A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 1:35-42
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. REFLECTION:
“Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter.”
I remember one day during my first year of elementary school we were completing a project in class. Whenever a teacher gives young students a special assignment that requires them to get out of their seats, chaos can quickly ensue. There was a moment in class when almost everyone was calling the teacher’s name. She had more than she could handle and threw her hands over her ears. In a good-natured way, she said she changed her name and so we couldn’t call her old name anymore. However, her plan to quiet us quickly back-fired. Children know everyone has a name, so our young minds were challenged to guess her “new” name. In which she responded, you will never guess my name, but we kept trying anyway. We just had to know her name.
When John the Baptist told the two disciples who the Lamb of God was, they knew what he implied. So, they sought after Jesus and spent time with him until they were convinced, he was the Messiah. Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, who received his new name, Cephas. When Jesus gave Simon his new name, he immediately gave Peter a position in God’s plan for our salvation. Jesus had such ultimate authority that he could change the name of a Jewish man.
The Jews upheld great value on naming their children. It was a practice to name their children after someone in their family that recently died, such as a grandparent. This helped them remember their dead ancestors, honor their family history and bring future hope to their family. The name of a person was believed to be associated with their very souls. And such was the case for Peter, the rock.
Let us pray to St. Peter to intercede for all priests, bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis. May our leaders “Behold the Lamb of God” and become more holy answering the call of Jesus to “come and … see”.