Jesus in Disguise ...
Taken on its own, 1 Corinthians 12:15, seems like an odd verse: “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
But taken in context with earlier and later versus in the chapter this verse makes perfect sense. It also provides comfort, as well as caution.
For it is in chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians that St. Paul uses the human body as a metaphor to illustrate that every person has a gift that is important to others.
It is in this chapter that we are told that there are a “variety of gifts” for the “common good” and that we are all of “one body” made up of “many members”.
We are also informed that while we may feel less important than others from time to time — ie, “because I am not a hand, I do not belong ” – we are not less important.
Hands might be able to touch and hold, or write and even sign; but they would never be able to go anywhere without feet. Therefore hands cannot say to feet, “I have no need of you.”
St. Paul also reminds us that “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” and most importantly “God has arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.”
So, with all of this in mind, we teach our St. Francis students they are each gifted in a unique way, and that their gift is an important part of God’s particular design.
They learn that they are who God made them to be; that they offer value to others; and that their service to others is part of God’s plan. They also learn how comforting knowing these things is.
Yet, in addition, we teach them that in this comfort there is caution.
The caution is this: the comfort they find in Chapter 12 applies equally to others and, for this reason, it is essential to see others as God sees them – a uniquely gifted and indispensable part of His design.
And, our students learn to do this – especially for those who seem to have nothing to offer at all – by trying to view others as Mother Teresa once suggested, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”