One of us

I KNOW this is quite old news, but I just remembered the incident where Pope Francis slapped away the hand of a pilgrim.

It split the Catholic Church into two sides, those who criticized him and called him a hypocrite, and those who defended him.

I admit I was quite shocked when I saw the video, but then I felt compassion for the Pope. He proved he was a regular human being. A human being like the rest of us who feel tired, angry and ashamed sometimes.

He was a man who was setting his personal boundaries against another person who clearly didn’t respect it. He is the father of the Church, and like all fathers he can lose his temper.

This makes me think about how the Church creates an image of perfect, infallible beings as the leaders. The Pope, the saints, even Jesus Christ. We forget their humanity. We take for granted the fact they have made mistakes, they have felt despair, they have doubted their purpose in life, or they are capable of having carnal relations with another person.

Honestly, if proof comes out that Mary Magdelene or any woman really did have intimate relations with Jesus, I wouldn’t mind. He was a man after all and it would actually make me admire him more. I am sure he had a sense of humor and he was silly at times.

He also felt fear when he knew about the crucifixion. He felt angry and frustrated at God when he couldn’t understand why that had to be his destiny.

However, despite all the doubts and temptations he overcame his emotions and did his task. It wasn’t in a blaze of glory but with fear, blood, sweat and tears; just like any normal man. Doesn’t that make him more admirable?

Being aware of the human side of our church leaders can actually bring us closer to them. Wouldn’t we be more comfortable if the figures we revered were ones we can relate to rather than ones who could smite us or pass judgment if they deemed us unworthy?

It’s just like the famous song of Joan Osborne that expresses how we long for familiarity with our higher power: “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus trying to make his way home?” ([email protected]/PN)


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