(Vatican Radio) In his reflection ahead of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel, which told the story of Jesus meeting, and dining with, Zacchaeus, a publican. Because he was a public sinner, and because of his small stature, Zacchaeus had to climb a tree in order to see Jesus when He came to Jericho. When the Lord arrived, He called out, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
“We can imagine the amazement of Zacchaeus!” Pope Francis said. Jesus’ mission of salvation, he said, includes all humanity, and even extends to Zacchaeus, “a dishonest man, despised by all.” But the gaze of Jesus, the Pope said, “goes beyond sins and prejudices. He sees the person with the eyes of God, which does not stop at past evil, but sees the good future.”
The Holy Father said that, although we sometimes seek to correct or convert sinners by rebuking or reproaching them, Jesus shows us another way: helping someone who has made mistakes to see their true worth, “the worth God continues to see despite everything, despite their mistakes.” This approach, he said, sometimes leads to a positive surprise, it can help the person to grow and change.
Pope Francis concluded his reflection with the prayer: “May the Virgin Mary help us to see the good that is in the people we encounter each day, so that all might be encouraged to bring out the image of God impressed on their hearts.”
Following the Angelus, and after his greetings to various pilgrim groups, Pope Francis asked for prayers for his upcoming voyage to Sweden on the occasion of the commemoration of the Protestant Reformation: “I ask all of you to pray that this voyage might be a new stage in the journey of fraternity toward full communion.”
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