January 24, 2010

One Body of Many Parts

St. Paul continues from last week's reading (1 Cor 12:4-11), when he reminded the church at Corinth of the different graces each person receives. Today (1 Cor 12:12-30), he describes us as one body.

A body has different parts - ears, eyes, hands, feet. You may be one part and I'm another; we can't all have the same role. A body with nothing but hands or nothing but eyes cannot function. Our unity as one body does not come from ourselves, though our individual gifts do not hinder unity, either. [791, 814] It is not the role we take that unites us, but Christ. We are united, we are one, by being in the Body of Christ. [792-5, 813]

Do the actions in today's reading from the Book of Nehemiah (Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10) sound familiar? Ezra stood on a platform over the people. The people rose and Ezra read. He praised God ("thanks be to God") and everyone replied "Amen". The Levite priests instructed the faithful. Catholic unity extends not just through the world - through space - but down through time as well. The appearance of the church, the structure of Mass, the sacrificial nature of it, and more come down from Biblical times. In many cases, they come down from Old Testament times.

The Old Testament prepares for the New, for the Church we know today. [761-2] We are truly one Body, through time and space - one Church - with Christ as our head.

Today, pray for the unity of Christ's Church, and think of a time during your day that you're not focused on the Head of the Body. Find a time when you're focused away from Christ and work to reorient yourself, to be mindful of the contribution your work, whatever it is, makes toward good in the world and serving the Body of Christ.

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