* Warning – Potential Spoilers!
I have always been a fan of Spider-Man, but I had never seen any of the Tom Holland movies. So over the Christmas break last year it was my sister’s mission for me to catch up on the series and then watch the new Spider-Man No Way Home together. I must say, not only was it a phenomenal movie, but the reality of the Gospel and missionary discipleship was written all over it!
Disposition of Heart
When our hearts become missionary, there is a particular lens through which we see and a disposition with which we live. The character of Peter Parker illustrates well the way in which missionary disciples of Jesus live.
Context: Peter encounters many odd and old villains from various universes through a mishap with Dr. Strange. It becomes his mission to redeem them by creating antidotes that free them from their villainous ways so they can be sent back as different people.
- Peter saw the potential in people even when they didn’t see it in themselves or when others denied that it was possible. He knew people were capable of change and souls weren’t lost causes. He saw what people could become, and not only did he see it, but he desired it for them!
- He knew that people were capable of goodness, and he worked for their transformation. This zeal moved him to seek their salvation from the evil that enslaved them. It’s this conviction that animates the whole movie.
- It was a humble undertaking. He was doing nothing for his own gain or to be known and seen. There was a hidden pursuit for the other at the expense of his own life (everyone forgets about him at the end).
The heart of a missionary disciple believes transformation is possible for every soul, lives in a disposition of hope and seeks to bring the Good News humbly to souls. There is a forgetfulness of self in the disposition of a missionary disciple. Mission is never about us, but always about Jesus and the souls before us.
Doc Ock & Spiritual Multiplication
Not only do you see missionary zeal in this movie, but you see the fruit of it in the development of Doc Ock, one of the OG villains of Spider-Man.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the first antidote is given to Doc Ock. Peter brings this “Good News” to Doc Ock and before our eyes Doc becomes a new man! His life is changed in seconds. The fruit of the antidote – peace and freedom! Before, he had been ruled by the mechanical tentacles that were attached to him and enslaved to their demands.
But now, in a relieved voice, he says:
“It is so quiet… those voices… inside my head… I had almost forgotten…”
He received something that he didn’t know was possible. He had been set free of the voices of lies, evil and compulsion. This antidote gave him his life back and his countenance changed instantly. This naturally led to zeal in his own heart! He wants the same for the other villains.
This reminds me of what Pope Francis says in The Joy of the Gospel:
“If we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?”
In the end of the movie, Doc Ock gives Electro the antidote and claims his life for goodness, not evil. A natural fruit of receiving the Gospel is wanting it for others and thus spiritually multiplying!
It has been said that our Story of Salvation is the story which every other story is modeled after – it is THE story! Clearly here in Spider-Man No Way Home, the Gospel and missionary discipleship are implicitly proclaimed to us! I highly recommend you all go and see for yourselves and geek out with me (not a sponsor, just an excited fan)!