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THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST (1 Cor. 12: 12-30)

In the human body, there is no such thing as an inferior or a superior part; the same goes with the Mystical Body of Christ.  So, persons with a small spirit and inferior gifts are NOT less in God's plan.  If ". . .the one is many and the many are one. . ." where is the superiority, where is the disadvantage?  

Alone, each part cannot make a body.  There is need of coming together so that many can become one.  St. Paul never said "inferior" or "superior" members; he simply said "many" parts.  This is how it is in the Body of Christ which is the Church.  

This is why we were baptized -- so that we might all preserve the unity of one perfect body; "I, Paul, am an apostle, but I am only a member, with Christ as Head. . .having passed through the same birth pains."  

"And were all made to drink of One Spirit, for the body is not one member, but many."  The wonder of Christ's mystical body is that many diverse parts make one body.  Precisely because all are different that we become one body; if we are all ears, then there won't be any body.  If we are all eyes, we would contribute to the dissolution of the Body.  

If it is unwise to ask about the parts, why are the eyes there and the ears in the sides, much more so in the Church.  In describing the parts, Paul made no mention of differences or nature or operation; he merely stated where they were located.  Why is the nose there in front?  . . .because "it pleased God."  If the foot tries to be in the place of the head and the head in place of the arms, there will be complete ruin.  

So let us cast out all envy, neither begrudge those who seem to have greater gifts nor despise those who seem to have less.  The work you have, others cannot do because they have their own work.  Though one part can contribute one third, he cannot contribute the other.  So, even in the body, the little parts contribute little part and, when removed, injure greatly the greater parts;  remove the eye leashes and the eye is blinded by the light and the face loses its beauty.  

When you do not care for your neighbor you are cutting away a nail or a finger. . .and you are the nail and the finger.  A virgin should not look down on others, nor the rich on the beggars who are the greatest ornament of the Church.  Without them, the Church cannot be perfected.  The beggar, just sitting there, doing nothing to improve his situation, is sitting there throughout the whole day preparing a medicine for your salvation.  

Bishops, nuns, married couples, beggars. . .all are parts of the Mystical Body of Christ.  No one is superior or inferior to anyone.  All are equally important that the body may be whole and one.  

St. John Chrysostom, "On 1 Cor."

 

 

 

 

(01-23-05)

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