A little over fourteen years ago I was ordained a deacon. So most people call me deacon now. It’s an easy first name to remember. Sort of like Monsignor for Msgr Hoye or Father for Fr. Healey or Wyndham. In fact a lot of people call me Fr. too. I usually can tell who the visitors are as they leave Mass during the summer. Even at the hospital people call me father when I say I am a Catholic Chaplain. I love being able to respond “Yes, I am a father, but I also am a grandfather”.
Being in the military for 27 years I acquired several names starting with Lieutenant. Now, even though I’ve been retired for 20 years, most of the people who worked with me still call me Colonel Beckel. One name that I was given was sort of interesting. My call sign was “The Deacon”. That was 20 years before I became an actual deacon.
The many names I’ve acquired say a lot about me. Like son, or dad, or Mr. Beckel from some of my children’s friends who have known me all of their lives and now have children of their own and they still call me Mr. Beckel. My wife often calls me honey or dear. That’s when I’ve been good. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve those terms of endearment but I keep trying to live up to them. We all like to know what people think of us and usually we can tell what people think by the names they address us with.
The answer the apostles gave was “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. It was obvious the people held Jesus in high esteem. Identifying Jesus with Elijah and Jeremiah they were paying him a great tribute and placing him in a high place. Then Jesus asked a more penetrating question, one we all might ponder. He says, “And you, who do you say that I am?” At that question, there may have been a moment of silence where the disciples were almost afraid to answer. How do we answer that question?
Deacon Greg Beckel