The Lord loves all his creation. He “loves all things,” as the first reading tells us (Wis 11). He values all that he has created. If God can be this caring and compassionate to the world he made, how can he not all the more show his total devotion and love to the men and women he fashioned in his own image and likeness.  “You have compassion on all… you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.”

It is surprising that the forgiveness mentioned here seems to be granted even before the repentance!  There is no condition to God’s love. He loves you and me just as we are… and if we realize this, the grace of conversion can start to happen in our hearts.  Truly, he is “Lord and lover of souls…”

And this prepares us for the gospel with the funny episode of Zacchaeus, the filthy rich man with the height problem. In the Holy Land today, pilgrimages stop at a place where there are sycamore trees, the most likely place where Jesus passed by and maybe laughed seeing an adult public official perched on a branch just to see him.

Jesus’ words are amazingly urgent in its love: come down quickly!  There is no time to lose. You, who are rich but sad, wealthy but hated, prominent but judged as sinful – I will enter your house today. Zacchaeus received Jesus “with joy” which means he received the Lord not in his house but in his heart.

In the environment, we throw away the trash. But God is like a garbage collector who sifts through the dirt looking for recyclable trash that can still be used in any way.  In our lives, we throw away people and delight in seeing them eliminated because they are sinners and scums of society (how many have died since some months ago, most of them poor and helpless, some very clearly innocent). Jesus loves them like he did Zacchaeus… and all of us!