Don’t Tread on Me or This Little Piggy Went to Market

“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

John 17:20-21

            My brother John is a licensed massage therapist.  A good thing for me because I sometimes avail myself of his very competent hands!  Besides, John often imparts significant knowledge while he’s working on me.  A little over a month ago, for example, as he was giving me the once-over, he made this pronouncement, “A lot of people don’t realize, Bernard, that the body is like one long chain.  Everything is connected.”  “Is that so?” I asked in a half stupor of relaxation.  “How’s that?”  John then proceeded with this litany:

If you lose or injure your big toe, it throws your gait off.  This can cause stress on your knees, which will lead to one or both of your hips to rotate anteriorly.  This, in turn, will cause low back pain due to tightening of the QL (quadratus Lumborum) muscles.  This leads to a torque in your posture, causing your head to tilt.  This tilt can affect the jaw muscles, causing them to tighten up and leading to TMJ disorders.  TMJ disorders can make it difficult to eat and, in severe cases, difficult even to speak!

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “So the big toe is pretty important?” “That’s right,” John replied. “Many people don’t realize how important the big toe is for balance.” I had no idea.

           Jesus prays that all His disciples be one, even as He and the Father are one.  Why?  Because the Church, the Body of Christ, is like one long chain.  Everything is connected.  If one member is lost or injured, we all suffer.  That’s precisely what Saint Paul says in his First Letter to the Corinthians:

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.[1]

            The bottom line is this:  We Christians ought to look out for one another, because we belong to each other and need each other.  We are all stamped, as it were, with the DNA of Jesus.  In his famous essay, “The Weight of Glory,” British apologist C.S. Lewis declares:

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.   If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat – the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Thus if I can’t look my fellow believer in the eye and shake hands with him, at the very least, I can regard him as I would my big toe, that is, as someone very essential.  I ought not to let anyone tread on him.

[1] 1 Corinthians 12:22-26.