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God overcomes sin with love, Pope says in reflection on Zacchaeus

October 31, 2016

During his October 30 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s mercy to Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:1-10), in whom people saw “a villain who has enriched himself on the skin of his neighbor.”

“If Jesus had said, ‘Come down, exploiter, betrayer of the people! Come to speak with me to settle the accounts!’ no doubt the people would have applauded,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Jesus’ gaze goes beyond sins and prejudices; He sees a person with the eyes of God, who does not stop at past evil, but perceives the future good.”

“Sometimes we seek to correct and convert a sinner by reprimanding him, reproaching him his mistakes and his unjust behavior,” the Pope continued. “Jesus’ attitude with Zacchaeus shows us another way: that of showing one in error his value, that value that God continues to see despite everything, despite all his mistakes.”

The Pope added:

This can cause a positive surprise, which makes the heart tender and drives the person to bring out the goodness he has in himself. It is about giving individuals confidence, which makes them grow and change. God behaves this way with all of us: He is not blocked by our sin, but overcomes it with love and makes us feel nostalgia for the good …

May the Virgin Mary help us to see the good there is in the persons we meet every day, so that all are encouraged to have emerge the image of God imprinted in their heart. And so we are able to rejoice over the surprises of the mercy of God! Our God, who is the God of surprises!

 
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