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Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary

Bella Santorum
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker
are all the more necessary,
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable
we surround with greater honor,
and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.
But God has so constructed the body
as to give greater honor to a part that is without it,
so that there may be no division in the body,
but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it;
if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Last week, I had to deal with an issue regarding two of my kids and a person in authority (APIA) in our parish. Now, both these kids have what we'd politely call "issues": major depression, bipolar, cognitive impairments.  APIA seems to view them as somehow "less than", disrespectful, unworthy. APIA told one of these kids to leave the church during Mass because of APIA's perceptions of disrespect.

Yesterday, at Mass, a family brought in a person in a wheelchair. I couldn't tell you how old this person was - older teen - maybe young adult? - but could tell this person was severely disabled. Non-verbal, but could make noise. And this person did make noise during Mass - a rather loud, occasional, squeal of sorts. A bit distracting but nothing horrid.

Every year, our church choir (of which I am a part) takes part in an ecumenical Thanksgiving prayer service - sort of a "hymn sing" that most Protestants are familiar with. In our small town, it's sort of a big deal and we always have a full house. I remember one church's choir having a young woman with Down's Syndrome in the choir. She was not just "there", but lovingly, wholly part of this ensemble. That impressed me about that church.

Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary.

Why are the weak parts necessary? Because they remind us to stop and pause. To think and engage. To reach out and act. To be compassionate and thoughtful. To remember that Christ is there in the squealing of the disabled, the mumblings of the elderly, the lurching walk of the palsied, the hunched-over posture of the depressed. Those folks are not after-thoughts in our parish life. They are "all the more necessary" for us to be whole. Their weakness - in that crazy, mixed-up, backwards way that God has - makes us strong. To deny, ignore or shame them is to deny, ignore and shame Christ.

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