Have you ever thought of being a superhero? I know for myself as a child I had several superheroes I wanted to be like. I always liked Superman and Batman, though both are very different. Each superhero had a different personality and even as a child, I knew each superhero had their own special powers. In addition, in the 1980’s, there were a lot of different martial art movies like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is one of the main reasons why I started studying martial arts. However, I could also see myself becoming just like the Incredible Hulk.
A Childhood Superhero
As a child, I always wanted to be a superhero. I even remembered back then that I had prayed to be a hero, well at least thinking I was asking God to answer my prayers. A child imagines themselves flying or being a ninja but, as we get older, we realize that a comic book superhero is just imaginary. We discover there are real men and women who are admired for their courageous achievements. There are the real superheroes, military people on the front lines helping defend our nation, police officers defending our streets, firefighters, EMT’s and doctors saving people’s lives. These heroes are often out of view, some may take them for granted.
Perhaps I became a soldier to fulfill a childhood dream to become a type of hero. It didn’t hit me until recently when my son drew a picture for his school of hero in their life for a school art project. When he then brought it home, it was labeled ‘My dad.’ I believe God answered my prayers because it seems I am a superhero for my son.
We can learn from war heroes and civil rights activist heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day, but I would like to focus my point on the saints. The saints are heroes for our current times because they based their actions on Jesus. Some were martyred for their faith but I would look at a superpower that we all can obtain from Jesus and from those saints – Love.
Love is expressed in family values. We can see it through a child’s eyes as they look up to their parents. Yet many children don’t have parents or guardians who love and protect them. As Jesus stated in Mark 9:42
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
Luke 17:2 and Matthew 18:6 repeat the same important message. I believe we can take these verses as a guide to set the example for our children as well as those that are not our own.
Mary and Joseph
We need to ensure we are sharing the gospel with our children. Setting expectations doesn’t necessarily mean giving them everything they want but what they need, and in most cases, it is discipline and nourishment. What better hero to a young child but their parents or guardians? For me, a great example is that of Mary and Joseph. First Mary told the angel Gabriel “May it be done to me according to your word.” Joseph accepted the call to lead the Holy Family and safeguard them. Even before receiving a message in a dream, he was considering to divorce Mary quietly instead of bringing wrongful attentions to Mary and her family. These two saints are great family heroes who parents and guardians can admire and follow. They both said yes to God and fulfilled their duty positions; we too as parents, guardians and role models should say yes for our current generation and those to come.
I even have a good friend who isn’t married nor has any children but visits an orphanage regularly and conducts fundraiser events to help pay for certain items for them. He loves those children and loves helping them. I am sure he has set an example for those children as well as his friends and associates as well as an example as we all we should help each other.
An Everyday Superhero
Being an everyday superhero can even be a well-mannered person who is simply humble and conducts himself out of love, much like those comic heroes like Clark Kent or Superman. He doesn’t expose his identity but stands for ‘truth, justice, and the American way.’ We too can stand for something and not only help be a good example for the next generation but a defender of our faith. This can be done by listening to what Saint Paul told the Ephesians and by applying the Armor of God.
Battle against Evil. 10* Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.11Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.g12For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.h13Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.i14So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,j15and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.k16In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one.l17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.