TO view The Passion of the Christ is to have a personal confrontation with Jesus – the Jesus of the Gospels in the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Isaiah’s words are brought to life to confront and challenge us: ‘He was pierced for our offences, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed’ (Isaiah 53:5).
This is not a movie like any other, but a considered re-presentation of the Gospel accounts as recorded of the suffering of Jesus, the Messiah.
It never sets out to be, nor could it ever be, a full theological portrayal of the events or symbolism of the Passion. The violence of some of the scenes could well have shocked many, as it did us, but through that violence the gospel message is clear – ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’.
^The stark reality and brutality of a Roman flogging and crucifixion were researched and portrayed, as too were some elements of the ritual of the Passover, the psalms and the blood of the ‘sacrificed lamb’. The use of the crucifixion/Last Supper flashbacks emphasised the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass so beautifully.
But most of all, the ‘blame’ is clearly apportioned for those who meditated on the story.
Who is more guilty? The Jew who said ‘crucify him!’; the Roman who scourged him; his crucifier who saw only ‘a false prophet’, ‘a Jew’, ‘a trouble maker’; or ourselves, we who know who he is and reject him through deliberate sin?
This is a most personal experience – see it and ask yourself: Am I unmoved by the suffering and death of our Saviour?
Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries will never be the same.
RIMON and ELLEN ASHKAR