The recent resurgence of racial tension in the wake of the Charlottesville protest is cause for us to reflect once again on the dignity of each human person.
Human dignity is neither based on any law, nor any merit earned by a person, nor any benchmark of intelligence, nor any party or religious affiliation, nor any country of origin, nor any skin color. Human dignity is inherent in all people. It is a result of nothing other than God loving us into existence and designing us in His image and likeness. Every single person is a masterpiece of the Divine Artist. Every single person is a witness to the image of God in a unique and unrepeatable way. Thus, in every single person, God reveals Himself to us. In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, “We are the sum of our Father’s love for us, and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” It is hard for us to even fathom the heights and depths of a single person’s dignity!
Further, in Christ Jesus, we find our true unity. As St. Paul teaches us, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). In the Body of Christ, we are all are children of God and brothers and sisters to each other. God has united humanity again into one family through Jesus.
Any act of violence against a human person, be it abortion, racism, abuse, etc. are all grave offenses against a person’s infinite dignity, and an offense against God who loves that person more than we can ever know. Concerning racism, in particular, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says, “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Mt 5:9). As followers of Christ, let us continue to be salt and light in our community by being peacemakers and defenders of human dignity, wherever it is attacked. Let us also pray for the victims of racial discrimination, for the conversion of those who fuel racism, and for peaceful unity in our nation.