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Angelus October 30, Pope Francis reflection and prayer

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As always, on the occasion of the Sunday Angelus prayer, also on October 30, Pope Francis brings out his reflection on today’s Gospel. In this case, the Pontiff dwells on the gaze of Jesus who represents the motor of faith.

The Lord never looks down, but like the tax collector Zacchaeus, he looks down to restore dignity. This is the meaning contained in the Gospel of October 30, from which Pope Francis draws his reflection which precedes the prayer of the Angelus.

Angelus Pope Francis@Ansa credits

God never looks down on us and as the Pontiff reminds us “he bent down to wash our feet”. But above all the message contained in today’s Liturgy wants to underline how the Lord never goes back on the sins that have characterized the life of each one, but is rather ready to raise them, always.

Reflection before the Angelus

The Gospel of the liturgy of this 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time recounts the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus, chief tax collector of the city of Jericho. This man, who had defrauded several people in the past, is eager to see Jesus, but being too small, he climbs a tree to see him. The following image, as Pope Francis explains, contains the whole meaning of faith. The Lord, in fact, stops under Zacchaeus, looks at him from below and tells him that on that day he will eat at home. The Pontiff therefore emphasizes that God never looks from above, even if we are the protagonists of a past full of errors and sins. He gazes on “the lost with compassion” and must be the gaze of Christians in the same way.

Pope Francis Angelus@Ansa credits

The gaze of the Church cannot be “a gaze from above, which judges, despises and excludes”. A look that often also turns to oneself, when: “we feel insufficient and we resign ourselves, and on the contrary we do not seek the encounter with Jesus who looks with infinite confidence at what we can become”. This is the subject of Pope Francis’ reflection in Saint Peter’s Square, before reciting the Angelus. As the Holy Father wishes to emphasize, today’s Gospel restores particular value to the gaze and brings out a double interpretation which nevertheless finds its point of conjunction in the history of salvation.

The history of salvation at a glance

As Luke writes, Zacchaeus was small in stature, but perhaps the evangelist also wishes to underline the inner baseness of this man who, by collecting taxes, defrauded people. That of Zacchaeus is always a look of shame, turned downwards; however, to see Jesus, he decides to climb a tree. “He still doesn’t know him, but he’s waiting for someone to free him from his condition, to get him out of the swamp where he is. It is fundamental – explains Pope Francis in his reflection before the Angelus – Zacchaeus teaches us that, in life, all is never lost. We can always make room for the desire to start over, to start again, to retrain”. And here the second gaze becomes decisive, that of Jesus: he, sent by the Father to seek the lost, looks at the sinner from below, from the foot of the tree. “It’s a very beautiful image”, comments the Pontiff.

Pizza San Pietro Angelus@Ansa credits

“This is the story of salvation: God did not look down on us to humiliate and judge us; on the contrary, he bent down to wash our feet, looking down on us and restoring our dignity. Thus, the intersection of looks between Zacchaeus and Jesus seems to sum up the whole history of salvation: humanity with its miseries seeks redemption, but above all God with mercy seeks his creature to save it”. And here, the Holy Father recalls again that God never looks to the past, but always has infinite confidence in the future, in what each one is always capable of becoming. And it happens every time you don’t feel up to the situations, life challenges, problems. “Jesus always looks at us with love: like Zacchaeus he comes to meet us, he calls us by name and, if we welcome him, he comes to us”. And asking Christians to always look with the gaze of Jesus, the Pope concludes: “Let us remember that it is permissible to look at a person from above only to help him to rise: nothing more”.

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