Last week was the unofficial beginning to the postulants' apostolates, or outward-looking ministries to the Church and society. Today, with a week uninterrupted by travels and visits, we will settle properly into our work of rebuilding our world. Without arrogance, and also without a craven humility, we seek to repair a Church whose only rightful claim is the love of the God of Jesus Christ and whose only mission is to serve a new creation where the mercy, peace, and justice of God reign.
The readings we heard at Mass, particularly the Hebrew Bible texts, taken from the beginning of the book of Ezra and from Psalm 126, were most fitting for this moment in the postulancy. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Ezra and Nehemiah and the people of Judah returned to the place they could make their home, the place where they could dwell in the house of their God. Eight hundred years ago, Francis was thrust out of his former way of belonging in the world and brought back into relation with his homeland in a new way, one fit for dwelling, joyfully alive, in the presence of his God. Called forth from our places of exile; called forth, out of empire's encroaching grasp; called forth from the anonymity of alienation to the harmony of community, we come into our world and to our Church with a new walk, to build up the kind of place where we may dwell in community and walk this earth in peace. We come prepared to build up what cannot be torn down. We come to give rise, not to Babylon or Rome or Washington, but the New Jerusalem.
Blessings to all the brothers in formation who go about their work with the will of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the people of Judah; the mind of Jesus and the disciples he sent forth; and the heart of Francis and all the friends he called his lesser brothers and poor ladies.