My thoughts (John Seksay):
The greatest thing about being a child is the sheer power of imagination to transform us into what we want to be in an instant! When I was six, Superman and Mighty Mouse were my role models. Give me a towel or a pillow case and my superpowers would whisk me away to Save the World from Evildoers! All the while my parents would just smile and watch.
Their little superhero was always ready to save the world, but didn’t like getting up for school on cold mornings or being dressed up for church on Sunday. Superheroes were never busy making their beds, doing their homework, or any of the dull, routine things that took so much time away from playing. Living like Clark Kent was just something you did while waiting for the Big Moment When Justice Called!
When I became a parent, my kids had the Transformers, He-Man, the Justice League, and more superheroes than I can remember. They too raced around with towels and sticks, righting wrongs and thwarting evil with valor! But they also had a new class of role models that were very different. Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Grover, and Cookie Monster were among the first and most beloved of their heroes. Sesame Street heroes could play at wearing capes too, but more often they were dealing with the details of day-to-day life and learning how to get by in the real world. The stuff they were learning — politeness, consideration, kindness, sharing — weren’t in my classic list of superpowers. What happened to leaping tall buildings in a single bound and flying faster than a speeding bullet?
The message speaking to me from the Proverbs passage today goes right to the point:
“A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” NRSV
The litany of things that follow hardly seem like superpowers: moderation in speech, diligence, truthfulness, modesty. This sounds like a whole lot of Clark Kent — minus the cape! How very Sesame Street. What about all the fame and adulation that goes with being the Great Hero?
From today’s reading I better understand how heroes really are. They do not leap over problems in a single bound, or vanquish evil with a wave of some magic sword. As Jesus did, they use weapons of the spirit to combat real life issues, one day at a time. As for Jesus, the battles aren’t easy and the roads aren’t always smooth.
How much strength does it take to be a breadwinner for a family? How much valor does it take to fight off an addiction? How much courage is needed to raise children in an unpredictable and often dangerous world? How much stamina is needed to care for an aging and failing loved one? How difficult is it to be kind or generous to a stranger? How hard is it to do any of these things without the praise and adulation of a crowd? Now the superpowers mentioned in today’s reading make all the difference — and the world is full of heroes that I could run into anywhere — even Sesame Street!
Thought for the day: Have I nurtured my spiritual superpowers? Am I ready to be an everyday hero to someone today?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.