In the first reading, the author of the book of Wisdom,
who is unknown to us, says the “whole universe” is like a grain –
like a kernel of corn or wheat – to God.
Keep that image in mind. A kernel of corn.
Our earth is immensely huge to us.
Yet in our solar system, earth is but a tiny grain.
In the Milky Way Galaxy, our sun is one of maybe 100 billion stars.
A galaxy sounds pretty huge, right?
But our immense galaxy is just one grain –
in a larger grouping of galaxies, called the “Virgo Supercluster.”
That sounds pretty big, too.
Except that there are ten million such “superclusters”
that make up the whole universe.
At least, that’s our latest estimate. It’s all awfully immense.
And all that is a kernel of corn in God’s hand.
Our mind staggers to contemplate such immensity;
Making us realize our own incredible smallness.
So tiny, that unless God cares about us, we disappear.
Remember that God doesn’t just consider us a curiosity –
like an ant farm – or even an object of special affection, like a pet.
God so loved the world – God so loved you and me –
that he became one of us.
And then came to us. And then died for us. For you. For me.
Now look at Zacchaeus in the Gospel.
This is someone who cast his lot with the hated Romans.
A traitor, a collaborator.
His neighbors saw his great wealth; they knew where it came from.
This oppressor’s tool wasn’t just any kernel of wheat,
but a spoiled, rotten grain of wheat.
Why not just throw it away?
There is no human being so small, so weak, so rebellious, so twisted,
that God does not love intensely, and seek to redeem.
That is why you and I as Christians, must never tire of saying,
That whether someone has committed a terrible crime,
Or is disabled, or weakened by illness or age,
Or has squandered his chances with addiction,
Or is a tiny, unwanted resident of her mother’s womb,
No human being is without infinite worth – greater than all galaxies –
because God created us – every one of us – for eternity.
You and I must witness this, in word and deed.
Remember human dignity when you vote in a few days.
God didn’t just look down at Zacchaeus and smile and wave.
Jesus sought him out: I want to come to your house today.
I realize it’s shocking and intimidating to consider but:
Who is a Zacchaeus in your life that you could seek out?