Today we celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist. In both the first reading and the Gospel, we see the power of a name. Two of our great prophets, Isaiah and John, were both called from the womb to serve God. It was here that they were given their names, names that would come to embody much more than their human existence. Their names would become integral parts of our movement towards the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom.

Reflecting on our own names, we see our journeys. Our names have amassed our life experiences in such a way that they contain much more than several letters. Our identities are wrapped up in the cumulative experiences of our names. Somehow, what we are called serves as a symbol of our lifelong development. There is great power in the names we assign.

Providing a name moves us beyond simple understanding and allows us to construct a story. God names “Isaiah” and “John” because they are instruments in the Kingdom. Their names will play a fundamental role in the creation story. Names have significance. What does your name mean to you?  How do others hear your name?

Liliana Mamani Condori is a Peruvian lawyer pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies at Boston College. Sam Hay is finishing his MA in Theology and Ministry at B.C., and currently works for its School of Education.