” And our name is an important thing, because it shows how each of us is a unique person, a unique child of God.
And it also shows how each of us has a special place in the world. Saint Paul had his place in the world. And there was only one Saint Paul. Just imagine if he hadn’t been born, or if he hadn’t stopped when Jesus called him. The whole church around the world would look very different. Saint Paul had a special task to do—he had a special mission, and only he could do it.
And that’s the same with us. Just imagine if any one of us hadn’t been born! The world wouldn’t be the same, would it? Jesus needs each one of us to be here. And he calls each of us by our name, just like he called Saint Paul.
He even calls each of us to the altar. He doesn’t say, “Hey, you! come over and receive Communion.” No—he doesn’t do that. He calls us by our name. Now, in a little bit, Ayden is going to receive his First Communion. But notice that, right before Communion, Jesus is going to call him by name. And Ayden is going to come up here to receive Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist.
But it doesn’t end there. At the end of Mass, the priest says, “Go! Go in peace! Go, the Mass is ended! Go announce the Gospel of the Lord! Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life!” And that’s Jesus saying to each one of us, “Go, and be who I’ve made you to be.”
Jesus calls us each by our name. We each have a special purpose in the world. And our task—our joy, is to be who God made us to be…for the good of others, for our own happiness, and for the glory of God.