Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,
“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.” God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.
What’s in your name? What does it say about you? Where does it lead you? Consider the reading of the day from Genesis. How timely. A man named Abram, chosen by God, bowed low. God blessed him with a mission and gave him a new name, Abraham. This new name “father of a multitude of nations” bestows on him the responsibility to work with God in being a bridge assisting the relationship between God and His people.
Slightly over a week ago we witnessed this first reading all over again. A man bowed low before God and before his fellow human beings on the Loggia in St. Peter’s Square asking for a blessing as he began his new mission. In his heart he heard, received and claimed the name of Francis. This man is our new Holy Father. He is a special bridge chosen by God to assist us all. He is a father of a multitude of nations. Not unlike St. Francis of Assisi, he hears God saying to him: “Rebuild my church, heal my people, empower them, set an example of humility and tend especially to the poor. Remind all the nations that I am their God and they are my people.”
What’s in your name that you were given? No matter what the spelling and pronunciation of ours names, each one of us has been called by God to share the name of “Child of God.” We are descendants of Abraham and we share in the bounty and mission given to him. In our baptism we received our name and our mission. We have been missioned to make fertile the covenant of God with us. We are called to shepherd the nations of the family and friends whom we know, love and struggle. We are called also to do the same for the strangers we are yet to meet.
—Fr. Walter Deye, S.J., Socius/Executive Assistant to the Provincial, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Right now, in our time, in our Church, there is no better way to live this covenantal mission than through a life which aspires to the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Let us pray:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
—The Jesuit Prayer Team