ON SUPERMAN AND FATHER'S DAY
Man of Steel Movie 2013
Happy Father's Day!
11th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
I grew up idolizing Superman as a superhero and now that there’s a modern version of the film, I was curious enough to watch it on the movie theatre this weekend. Contrary to the brutal reviews, I found the movie to be quite awesome and quite different from the one I grew up with! He's got a new outfit (no red shorts!); his identity is no longer a secret; Lois Lane is no longer portrayed as a damsel in distress as she was in the old movies (wow, I'm getting old); and more importantly, there's no sign of any kryptonite whatsoever. But what caught my attention was that above any powers that superman could muster, there was that power within him unleashed by no other than his foster father, Jonathan Kent. It was his father who first believed that he will one day become great from the very moment they saw him on the field. Without that belief and confidence which gave him a unique form of power, things would have been different for Superman. Aren't we blest to have fathers that way?
Nevertheless, there’s one “Superman” that’s always been at our beck and call. A superman who doesn’t need a cape, a fancy outfit and well-chiseled figure in order to draw us closer to Him. Yes, He does have powers but His superpowers aren’t superficial. Such powers we could qualify as follows:
1. Exemplified in His LOVING MERCY. If you were listening more closely to our daily readings this past week, a recurring theme on making the right choices was very evident. At times, we don't seem to mind the choices that we make each day especially those life-changing choices. But those choices define us in a lot of ways. Today, we are challenged to make a choice between accepting or rejecting the mercy of God. We are free to choose but accepting the mercy of God is acknowledging our need for the grace of God. Remember, what I told you last Sunday, by making ourselves spiritually alive, we make ourselves strong in the midst of our own spiritual struggles through the grace of God. Same goes when we accept God's loving mercy.
In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, "The Capital of the World," a Spanish newspaper carried a poignant story about a father and his son. It went like this "A teen-aged boy, Paco, and his very wealthy father had a falling out and the young man ran away from home. The father was crushed. After a few days, he realized that the boy was serious, so the father set out to find him. He searched high and low for five months to no avail. Finally, in a last, desperate attempt to find his son, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, Meet me at the Hotel Montana noon Tuesday. All is forgiven. I love you. Signed, Your Father.” On Tuesday, in the office of Hotel Montana, over 800 Pacos showed up, looking for love and forgiveness from their fathers!!"
What a magnet that ad was. Over 800 Pacos!! Fathers’ Day reminds us that we need to exemplify in our lives the same loving mercy that our fathers show to us in the family.
2. Recognized through GRATEFULNESS. The repentant woman in the Gospel showed her gratitude by anointing Jesus' feet with tears and ointment that was so expensive in those times. Now, realizing our need for the loving mercy of God, we too, are called to show the same act of gratitude especially for unceasingly pardoning our sins each time we fall and ask for forgiveness. One of the biggest problems in today's world is ingratitude. We focus too much on entitlement rather than what we can do out of God's infinite goodness. But how do we show our gratitude? By making a sincere act of contrition in confession "to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin." Our sincere attempts to avoid the occasions of sin will be proof of our sincere repentance and the expression of our gratitude to the merciful God who has forgiven our sins. Can we do this? Don't ask, just say "WE CAN!"
Another story by Donald Shelby entitled "Love is Gratitude," a friend tells about how when he was a small boy his father's birthday rolled around, and he did not realize it until it was too late to get his father a birthday present. So, he went through all his resources and came up with 17 cents. He put the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies in an envelope and gave it to his father with a note: "I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday. Thanks for being the best dad in the whole world. Sorry I did not get you a gift. This is all I've got." Years later, at his father's death, when he was going through his father's possessions, he discovered within a special compartment of his father's wallet, the envelope, the note, the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies that his father had carried all those years.
Now why? Why of all the things the father and son had experienced together was this token kept as the most precious reminder of their relationship? Why? It was pure love, and pure gratitude. And that's what we have as second lesson this Sunday.
3. Cultivated through a FORGIVING ATTITUDE towards our neighbor. This third item must come as a result. It may not be easy, but we must learn to forgive those who hurt us if we want to be able to receive the daily forgiveness we need from a merciful God. Let us be channels of peace and forgiveness by patching up quarrels, misunderstandings and disagreements and pray sincerely for the well being of our offenders. Sounds easy said than done, but it's the only way to God's glory. God's way is the narrow way but it sure leads to our Father.
There is that interesting part in the Superman movie when he went to approach the priest in the Church (so Superman's Catholic!). He asked the priest (Fr. G?) whether to allow and help his fellow Kryptonians to take over the world and destroy all of humanity or to trust all humankind who doesn't seem to care about him. The priest replies, "I think you have to make a LEAP of FAITH ... then TRUST will follow." Like what Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace!" (Luke 7:50) Let's make a leap of faith in forgiving our brothers and sisters who have wronged us and we’ll earn not just trust but peace as well.
Finally, here's to lighten your Father's Day celebration:
Three men are in the hospital waiting room because their wives are having babies. A nurse goes up to the first guy and says, “Congratulations! You’re the father of twins.”
“That’s odd,” answers the man. “I work for the Minnesota Twins!”
A nurse says to the second guy, “Congratulations! You’re the father of triplets!”
“That’s weird,” answers the second man. “I work for the 3M company!”
The last man is groaning and banging his head against the wall. “What’s wrong?” the others ask.
“I work for 7 Up!”
Remember this acronym I made for Fathers:
F – stands for “FOUNDATION,” every father carries with him a noble and yet difficult task of being the pillar of the family for families to lean on. [Strong foundation = strong family]
A – stands for “AGILITY,” he is known for his intellectual acuity. He makes decisions like no other member in the family can … even our moms.
T – stands for “TEACHER,” he teaches me practicality without being too frugal.
H – stands for “HONOR,” he is the first one to tell his folks, friends and relatives about our successes. At the top of his voice he says, “MY SON IS AN HONOR STUDENT!”
E – stands for “ENERGY,” he possesses certain power, which keeps the family moving and going. And so, he's SUPERMAN too!
R – stands for “REMEMBRANCE,” if all things fail, he is one to tell us that the biggest learning in life is to LIVE the present, LEARN from the PAST and FACE the future without forgetting our humble beginnings.
I thank God for my dad and for dads all over the world for making us the best sons and daughters that we could become!
HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!