The controversial and much anticipated Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, which centers on the last twelve hours of Jesus' life opens today - Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - on around 3000 screens across the nation.
Much of the media coverage I've seen has focused on the controversy about how Jews are depicted in the film. Not being Jewish and not yet seeing the movie, I cannot comment on how it might impact or affect Jews. I have heard Gibson repeat over and over in interview after interview that he is not anti-Semitic. I believe him.
The Jews are not responsible for Jesus' death anymore than any other group of people. Humanity - human sin is what Christ died for on the cross. I am responsible. You are. We all are. We, however, need not focus on the personal guilt we might feel when seeing what is, no doubt, going to be a tough film to view. I felt that guilt while watching Jesus of Nazareth many years ago, and it wasn't nearly has graphic in nature. The previews and reviews for The Passion of the Christ portray it to be much more graphic and brutal than most, if not all, of its predecessors. Of course how can we, as Christians, not be shaken by this? But wouldn't it be better to center our thoughts on the great love Jesus had for us? A love so abundant that he willingly endured such suffering so our sins would be forgiven. That great love makes our salvation not only possible, but also very real.
The film is also being said to possibly be one of the greatest evangelization tools ever. Wouldn't it be awesome if this movie does just that and paves the way for many more people to turn to Christ?
Free Study Guides on the Passion of the Christ by Faith in Action
Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
A definitive Catholic resource book, written to help moviegoers understand the many artistic and theological aspects of the film.
Peace in Christ,
© Melissa Knoblett-Aman