Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Word for the Day: Kin

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will tell of your name to my kin.”

Today’s antiphon contains a disturbing juxtaposition. On the day when the Church honors St. Francis Xavier (pictured) who praised the Lord “among the nations,” we vow to tell of the Lord’s name “to our kin.”

Which feat of evangelization is more difficult?

1) Saying eternal farewell to everyone and everything you know, including your best pal Ignatius, and hopping a rickety wind-driven vessel for a port halfway around the globe, where no one speaks your language or knows your God, and evangelizing them? Francis Xavier (1506–1552) did that. For this feat of faith, the Church honors him as patron of all foreign missions.

Or—

2) Talking about faith with your family, your “kin”?

Six years a convert now, I have lectored before hundreds of strangers and (more difficult) I have taught religious education to a handful of fourth-graders who knew me only as Mr. Bull.

I have walked five hundred miles in Spain on the Camino de Santiago, and talked along the way with people from twenty nations about the religious reasons for my pilgrimage.

I have blogged about my faith and (according to Blogger stats) been read, or at least eyeballed, in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the Americas.

But—

In a large extended family largely unconvinced about the Catholic faith, how good a job have I done “telling of His name to my kin?”

The antiphon, stated in future tense, gives me hope. There is still time.

I will—

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