June 17, 2021
by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 368

2 Corinthians 11:1-11
Psalm 111:1b-2, 3-4, 7-8
Matthew 6:7-15
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Together at the Margins

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  (Matthew 6: 8)

The young Augustine scoffed at scripture.  These stories were fit for children, not for a lofty seeker of wisdom.  Later, ensnared in pompous Manichean prose, he realized the depths of Christian simplicity.  “Do not babble,” says Jesus.  Your worth is not measured in words.  Greet God as your father.  No one loves you more.  No one knows you better.

What is my purpose?  Jesus gives us the words we need.  We are here to praise God and to seek God’s will in the murky light of human existence.  Our lives are not mortgaged to another world.  The kingdom coming is already with us.  We are frail.  Our needs bubble up daily.  With help from God and many others, these needs are met.  No one carries her burden alone.  My load lifts on the sobering condition that I forgive others.  Ornery spirits connive to turn gladness into doubts and regret.  God, drive these pests from our door.

Back in Corinth, the new Christian movement is wooed by smooth-talking preachers.  Paul implores his beloved community to discern the slick from the real.  Humans do not journey alone.  Paul brought Jesus into their lives, and Jesus reveals the source of their being in God.  We depend on mediators.  But beware of the “superapostles,” who dazzle but do not nurture the spirit.  Like a virus they replicate emptiness.

In Let us Dream (2020), Pope Francis denies that our old ways will spring back once the pandemic ends.  Global rupture brings change.  But what kind?  Can we imagine a world without the pandemics of indifference, divisions, and dehumanization?  Pope Francis calls the church to “open its doors more widely” and to walk with the Popular Movements.  There we can discern imposters from truth. 

On the margins I have discovered so many social movements with roots in parishes or schools that bring people together to make them become protagonists of their own histories, to set in motion dynamics that smacked of dignity.  Taking life as it comes, they do not sit around resigned or complaining but come together to convert injustice into new possibilities.  I call them “social poets.”  In mobilizing for change, in their search for dignity, I see a source of moral energy, a reserve of civic passion, capable of revitalizing our democracy and reorienting the economy.  It was precisely here that the Church was born, in the margins of the Cross, where so many of the crucified are found.  If the Church disowns the poor, she ceases to be the Church of Jesus. (120)

The kingdom arises at the margins.  Let us be there.

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