Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself...
"Look at the humility of God!" Saint Francis urged his faithful sisters and brothers.
Eight hundred years later we have yet to fully integrate that plea into our understanding of God. Fascinated with Power we cling to the notion of a dreadful, arbitrary, opinionated judge who will devastate the Earth as he -- most certainly a he -- raises the "righteous."
Pope Francis prefers the Mercy of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
An all-powerful god who is not merciful is not very powerful; that god is subject to his own whims and moods; he is pathetic in his helplessness, a craven worthy of our contempt. Such were the ancient gods of Greece, Zeus and Hera and their ilk, forever locked in their soap-operatic dramas. They toyed with human beings who, in their turn, either pandered to their favorite gods or despised the lot of them. By the time of Saint Paul, a well-educated Greek-speaking Jew, the intellectual elite disavowed all religions.
Only a humble God is worthy of our love, a God who will bow down to save the humiliated, marginalised and despised among us. We have heard him say to Moses,
I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them...This is the Lord whom we follow into Holy Week. We will see an astonishing display of power, one unlike anything we might have imagined. One whom we believe is invested with "all authority in heaven and on earth" will submit to abuse, torture and death like a lamb led to slaughter. He will not even claim to be unlike other men.
During this particular year, here in the United States, we are watching our leaders stoop to the most absurd and humiliating postures in their grab for earthly power. Armed with half-truths, insults, accusations, vague promises and suspicious credentials each one claims to be worthy of supreme leadership. It is embarrassing for everyone who observes it. At best, we hope their willingness to serve the common good is marginally stronger than their lust for power. By November responsible citizens will have to "hold your nose and vote" for the least worst among them.
During Holy Week and Easter we thank the Father for sending the Son and the Holy Spirit to gather us into the Mercy of God, safe from this world's indignities.