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7th Sunday of Easter Reflection


My dear Friends:

On Thursday, we celebrated the glorious feast of the Ascension! Today’s readings mirror the truly awesome reality of God’s unconditional love for each and every one of us: he had to leave us so that he could set our hearts and souls ablaze with his love by the breath of the Holy Spirit!

Now, bear with me, because I am going to play a little word game with you involving three words: Inculturation; Enculturation; and, Acculturation! The mass readings over the last few weeks have been from the Acts of the Apostles. In these readings, we hear about the ways in which the Apostles/disciples travelled from country to country; town to town; and village to village telling the populations about God’s transforming and saving love which is experienced through Jesus Christ. As the Apostles/disciples encountered different cultures, traditions and symbols, they engaged them as vehicles to communicate and express the journey in God’s love, grace and salvation. This process is often referred to as Inculturation!

The second, Enculturation, is very much the country, culture, tribe, traditions, symbols etc., into which we have been born and, thus, into which we have been ‘assimilated’. The third (and this can be a real life and faith challenge!), is Acculturation! Acculturation happens when a dominant group/culture influences another group to the extent that it virtually absorbs it into itself. Back to the message of the Ascension!

Jesus left us so that he could send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to transform us into ‘Acculturated Professional Lovers’ of Peace, Justice, Compassion, Healing, Hope and Joy. This is Acculturation at its best! The Kingdom of God within our hearts, and the Reign of God constructed in the bridges of Justice, Peace, Compassion and Love between, and within nations, cultures and peoples: unity within diversity!

The challenging question I ask myself, is: in today’s world, what has become the ‘dominant’ culture? If it is power, wealth, ruthless ambition, exploitation, oppression…Is it ‘influencing’ and ‘absorbing’ me to the extent that the Voice of the Holy Spirit is being skilfully muted, and the awesome message of the Ascension’s Love, Justice, Peace, and Salvation drained away?

So, my dear friends, let us ask the Lord to help us (i) to experience the Holy Spirit as our dominant culture of Love, Peace, Justice and Compassion (acculturation); (ii) that as parents, children, families and communities we may truly become God’s family (enculturation); and, (iii) we may strive, for the Greater Glory of God, to make His message truly meaningful within the cultures and traditions of other peoples, ethnicities and traditions (inculturation).

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

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