No spoilers – I promise!
I went to see the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” last Monday. It handles some topics that call for a bit of maturity from the moviegoer, and so it probably is not a good watch for little kids. For 13 and up, it is a good watch (this one lacks the edgy violence associated with the Joker in “The Dark Knight”). In the movie, one of the main themes has to do with Gotham City (which looks a lot like Pittsburgh). Gotham is still corrupt, greedy, and decadent, even though major crime has been curtailed by the police. The question that is posed is: “Is Gotham City worth saving?” Some say that Gotham is so fundamentally corrupt that it must be destroyed, along with everyone in it, so that society can start with a “clean slate”.
While many of the characters in the movie say that Gotham should be destroyed, Batman of course says it should be saved. Gotham should be saved, not because it deserves to be saved, but because salvation is right. It is only right to save, and never right to destroy. Batman intuitively grasps this, maybe because of his experience of losing his parents at a young age. Batman knows that, even if people are unjust, they still need to be saved. And so, Batman will do whatever he needs to do to save Gotham City from ultimate destruction. The movie keeps you guessing until the end what the outcome will be.
This topic is so relevant to all of our lives! Every day, when faced with corruption and injustice, we have to make a choice: destruction or salvation. When we get into a disagreement at work, or at home, or at school with a friend, we have to make a choice. I can either blow up the situation and seek satisfaction in that move, or I can try to bring salvation into the picture. To invite destruction is really a surrender to the very forces of chaos, disorder, and sin that corrupt in the first place. To invite salvation is to entrust ourselves, not to Batman, but to Christ. Christ brings justice. Christ brings mercy. He leads us to peaceful waters in the midst of the dark valley.
We all encounter, in ways large and small, corruption and injustice. So many forces in soceity consider brute force and tearing down to be the power that will set things right. But there is another road available: the road of salvation. Someone has already made the sacrifice necessary to replace corruption with renewal, and that is Christ. It is funny how these Super Heroes (Batman and Spider Man come to mind) are frequently chased by the authorities and branded as evil by the media. Sound familiar? The world has a way of wanting corruption and death, and resisting the just one who would bring salvation to people.
It’s a wonderful thing that the heroes keep on coming, and don’t stop doing what they do best: save us. We ought to continue to press on as well!