How “Spiderman” Shows Us That God Is In The Awkward
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I just watched the new Spiderman movie, and it did not disappoint! This movie was different from the rest because it wasn’t about his origin story. In this movie, he’s already had his powers for some time.
In fact, as far as timeline goes, it comes after the Captain America: Civil War movie. So he’s already experienced action on a great level. This movie picks up with Civil War ends.
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What happens after a big fight like that? How does he go back to normal life? It also doesn’t have the typical love story element to it. It’s a story purely about Peter Parker and what it’s really like to be Spiderman at this point in his life.
3 Things to Love About Peter Parker in the New Spiderman Movie
1. The restlessness inside of him.
I know that sounds weird because who wants to be restless. The reason why he’s restless is because he saw and experienced something great. He was a part of something great and now he just can’t go back. It made me think of Papa Ben saying, ”The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
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Peter’s restlessness was a prime of example of that powerful quote. That yeah he could go around preventing grand theft bikes and giving sweet old women directions, but Peter also knows he was made for more. And he refuses to settle. He refuses to settle for comfort. He wants to do more; he wants to be more.
This is something I try to instill in every youth I have the privilege of speaking to. That we were made for more than this world! That there’s MORE. More than we can imagine. More LIFE. If we only we surrender ourselves to the Lord. If only we entrust our lives to Him. If only we let Him in. But surprisingly this isn’t something that every kid wants to hear. Some kids are completely content with where they are. Peter Parker can be a model here because he truly is always aspiring for greatness.
2. His awkwardness
He’s a 15-year-old nerd that makes legos cool. He falls many times. There’s a scene where he’s chasing the bad guys, and he’s running/swinging through the backyards of the neighborhood, and he takes hit after hit, but keeps on going. He messes up a lot. He fumbles. He’s just super awkward. I’ve always loved that about Peter Parker (in all the movies) because it makes him so relatable. It reminded me of the verse from 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Peter Parker shows that even when you’re young, you’re still called to greatness; you’re still called to go beyond yourself. Even at a young age, you can still do great things; you can still be selfless. Awkwardness and all. Don’t let failures, fumbles, or mistakes keep you down.
3. His dreams don’t come true.
Peter’s greatness ended up being something different than what he had always envisioned for himself. He literally spends all his days dreaming of becoming an Avenger. He waits anxiously by his phone for Tony Stark to call him into battle. He declines hang outs, he quits school activities, he flakes on commitments because of the off chance he will finally be called to join the mission. He plays the waiting the game. He believes his greatness hinges on being part of the famous Avengers, fighting side by side with the Captain America. When the reality is, there is greatness to be had right in his very own day to day life.
It made me think back to my college days where everyone wanted to be a part of everything. I went to a school where people were conflicted between going to daily Mass or finishing a paper, going to Tuesday night praise and worship or continue studying for an exam. I went to a school where the struggles of time management included juggling studying with commitments to a mission team, and a retreat team, and a prayer team. Kids had to prioritize which holy thing they should go to and which they had to skip, which talk to attend, which holy hour to make, which 6:30am Mass to offer up sacrifices at. But the one thing you heard consistently by every leader of every event or group, every priest or spiritual director, even in most homilies was, “your vocation is to be a student.” They reminded us time and time again that yeah we wanna do great things, we wanna be a part of great things, but we are first and foremost called to be a student, so we needed to prioritize.
There is a powerful scene in which Iron Man takes Spiderman’s suit away. Peter begs and says, “I’m nothing without this suit.” Tony replies, “If you’re nothing without this suit, you don’t deserve it in the first place.”
This reminded me of Mama T when she said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Tony was teaching Peter that it’s not about the suit. It’s not about the stunts, not about the tricks or the cool moves and gadgets. It’s not about the fame and fitting in with the Avengers. It’s just about the greatness you pursue in your own day to day life, with or without the fame and explosions.
The truth is we’re called to be saints, but not all of us are going to be Saints, with a capital S, where we get our own feast days and the Church remembers us for years to come. The truth is most of us are called to live ordinary, mundane lives. We’re called to our current vocation, to the life the Lord has already set out for us. Not because we’re not made for greatness, but because there’s greatness to be had in our very own life. Mother Teresa said, you wanna effect change, you wanna bring peace, you wanna bring God’s love, start with a 10 feet radius. Start right where you are. If you’re a wife, then you’re called to be a GREAT wife. If you’re a mother, then you’re called to be a GREAT mother. If you’re a student, then you’re called to be a GREAT student. If you’re a teacher, than you’re called to be a GREAT teacher. If you’re an engineer, then you’re called to be a GREAT engineer. You don’t have to go far, you don’t have to do such extreme things to aspire for greatness.
So let the story of Peter Parker encourage you to live the life you were made to live — a life with Christ, a life enriched by the Holy Spirit, a life entrusted to the Father. Strive to live a life for the world you were created for — a life of love, love of God and love of neighbor. In everything that you do. In every season of life.
Questions for Discussion
1. What is your idea of greatness and how do you achieve it?
2. What do you think Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI meant when he said, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”?
3. Think about your day to day life. What are two things you can do to strive for greatness this week?
All glory to God through Mary!