Body Imagery

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

The simile that St. Paul uses to describe the Body of Christ in terms of reference pertaining to the human body is, perhaps, one of the best known passages from the First Letter to the Corinthians. What is almost immediately recognizable is St. Paul's contention that members of the body who seem to have relatively important roles in the community should not somehow think themselves better than. What might not be immediately apparent is that St. Paul has just as strong a conviction that those members of the body who think themselves of lesser importance should not continue in this mistaken notion.

If one looks at the reasoning that St. Paul uses, it becomes apparent that he speaks to the less highly regarded parts of the body first. 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." (I Corinthians 12:15-16) As a person who has a hearing disability, I have heard many a person tell me that I am lucky because at least I still have my eyesight. While I am not positive, I have a feeling that the same kind of ill-conceived logic would govern one's opinion about whether the hands were more important than the feet. This kind of thinking was just as prevalent at St. Paul's time. St. Paul addresses these parts of the body and tells them in no uncertain terms that while some might deem them unimportant, everyone plays a vital function in the Body of Christ: ears as well as eyes, feet as well as hands. In other words, don't put yourself down if your role in the body is not as glamorous as another. You are still a part of the body. You are still valuable in God's eyes. You belong.

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