The ultimate superhero
One of my favorite cartoons from my childhood was the Super Friends — Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and others.
The Super Friends were “created from the cosmic legends of the universe … [with] their mission to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind,” says an authoritative voice in the cartoon’s opening.
At Christmas, the Church celebrates the birth of a baby — sent from the actual Creator of the Universe — to not only serve humanity but, most importantly, to redeem it. Jesus, indeed, battled evil, and ultimately triumphed over it.
In his book Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture (2015), Bishop Robert Barron describes how certain elements within modern culture “sometimes faintly and sometimes powerfully echo the Gospel message.” In recent Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man movies, Bishop Barron finds a hero “who, in his lowliness, is able to completely identify and sympathize with our suffering and, in his transcendence, is able to do something about it.”
In our December 2019/January 2020 print issue, author Maria Morera Johnson shows how we can use superheroes to teach virtue. “Our challenge is to catechize our youth using the cultural language they understand,” Maria writes.
Also in our December 2019/January 2020 print issue, you’ll find the truth and beauty of Christ’s coming depicted in Fr. Anthony Giambrone’s reflection on several Christmas paintings and in the late Virginia Kimball’s explanation of the traditional Nativity icon.
Let us point out the good that we find this season. Christmas need not be the most secularized Christian holiday on the calendar. May we who celebrate Our Savior’s birthday use the good in the culture as an opportunity to explain the faith and the hope we have.
This Christmas my 8-year-old son will probably receive toys connected with his favorite superheroes, as I did long ago. But we’ll also head to Mass on Christmas as a family (leaving the superhero toys behind in the van) to thank God and to rejoice for sending his only Son. “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
On behalf of our Catholic Digest family, I wish you a blessed Christmas and New Year!
You are in my prayers,