The hallmark of Saint Clare’s sanctity was her complete devotion to the naked poverty of Jesus Crucified which inspired her to embrace a life of penance, expressed through absolute poverty. In this she was as radical as her mentor Saint Francis. Poverty and penance, along with devotion to the passion of Christ, is what distinguishes the Franciscan charism from all other schools of spirituality. God calls us all to follow him, each in our own unique way. What unites us is our celebration of the Mass together.
Have you ever watched an intense relay race as runners pelt around the track to pass the baton and cheer for the next team member? Today’s first reading is a little like that, as Moses formally passes the leadership of Israel to Joshua. After spending years at Moses’ side, Joshua now comes into his own. Moses had invested so much in his successor, and now the time had come for Joshua to take the lead.
Just like Moses, the time will come for each of us to pass the baton to the next generation in the Church. Whether we are actively involved in some particular apostolate or trying to make a difference in our community, each of us should start thinking of how those who come after us can continue to advance the work we have been doing to establish the Kingdom of God in our little part of the world.
So we should think today about how we will pass on our faith. Rather than clinging to our little empire until our very last breath, we should think about how we can pass it on to our successor so that the good work can continue. We all have the privilege of passing the baton to the next generation. So let’s try our best to guide and encourage them, to leave a legacy of faith for them, and to release them into God’s loving hands.