Father Charles Ravert

Pax et Bonum+Paz y Todo lo Bueno!

Every person has dignity even if they seem like they’ve given that dignity up or have had it stripped away. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of our dignity. But even he, it seemed, had his dignity stripped away when he was hung, naked on the cross. His divine dignity was hidden at the very moment of his birth at Bethlehem in a manger. But no one could truly strip him of his dignity. Neither can we ever truly lay down our dignity as sons and daughters made in the image and likeness of God.

The dignity we have does not come from our status, our beauty, our wealth, education, success, number of followers on social media, no. Our dignity is a free gift of love given us by God at the moment of conception. It comes from God who breathes life into us in his own image. The devil tempts us to misuse the gift of our dignity and perverts it into the sins of Pride, Vanity and Greed. As those sins increase in us and in the culture of our society the dignity of others is trampled on.

Some other sins and failings seem to take away human dignity and leave them in the gutter. They’re rights or even their very lives are thrown away as nothing. The unborn, addicts, immigrants, the poor and other marginalized people are often treated as subhuman by the world and, sadly, even by some people of faith. However, their dignity, though hidden beneath their circumstances, is still given to them by God.

As disciples of Christ we are called to treat others with compassion to help them reclaim the truth of their dignity.

As we begin this Advent season, reflecting on the humility of the Child Jesus born poor, born an immigrant, born unknown to the world, we must also reflect on Jesus alive in the hearts of our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our society is corrupted by Pride, overwhelmed by Vanity and infected with Greed. But we are supposed to stand apart from the crowd.

If we are Christians we must not run from our neighborhoods, if we are Christians we must not forget the poor, if we are Christians we must not ignore the addict, if we are Christians we must not be deaf to the plight of the immigrant, if we are Christians we must not sacrifice unborn babies on the altar of “My Body, My Choice!”

If we are Christians we must stand apart from the world, stand with our God-given dignity, stand with our neighbors and truly love one another as Christ has loved us.

Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.