Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai: Remembering The Karate Kid

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We’re already on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, which means we are getting ready for Ascension Sunday.  So, Jesus is preparing us for the time when he’s going to leave us and ascend to the Father. He says to us in a very reassuring way, “Remain with me. All you have to do is stay with me.”

I think about that often. When I think about my life and about my week, I wonder about why that is so hard? Why is it so hard just to remain with Jesus? Just to remain in that peace? To remain with what we experience here during Sunday Mass? How can the love that we experience here at Mass last us all through the week?

There’s something that actually remained for 34 years. I’m 38 years old, and I was four years old when this movie came out. The movie is called The Karate Kid.

Does anyone remember that movie?

Well, there is a new series that is restarting on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I watched the first two episodes of the new series called Cobra Kai. Ralph Macchio – do you remember him?

He’s all grownup now. He owns a car dealership. Johnny Maruso is all grown up, too, and the rivalry that existed when they were young comes back suddenly into the forefront.  What I love about the movie is how they remember Mr. Miyagi. Ralph Macchio was being interviewed. He was asked what it was like to be in that movie. He said, “Well, it was neat to have an American Yoda.

This figure in your life that was just constant wisdom and constant support.” And so, in the movie, they’re constantly paying tribute to him. For example, with every car Daniel Larusso sold, he gave away something. You know what it was? It was a plant. What plant did he like? A Bonsai tree. Yes, so he gives everybody a Bonsai tree that wins.

There are a lot of references back to the original. He’s got a picture of Mr. Miyagi on a stand, and all the classic lines come back. Remember the line “wax on/wax off?” You all remember that. These are lines that we remember from this bizarre movie from 34 years ago, which wasn’t a big hit in the theaters. We still remember all of these things.

When they develop this series and pick up where they left off, all those nostalgic moments remain in us. The movie starts off with the final scene of Karate Kid One. Remember the famous last move they wanted for him? What was it called? The crane kick. So, they start off with the crane kick. All of these memorable things come right back in your face and bring you back right into it. It’s just a really cool series.

Well, God the Father, wants us also to remain in him. When I was a kid, I remember that we probably watched Karate Kid at least once a day. It was just something we watched over and over and over again. Maybe you kids do this with some movies now. Mass is sometimes repetitive like that. We come, and we experience it over and over and over again; but, the hope is that we take something from it and remember something from it.

I would like to challenge people to try and remember one word from every Mass – just one word to take with you throughout the week. There are a lot of words in the first reading, the second reading, the responsorial psalm, the Gospel, the homily, the Eucharistic prayer. There are a lot of words. Try to remember just one word or phrase to take home. “Wax on/wax off.” Just remember one simple phrase from Mass that you can take with you throughout the week.

Secondly, let’s really try to remain in God’s love throughout the week. That can occur by doing some time of daily prayer and praying with the word. If we pray with the word throughout the week, God will remain with us.  God will continue to love us.

And then third, and finally, I think we all need Mr. Miyagis in this world today. I think we need people that will be God’s living word for us. We need people who will teach us these words, phrases, and maxims. We need people who will teach us this way of life of the Resurrection. Maybe you can be Mr. Miyagi for today’s children.  The children need it. The children who are receiving First Communion need it. Let’s think about the world that they live in. They need figures in their lives who are filled with wisdom.

And so, for all of us, the challenge will be to figure out just how we can remain in this love. How can we remain in this love we experience here at Mass. Hopefully, we come so much that it becomes ingrained in us. It becomes so ingrained in us that we live it out like I did the Karate Kid as a child.

We are capable of living this out if we take one word every week from Mass just to hold with us, if we pray every day with the scripture, and if we become Mr. Miyagis for someone today. We become people that share the Word of God in a very lived and real way.

In just a few moments, these children will receive communion. They’re going to receive Jesus into them for the first time. He’s going to remain with you and with them.

Hopefully, this will be the first time of many times that they receive. Sunday after Sunday we will continue to choose to receive him. You will eventually come to know him inside and out, and you will remain with him all the days of your life.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.