Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sirach shows the importance of exposure to other cultures: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, May 28th, 2015

(Listen to this homily here).

             Yesterday after Mass one of our teachers told me how much she liked being introduced to the book of Sirach.  I had to smile because Sirach is my favorite book in the Old Testament.
            Written in the 2nd century BC, Sirach represents the best synthesis of Jewish belief.  The historical context helped make this so—Jewish culture and religion was bumping into Hellenism—Greek culture, philosophy and religions.
            Jesus ben Sira maintained the truths of Jewish faith and worship, rejected what was wrong in Greek culture and adopted what was good.  For instance, our reading from this morning talks about God’s word, wisdom, nature and the like.  All of these were important to Jews, but adopting some Greek insights only helped grow in understanding.
            As we live in International Falls, it is important for us to learn from different cultures from our own.  I can attest to how my life changed getting to know my brothers from Ghana, Africa.  Through spending time in seminary, visiting their country and being immersed in Ghanaian lifestyle, my life changed.  We have had many conversations about our respective cultures—how they are similar and different—and how we can learn from each other.
            Be open to different cultures.  The best way to do so—travel!  If you are at all able to travel to a different place in the world, do so.  If not, remember that we do have several nationalities represented in our own parish—Vietnamese, Filipino, American Indian, First Nations and Mexican.  Get to know such individuals!  Ask them to share their story!  Invite them to share a meal!
            Our Catholic faith embraces every culture in the world.  She takes the good and purifies the bad.  Be mindful that many different cultures make up our Church and our lives will only improve by learning from other ethnic groups of people. 

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