July 16, 2014
By Father William Muench
Today, I would like to talk about heroes – actually, superheroes.
Recently, as I watched several of the World Cup soccer games, I noticed that the television commentator would call the man who scored the winning goal as the hero for his team. I wanted to remind that commentator that that fellow made two or three mistakes during the game. However, I realized that at the crucial moment, he scored the winning goal and truly was the hero.
A few weeks ago, our Sunday Catholic liturgy was the celebration of the Feast Day of two of the heroes of our Catholic Church – St. Peter and St. Paul who were truly, superheroes. Jesus called St. Peter the rock on which the Church would be built; he was the leader and we always think of him as our first pope. However, if he were with us, St. Peter would be the first to admit that he had his failings, failings that we can read about in the Gospels.
At the most crucial moment in Jesus’ life – as he was arrested and crucified – Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. He didn’t want any part of the Lord. Yet, Jesus would welcome him back and give him the love and grace that made him truly that rock – that leader.
Then we have St. Paul – again, a hero, the Church’s greatest missionary who brought the message of Jesus to his world. But, again, if Paul was with us, he would be the first to remind us that before his conversion, he was a vicious persecutor and punisher of the early Christians. Yet, Jesus expressed his love and confidence in Paul, leading him through a magnificent conversion experience through the grace of God. Paul became convinced and found faith in Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He truly was that great missionary who brought Jesus and his message to so many.
Today, the story is about us. Each and every one of us is called to be a hero for Jesus. The message for all of us as we remember Peter and Paul is that, with God’s grace, we can – we must – be a hero for the Church. By your lives that reflect your faith and love in the Lord, you will be saints – that is, heroes – for our day.
I suspect that many of you will tell me that you are not worthy, you have your failings, your sins. I say turn and consider St. Peter and St. Paul. With the grace of God they became saints and changed their world. Despite their failings they brought Jesus and his love to their world. So, with God’s grace each of you can become such saints, such heroes for our Church. With the guidance and leadership of Jesus we can meet the challenges to truly be the heroes for our Church today. As we live our lives patterned on that of Jesus, we will transform this world and lead many back to the Lord.
Being a saint – being a hero – sounds like an impossible task. I think too many of you have the idea that being a hero for Jesus is all about piety and hours of prayer. My message to you is that being a saint in the Spirit of Jesus is about living a good life, a life that reflects your faith and leads you to reach out in love to all who are in need. I suspect you have heard this definition of a saint: “A saint is someone who does ordinary things, extraordinarily well.” Being a saint is why we are here on this earth. It is what life is all about.
There are some who will tell me that they are too old to be heroes, to be saints. (I know some who think of being 30 as old!) I want to assure you that there are many who have been heroes for me, who have touched my life and guided me to be the person and priest that I am, and they have been who most would consider “very old.”
Never consider yourself too old to bring Jesus into the world – to be saints – to be heroes. I want to shout to those of you who consider yourselves “too old” to live like heroes – that our Church needs you. I know that there will be many opportunities that the Holy Spirit has for you to do something wonderful to make our world a better place, to bring the love and peace of Jesus to others.
So, please don’t tell me, “I’m no saint.” My response will always be “Then you, better get busy.” This is the only reason that you are here. This is what life is all about – becoming a saint, being a hero for Jesus.