This fall Jeff rented the movie Home from Redbox and William fell in love with the film. So much so that I gave it as a suggestion for a gift to my mom who got it to be William’s gift from my grandmother.
We watched Home this weekend after we got home from my parents’ house (Shelby and Jeff did not join us because they were both sick). Despite having seen it before, Jeff had almost no memory of it and my memory was a bit faded.
For a little background, the movie is about an alien named Oh (voiced by the amazing Jim Parsons) whose alien race, the Boov, take over the planet Earth as they try to escape from the Gorg (a starfish-like alien race). They relocate all the humans to “Happy Humans Land” (aka Australia).
Oh is a very simple member of the Boov race. He believes that all the other Boov like him, when in fact, he’s a bit of an outcast. Much like Emmett in Lego Movie, Oh is a “company man.” He is a yes man and a huge fan of Captain Smek, the Boov leader (voiced by Steve Martin).
After arriving on Earth, in an attempt to invite fellow Boov to his home, Oh accidentally sends a message that reveals to the Gorg the location of the Boov causing a massive panic and making Oh a fugitive.
As he goes on the run to try and get to the one place on the planet where there are no Boov (Antarctica), he meets up with a human girl name Gratuity Tucci but called Tip (voiced by Rihanna) for short. When the humans were being rounded up, Tip was separated from her mother (Jennifer Lopez) when the humans were rounded up and she was left behind after a Boov scanner identified her as cat since her cat (named Pig) was on her head. Tip and Oh begin a quest to find Tip’s mother and get Oh away from his fellow Boov.
Oh is innocent and believes that his race came to Earth not just to escape the Gorg but also help the humans as this is what he was told. However, his experiences with Tip challenge his knowledge and long held beliefs. He is forced to learn lessons he did not anticipate.
Through the course of the movie we see Oh not only change as his understanding of what he thought previously changes we also see him formally acknowledge his past missteps and attempt to atone for them. This is best exemplified toward the movie’s end when the Boov are fleeing Earth and the Gorg. Oh challenges Captain Smek’s assessment of the humans and his abilities as a leader based on his experiences with Tip. (After he saves his race by running to the danger instead of away, as Boov are prone to do.) His argument is so persuasive that a fellow Boov, Kyle, steps in and asserts that Oh should be the new Boov leader.
When as the new Boov leader, Oh returns to Earth to help Tip find her mom, he discovers the real reason the Gorg are pursuing the Boov and in order to save not only his race, but his new friend and her race he confronts the Gorg to make amends. And in a surprise turn of events, the Gorg forgives all the Boov and makes a clean start.
As Oh learns better, he does better. But he doesn’t just change his future behavior, he acknowledges his past behavior and asks forgiveness.
In two weeks, Joseph will make his First Confession. As the last year has gone by, I’ve watched Joseph make better decisions and learn how to acknowledge his missteps. I’ve watched him learn and grow and as he learns better, he does better.
We make Confession seem scary to kids with our reluctance to go but we have nothing to fear from it. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I am so excited to share with my oldest son that God is a merciful, forgiving God. And that He has given us the wonderful gift of the sacrament of Reconciliation that we might acknowledge our sins and ask forgiveness. And we have the chance to move forward.
Children are much like Oh at the beginning of the film, sometimes believing things that aren’t true or not being able to fully comprehend situations that arise because of their limited life experience and education, but as they grow and mature they realize that life is more complicated and that there are reasons for what is right and wrong.
The Church currently has children receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation at what is called the “age of reason” which is roughly seven to eight years of age. The grace of the sacrament comes at a time when children are beginning to experience and understand more of the world. It can be a very confusing time as previously held ideas are challenged and children realize that new knowledge has a purpose and must be acted upon. The Church seizes this time to introduce this great gift of Reconciliation to the children in hopes that they will love and cherish God’s mercy in His forgiveness of our sins.
But it can’t be one and done. Before Oh reconciles with the Gorg he first has to make amends with Tip, whom he abandoned after breaking his word. While on the Boov escape pod he tells the Boov that Tip cares for him, despite his not having done much to earn that care. It is like that with us and God too. We don’t deserve His mercy and forgivness, but He gives it, freely. We have only to ask. Oh is able to do the right thing with the Gorg because he first came back and apologized and helped Tip.
And so instead of just making a big deal about the first Confession, we need to make it about every single one. This is a joyful time when we get to experience God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness not by running away like we might have previously (and like the movie mentions, the Boov were best at doing) but running to Him. When it comes to Confession, we don’t want to be the Boov under Captain Smek but the Boov led by Oh.