You and I are integral parts of the Body of Christ
A reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
by Rachel Wong
In January 2019, I found myself kneeling on a grassy field on a night heavy with Panamanian heat. Along with about 650,000 other Catholics, we adored the Blessed Sacrament. As I looked around me, I heard God speak in the depths of my heart: “You are enough.”
In an instant, He reminded me of some women in my life who, months before, I was jealous of. Up until this point of kneeling on the grass, I felt abandoned by the Lord. I took a break from school, unsure of what my future held beyond graduation. Meanwhile, all the women I knew from my community seemed to have it all together. They had concrete plans for their lives: what to do after they left school, the perfect boyfriend who inevitably would become their husband, or the religious community they wanted to set everything aside for.
I knew envy wasn’t a good colour on me. But I couldn’t help it: where these women thrived, I felt like a total fraud. Yet here was God reminding me that I was enough. From there, He prompted me to open my eyes and take in the incredible sight around me: hundreds of thousands of young people, all unique and different, but all united in the pursuit of God. Breaking open my heart, He instilled the desire to ensure that all women, regardless of background, race, ability, or profession, would see that through Christ Jesus, they are enough. This culminated in starting The Feminine Genius Podcast a few months later, fueled by the desire given to me by God that fateful night in Panama.
Being at World Youth Day really brought to life the image of the Body of Christ, which St. Paul talks about in our second reading. In a current cultural moment where there is so much division, St. Paul asks us to consider our dependency on one another and how God’s mission here on earth hinges on our willingness to cooperate.
Paul has no shortage of examples to illustrate this point: feet aren’t less important than hands. Ears aren’t more important than eyes. If we were a gigantic eye, how would we hear? If we were a gigantic ear, how would we smell? “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose” (1 Corinthians 12:18). Speaking on the intricacy of the human body, every single part – from our vital organs all the way to a single eyelash – has profound meaning.
The same is true of each of us within the Body of Christ: me, with my particular interests, past sufferings, racial background, and a thousand other qualifiers that make me a very specific part of Christ’s Body. Despite how random or inadequate I may feel one day, I am never rendered useless. Conversely, on those days when I may boast of my successes, I am not more important than another. It is yet another one of the great paradoxes of the Catholic faith: we are collective as we are individual; we “are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
We know that Jesus served as the head of the Body of Christ, called “…to bring good news to the poor, […] to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free” (Luke 4:18). We see throughout the Gospels how Jesus lived His life according to a greater plan of salvation. However, that one day in the synagogue was not an isolated event: some two thousand years later, we also are called to participate in salvation history as a part of Christ’s Body. While we may not literally recover sight for the blind or release the oppressed in our lifetime, we all retain the Spirit of the Lord within us. We ALL are called to use our gifts and talents to bring the good news to everyone we meet.
Not just the learned. Not just the super rich. Not just the clergy or religious. But you and I.
No matter how ordinary or ill-equipped you may feel, the Lord has a purpose for you. He’s called you into His sacred body because you matter. He could use any of the billions of people on this planet to carry out His plan, but He’s calling YOU specifically. This is the invitation for Catholics. Together, let’s build God’s kingdom here on earth: you, me, and the whole beautiful and intricate Body of Christ.
The readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, are
Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Rachel Wong is a writer and speaker living in Surrey, BC. She writes and speaks frequently on Catholic femininity, the intersection of faith and mental health, and her personal faith journey.
Rachel is also the host of The Feminine Genius Podcast, a podcast inspired by Pope St. John Paul II and his writings on women.
Learn more: https://rchlcwng.com