“The Jungian psychologist Jordan Peterson is, in many ways, an early twenty-first century version of Joseph Campbell, and perhaps the central archetype that they both explored is that of the hero’s journey. As both Campbell and Peterson have recognized, the Bible is a treasure trove of hero’s journey stories. But what makes the biblical accounts so distinctive is that God is the one who is drawing and prompting the journey; in fact, the Bible tells the story of God’s own hero’s journey!” Bishop Barron
The hero’s journey is a fundamental archetype of the human psyche. It begins with someone comfortable in his/her home. Then something takes place and obliges that they find the courage to leave to go on this great adventure. They fight off the dragons, mature significantly, and accomplish some great feat and receive the promised reward. This pattern is found in almost every story from Plato’s cavern to the Matrix, from Pinocchio to Star Wars. It is hard not to think of the Hobbit when Bilbo set out from the shire on a great adventure.
In today’s second reading, the book of Hebrews tells us that faith is precisely that, it is a hero’s journey. The text even gives us Abraham as an example of faith, and in his life, faith was a hero’s journey. He was comfortable in the land of Ur when the Lord called him to leave his homeland and set out into uncertainty.
All too often, we see faith as something static, a fixed set of words to which we adhere. It is a far cry from that. Faith demands that we dare to follow the adventure upon which God has called us. Faith implies that we are leaving all that we are attached to, toward something far more significant. It means complete trust in God. He will guide us and take care of us throughout this journey. Note to the faith of Abraham implies that Abraham’s trust in God’s promise of a land flowing with milk and honey and children as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Ultimately this journey will only end in Heaven. Until then, we will have many dragons to slay and demons to fight. Before we arrive at the end, every member of our parish must begin to see that to be a Christian; you must set out on this journey. You must seek to grow and discover that God has placed a call in your heart. Courage is necessary, trust is essential; for true faith guarantees that for which we hope. Each person in our parish must set out on this adventure, and in doing so, must become a Missionary Disciple.
Fr Michael Thérèse