One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.
Gentile or Jew, woman or man, no more. Many the gifts, many the works, one in the Lord of all.
Grain for the fields, scattered and grown, gathered to one, for all.
One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless. And we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.
Today is a great Feast Day in the life of the liturgical church throughout Christendom: The Solemnity of Corpus Christi. This day is celebrated in recognition of the Eucharist, and everything the Eucharist is and means. Today we celebrate, literally, the Body of Christ. We all know that the Eucharist was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. We all know that we, as Catholics, believe that the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Our Lord. We all know that our Protestant brothers and sisters believe that the bread and the wine are symbolic of the body and blood of our Lord. We all know that wars have been fought over these two basic, yet entirely different beliefs. We also know that from many, if not most, of the liturgical pulpits in the world, the Word will be proclaimed concerning the Eucharist. Today, however, I would like to put a different spin on Corpus Christi. I would like for us to leave the upper room of Christ and the disciples, and jump ahead a few years to Corinth, and to listen to what the Apostle Paul has to say about “the body of Christ.”
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[c] one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole bodywere an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best[d] gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31 NKJV)
We, the Church, we, the people of God, we, puny imperfect people that we are, WE are the body of Christ. Some of us dress funny. Some of us talk funny. Some of us have emotional issues. Some of us just have issues. But we, ALL of us, together, make up the body of Christ. Warts and all. Some of us are wildly and multiply talented. Some of us are incredibly intelligent. Some of us have been blessed with physical beauty. Some of us have been blessed with spiritual beauty. Be we, ALL of us together, make up the body of Christ.
Because we are all of us different, it can be said that we make up different parts of the body of Christ. We each of us have different gifts. Some make up the head, some the heart. Others are the feet and the hands of the body of Christ. Granted there are parts of the body of Christ that we would rather keep hidden, under wraps. But are these parts any less important? Do these parts not serve a major and important function in the working of the body? I believe that they do.
Several months ago, we were struggling with the problem of readmitting someone to the Order of Preachers Old Catholic. This person and come and gone more than once, and had tried our patience severely. As is my custom when in need of guidance, I went to our dear Archbishop and asked his advice. Do I give her one more chance, or not? He and I talked about it, mulled it over, prayed about it, and decided to wait on a definite answer from God to see what it was, exactly, we were to do. That night, he had a dream. In his dream, Jesus appeared to the Archbishop, held out His nail-scarred hands and said, “I did this for her, too. Can you do any less?” Needless to say, the person in question was readmitted to the Order…as a part of the Body of Christ.
Last Sunday, I was privileged to be at the inaugural Mass at one of our new parishes. After Mass, there was a pot luck meal. The dishes were plentiful and varied. There was something there for everyone. Not everyone liked or ate the exact same thing, (and a few of us ate way too much of just about everything,) and no one went away hungry.
My point, here, folks, if I haven’t made it already is simply this: WE, all of us, make up the body of Christ. What one person brings to the table may not be of particular interest or value to another person, but there is someone at that table who needs just that. Perhaps we feel that this person or that person isn’t quite what we would like to see in our church, or in our family, or in our lives, but to someone, somewhere, that person is exactly who is needed. The very person whom we consider to be “less than worthy” to represent Christ and His church may just be the exact one who is needed in certain situations.
As we go along in our daily lives, let us remember the lessons of today, this Feast of Corpus Christi, that we all of us make up the One Bread, the One Body, the One Cup, that is the Body of Christ. Amen.