Pastor’s Column June 16 – 17, 2018
"We are always courageous ... for we walk by faith, not by sight."
This weekend The Incredibles 2, the sequel to the 2004 Pixar groundbreaking animated classic that stormed the multiplex fourteen years ago, opens in movie theaters nationwide just in time for Father’s Day. The original film is one of my favorite family movies of all time. If you recall, The Incredibles is about the Parr family. The father, Bob Parr, was once known as Mr. Incredible, one of the greatest superheroes who walked the streets of Metroville, performing great acts of heroism and inspiring many others to follow his example. As Mr. Incredible fought crime, he met another legendary hero, Elastigirl, whom he married and who became his wife Helen. Fifteen years later, a surge of lawsuits against the superheroes submitted by the people they saved caused the government to hide them in witness protection programs so they could lead normal anonymous lives. Now known exclusively by their secret identity, Bob and Helen Parr live everyday lives together with their three children: Violet, Dash, and Jack, who were secretly born with superpowers but cannot reveal them. Bob works for an insurance company, and he is frustrated by his pushy boss and the immoral things his boss asks him to do. He longs for the good old days and the chance to be a superhero again, and one day he gets his opportunity. But he falls prey to a trap, and he soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to save him and the world.
These days it takes superhero qualities to be a good Catholic father and to be a good Catholic family in our ever more secular world. Our society often ridicules our Christian values and tries to bring us down to its level. It fills us with lies that tell us that money is the measure of success and that material things will make us happy. It tries to intimidate us into thinking that we should confine our religious beliefs to within the walls of our church and the privacy of our homes. Our culture scoffs at our ideals of self-sacrifice and self-control and instead encourages us to put ourselves first and to indulge every whim or desire that comes our way. In the face of so much opposition, it is easy to get beaten down, to want to go along with everyone else and join the crowd and just fit in. But that will only lead to a life of mediocrity, misery and disappointment.
It is not easy to be a good Christian family living in our culture and society. It takes faith. It takes strength. And it takes something which St. Paul talks about in our second reading; it takes courage. He says, “We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord…. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.”
To be a good Catholic father and to be a good Catholic family we need the courage to dare to be different. We need the grace to help us live our faith and to put into practice those virtues that we preach and teach. It means revealing our true identity as a superhero made by God in His image and likeness, whose happiness and fulfillment are achieved only by seeking to do His will and by following His law, and by being that incredible person God created us to be. Happy Father’s Day!
– Fr. Bob