Seeing Beyond

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31A

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.

Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the Church
to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (3) We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
For he is good, the LORD,
whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Gospel: Luke 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.



I am writing in the midst of a Midwest road trip: eighteen hours of car travel through southwest Minnesota and the achingly beautiful Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota.

With me are four companions—good and holy young adults who, for the most part, are acquaintances that I am still getting to know. Together we are learning to balance on the delicate ropes of community: sleeping all cozy-like in our tents; sharing in the communal chores of camp set-up and take-down; offering our humble skills in the realm of rustic meal prep (cue the mud, wind, and rain); learning to be sensitive to whether or not our fellow companions are morning people; and so on. Added to the above challenges is perhaps the most important: simply being present to the reality that God brought these representatives of the Body of Christ on this camping trip, for a reason.

Trips like these aren’t always easy for my introverted, INFJ, mostly melancholic self. I know I am part of a much larger, beautiful Body of Christ, but sometimes I just want to climb up somewhere quiet in these hills and just not engage with the rest of the Body. Does this ever happen to you in your home, or church, or workplace?

To a certain point that desire to “get away” seems well and good. Jesus sought solitude. We need it, too. Like right now, as I sit writing this reflection, on the floor of a quiet church foyer, watching a most magnificent hailstorm in the heart of South Dakota.

But when the desire for solitude and quiet is overshadowed by a selfish desire to deny the goodness and frailty of my relationships in the Body of Christ, I’ve lost out. Too focused on my own particular needs, I’m blind to the unique gifts, challenges, and needs of those around me. In the process, my family, friends, and co-workers lose out, too.

Let's seek to engage, sift out, and uncover others' gifts for all the world to see. Click To Tweet

May we see with greatest clarity today, the unique and unrepeatable nature of those who are in our lives. May we acknowledge that these members of the Body of Christ are most assuredly in our lives for a particular reason. May we seek to engage, sift out, and uncover their gifts for all the world to see.

Karen Schultz is a Birth Doula who hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. You can find out more about her here.

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