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God always ready to welcome sinners, Pope tells Sunday audience

Catholic World News - November 04, 2013

At his Angelus audience on Sunday, November 4, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading, and the character of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

Zacchaeus was viewed by his neighbors as “a lost sheep, despised, an ‘excommunicate,’” the Pope remarked, because he collected taxes for the Roman empire. But he captured the attention of Jesus by climbing a tree to have a glimpse of Him. “His was a ridiculous gesture,” the Pope observed, “but it is an act of salvation.”

By calling out to Zacchaeus, and choosing to eat dinner with him, Jesus taught an important lesson, the Pope said: “There is no profession or social condition, no sin or crime of any type that may cancel from the memory or the heart of God even one of His children.”

Pope Francis used that example to make his own appeal to the audience: “If you have a burden on your conscience,” he said, “do not be afraid. This that someone is waiting for you, because He has never forgotten you; and that someone is your Father, God, who awaits you!”

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