At family gatherings, children often have to sit at the 'kids' table. Airplanes have a 'first class,' and a section for the rest of humanity. Every banquet has its guest of 'honor,' and its servants. Every society has its 'powers' that be, and its outcasts. Nothing has ever changed. Nothing ever will...unless we see the potential goodness in the tax collector and the sinner, just as Jesus saw it in the 'son of Abraham' named Zacchaeus.
For Jesus is the power to change for the good. And no one, not even the tax collector nor the sinner, is outside the boundaries of Mercy's transformative power in faith and hope.
"Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!" Wisdom 11:22--12:2
Before we can see the good in all humanity we must first see the Goodness of God. Creation attests to His Almighty Power, while our finite limitations attest to our Life as a gift of Love given without necessity. God never needed us! He Created us purely out of Love. Likewise, while we were still sinners His Only Beloved Son died for us in such a sorrowful, yet magnanimous, Way.
No one is too big for gratitude. No one is too 'little' for salvation.
"The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
Next, in our endeavor to see God's Image in everyone, we must remind ourselves of our frequent falls in sin, and the reality of One Savior-- not a product of society, nor a creation of the human mind and will, but the Transcendent, Sovereign God, Emmanuel--God with us! How can we 'belittle' our brother and sister when we are just as small in the face of our sinfulness...and in God's Solitary Holiness?
"...the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him..." 2 Thessalonians 1:11--2:2
Saints glorify God in the image of Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ glorifies the saint as they follow him in suffering and obedience. Saints are formed in the crucible of suffering. There are no judgmental saints, no 'holier than thou' saints in heaven. For saints are well aware of the danger of sin, and the greater power of God's Mercy, found in repentance. No sinner is too little for a saints prayer, nor for their charity. No saint is too big to welcome their 'enemy' into Love.
"Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:1-10
As the people bitched and moaned over the fact that Jesus reached out to a 'little' sinner, Zacchaeus was overcome with the bigness of God's Mercy and repented of his sin, promising to make amends in charity. Do we still believe that Jesus has this transformative power for the world? Do we avail ourselves of this power through repentance, confession, Eucharist, prayer, mortification, and charity? Jesus never rode a rich steed, nor did he have a caravan of slaves and riches. He lived a simple life seeking His Father's Will. Thus, through the Father did His Power flow. If we fail to avail ourselves of Jesus' power in the sacramental and prayer life of His Church, how can we expect to change the world for the good?
Little in humility, large in desire, we must avail ourselves of the transformative power of Christ. God's Creation impatiently groans in anticipation. The Big Love of Jesus desires, through us, to elevate the littleness of the world to heaven.
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