The Lord and Lover of Souls Leaves No One Behind
Our God is a generous lover. His merciful love extends to all he has created, including Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, the epitome of the most despicable enemy of God’s chosen people, an ally with their Roman oppressor. Yet, God loves Zacchaeus even more, so much that he seeks him out and invites himself to his house: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house” (LK 19: 5).
God is intensely interested in our salvation despite our inclinations to recede from his inviting reach. As Ezekiel says, the Sovereign Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wants them to turn away from their sin and live (33:11). Zacchaeus seeks to see who Jesus is, perhaps out of curiosity but probably more out of genuine hunger for what is lacking in his life-the Divine love. But the mission of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world is to reach out to save that which is lost. Zacchaeus combats with the hostile crowd, but he overcomes them by resolutely responding to the urges of grace and Jesus rewards his response to grace by bringing salvation to his house (Lk 19:9). Zacchaeus acts right and in response to grace, he makes restitution and gives half of his wealth to the poor.
Jesus’s extravagant merciful love as seen in his salvation of sinful Zacchaeus fills us with hope of redemption. If Zacchaeus can gain redemption, so can we. As St. Ambrose writes of our Lord and Lover of souls, “He chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?” God is a lover of souls (Wisdom 11:26) and good to all his creatures (Psalm 145:9), he will leave no one behind because he loves all and wants all saved.
We don’t have to climb a sycamore tree to see Jesus and benefit from his generous love, he makes himself readily available to us in His Eucharistic presence in the tabernacle and in the confines of the confessional. Will you seek him out in those sacred places today, getting ahead of crowd of obstructions-pride, procrastination, fear, lack of faith, and so forth, and just abandon yourself to his healing grace? Don’t hold back from the one who overlooks our sin that we may repent; his love leaves no one behind.
In Christ’s Mercy,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP
P.S. November is a month specifically dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, don’t forget to offer prayers for family members and loved ones who have slept in the Lord.