“What does Superman got to do with Christmas?” Ven. Sheen asks his audience in a 1960s taping of Life is Worth Living.
In this episode, Fulton Sheen powerfully explains “the breakthrough of Christmas,” and how Jesus’ entry into the world as a child compares to that of DC Comics’ Superman.
Ven. Sheen explains how Superman is actually “the desire for Christmas.”
“First, there’s a breakthrough, because he helps others. There is a kind of renovation, a strengthening, and aiding. Christmas is just this.
“Instead of someone going into a closet and taking on the form and the substance of Superman, the breakthrough is God coming down to earth–breaking through time–splitting it. Splitting it so much so that from that time to this, it’s B.C. and A.D.”
“There’s this difference with Superman: Superman goes from weakness to power. The breakthrough of Christmas is from power to weakness. You saw the crib at the beginning of the show. Here is infinity and littleness. This isn’t a man getting strong, this is a God becoming weak.”
“…Helpless as a babe. What a difference between Superman and this breakthrough. Not a manifestation of power to please the pride of man, but humility to humble man’s pride.
“This idea of a God becoming man that you saw there in the crib is very hard for us to realize.”
“…Not going into a closet, but going into a stable and a crib…that’s the difference in the Superman–weakness and power. And any other difference is that Superman, when he comes to this earth of ours to do his wonders, only touches the environment. He touches what is outside of man.”
“All Superman does is change the circumstances on the outside, but he does not touch man on the inside. That’s the difference.”
“When God becomes man, when we have Christmas, He leaves the circumstances very much the way they are. He leaves the Roman soldiers parading through the streets. The same problems: pain, suffering, and hunger, and so forth.
“But He begins reforming the hearts of men. Once they are reformed, if they live according to his way, he’ll do away with these boring things of indigents who suffer. So the God-Man works in the heart of a man.”
“This internal operation of God when he comes to this earth, it will be likened to a plague. Suppose that there was something in the world today like the Black Death during the Middle Ages. Remember it wiped out one-third of the population of Europe?
“Suppose a great scientist found a remedy for that plague, and he made the remedy available to the whole human race. There would be some who would come to be relieved, others might not. That’s just what exactly what happened when God came to this earth.
“We’d all be willing to have our circumstances changed. We’d like to have more money. Maybe live in a different house. But do we want our thinking changed? Do we want our lives changed?
“And the God-Man who came to this earth, came for the remedy of moral and spiritual plagues. He came to make us happy on the inside. Not everyone wants it.
“He came into his own, and His own received him not. Now this is Christmas in terms of the Superman.”