Batman, Hancock, and Bishop Sheen

images.jpgMany years ago Bishop Fulton J. Sheen delivered a television Christmas message entitled “Superman and Christmas” on his Life is Worth Living television program. With the enormous popularity of the movies Hancock and Batman, some of his ideas are worth re-examining.

Superheroes have always been popular because we have always known we are in need of help, both personally and socially. The world – The Present Evil Age - is messed up and so is each of us. Despite our best efforts and good intentions, we screw up. We and the world are broken. The world is not the way it should be and we are not as we should be. And we are unable to fix things by our own power. We are looking for rescue. And a rescuer.

Enter the superheroes. Most come from beyond the earth. Superman comes from Krypton; even the surly Hancock is a 3,000 year old “god”. And both possess supernatural powers.

Unlike Superman and Hancock who have broken through to this world, Batman is a mortal earthling, not a welcome invader from a transcendental world. Consequently, Batman possesses no supernatural power. Like Jackie Chan and Sherlock Holmes, Batman is perfectly human, perfectly wise, perfectly clever, and perfectly strong. He is unlike us- he is perfect.

All three superheroes – Superman, Hancock, and Batman – have a secret identity and change their costume to assume their rescuer identities. Each hero does wonders – relieves affliction, defends the persecuted, and loves the poor and socially disinherited. We love them because they please us by changing our circumstances from bad to good.

We know the help we need cannot be found outside the superheroes.  Rescue and restoration must come from extraordinary sources who can give us what we lack.

Superman, Hancock, Batman and Jesus Christ present the rescue and restoration for which we long.

The first three of these superheroes are fantastic products of our yearning imaginations.

Jesus Christ alone is the real thing.

Superman, Hancock and Batman present men who take on the form of super humans.

Jesus Christ is God – the ultimate superman – taking  the form of a weak man.

Superman, Hancock, and Batman give up weakness for power.

Jesus Christ gives up almighty power for human weakness.

Superman, Hancock, and Batman fix the circumstances of our lives, the externals of our existence, while leaving us personally unchanged.

Jesus Christ leaves our worldly circumstances unchanged – the Roman soldiers, the pain, and the suffering may remain, but we are remade, reborn from within, into a new identity and with a new personality.

With rescue by Superman, Hancock, and Batman we find happiness in new circumstances, the new things of this age.

With rescue by Jesus Christ we find peaceful happiness within our newly renovated hearts aligned to the Age to Come – The Kingdom of God.

Jesus Christ alone satisfies the human heart’s desire for rescue.

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