< <  

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

  > >
Acts 17:15, 22—18:1
Psalm 148
John 16:12-15

View Readings
Similar Reflections

how to baptize a culture?

"What you are thus worshiping in ignorance, I intend to make known to you." —Acts 17:23

The Church exists to evangelize, and inculturation is a key to evangelization. Inculturation is to Christianize the good in a culture and to reject the bad. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a perfect example of inculturation. Mary appeared having the features and clothing of an Indian, but she was crushing under her feet the gods of that culture. Because Mary's discernment was so good, her inculturation of the gospel into the Indian culture resulted in the conversion to Christ of eight million people in seven years.

Paul's early attempts at inculturation were mostly failures. He compared Jesus with an unknown god of the Athenians (Acts 17:23). He quoted some of their poets (Acts 17:28). He tried to reason with them by making allusions to creation (Acts 17:24ff). He did not get around to bringing up the cross. He thought it would be difficult for the Greek culture to relate to this (see 1 Cor 1:23). Except for converting a few people, Paul failed in this attempt at inculturation and evangelization.

How are you doing with inculturation and evangelization? Are you at least trying, or are you failing even to try?

Prayer:  Father, give me discernment to rightly inculturate the gospel for young people, Hispanics, and Muslims.

Promise:  "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth." —Jn 16:12-13

Praise:  Fr. Tom has an ability to relate well to people from rural backgrounds and has used this gift to bring some of them back into the Church.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Evangelization on audio AV 55-1 and AV 55-3 or video V-55.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002