Looking at today’s second reading, I interpreted the theme to be unity. Unity is defined as the state of being united or joined as a whole. First, we listen to Paul tell the Corinthians that all are baptized in the one body of Christ. He explains that every member of a body is important because it makes up the whole. Next he writes about the unity of the gifts we are given to serve the body of Christ.
At the start of the reading, he explains that there are no single part of the body that is more important than another. Another definition I found is: “unity teaches that each person is a unique expression of God, that each person is sacred, and each person is worthy”. This is where he parallels a community to the body. Telling us that every single member of our community is important and to be cherished, as each member serves a purpose. None should be despised, no one can replace the other. He writes: “God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another”. Thus, we are all on the same level and should all enjoy the same dignity. It’s understood that if we show respect, love and dignity to the poorest, the weak and the disenfranchised, we keep the hierarchy.
Towards the end, he goes on to talk about the individual functions of the body of Christ. He lists the gifts that God has appointed: Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, deeds of power, gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. These gifts are diverse, the ministries are different, but all have the same Spirit, the same God working through them. Their functions differ, but they’re all important. Their unity isn’t found in the gifts exercised, but simply in the one God whom distributes the variety of these gifts. It is important that we understand that spiritual gifts are not given to us as a badge of righteousness or spirituality. They are a gift given in spite of ourselves, to fulfill God’s own purposes, not to enhance our spiritual portfolio. He writes this to show us that the gift of the Spirit doesn’t, or shouldn’t, lead to competition or rivalry but simply, to unity.
God has arranged his body, the Church, so that each part can be considered important and well taken care-of. Whether these parts are the gifts given to the members of the church community, or the parts referring to our poor, weak and disenfranchised people, God wants us united and to know that each very different person and gift goes into making a healthy, capable, well-rounded body.