I recently met with a young woman who was defeated by both her mother’s cancer and the labor of caring for her. One day, while the young woman was preparing a bath for the mother, the mother gently touched the young woman’s arm and gently, sweetly called her “Daughter.” For the first time, she saw her mother as not just a mom, but as a woman with vulnerabilities and desires. In turn she saw herself as the woman she longed to become. At that moment, consolation replaced defeat. She now felt a deep desire to respond in a new way to God’s invitation to care for her mother.

Like the story of the young woman and her mother, today’s Gospel reveals how being called by name can move us closer to God. In the midst of such sorrow, Mary Magdalene and Jesus call each other by name that reveals the depth of their relationship. It also provides Mary with the strength to “go and tell” the news of the resurrection.

Reflect on a time when you have been called by name. How did that change your view of yourself? How did it invite you deeper to love God and others?

—Jeffrey Sullivan, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is a faculty member at Loyola Academy, Wilmette IL.