BEWARE OF CONTAMINATION FROM CULTURES|22nd Sunday|Ordinary Time|Year B

Just as we worry about the things that pollute the environment, we should be equally concerned about those things that pollute our faith, especially things coming from our cultures- the world around.
Sometime ago a viral video capturing a masquerade dancing in the church during holy mass raised several questions and concerns: what would a masquerade be doing in the church? What significance or Christian sentiment does it portray? While these troubled the minds of people, the Bishop of the Diocese where it happened wrote a disclaimer that doused the tensions, describing the occurrence as an aberration to Catholic worship and teaching on inculturation, as it contradicts Christian faith and discipline.
Since we are more influenced by our cultures than we realise, the bible cautions us about the way ungodly cultures could influence us and tempt us to sin. If you wish to know, read slowly...

Cf James 1:17-18,21-22,27
Accept and submit to the word which has been planted in you and can save your souls. But you must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves. Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. God always demand that his people live according to His standards and not according to worldly standards. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were warned not to adopt the practices of those around them (Lev 18:1-5) and were constantly reminded to remain be faithful: 
‘Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you. (Deut 4:1-2).
2. Child of God, the very moment you chose to be a Christian, you were reborn into a new way of life- the culture of God. God's culture becomes preeminent and should influence everything that concerns you, even the human culture where you are rooted; and not the other way round.
3. But today, many are contaminated by the cultures of the world and live double-standard lives. They embrace the world's propaganda which makes them ineffective ambassadors of the kingdom. They accept the lies coming from these 'dark cultures' rather than enlighten and evangelize these cultures with the light and truth of the gospel.
4. The cultures of get-rich-quick through drug peddling, prostitution, human trafficking, internet scam, ritual killing, money doubling, gambling, etc, that has eaten deep into the fabric of the society has a strong influence on christian youths today. Syncretism is on the rise due to retrogression to traditional beliefs systems, ancestral worship, and cultism.
TASK: Scrutinize any idea, practice or thing coming from the world around, especially your culture from the prism of Christianity (what Jesus teaches) before you accept or involve in it. 

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