I have a confession to make … I am not a fan of superhero movies. Don’t get me wrong, they can be entertaining (a good escape for a couple of hours) and the special effects are amazing but they are really just the same story over and over again – just repackaged. Also, and here I will admit I may be reading too much into things, I feel that all of these superhero movies are grooming their audience (us) into the belief that we need a superhero to come along and save us when that is neither reality nor what we truly need.
St. Paul did not need superheroes. He had a Savior. The Savior is real, superheroes are made up. Paul instructs us in his letter to the Corinthians (Cor. 12:12-30) that we – through our baptism – are all part of the Body of Christ. Christ is the head and we are the body. We each have a role to play, we each have gifts to give. Every member of the Body of Christ contributes – in his or her own unique way – to the building up of the Body of Christ and to the mission of the Body of Christ in our world. We do not need a superhero to save us. We have a Savior and he has made us into his body.
The Church ministers best as “Church”. As the “Body of Christ” in our world we are each to live our faith which means each of us taking responsibility for our faith and not waiting for some superhero to come along and save us. Ever notice that in superhero movies – the hero swoops in, saves the day and then flies off. There really is no relationship between hero and those who are saved. Having a Savior, on the other hand, implies an ongoing relationship which does put honest demands on us and honest responsibilities which we must strive to live.
The Church ministers best as “Church”. The Church has done this in the pro-life movement. From day one, the Church has been consistent in the message of the dignity of life in the womb and the dignity of the woman who carries that life. All together the Church promotes life. Clergy and laity in a variety of ways and settings and as different parts of the body of Christ does this. The Church has been and will always be pro-life. It is quite likely that Roe v. Wade will be struck down in some form or fashion soon. It should be struck down. It is a horrific law that has killed millions and destroyed millions of lives. But the work of defending life will continue and we will do that work as church – helping those persons with unplanned pregnancies, caring for both children and parents, defending the dignity of the life of every person and working to ensure that dignity on all levels.
Pope Francis, in his unique role as the successor to St. Peter, has invited each of us as members of the Body of Christ universal to listen to one another and to listen to the Holy Spirit by sharing our thoughts through the Synod process. If you have not already done so, take the time to participate in the survey and attend one of the listening sessions that will soon be occurring in our parish. The key word is “listening”. We each are a part of the body; we each have a voice to share. It does not mean we will each get our way or our thought is necessarily the “correct” one. It does not work that way in the body, St. Paul demonstrates that, but we each are called to listen and to share.
St. Dominic Church has ministered as “Church” powerfully in the ministry of St. Dominic School. It is no easy thing to support and run a school. What other churches in our area are doing it? But this parish church – all of us together, in different ways and in different roles – has said that this is an important ministry that builds up generations and we will continue to strive to uphold and strengthen this ministry. As Church this is being done.
The Church ministers best as “Church”.
Not to pit movie genres against one another but there is a wonderful line from one of the Harry Potter movies. Dumbledore – the wise wizard – at one point remarks off-handedly, “I’ve never had much use for heroes.” (Whenever I see someone trying to market himself or herself as a “hero” that others should look up to that, for me, is a huge red flag that makes me wonder what happened in that person’s childhood years.)
We don’t need superheroes who are not real. We have a Savior and he has made us into his body. The Church ministers best as “Church”.