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‘Jeopardy!’ contestants can’t ID this word in the Our Father


Wikimedia Commons | Altered by John Touhey, Aleteia

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/20/23

An unanswered gameshow question should be a provocation to all Catholics in our mission to evangelize the world.

The game show Jeopardy! has been on our screens for nearly 60 years. The show offers contestants an opportunity to show off their usually impressive knowledge, as well as a chance to take home some cash.

So recently, when a question worth $200 went unanswered by all three contestants, it was a little surprising. But when you find out what the question was, you may be shocked and a little sad at how clueless many people are today about the basics of Christianity.

The question itself asked the contestants to fill in the blank to this most commonly known prayer:

“Matthew 6:9 says: Our Father who art in heaven, __ be thy name.”

Incredibly, not one person hazarded a guess, let alone gave the correct answer of “hallowed.”

I thought that would be an easy one!

As Yahoo News shared, one fan of the show voiced their amazement on Twitter, stating: “None of them even took a guess. I’m really surprised — I thought that would be an easy one!”

Another Twitter user also expressed surprise and pointed out that the prayer is referenced even in the entertainment world: “How can those Jeopardy! nerds not know this answer. Have they never listened to Iron Maiden?”

A call to educate others

This display of cultural ignorance about the prayer at the heart of Christianity may leave you deeply dismayed — but it can also serve as a reminder that Christians are called to help educate those who do not share our faith.

Whenever any type of religious content appears in the news or in popular culture, that can be a chance for us to provide knowledge about the content of faith and its meaning.

A sweater with a Sacred Heart

This was highlighted to me personally a few months ago when one of my students showed up at our university wearing a sweater with a large image of the Sacred Heart. I asked my student if he was Catholic, or if he knew what this symbol meant. He had no idea.

That provided a great teaching opportunity, not just for him, but his 30 classmates, too. It also gave him the knowledge he needed to explain the meaning of the Sacred Heart to other people who liked his sweater and wondered about the design.

Starting from one person who simply liked an image enough to buy a sweater, 30 other students were able to learn what it meant — and who knows how many others the owner of the sweater will help educate in the future?

The sweater and the Jeopardy! case show there’s a lot of work to be done. As St. Jose Maria Escriva reminded us, we can all become missionaries, simply by using our daily life as an opportunity: “An hour of study, for a modern apostle, is an hour of prayer.” And with this knowledge we might even be able to educate others.

And, of course, we can also support the missionaries out there who are doing their best each and every day to spread the Word of God.

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