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  • Writer's pictureEllen Romer Niemiec

Precious Bodies

Being sprinkled with blood sounds gross. Maybe I am the child of doctors, but it weirds me out. It’s not seen as sanctifying but sometimes as dangerous. Blood is life giving to us but can also be a source of death and disease. It can be a difficult idea to warp my mind around.

But blood is what gives us oxygen. What pulses through our veins, keeping our heart pumping. It’s in every corner of us. And that is how intimately Jesus is offering himself to us. Today we are remembering in a special way how deeply Jesus wants to share with us his precious body and blood with us.

If I struggle to see blood as sanctifying, I also struggle sometimes to see my body (and other bodies) as precious. It is easy enough for me to see my babies and their sweet little bodies, count their toes and revel in their hugs and sloppy baby kisses. It’s also easy for others to see my children as precious, with their pale skin and light hair.

How many people do not receive that kind of love?

Do we truly see disabled bodies as precious? Do we see black and brown bodies as precious? Do we see bodies of all sizes as precious? How many people struggle to believe that their own body is precious and made in God’s image?

Every time Mass is celebrated, every day around the world, we receive again and again the infinitely loving self-gift of Jesus. We are reminded and given the model of love toward one another. We are to be His hands and feet in the world to ensure every body and soul knows they are precious too. Are we genuinely concerned with making sure everyone knows they are precious and loved? Are we more concerned with whether or not what we say is offensive, racist, sexist, ableist? Can we follow the model set for us by the Eucharist - to pour out our love for all those created in God’s image, that they may know their body - however it is made and shaped - is truly holy?

There are many steps to be made toward those who have been made to suffer injustices for a multitude of reasons. But we as the Church and as the Body of Christ have to also decide that the radical example of love and self-gift celebrated in the Eucharist each week be shared with everyone in the Body of Christ, but most especially those who are so often not seen as precious.

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