Whether you are a movie buff or not chances are you heard of characters like Thor, Ironman, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Spiderman, Black Panther, and the like. They were birthed out of the comic book world but have since come to the silver screen. This weekend was the debut of a film called Avengers: Infinity Wars which interlinked the stories of most all of Marvel’s heroes. In fact the total number of individual or movie series that you would need to watch in order to be fully prepared for this single culminating flick is 18. Just think if you were to watch all of them back to back that would be over 36 hours of continual film gazing…now that sounds heroic to me.
Don’t worry there won’t be a spoiler here, especially since I haven’t seen the new movie just yet, but what can be easily accessed from this new film is that all these superheroes ban together as a single community to fight the evil that faces the world. They fight for what they believe in and are willing to go to great lengths to defend what they value.
My brothers and sisters do we ever think of ourselves in this way? I don’t mean wearing caps and blowing stuff up at will, but united in a mission for the purpose of something important, something big. Jesus says I am the vine you are the branches. We come to Mass because here more than any other time or in any other place we are connected united as a people in the worship of our God. We abide or remain in the Lord and by this is the Father glorified. What happens here matters, it matters for the salvation of souls and the building of the kingdom. Each of us has a vital role to play in this great work bestowed upon us. It is both a fight and a mission.
What can this look like? In our first reading we get an example of what a difference faith and courage can make. Saul previously known as a murder and the grand poopaw of persecution to Christians has this massive conversion a bad guy turned good and the people are having a hard time believing it. This is until someone trustworthy, someone they know like Barnabas steps up and speaks on his behalf. Thanks to the efforts of Barnabas we hear that the church throughout was at peace.
The name Barnabas means son of encouragement and true enough because of the power in his words and actions and with his help Saul becomes Paul the great evangelizer.
My good people we don’t need a fancy suit, some strong metal, or a crazy telekinetic power to make a difference we just need to take our faith, take what we do here to the next level because without Jesus we can do nothing. The more connected we are to Christ to more alive we actually are. I invite us this week to be an encourager like Barnabas to offer our words and actions on the behalf of others and their journey of faith. Imagine if we all chose one person to build up to invite, or to listen to and prayed for them, imagine if we did that every day for a week. This would be much fruit, fruit from the vine of Christ—by this is the father glorified, this is what it is to be not a superhero but a disciple.