Only one word comes to mind when I think about Iron Man: Conversion. At the beginning, who was Iron Man? He was a self-absorbed, narcissistic womanizer. Iron Man had genius-level intellect but he squandered its use on monetary riches and women. Iron Man was an arrogant, self-serving snob who cared nothing about the world except himself. In many ways, Iron Man was the least Christ-like guy of the Avengers.
That all changed when a man called Ho Yinsen gave his life for him. This was the moment of his conversion. This was when the scales fell off Iron Man’s eyes, just like St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Iron Man realized that he had been destroying the lives of many innocent people in the world through his inventions (weapons of war) and was horrified at the implications of his work.
Iron Man immediately turned his life around. He ceased weapons production. He stopped womanizing. He carried a nuke through a portal to save New York. He used his money and intellect to enhance and improve defense systems all around the world. Notice that true conversion happens only when there are concrete, tangible and observable changes in one’s life.
Ho Yinsen’s sacrifice ignited an inextinguishable flame within Iron Man. He could not rest as long as he knew that his knowledge could make a difference to the fate of the world, which was why he left his family to help the Avengers again in Endgame. His burning soul cannot sit idle, just as how the Apostles HAD to preach the Word of God when God ignited them with the fire of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Endgame‘s climatic battle was the final test for this. Iron Man had to choose to willingly give his life up, just as Ho Yinsen did. When Doctor Strange held up his finger, Iron Man knew what must be done, and he did it. This ultimate sacrifice was an echo of Good Friday:
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
— Mark 10:45
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13). May we all be able to do the same.
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