Our Inner Zacchaeus

At yesterday's Angelus in Saint Peter's Square, Pope Francis gave a particularly lovely reflection on the Gospel reading. (I have corrected the translation in a number of places.)

Let's look at Zacchaeus in the tree. His is a ridiculous gesture, but it is an act of salvation. And I say to you: if you have a weight on your conscience, if you are ashamed of so many things that you’ve done, stop for a moment, do not panic. Think about the fact that Someone is waiting for you because He has never stopped remembering you — and this Someone is your Father, it is God Who waits for you! Climb up, as did Zacchaeus, climb onto the tree of the desire of being forgiven. I will assure you that you will not be disappointed. Jesus is merciful and never grows tired of forgiving! Remember well, that’s the way Jesus is.

Brothers and sisters, let us allow Jesus to call us by name. In the depths of our heart, let us listen to His voice that says to us: "Today I must stay at your house," that is, in your heart, in your life. And let us welcome Him with joy. He can change us, can transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. He can liberate us from selfishness and make our lives a gift of love. Jesus can do it. Allow yourself to be gazed upon by Jesus!

The Italian text is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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