Now You Are the Body of Christ
For the body does not consist of one member but of many…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 1:14, 26-27
There are numerous metaphors that the Scriptures use to describe our new identity, both individually and corporately. One of the most perplexing and at the same time significant metaphors is St. Paul’s description of the collection of believers being “the Body of Christ.” What is particularly difficult for Christians to wrap their minds around is what it means to be the Body of Christ as we are thrust deeper into Holy Week. The idea of being our Lord’s Body has great appeal in His resurrected and especially glorified body. However, few ponder what it means to be the Body of Christ as we hear of His scourging and being pierced by the thorns and nails. We have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, suffering and exaltation, agony and glory. St. Paul describes for us that being part of the Body of Christ means suffering with those who are bearing their own crosses and enduring their own pain. Sickness, loneliness, grief, and addiction are just some of the sorrows that members of this Body are facing. St. Paul’s words remind us that those members of the Body do not suffer alone, but we are called to show them how indispensable they are to the rest of the Body. Rather than turning away from their suffering, as those made one in Christ, we suffer with them.
The great comfort is that in spite of the suffering that we endure because of our sin, Christ bears it all in His Body on the cross. The perfect Son was numbered with sinners in His baptism and in His death so that we might be included with Him in His resurrection. All of the members of the Body of Christ are able therefore to rejoice that Christ has conquered sin and death for us as we look forward to our own resurrection on the last day. For when we bodily rise from the dead, our bodies will be made to be like His glorious Body and all of the marks of sin and suffering will be gone. The grieving widow will one day grieve no more. The struggling addict will find fulfillment in Christ’s presence. The sick and the sad, the lost and the lonely, the weak and the weary will all be made whole.
It is with such hope and confidence of the resurrection that allows us to support the other members of the Body of Christ in the midst of our suffering. In a world that focuses only on what affects us individually, the Body of Christ cares for all of the members, especially the weak and lowly. By the Holy Spirit’s work, may we truly be one Body in Christ, in suffering and in rejoicing, as we look forward to the day when we be like Christ’s glorious Body.
Prayer – Almighty God, You have knit Your chosen people together into one communion in the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Grant us the strength to suffer when one member of the Body suffers and to rejoice when one member rejoices as we look forward to the resurrection on the last day; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan