Homily thoughts for August 17, 2014…Was Jesus Inclusive or Not?

In our American culture, inclusivity is held up as an ideal that should be embraced by everyone. Though it's interesting to note that one is not expected to be inclusive with regard to politics or religion! 

In His human nature, Jesus was influenced by the prevalent culture of his time which regarded the Canaanites as enemies. They were excluded from God's favor. This is why when the Canaanite woman asked him to heal her daughter, he ignores her, then tells her he came only for the "lost sheep of Israel" (the Jews), then finally insults her. But then Jesus reaches beyond his culture & questions the will of God in this. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples" (first reading). Jesus determines it is the will of God that everyone be saved.

How do we embrace that inclusive attitude of Jesus--not to be politically correct, but religiously correct? How do we embrace those who are outside of our circles and invite them in?