Love for Everyone and Every Thing

In this week’s reading from Wisdom (11:22-12:2) we hear many wonderful things about God. I especially like this line describing God: “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. In today’s, language we might say, “it’s all good!”

John Welshons has written extensively on many subjects including the subjects of grieving and death. On the topic of anger which often arises whenever there is loss of any kind, John writes, “But in point of fact, at some level, whenever we are angry about anything, we are really angry at God. We are really saying, ‘If I were God, I wouldn’t have put me in this situation.’” He goes on to say, “It’s all part of assuming that the Universe is filled with mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a perfection to it all.” John’s teaching aligns beautifully with the quotation from Wisdom. There is a perfection to it all because God has created it all!

In this week’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-10), we hear about a wealthy man and chief tax collector named Zacchaeus. In those times, tax collectors were considered to be especially dreadful people because they had gone to work for the Romans and were collecting taxes that would in no way benefit the local community. In addition, tax collectors were also known to pocket some of the collected taxes for themselves prior to making the payment to Rome.

Zacchaeus so wanted to see this man Jesus that when he heard that Jesus was coming his way, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus he called to him, “Come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus wants to stay at the home of the chief tax collector??? What do you think the crowd thought of Jesus’ asking the chief tax collector to be his host? The people grumbled, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” Don’t you love the way they (and we judge) people? As if you and I do not sin or that Zacchaeus’ sins are worse than yours or mine!

Jesus loved everyone – including sinners – and we’re asked to do the same thing.

The other message that I received today is that if Jesus loved Zacchaeus and was willing to stay at his house, I’m very confident that you and I are worthy of Jesus’ love – despite our sins.

Zacchaeus, like all sinners, was used to being rejected by people and he was immediately accepted and embraced by Jesus. Have you ever felt unconditional love from someone? Have you ever given it to anyone? Upon feeling Jesus’ love, Zacchaeus was instantly transformed. He immediately said to Jesus, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” Jesus never asked Zacchaeus to do this. Was it Jesus’ love that inspired him to be so generous?

We know that Jesus loved the sinful Zacchaeus because he says, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus. I wonder if Zacchaeus thought that he was lost or didn’t realize it until feeling Jesus’ tremendous love?

Are you feeling a little lost? Do you ever feel like something is missing from your life? Jesus is still seeking us with His unconditional Love and will invite us home whenever we’re ready. Like Zacchaeus, we might have to give up some parts of our life in order to make room for Jesus. When we receive Jesus’ love, we might also be overwhelmed and filled with tremendous generosity and gratitude!

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