As I was greeting people before the 8:30 am Mass yesterday a family entered the Church and a young guy with his little brother came over and said hello. Then he blurted out "I know who Clark Kent is! Superman!" We then proceeded to speak of superheroes like Superman and Spiderman and Captain America. I enjoyed the interaction.
By the time that the 11:00 am Mass came around, I had totally changed my homily, and pointed out that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes and in all ages. The Scriptures spoke of Abram and Sarah, two ordinary individuals who were good people, content with their lives and families, who were challenged by the Lord to step out in faith, to heed the call, to travel into the unknown, leaving their comfort and security behind ... simply because God told them to. They travelled from the ordinary to the extraordinary. They became superheroes to the people of faith in three main bodies of faith - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and Abram (Abraham) became the Father of a multitude of peoples and nations. Peter, James and John were simple fishermen, ordinary folk who heard God's call and befriended Jesus. Now they were enveloped in the cloud and experienced the awesome power of God in the transfiguration. They were to become superheroes to us over a span of some two thousand years now. The list of transformations could go on and on.
I reminded those present that we too are invited to be immersed into the extraordinary, to bring our ordinary gifts into the ordinary circumstances of life and with God's help create the extraordinary. We too are called to be superheroes - to be like Clark Kent and Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne and allow ourselves to be builders of the Church, heralds of the Good News and champions of the poor.
In these early days of our Diocesan Lenten Appeal, it was also the Sunday to present the case ... an easy task when you see the task ahead and the shared responsibility to rise to the task. Given a vision of what needs to be, we are encouraged to make it happen by allowing ourselves to be empowered by the Spirit. You and I are called to be the superheroes of this and future generations, not in make believe and fantasy, but in the real world of responsible commitment to God and to each other.