Saturday, March 25, 2006

Superman & Lent

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." John 3:16

These days, the high prices of tickets, the endless advertisements, and the many previews keep people away from going to the movies anymore.

But one 'coming attraction' I saw before V for Vendetta was worth the cost of admission by itself: Superman Returns, scheduled for a summer 2006 release date.

In the preview for this new Superman film, the voice of Marlon Brando as Jor-El echoes across the dark theatre: "Even though you've been raised as a human being, you are not one of them. They can be a great people, Kal-El, if they wish to be. They only lack the light to show them the way. For this reason and above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son."

In the fourth week of Lent, we read of Nicodemus and Jesus' nighttime visit, where Christ declares, "for God so loved the world that he gave his only son" and "the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to the light." (John 3:16, 19).

God did not want send us his son to condemn the world (in fact, he says as much in John 3:17). God does not hate us. God does not want to make us suffer.

It's so easy to think that God is against us. It's so easy to think God has abandoned us when bad things happen to good people.

The Son was not sent as a source of condemnation, as some have made his faith into. The Son was sent to show us the way, to make us realize the great things we are capable of. The Son was the ultimate Superman story: dwelling among us, setting things right, but most of all, allowing us to discover the aspects of our humanity that make us so beloved in God's eyes.

We lack the light, as Jor-El and Christ said, because we refuse to believe in ourselves and because we refuse to see ourselves as God sees us.

Because of that, we live in darkness.

The Gospel this week challenges us to embrace our world as God embraced it. When we see our world as something to be condemned, as something to be fought against, as something evil, then we don't see with God's eyes. When we see our world and one another as capable of wonderful things, then we see as God sees, and in so doing, we live in the light.

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