Today we are reminded of persistence in hope and prayer. We are also reminded that Jesus was truly human as well as truly God.
As a human being Jesus had his cultural upbringing. Canaanites were pagans. At first, Jesus felt a call to call back the children of Israel to God i.e. Jewish people.
As he listened in prayer to the Father, he began to hear a call to move beyond his cultural understanding and to fulfill the vocation that the Father was calling him to.
This included the mission to all peoples, Jew and non-Jews (Gentiles) alike.
We all carry cultural baggage. Some of that baggage is very good. We need to be in touch with our cultural roots. This helps our health and well-being. We are the products of many generations.
However, all cultures need redemption, the salvation of Christ. Jesus’s message brings to a fulness all cultures, purifies all religions. We need to both inculturate our Gospel message and to also let the Gospel message purify our culture.
Our Church needs to keep finding the right language and symbols to present our message. Our faith formation, our liturgies, need to be both faithful and meaningfully expressed.
The Catholic Church has had a history of inculturation right from the beginning.
A classic in history, amongst others, was the conversion of Britain. When St Augustine of Canterbury was destroying the pagan temples, Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote to him and said, do not destroy them but Baptise them, build on the good that is there and purify it.
We are invited to commitment in faith, to trust in God’s promises not just when it is easy but all the time!