One of the things about Francis that really seems to connect with people, especially in this day of immediate visuals, is the way in which he nearly radiates the love of Christ upon all who he meets. He physically embodies the very Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel, that he so often speaks about. This radiant joy is part and parcel of Francis' evangelization and should be familiar to all:
However, what many may not have noticed is the shift in demeanor in our Holy Father when he is celebrating the Holy Mass. Instead of radiating joy to the people who surround him, he physically shows how serious offering Mass is for him. Remember, the Mass is a re-presentation (not a representation, mind you) of the once for all Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, no smiling matter this. This is where heaven meets Earth, where the veil that separates us from the angels and saints is thinnest. This is where the All Holy Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe comes to dwell with his all too sinful people. Thus, we cry out Kyrie elesion! at the beginning of the Mass. It is as if we are with Isaiah calling on the Lord to depart from us, for we are men of unclean lips (cf. Isaiah 6:5).
Francis, for his part, understands that this is far too great a moment to be cheapened with jokes or high-fives. This isn't the time for the kissing of babies or the hugging of urchins. Nor is it the time to be clad in flip flops and tank tops for here we turn our faces to the Lord and offer Him the worship that is His due. Indeed, the Mass is the most serious thing that we can do. Our pontiff's decorum at Mass teaches us this.
Perhaps of all the lessons this great man has already brought to the Catholic world, this pitch perfect sense of tone between the effusive joy of bringing the Good News to the world through evangelization and the serious inner serenity of the Holy Mass might be the most important of all.