“We, though many, are one Body in Christ…since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them…” (Romans 12:5-6) Immediately upon reading these words the hymn, “We Are Many Parts” began singing in my mind… “May the Spirit of love make us one indeed, one the love that we share, one our hope in despair, one the cross that we bear.”
Oneness, one of heart, mind, body, and soul that is the life of a Christian. We became part of the Body of Christ at our Baptism. We left behind our old life and put on Christ. But this fallen world constantly promotes individualism not oneness. The world says, it’s all about you. What you want. What you need. What makes you feel good. These are the words of the ruler of this fallen world, not God.
As St. Paul and our gospel writer St. Luke remind us today, only when the Body of Christ works in harmony can we bring forth the Kingdom on God here on earth. Our son just finished a remarkable project. He and his band wrote, recorded, and filmed the writing of their debut album in just 3 days. They wrote 11 songs, performed, and recorded them. Each member of the band gave themselves completely to this project, heart, and soul.
This group of seven talented young men shared their unique gifts unselfishly to create a harmony of sounds that lifts the listener’s heart to a higher place. Individually the drum sets a moving rhythm; the keyboard a smooth chord; the bass a strong floor; the guitar lively lines; the trumpet sweet inviting notes; the sax buttery runs; the singer the message and soul to sway hearts. Any one of these sounds, while appealing, on their own fall flat. However, all 7 together sharing their God given talents causes you to stop in your tracks. The sound emotes deep feeling, passion, and provides an encounter with God.
As St. Paul highlights in our reading, we can create harmony in life only if the many parts work together. If we are gifted with hospitality, entertain; with teaching, teach; with deep faith and understanding, proclaim; with resources, give generously; with a heart for service; serve. Only when each of us is constantly using the gifts we have been given can we transform the world around us. And all our efforts must be done with love, zeal, rejoicing, cheerfulness, blessing those who curse us, holding fast to what is good.
As our gospel tells us when we accept the invitation to the Great Banquet, we are fortified as an active member of the Body of Christ. For God is preparing a grand, messianic banquet to celebrate the salvation of all His children. Jesus gives us the bread of the kingdom first in the Eucharist and ultimately in the communion we will enjoy with Him in Heaven. Discipleship is a serious commitment. It is not about testing the waters or holding ourselves back from God. A complete surrender to Christ is necessary to complete the tasks of Christian living.
So, what part of the song of life do I possess? Am I contributing to the harmonious blend all around me? The time is now to accept God’s invitation with zeal to bring forth His Kingdom on earth.