I went home to Southern Mississippi for two and a half weeks for my Christmas break between semesters. While I was home, the weather was beautiful. 70 degrees and sunny most days. To take advantage of this, knowing I was coming back to Cleveland to the snow and cold, I went on long walks every morning. I would go three or four miles every day to bask in the sun and breeze. I racked up a total of 33 miles in my time at home. I am so grateful for my body, each and every part, that allowed me to accomplish that.
In the second reading, Saint Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are all part of the same body of Christ. When I read this, I think of the many different parts that make up the body, the heart, the eyes, the feet, the skin, the lungs, etc. They all work differently in order to keep us alive every day. We are lucky enough to breathe without even thinking about it, and our heart keeps going without us telling it to. Our legs (bones, muscles, and joints) are able to bring us places; they were able to sustain me through my long walks. Every part of our body has a different way of working, for a common goal to keep us alive and well. Just like that, we all have different talents and gifts that we use to work towards the common goal of living a life of love, passion, justice, and faith. How can we be more conscious of every moving part of our body and be more grateful for each cell?
Something that stood out to me was:
“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.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)
In this time, where everyone has such diverse identities and ways of expressing their faith, in whatever that looks like, I think this is something SO important to remember. Every person on this Earth is part of the same Earth. We are all on this planet sharing space and walking alongside each other on our individual journeys. While our journeys are individual, each a cell or part in the body, we are essential to the success of the body. One part is not more important than the other. So many of our brothers and sisters of different faiths are constantly in fear that they will receive hate because of their beliefs. So many of our brothers and sisters of color are constantly in fear that they will receive hate because of their skin color. These parts of our body (and many others) are hurting because they are seen as less valuable, and they need healing. How can we help our body heal?
Shelby Smyth is a graduate of Spring Hill College (2019), where she studied psychology with a minor in theology. In her undergraduate studies, she became involved in social justice and advocacy through the push from faculty and staff at Spring Hill, which led her to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Shortly after graduation, she served a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Syracuse, New York with the Northside CYO, making relationships with refugee families and providing academic support and afterschool programming. Currently, she is a resident minister and graduate assistant for John Carroll University Campus Ministry.