Sometimes people say to me, ‘Oh, I am not religious, but I am a spiritual person.’ I think they think they are making a good impression. Sorry, it grates. I feel like saying, ‘What have you got against the body.’ Because if there is one thing, Christianity takes seriously, it is the body. In Jesus, God took on our flesh. In that body, he revealed God’s love. When Jesus says we will be judged, it will not be on spiritual thoughts or feelings of calm but on very practical things done in the body: feeding the hungry, visiting people (think ringing the aunt who is lonely in time of Covid), welcoming the stranger (think refugees). Practical, embodied love.
This week the Church celebrates a celebration of the body: The Feast of the Assumption. We believe that Mary, Jesus’ mother is in heaven, body and soul. How this is so, we have no idea but we affirm that she who bore Jesus physically, cared for him with all the myriad needs a child has been united with him in a glorious body.
And in this she is a sign of our future. We may be separated from our decaying bodies at death but we will be reunited with them when they are transformed. Our bodies are precious, not because they look good or conform to some fashionable norm but because they have been created by God, and in them we can show love and, especially God’s love - as Mary did when she was alive on this earth: practical, down to earth love, shown firstly to her family and then to the early Church.
Loving God, I thank you for the wonder of my being. May I always appreciate it. May I be like Mary in showing practical down-to-earth love to my family, friends and community and may we all be united one day in glory in heaven. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb