Monday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (NKJV)
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 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 body were 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 gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
St. Paul uses the metaphor of a human body to describe the body of Christ, which is the Church. It may seem silly that Paul describes feet wanting to be hands and ears wanting to be eyes, but this picture of our human nature is quite accurate. The sinful flesh does not want there to be any distinctions within the Church. The flesh claims to want equality among all the members of the Church when in reality it wants interchangeability. The flesh wants there to be no distinction between parts so that all can have a part or a function of the Holy Ministry. The flesh argues that without everyone being a leader of some sort, they have no real part in the Church. This sort of interchangeability will only result in discord and disorder within the body of Christ, just as it would in a human body.
The Church runs contrary to the desire of the flesh, but it does run like a properly functioning human body. Not all are pastors. Not all are teachers. By virtue of our baptism, all are priests, able to offer the sacrifices of praise to our God. Not all are called to be Pastors. All are kings, but not everyone is called to rule over the household of God. We are not to strive for the office and position of another. Instead, we are to seek the “more excellent way” St. Paul mentions at the end of the chapter, which is love for neighbor that involves using our vocations to serve others as members of the same body.
Lord God, curb our sinful flesh’s covetousness for the things given to others. Forgive us so that we might daily serve our neighbor in love born from true faith in You. Amen.