We are One Body in Christ – One body, many parts. Okay, so we understand that because we hear it all the time, and we even sing hymns about it.
But what does that really mean? And what does it mean to us individually?
This week we warm-up for Mass by digging in and getting to know ourselves better by coming at our roles and vocations – which are different things! – from a different perspective.
And we give you permission to stop doing what you are doing in the Church, because it may actually be a bad thing for you right now!
Our activity is pretty straightforward. But if you don’t get through the discussion, you won’t even look at the activity. Are you up to the challenge of this week’s Mass warm-up?
We dare you. Beware: It might change you!
Catechesis At Home – Third Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year C
One Body in Christ
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One Body in Christ
REFLECTION – One Body, Many Parts
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Have you ever heard this phrase? St. Paul spends time exploring our role as parts of a whole. This week the second reading is probably one we hear at least once a year. (1 Corinthians 12:12-30) We are one body in Christ. Through our baptism, we are incorporated into the body of Christ, also known as The Church.
Think about all the people in our parishes – all the various roles and responsibilities each person, each family has in our parish life. Some are priests and deacons – ordained ministers; some are commissioned ministers like lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy communion, catechists; some volunteer in other ministries; some are paid staff. And all of us are being ministered to in one way or another.
Many parts, one parish. Many parishes, one diocese. Many dioceses, one Church. Many people, one body in faith. Individually, when one part of our body is injured or hurt, it affects our whole well-being. The same is true for our Church. When one person is injured, sick, suffering, or sinning, the whole Church hurts. This is why being Catholic is so hard and so rewarding. We all hurt together and we all pull together to help each other, and when we do that we ALL gain – the entire body is better. Christ uses the hurts, pains, and divisions to bring us together. That sounds like a contradiction, but in reality, if everything was all superficial and “fine,” how would we grow in Faith, Hope, and Love? How would we develop relationships – with each other and with Christ – if there were no hurt for us to heal?
Our vocation as a spouse and parent is extremely important as a member of Christ’s body – He depends upon us to grow in our relationship with our spouse, and to be the first educators of our children in the faith (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2225). Before parish faith formation and catechesis, we parents are necessary for the first proclamation of the Gospel to our children. We teach them the virtues of love, faithfulness, honesty, obedience, and so many more. We teach them how to pray. We teach them the importance of God being number one in theirs and our lives. This is the most fundamental ministry and basic responsibility parents have. If any other ministry or role in life, let alone parish life, diminishes this responsibility, then it is time to “step back” from those other distractions and focus on this primary vocation.[i]
DISCUSSION – One Body’s Many Parts
Am I the head, a foot, an eye, or a hand? Can I see myself as part of the Body of Christ: The Church? What is my role? Talk this week with your family and friends about this question and the ones below.
In what ways do I currently serve? Is this a time in my relationship with Christ that He is calling me to step up or step back, or stay the course?
We should regularly spend time reflecting on what exactly God is calling us to do at this point in our lives.
…if you have a young family, you probably are not called to be a lector or in the choir anymore; since you are first called to be in the pews with your children, helping them to learn the Mass and modeling Mass attendance and participation. Am I going to Mass to help my family get to heaven, and is what I am doing at Mass specifically accomplishing that for them?
…if you have time in the evenings, maybe you are called to be on the RCIA team, or be a catechist, or attend a Bible Study to work on your own growth as a Catholic. If I do not have time, is that because other non-Body of Christ things are taking it?
…if you are gifted in detail-oriented work, maybe God is calling you to tend to the parish library or the gift-shop. Or are my gifts and talents just for me to make money, and not to boost the Church’s mission?
…if you have limited time and a talent or skill that the parish cannot use, and it does not take away from your vocation as a spouse and a parent, maybe volunteering an hour or two each week to help “where needed” with Holy Owned and Operated is your place right now. Is there a Catholic organization in communion with the Body of Christ – the Church – that I can help?
Maybe you feel God calling you to full-time ministry, or is God calling you or your children to ordained ministry? Talk to your pastor, deacon, or the vocations director of your diocese.
ACTIVITY – One Body in Christ, the Head
This week, take time to talk with your children or grandchildren and among your friends about Christ being number one in your life, and how He can tell you are part of His Body, the Catholic Church. How does this look? What makes it obvious that Christ is the head of your life, your family, your heart? What makes it obvious that you are part of the Body? How can you make it more obvious?
Prayer and reading Scripture are primary ways to deepen our relationship with Christ. Pray this week with this Scripture from the Mass reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 – ask Jesus to lead you to understand your role in His Church at this moment in your vocational life. And spend time listening to His answer. Listen to your spouse and children, your parents and catechists, your pastor and spiritual director, even that email from that Catholic organization you keep getting.
What are the needs right now that you can fulfill? And if you can fulfill them, are you being called to fulfill them?
[i] If you need help with your marriage, or think divorce or out-of-wedlock situations have disqualified you from help or God’s Goodness and the joy of raising your children in the Catholic faith and growing in yours, please contact us – Beth or Kristofer – and we will help or personally introduce you to others – people and organizations – who can and have helped millions of others!
DIG DEEPER – Other One Body in Christ resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
Links open in a new tab or window according to your settings so that you can compare and continue in this lesson’s theme.
Page: HOO We Are
Podcast: Marriage Preparation – Episode 40
Podcast: Discerning God’s Will Part 1 – Episode 74
Podcast: Discerning God’s Will Part 2 – Episode 75
TWMWU: Jesus Saves: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
TWMWU: Glorify the Lord by Your Life
TWMWU: Prepare the Way of the Lord
Article: Proverbs 31 Woman
Article: Storge and Philia – Love of Family and Friends
We are One Body, Many Parts – what do you do as your part?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
One of the seven social teachings of the Catholic Church, caring for our earthly home is intimately connected to every part of our life.
After quoting an 80s video game and Monty Python, Beth and Kristofer dive into this topic with Kristofer making sure everyone knows he is not a tree hugger.
Then they go on identifying birds and trees as they walk by. Well, the topic is what the topic is – and they do answer the question we all have about that environment issue.
Yeah, that one.