Pope Francis fell. His official spokesman says he is fine. He went right ahead and finished celebrating Mass at Jasna Gora, a holy place of deep significance for Poles.
It is news when the Holy Father takes a tumble. He doesn’t even need to be hurt. A little slip and the media speculate – maybe he is ill – maybe he didn’t get enough rest – maybe his tailor forget to hem his cassock.
Maybe the media still don’t realize he wasn’t elected Pope based on athleticism.
And maybe he is thinking more about the littleness of God than where to place his next step.
I’m not physically present at World Youth Day. Frankly, I’m past the point where I might be accused of being a youth. So I watch on television and read what the Holy Father has to say.
He might have stumbled during the Masna Gora Mass, but only physically – not rhetorically. He spoke about littleness, which isn’t something people usually think about when they think of God.
God is the almighty, King of Kings, ruler of the heavens and earth, the source of everything good. But for our sake, he also can be little.
When the world needed mercy and forgiveness, God didn’t ride across the sky in a golden chariot, throwing down thunderbolts to cleanse us of evil. Instead, he allowed himself to be born of Mary and enter our world as a little baby, innocent, weak, subject to the laws of nature.
He picked simple, weak human beings to join his mission: fishermen, tax collectors, tent makers – even a former prostitute. His was an army of the little people. And I think the Holy Father is trying to help us understand why.
An almighty, celestial being is far beyond my comprehension. I can’t rise to that level. But God is to powerful and merciful that he can come to my level. As we say when evangelizing, he meets people where they are.
We’re called to evangelize, not by gazing toward the start, but by reaching out – or down – to those in need of God’s boundless mercy. We are called to be little, like God.