For several months, Jesuits around the world have been reflecting on what the apostolic preferences of the universal Society might be over the next ten years. In the communities and works, then at the level of the consultations of each of the provinces and finally during meetings of provincials of the different geographical units of the Society, they sought to discern what specific services the Society could render to the Church and to the world in this 21st century. This was in response to a clear request from the Superior General who took office at the end of 2016. And, at the beginning of 2019, the process must come to an end with the publication, by the General, of documents - probably both in written and audiovisual formats - explaining the fields of interest that will henceforth at-tract the particular attention of the entire "Jesuit galaxy".
This Monday morning, September 3, a new type of meeting opened at the Curia of the Society: an "Extended Council". For five full days, Father General Arturo Sosa will be surrounded not only by his usual counsellors, the regional counsellors and the general counsellors, but also by the presidents of the Jesuit Conferences of the six groups of provinces throughout the world and by some important officers of the government of the Society. In all, 25 Jesuits.
As Fr. José Magadia underlined during the homily at the opening Eucharist he presided, the meeting is an important step towards the defining of a Society of Jesus attuned for our time. If one cannot yet know which preferences the participants will indicate as the most important, the Gospel of the day, in Luke 4, gives clear indications as to the meaning and direction of Jesus' ministry. The "companions of Jesus" have certainly to get their inspiration from Jesus who quoted the prophet Isaiah: "[The Spirit] sent me to bring the Good New to the poor, to announce to the captives their liberation, and to the blind that they will regain their sight, to set free the oppressed and to announce a favourable year granted by the Lord."