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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Man's Inherent Dignity

So if a brother or sister is naked and daily in need of food, and if anyone of you were to say to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and nourished,” and yet not give them the things that are necessary for the body, of what benefit is this? 
James 2:14-15

St James tells us our faith must go beyond just words. We cannot say to someone who is naked and in need of food to “Go in peace, keep warm and nourished” because faith without actions is dead. While we should literally, clothe the naked, this command goes beyond just providing clothing, food and shelter. It is to provide dignity to the human person.

The basis for doing all these acts of mercy is the value God gives to every human being. We are all created in the image of God and if someone is in need, poverty does not mirror the will of God for that person. We need to clothe people so they can find dignity in their being. A person’s dignity is not based on what a person has done, nor on how useful he is. A person’s dignity is given by God and it is inherent within a person just because God created him.
How do we know that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity? The answer is why we celebrate Christmas. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will never perish but have eternal life.” God sees every human being as precious and worth saving. This is why Jesus took on flesh so he can prove he will go through anything so we can be saved. We are precious in his eyes no matter what our situation is right now. We may feel distressed or sorrowful or anxious, but the fact is we are worth more than what is happening to us now. We are beyond what we know. We are beyond what we have accomplished. We are far more than what we possess. God can save us from whatever situation we are in.
Ironically, the only way to do this is to come before God in our nakedness. We come before God, in our humility, in our nothingness. When we come before God in our nakedness, God will clothe us in glory.
Christmas is not only about a child who was born in Bethlehem. Christmas is about the dignity of man, how God loves man, that he sends his Son to become one like us so he can save us.

We are children of God and God cares. We are worth saving and Jesus became man to prove this. Only God saves. When we come in our nakedness, God clothes us so we can reflect his glory. Similarly, when we see someone naked, we clothe them so that they in turn can reflect God’s glory.

Lord, let me see the dignity you have given every human person. Give me the courage to work so they can mirror your glory.

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