Who are Your Heroes?

The love of Christ urges us on”  (2 Cor 5:14)

One cannot help but notice that the box office is being dominated by films related to superheroes.  This has been true for some time but reached a peak with this last week’s release of Avengers: Endgame, which is setting records for revenues.  While these films are entertaining to many, in the end, they are fantasy stories, just as Superman was generations ago.  And yet, the significant draw of superhero stories might point to the deep longing in many hearts for something important—the need we all have to be inspired by someone good.

I am struck how, even in the pages of the Bible, there are stories of people which are meant to inspire.  For example, the Old Testament book of Maccabees.  There are many stories in this book which relate to courage, faith, and virtue.

In the Family of our Catholic Church, we celebrate and model our lives around the example of our heroes, the Saints.  I am often impressed when celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation across our diocese at the devotion our youth have toward the saints.  Often, the choice of a saint’s name for one’s confirmation is based on a great admiration for that saint’s life and witness.

What is even better is to have heroes in the present: people that are known personally.  One of the greatest blessings in the world is to have family members: parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, that are one’s heroes – people that exemplify great virtues that rub off on others.  When there are heroes in the family there is often a collective duty to strive to live up to that good example.  It is passed on as a legacy.

Whether we call them heroes or saints, these people are important to all of us.  They keep us grounded in the fact that good is possible in our own lives. That one person’s life can have a profound impact on the lives of countless others. They reveal the work of Christ in our flesh and blood and the trials that are a part of every life.  They also ought to awaken in us the desire to be heroic in the way we live too, realizing that we can each make an impact on another simply by the way we live, by being faithful.

The world needs heroes; not superheroes, just heroes.  May we each realize we have the capacity to live heroically now that we participate in the life of grace that Christ has won for us and that we have received through the sacraments.

+James V. Johnston, Jr.
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Catholic Key, May 10, 2019 issue

Pope Francis’ May Prayer Intention

That the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.

Bishop Johnston’s May Prayer Intention

For all those graduating from high school and college, that God will guide them along the path of their vocation as they make decisions in this time of transition.

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