“He looks so much like me,” Joseph said in wonder.
“Yes, he does,” smiled Mary, gazing lovingly on her sleeping child.
* * * * *
When I was in 20th grade, I wrote a research paper for Instructor Singa about lifespans throughout history. What I learned really bothered me. I was shocked at how short of time people used to live, even when they survived their infancies:
In 1 A.D., the typical 15-year-old Roman would live into their 50’s.
In 1,500 A.D., a 15-year-old European would live into their 60’s.
In 2,000 A.D., a 15-year-old in the developed world would reach their 70’s. (That’s just half of what we expect today! I remember thinking, “If my parents had died when they were 70, I would have never been born!”)
It felt so unfair that everyone back then died so young. Why did God let that happen? I thought about all the things we have that those people didn’t, but then I considered how much more confusing our world is now. At the beginning of time, the angels only needed an instant to finalize their eternal decision for or against God. Maybe we live so long today because it takes us longer to make that decision than ever before.
* * * * *
Fr. Miller noticed that Superman arrived punctually for his appointment and was relieved that his handshake was not too firm. The Man of Steel sat down in the office of this man of God and confided his life’s story. Then he made what would ordinarily be an ordinary request. The priest hesitated, rescheduled, and immediately called his bishop. The bishop was stumped and referred this curious question to Rome: can Superman be baptized?
He possessed the necessary desire and had an extensive knowledge of the Faith. And, despite his seemingly preternatural gifts, he was aware that he had fallen short of the glory of God (in relations with a certain lady.) However, he was an extraterrestrial and not a descendant of Adam. Was Christ’s baptism meant for him?
The Vatican responded in the affirmative: “Based upon the philosophical principle that the greater contains the lesser, Superman possesses what it is to be man. Furthermore, Scripture says, ‘preach the gospel to all creatures. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,’ (Mark 16:15-16) and ‘You shall not oppress an alien’ (Exodus 23:9.)”