Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 1:17-25; Matthew 25:1-13)

The current Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" resembles perhaps half the motion pictures made today. The hero overcomes the villainous foe in a series of combats with narrow escapes. St. Paul writes in the first reading that this is definitely not Christ's way.

Paul says that Jews see the savior as giving marvelous demonstrations of power. These acts may be controlling the forces of nature like Elijah’s calling down fire, but they as likely are conquering the enemy against all odds like David. Christ's way, however, encompasses non-resistant love. He cares for everyone he encounters by enlightening troubled minds and healing diseased bodies. Quite uniquely he gives himself over to his enemies as a sacrifice of obedience to the Father’s will. In the ordeal that ensues, he is mauled and killed, but the Father raises him from death to reign as our Lord and eternal hope.

We must take care not to see the heroes of epics like Batman or even historic warriors like George Washington as other Christs. Their greatness does not stand up to scrutiny. Although we may cheer their apparent victory over evil, we will find flaws in their character to say nothing of the implausibility of their feats. On the other hand, Christ points to the eternal God in both life and death. He wants us to follow him both by caring for one another and by resisting the will to conquer.