The Church – The Body of Christ

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Valentine’s Day
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Thanks to Clint Berge who shared with me a YouTube talk, my thoughts this last month has moved to “What If’s?” The talk’s objective was to plant in our minds that maybe things won’t ever get back to “normal,” followed by “maybe that’s good!” I think God is trying to teach us the importance of thinking new for His Church. Coming up with new ideas to foster the Kingdom of God through our vocation to love and serve others which will gain us the keys to Heaven.

Our scripture readings this weekend come during the Church’s calendar of “Ordinary Time.” Remember Scripture is divinely-inspired, meaning God is the primary author. Our readings talk about suffering people who were experiencing the disease of leprosy over two thousand years ago. This disease literally ate up their skin and was highly contagious so that these people were ostracized from family and friends for their lifetime. It was thought that God was punishing them for either their sins or the sins of their family, so their only way out was if a priest certified that they had been made clean.

Sounds kind of familiar and “ordinary” doesn’t it? In our gospel, Jesus cures a person who begs him for help which he receives, which allows him to rejoin family and friends and continue on with his life after a priest certifies he has been made clean. So two thousand years later, here we are praying to God for relief from another disease which is dramatically changing the way we are used to. Bottom line is that God is constantly trying to have us focus and redirect our lives not to the present but rather to the future. God is trying to teach us that we are in boot camp with our lives here on earth to prepare us for our next life where the Body of Christ will come together without the crosses of life, as our reward for having lived through and learned from boot camp. Our scriptures tell us that history will always repeat itself here on earth. Where one disease is cured another will be born but we are to adjust and continue on with our training. Although boot camp is tough it also will gives us great pleasure and happiness when tasks are accomplished.

A few weeks ago, some friends of mine were sharing an experience that had occurred in their life. While shopping for groceries they noticed a man picking up and then returning food several time from the shelves. They asked him what was wrong and he confessed he only had so much money left and he was trying to decide what to buy. My friends offered to buy them for him but he refused. But they did not give up and they picked up the items he had looked at, paid for them and caught him on his way out with their gift of love. The man broke down but not without blessing them for their good deed. I never witnessed two happier people then those friends who knew that they were representing the Body of Christ in helping another get through a tough time. They were fulfilling their Christian vocation to love as Jesus has loved us. I ask you to ask yourself: “What if I did something like this when I spotted someone having a bad day? How would this make me feel knowing Jesus is smiling at me? How might this simple act of kindness change the world?

I will end with another revelation I received about the same time which I ask you to reflect upon. When we receive Holy Communion the minister begins by saying to the person receiving: “The Body of Christ.” I just realized that these words carry a two-fold meaning. First it is announcing that we are being fed divine food to give us strength for the tasks at hand. The second is that Jesus, through the minister of Communion, is directing and identifying us as being a part of His divine body for all the world to see in good times and in bad. When someone is being the body of Christ to us during a bad or good time remember to bless and thank them for being there for us and then go out and be the “Body of Christ” for another. The reward: happiness in this life and a key to Heaven to get us into the next. So get your boots on for Christ.

After I had just written this homily, I went to complete my morning prayers and one of them from the Book of Tobit said this:

Do to no one what you yourself dislike. Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Seek counsel from every wise man. At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans.” (Tobit 4:15a, 16a, 18a, 19)

I ask you, isn’t that a coincidence? Guess you know who helped me write this homily.

Have a happy and blessed Valentine’s Day and “What if” you gave to Jesus for this Valentine’s Day, a pledge saying you will be happy to put on the boots of Christ and carry out the wisdom words proclaimed above from God’s Book of Tobit? I am sure that would make His Day a very special day!

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