For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)
Step back for a minute and think about what we believe as Catholics. The God who made time itself his creature entered into human history. God so humiliated himself that he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance. In order to reconcile us back to himself St. Paul says that God made him to be sin who did not know sin. Jesus was not only fully human but he freely chose to bear the consequences of our sin.
God smelled like his sheep.
Christ’s whole ministry was marked by scandal: working on the Sabbath, touching lepers, fraternizing with foreign women, and dining with sinners. Jesus scandalized people wherever he went and whenever he spoke, to the point of his death…and beyond. Every time we say the Apostle’s Creed we profess that Jesus descended so much into the depth of our God Forsakenness that he went to Hell. All for our sake.
Our God scandalizes us. His foolish mercy is so great that it’s a stumbling block for us.
As the Bride of Christ, the Church is tasked with having the same foolish mercy. That was Jesus’ mandate to the first pope, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Just as Christ broke down the gates of Hell and raised up sinners from death, so must the Church. This, I would dare to say, is what Pope Francis is all about.