The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! 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Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

We Are the Body of Christ

Fr. George Smiga
January 27, 2013
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today’s second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians might be the most radical and challenging passage of the New Testament. It presents to us a fundamentally different way of us seeing ourselves. The normal way that we see ourselves is as individuals, individuals with rights and responsibilities. As individuals, if we choose to connect ourselves to other people, we can do so. If we choose to remain aloof, we can do that as well. But, what Paul gives us in the second reading is a very different understanding. He certainly sees us as individuals but he insists that as individuals, we are part of a larger reality. We form with others an organism. Together with others, we are the body of Christ.

As Paul says it, “You are the body of Christ. Each of you is a member of it”. Paul is saying that at the very level of our being we are connected to others as part of Christ’s body. That connection is necessary, because without that connection, we are incomplete. As Christ’s body we need others to be parts with us in the same reality. Paul plays this out later in the letter where he says that as part of Christ’s body, the head cannot say to the feet, “I do not need you.” The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” We need one another because we share the same life. It is only in our relationship to others that we discover who we truly are.

Now, if we were to accept this challenging understanding of ourselves and others, it would change the way we see everything, both socially and personally. As a country we seek to address issues of poverty and education. When we approach that effort as a part of Christ’s body, we are no longer trying to feed or educate “those” people, “those” children. We are trying to feed and to educate people who are a part of us, who live with us as the same body. As we try to provide adequate health care for our nation, understanding the truth of the body of Christ makes it clear that we are providing healthcare for ourselves, because we share the same life in the body of Christ. The same truth applies to us, personally, in our relationships with the people with whom we work, the people in our family, the people in our neighborhood. We cannot say to any of them “I have no need of you. You are of no value to me.” Each person is a part with us in the same living organism.

So, look at the person at work who makes you angry, or the person in your family who irritates you, or the person who exhausts you. The teaching of Paul encourages us to see that person as somehow necessary to us, necessary in order for us to be the person we are, and to become the person Christ wants us to be.

Now, we cannot approach this teaching naively. There are people who are dishonest and hurtful and even dangerous. We must, at times, wisely decide to establish boundaries and to keep certain people away. But, even as we keep them away, in faith we still somehow believe they are a part of us, connected to us.

The teaching that we hear today in the second reading is not a simple or easy truth, but Christ did not come into this world simply to confirm all the truths which were established before he arrived. Christ came into this world to present us with a new and challenging vision of ourselves and of others. It is not new to say that we need others. But it is new to say that we need every other, because every other is a part with us in the same body. And this body is not the body practical, or the body political, or the body commercial. It is the body of Christ.

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