The Passion of the Christ
The verdict is in: move heaven and earth to see this film. I agree completely with First Things, “it certainly is—the best movie ever made about Jesus Christ.” (March 2004, p. 9)
The film is faithful to Sacred Scripture. Mr. Gibson has made a movie which is thoroughly soaked in the Gospels. While not every note could be struck, in one film, from the complex arpeggios which resonate from the Gospels, Mr. Gibson has made a worthy effort. The better one’s knowledge of Sacred Scripture, the more one appreciates the film’s achievements. For example, Jesus’ prayers throughout the film almost always are lifted straight from the Psalms. This is not only congruous with the New Testament, but it also fits the reality that these prayers would have been on Jesus’ lips from childhood. Indeed, they also form the backbone of the Catholic liturgical tradition. Whenever the film strays from direct Biblical narrative, the addendum is almost always appropriate and within the mainstream of Christian tradition and piety.
The film is wondrously Eucharistic. Mr. Gibson makes the obvious connection between Jesus’ sacrifice on Golgotha, and His institution of the Eucharist. The film links the Passover, Christ’s immolation, and the Eucharist in a golden chain of faith and devotion. One cannot see this film, understand what the Holy Mass is, and walk away unchanged. Watching this movie gives an entire new perspective on the Blood of the Lamb.
The film is gloriously Marian. We see the Passion through the eyes of Our Lady, just as it was. The Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern is superb. The reality of Mary suffering with Christ is made clear from the film. Although it has been clear to Catholics, and is perfectly in step with the Gospels, the visual medium of film allows us to appreciate fully Mary’s participation in the Passion. Monica Bellucci portrays a beautifully poignant Magdalene.
I will post more on this subject later, as thoughts occur and time allows.