MI in me, but I saw an eastern European take the place of a family man about to die.
I'm talking about Quicksilver stepping (running) in and taking the bullets meant for Hawkeye.
And I'm talking about St. Maximilian Kolbe stepping out of line in Auschwitz and taking the place of Franciszek Gajowniczek.
Quicksilver's homeland was invaded, as was Kolbe's. To some fans, Quicksilver has more potential in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Hawkeye. He could do more. He has greater powers, greater potential. Yet, he's the one to die, and leave behind a more ordinary man. Likewise, I know of no great work that Gajowniczek did. Kolbe reached so many people. He built centers and spread the Gospel. He changed lives. How much more could he have done, had the "ordinary man" gone to his death and Kolbe survived?
I am certain St. Kolbe doesn't see it that way. He would tell us, I think, that there are no ordinary men. There are no lives that aren't worth saving. There is no small life, if that life is lived in God's will. Quicksilver, like Kolbe, saw something worth saving, and he stepped in.
Jesus is our example. He is not the exception to humanity, rather he is the model for humanity. What he did is what we are to do. As John puts it, in John 15:13, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Kolbe modeled that for us in his martyrdom. Quicksilver laid down his life as well.
Does that mean that Quicksilver saw Hawkeye as a friend? Perhaps, or at least someone worthy of being a friend (and worthiness is another central topic to the movie). If nothing else, he became Christ's friend. "You are my friends if you do what I command you," he says. (John 15:14) And what is the command? To love one another. (John 15:17)
What is the greatest expression of that love? To lay down your life. It has nothing to do with who can do greater things, with who's life is more worthy. It is about love -- for family, for life, for the world, for the good. That is why we fight, and that is why we die, if we must.