The other day, a man left a comment on one of my posts. I didn't publish it. I hit delete instead. The comment had nothing to do with the post. The man was venting. He'd seen my article in his diocesan paper and had a few things to say to me.
His main problem with my article appearing in his diocesan paper was that I am a foreigner. Yes, that's the word he used. Foreigner.
I'm not sure if he called me a foreigner because I'm a convert and not a cradle Catholic. That was certainly part of his beef against seeing my article in his Catholic newspaper. But he also wrote something about my living in Missouri. So maybe that's why he called me a foreigner. Bottom line, I was a convert and I wasn't even from his state. Foreigner.
A few weeks ago, I went to EWTN for a taping of Women of Grace. I stayed in the Regina Coeli house. I wasn't even sure how to pronounce the name of the building I slept in that night. That's what it's like when you read your way into the Church. You don't know what you're doing half of the time, and you don't know how to pronounce what you're reading the other half of the time.
It's all a great big new adventure. You need a map, and you need a translator.
But I think that's why diocesan papers sometimes publish what I send them. I am still in the discovery phase. I am still in awe of this new, complex and completely beautiful Church. And some readers out there like to read about those moments of discovery. It's like watching a toddler on Christmas morning. The parents experience Christmas through the eyes of their child - and they can't help themselves. They smile great big smiles. Sometimes, their eyes fill with tears. Re-discovering is almost as wonderful as discovering something for the first time.
Today, at Mass we read the lineage of Our Lord. St. Matthew names just three women, all foreigners. What were they doing in that list of Hebrew fathers? They just don't belong there.
Forty-two generations, and Matthew doesn't name any of the other women. Not Sarah. Not Rachel. Not Rebecca. But maybe that's the point. Maybe it's the oddity of it all that gets Tamar and Rahab and Ruth in the list. Maybe it's the familiarity with Sarah and Rachel and Rebecca that makes Matthew exclude them.
It's the unexpected things that get noticed - those things that don't fit. Those are the very things that make the reader stop and take a second look.
What was Matthew saying when he captured that genealogy? What do Tamar and Rahab and Ruth have to do with it?
Perhaps Matthew (and God through Matthew) was saying that the foreigners are welcome in this new Church. Perhaps he was saying that He sent His Son so that all people might be saved. Perhaps the names of these three women suggest something very important. Jesus Christ is coming, and He's coming to bring life and salvation to all nations.
I'm Tamar. I'm Rahab. I'm even kind of like Ruth. I wasn't born into this Family - but praise God! He has invited even me to come to Him.
The next three posts share the story of Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. I hope you enjoy reading about these three women.
Blessed Advent 2010