January Potpourri

With a loving nod to the late Alex Trebek, whose final show as host of “Jeopardy” aired Jan. 8, the coming days could fill the board of the game show’s regular category of Potpourri. There are various celebrations, observances, and events in mid-January that merit individual editorial comment.

Alex Trebek (CNS/Reuters)

So let’s see how well readers know the significance of the following dates. Remember to phrase your answer in the form of a question! And maybe along the way we’ll find some answers to the dangerous jeopardies society is facing.

We’ll begin with Potpourri for $200, Alex. The answer is . . .

Jan. 18. What is the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday? Correct! The annual holiday takes on added significance because of the racial unrest of 2020. “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools,” Dr. King once said.

OK. Let’s try Potpourri for $400. The answer is . . .

Jan. 22. What is the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion? Again, correct! The pandemic will limit observances this year (see related stories), but must not limit our resolve. “What is taking place in America,” said St. Teresa of Kolkata in 1997, “is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

Continuing with Potpourri for $600. The answer is . . .

Jan. 18-25. What is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity? Well done! Today’s headlines are on political divisions, but the Body of Christ is also divided. “Divisions among Christians — moving away from one another — are a scandal because it is also moving further away from God,” said promotional materials from the Vatican for this year’s observance. “Christ’s prayer for unity is an invitation to turn back to him and so come closer to one another, rejoicing in the richness of our diversity.”

Let’s stay with Potpourri for $800. The answer is . . .

Jan. 20. What is Inauguration Day? Correct! Emotions are high, opinions are strong, but surely we must all pray for President-elect Joe Biden as we recall words from the inaugural speech of the only other Catholic to hold the office, John F. Kennedy: “The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

Finally, Potpourri for $1,000. The answer is . . .

Jan. 24. What is the “Sunday of the Word of God”? Impressive! Instituted by Pope Francis in 2019, the observance is meant to reawaken the importance and value of sacred Scripture for the Christian life. This issue of The Catholic Post includes suggestions of two resources to that end — “Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Reflections and Readings for Children,” the new book by local catechist Katie Bogner and “Speak, Lord, Your Servant Is Listening: A Daily Guide to Scriptural Prayer” by David E. Rosage, recommended by Father Dominic Garramone, OSB, in our Scripture column.

We’ll let Alex Trebek have the sign-off. “I’d like you to open up your hands, and open up your heart to those who are suffering,” he said in reference to the pandemic as he opened the Jan. 4 episode. “We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society. And if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.”

Let that be a daily double reminder, because no one wants society reaching final jeopardy. — Thomas J. Dermody

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