The Body of Christ at the Border

by | Nov 11, 2019 | Faith & Politics, Global Catholicism, Justice, The Jesuits

[On All Souls’ Day, hundreds gathered from Mexico and the U.S. for the annual Border Mass in the Rio Grande Canal between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.]

Margin: The edge or border of something. You know it by the heavy black line scratched in the landscape by the victors of a war of conquest, both forgotten and never-ending, enforced today by a towering steel scar that sneers, “You don’t belong to each other.” At the margin two things meet. Do they kiss, or must their contact like tectonic plates cause friction and quaking?   

But, a margin is also a space. The open space on the edge of a page that is intentionally left blank. A void, the emptiness of which resists being filled to protect the lines, the ruled pages. It’s no man’s land. A space where no soul lingers long. What good could come from here? What could fill this great chasm we’ve placed between us and… us?

A margin is, I have discovered, a space where we can stand. Together. Where grace can enter in and transform a not-so-grand, mired and muddied ditch marred with razor wire into the banquet table in the Father’s House, where there are indeed many dwelling places. The table is a bridge where thanksgiving happens because the Body of Christ spans the gap. And we receive.

A sign of peace on the periphery: Peace and unity fill the space with the friendly flap of wings—enough to get a glimpse of the glory of the Body of Christ—until they flit back into the darkness of their respective wildernesses. 


A voice sings out in the desert: 

Basta ya de violencia. No puedo aguantar más. 

Basta  ya de matanzas. Las muertes no nos dan la paz.


The voice is sweet, innocent. A little girl lulling death to sleep with her enchanting lament. Gathering the voices of all who thirst: 


Basta ya de divisiones, el odio nos separa más.

Basta ya de fronteras, los muros no nos dan la paz.

¿Verdad? Basta ya de injusticias. ¡Escucha, deseo paz! 


“Enough of divisions, hate separates more. 

Enough with borders, walls do not give us peace. 

Isn’t it true? Enough with injustice. Listen, I desire peace!”

Credit: Andrea Buschkoetter, St. Louis University