Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
All Commentaries on Ezra 1:2 Go To Ezra 1
The 'children of the province' means the children of Judea, not of Babylon. For to this province belonged not only those who were deported from Judea to Babylon but also those who were born in Babylon from their stock - those who, though born in the flesh in Babylon, yet longed with all their soul for Judea and Jerusalem. Their distinguished leader Zerubbabel was a figure of these people: his name indicates that he was born in Babylon, but by his intention and his deeds he shows that he was a citizen of Jerusalem. In a higher sense, however, the children of the Church are the children of the heavenly homeland, not only those who have already been imbued with the sacraments of the Church but even those who, though wandering in error for some time (i.e. among the impious), nevertheless were preordained to life by divine election before the world began, and are to be consecrated by the mysteries of divine grace at their own due time. About these it is aptly And they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city, who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, and the remaining names of the leaders. For when, after being freed from the power of Satan those who have strayed from the faith have returned with those who have recently learned the faith to the Jerusalem of longed-for 'peace' and the Judah of devout 'confession or praise', each one soon makes for his own city again and enters it, i.e. he devoutly pursues the guardianship and exercise of the virtues which divine generosity has granted to him according to the measure of faith. And it is appropriate that when he had said that in general they had returned to Jerusalem and Judah, he immediately added everyone to his own city, doubtless because they remained in their own cities but in such a way that everyone in general belonged to Jerusalem and Judah. Let Jerusalem, therefore, stand for the universal state of the Holy Church throughout the world; let the cities belonging to Jerusalem stand for the individual virtues of the faithful whereby they are shielded from the temptations and onslaughts of evil spirits, as if by the protection of cities. The cities in which those who had come from captivity to Jerusalem and Judah dwelled can also be understood to refer to the various churches of Christ throughout the world from all of which the one Catholic Church is made, in which all who dwell individually nonetheless profess that they are the children of the Catholic Church, as it were the citizens of Jerusalem.