The Body Is Not A Single Part, But Many

Today’s second Mass reading comes from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and it is a passage I think we could all benefit from reflecting on.

All of us, to at least some extent, have a sense that some jobs are more important than others. We tend to think more highly of the brain surgeon than the trash collector, or of the professor than of the cashier in the grocery store. Lamentably, we sometimes tend to carry over the view of the job to the person, therefore deciding that some people are less valuable than others.

Today’s passage from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians reminds us that we are all part of one body and, once we accept that, we can not say that any one part is more important than any other. For, as Paul quite logically says, using his analogy to the physical body, one can’t say the ear is more important than the sense of smell, for “if the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be.” Likewise, if the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? A functioning body needs all of its parts, so if one part suffers, the entire body suffers.

The same is true of our giftedness. Some gifts may look better or more important than others. But all are necessary and therefore all are to be honored and respected.

I think this is a hard lesson for us to internalize. We often see as the world sees, not as God sees. We need to remind ourselves that we are all part of one body, each part of which is gifted in a particular way and each part of which is vitally important to the functioning of the whole.