The Passion: A Review
y Fr. Robert J. Carr
If I were to sum up Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ in one word it would be 'Profound'.
The movie which opened Ash Wednesday in 4000 theaters nationwide is clearly the best presentation of the last twenty-four hours of Jesus' life that I have ever seen. The reason is that it seeks not to inspire as much as to make one an eyewitness to the events. This is more inspiring. Suddenly, the Gospel account becomes exactly that, an account in two realities and three dimensions.
Gibson bases his drama partially on the Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich. This is a collection of visions where the eighteenth century mystic, stigmatist and visionary offers, in a sense, a third person omniscient point of view regarding the last day of Jesus' life. The movie stays true to the gospel narrative. However, it adds a layer of intention that brings the reader right to the whole political and religious drama that is Christ's Crucifixion. It is a bloody account, yet, from the Catholic point of view, Jesus' spilled blood is at the center of our theology.
Contrary to media whipped fears of anti-Semitism, I found it was the Romans, particularly the soldiers, who would have endured my wrath if I did not understand Jesus' dying for my sins. Yet, what was indeed even painful for me was not so much watching Our Lord's tortuous death, but the knowledge that he went through this for both my sins and the sins of the whole world. Two soldiers are particularly vicious yet, the understanding he even died for them dwarfs my puny efforts at forgiveness even more.
The mob mentality plays well especially from Jesus' arrest to condemnation. Here we see the people whipped into a frenzy calling for loyalty to Caesar over Jesus. Gibson adds another touch of realism in portraying Barrabas as a despicable character in a play to get the people to release the innocent Jesus. This attempt to placate the people results in what appears as the worst of all murders happily released from prison.
Here at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, the center of the priest abuse crisis, we have endured the mob mentality outside our doors every Sunday for over two years. This harassment by as many as five hundred protesters demonstrating the crowd dynamics of political motivation, human passion and even rejection of Christ played in the background of my mind as I viewed the film. How easily can a mob can be convinced of its own righteousness even against the innocent seeking only to worship God. Yet, realizing that Jesus died for even these provides the further reflection of the vocation of our Christian response as opposed to the temptation of our just anger.
As I write this, another demonstration is yet again planned outside our Cathedral on Sunday morning. Protesters will then march to the Massachusetts State House. They plan to demand that Governor Mitt Romney call for a task force to find 'pervert' priests.
Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision for gay marriage, protesters actions are seen as simply efforts to silence the Catholic Church on this issue of gay marriage. Indeed, one of their more vocal members--a lesbian advocate of gay marriage and professor of Women's Studies at U Mass Boston further raises the eyebrows of anyone attempting to take this group seriously. This threatened mob to come Sunday in Boston will speak volumes to us of the mobs Gibson portrays that sought to silence Jesus Christ. The response is for us to seek a deeper church-wide metanoia, to pray that this all glorifies God and for us to allow the Lord to handle those who's motivations are not pure.
The movie is best described as a meditation in which one can see that he has contributed to every stripe, to every twinge of pain, to every writhing action unto the death of Our Saving Lord. Yet, one also sees that human forum to which all of us belong. The righteous Caiphas (Mattia Sbragia) remains unable to comprehend Jesus (James Caviezel) in any form but blasphemer. The troubled Pilate (Hristo Shopov) plays political games while seeking advice from his wife. The suffering Mary (Maia Morgenstern) watches her only son's torture in service to her beloved Lord. Finally, there is the personified evil found mostly in the form of an androgynous hooded figure (Rosalinda Celentano) woven throughout the film.
I did find the Way Of The Cross seemed drawn out a bit too long. However, the compassionate Joseph of Arimithea forced to assist Jesus, added another element of realism not found in more pious versions.
The movie is profound, a must see for any faithful Catholic. It is violent, as was Jesus' death. Yet, it is powerful as the cinema of metanoia, the call to repentance from sins. I highly recommend it for any Christian seeking to deepen his faith in the love of the Living God.
Holy Cross Cathedral
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 542-5682
Gibson, Passion, Christ,
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Monday, February 27, 2017
- St. Leander of Seville: Saint of the Day for Monday, February 27, 2017
- Clinton contributor makes revealing 'life insurance' video over fear ...
- The world loses another Christian actor - Bill Paxton dead at 61
- 110-year-old nun shares the secret to a long life
- 'While high on heroin, I started reading the New Testament' - Amazing ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Monday, February 27th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, February 26th, 2017 HD
- Urgent action necessary for 5.5 million people starving in South Sudan HD
- Trump dumps Obama's transgender restroom policy HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.