We are One Body in Christ
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
We are in the Ordinary Time now. This is the first part after the Christmas Season leading us to the Lenten Season weeks from now. The term “ordinary” in English most often means something that is not special. Many people think that Ordinary Time refers to parts of the calendar of the Catholic Church that are unimportant. Yet Ordinary Time is far from unimportant or uninteresting. Ordinary Time is called “ordinary” not because it is common but simply because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis refers to numbers in a succession. Thus, the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time, in fact, represent the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter Seasons) nor in penance (as in Advent and Lent). The theme that we are going to meditate on during the Ordinary Time is the public ministry of Jesus: his preaching, healing, teaching, and being with people.
In today’s Second Reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we hear him teaching us: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” This is the first Good News that is proclaimed to us today and this reality of us being one body in Christ is very much seen every time we celebrate the Eucharist, just like today. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ with our Lord Jesus as the head. If the body loses a foot, the body still lives. If one loses a hand, the body remains alive still. But when one loses its head, it dies. Since Christ is the Head, if He is not with us, we Christians are nothing, we cease to exist. Without Christ, we are nothing. We have come from different families, backgrounds, and status in life, but we are all here today praising, thanking, and asking the Lord to be with us especially in this challenging time. We are one body, though many parts, with Christ as our head, He is the reason for our gathering today and in every Eucharistic celebration.
A mother once asked her daughter this question after reading a text message sent to her, “Day, unsay pasabot aning gitext nga letters: IDK ug IDC (what is the meaning of these letters, IDK and IDC)?” The daughter then gave her response, “Ma, I don’t know and I don’t care.” The mom was shocked for a while and kept silent. IDK and IDC: I don’t know and I don’t care, these are expressions that show an attitude of indifference and not caring at all about others. This is what St. Paul told us in the reading today, “If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, “it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, “it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” The second Good News is this: as one community we need each other and we have to take care of one another. As a Church and as a family we cannot just say, “I don’t know” and “I don’t care.” We are all connected as one body in Christ. We affect one another. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy,” says St. Paul in the same letter. This is something that we have witnessed in the aftermath of the recent typhoon: the bayanihan spirit. People helped one another in clearing the roads from any obstructions (electric posts, fallen trees, and others). Some extended a hand in rebuilding the homes of their neighbors and relatives. Those from non-affected areas shared whatever they have like food, water, and other basic needs. These days have been filled with much solidarity and concern for one another. This is because as one body in Christ we affect one another, we need each other, we care for one another. We must avoid the language IDK and IDC.
Lastly, in today’s Gospel, we heard our Lord Jesus reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah which proclaims to us His mission: to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to free those who are oppressed, and proclaim a year of favor to the Lord. As one body of Christ, we also share in our Lord’s mission. How can we become like Christ as His followers? By reading, reflecting, and living His Word in the Scriptures (the Bible). Today is called as the Sunday of the Word of God. Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium wrote, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus… Every authentic experience of truth and goodness (in the Lord) and has been saved and freed becomes more sensitive to the needs of others.” Beloved brothers and sisters, as our head, Jesus Christ was in mission, we too, His body, are called to continue what He has begun today. St. John Bosco challenged the young people to be holy when he said that “sanctity is easy.” He told them before and us today that God wants us to be happy and to rejoice in the love of Jesus. Just do your duty in school, at home, at work the best you can. Offer your life to God: the happy times and the sad or challenging things: life sends many opportunities to join in the sufferings of Jesus: bad weather, disappointments, physical illness, sorrow–these will make us saints, says Don Bosco.
Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this Holy Mass today, we are invited to own our being part of the body of Christ, with our Lord Jesus as our Head; to care for one another in our families, communities, and society. Today, being the 2nd day of our Novena in honor of St John Bosco, the Father and Teacher of Youth, we see in him one who gathers young people and connect them to Jesus, our Head. His life and mission was directed for this sole purpose: the salvation of souls especially of the young people and oneself. We ask his intercession that we truly become one body of Christ in the midst of a divided world today and always. Amen.
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