Being, Making, Doing

Nehemiah 7, 1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12 Luke 10, 1-12

Memorial of St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church

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Seventy-five years after Haggai and Zechariah preached the Word of God in Jerusalem, Nehemiah returned from Persia to Jerusalem (about 445 BC). The walls were in ruins. Psychologically, they were still a defeated and subject people. The layman Nehemiah and the priest Ezra chronicle the time of the "Restoration", as scholars call this era in Jewish history after the return from their Babylonian Exile. He was a doer, the reader's notes in the Oxford study Bible describe him as "a man of good practical sense combined with deep faith in God." From the text of the book, he was dedicated to building a culture of life and love.

As part of his efforts to restore the people, we read today a genealogy, a calling to mind of ancestors, which is a way of helping them to understand who they were, where they came from, and how they came to be where they were.

Luke tells us of the commissioning of the 72 evangelists, sent to heal the sick and preach the good news that the Reign of God was upon us. By the nature of their sending, they are one in solidarity with those who are marginalized and rejected.

Further, we learn that we are accountable for our response to that Gospel. It is always within our freedom to reject the journey of grace, justice, and peace.

This is not a one dimensional experience, but rather wholistic in the most complete sense of the word. There is understanding of the "where" that we are at, and how we came to be here. There is solidarity with the conquered and marginalized and poor. There are cultural contexts, and objective situations and actions of right and wrong, and ways and practices of discernment and reading the signs of these times. In our journeys we build and create structures, which either help or complicate and challenge the process. There are ways of being and doing and making that organically develop from this existential situation of journeying in justice and peace towards a civilization of life and love.

Thoughts on orthopraxis: So if there are ways of being and doing and making that derive from being on a journey of justice and peace, what might they be in my life? In the life of my community? What structures of Wisdom, Beauty, and Goodness am I helping to build along the way? What structures of Ignorance, Death, and Arrogance do I help build?

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