The Black Panther movie is about a lot of things. It's about celebrating black culture and history. It's about building a community. It's also, obviously, about a superhero.
But more than any of that, it's about serving the poor.
Black Panther, in many ways, is the story of our times. A country with advanced technology, medicine and resources has shuttered itself away from the rest of the world. Fear hardens the hearts of the Wakandian people. Their mission became one focused on security, on borders and not bridges. They wanted comfort.
But we are not made for comfort. We are made to serve one another, to build up a community, with each member as an essential and unique part of the whole body. If we close our hearts out of a desire for comfort than we have failed our brothers and sisters.
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." -1 John 3:17-18
How can we say we love on another, or even love God, if we refuse to aid others? And that is exactly what King T'Challa realizes at the end of the film.
"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We cannot. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other." -T'Challa
Wealth, resources, power, technology, medicine all of this is dust. It matters, but only in a small way.
What matters are people. What matters are souls. In a thousand years, a million or even a billion all of this around us will be gone. But you and I and will still be alive, and will even be more alive (hopefully) through union with Christ in Heaven.
As C.S. Lewis says in one of his addresses, "you have never spoken to a mere mortal." None of us are mortals. We live, laugh and love with these tremendous immortals. And we also insult, hurt and ruin these same people.
It has to stop. So take a second this week and in the coming days to breathe deeply and to look at the people around you with a fresh gaze.
If your brother needs a coat, provide him one or find a way to keep him warm. If your sister is hungry, provide her with food or make sure she will receive it. These corporal works of mercy are so important not just for others, but for our own growth as members of the human family.
There is no other course of action for someone who truly believes in both Christ and in the Gospel. There is no other allowable path.