The Passion of Christ

For Christians ‘the passion of the Christ' is not just a new movie, it is the most staggering thing that has ever happened. This film is just the latest in a long line of works of art which have responded to wonderful work of God in Jesus Christ. Each of which are just brave attempts, some more successful than others, to express a little of the unfathomable mystery of God's desire to save humanity.

The film is not comfortable viewing but then the history it portrays reveals to us the deep ugliness and hate within humanity. However, it also shows us the love of God who wants to heal our wounds and mend our brokenness. We are shown not only the disease but the cure. In the scandal of the cross God embraces all our pains, even our mistakes, and transforms us through the power of his sacrificial and tender mercy.

The English Poet, George Herbert, wrote about the cross:

Philosophers have measur'd mountains,
Fathom'd the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk'd with a staffe to heav'n, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sinne and Love.

Who would know Sinne, let him repair
Unto mount Olivet; there shall he see

A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skinne, his garments bloudie be.
Sinne is that presse and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev'ry vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the crosse a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love in that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

In the passion of the Christ we see the vicious and violent pain and suffering that lie within humanity. In the passion of Christ we see the generosity of God who takes all our suffering and pain onto himself so that we may know his sweet favour and find ourselves refreshed, renewed and transformed.

The Passion, and Catholic anti-Semitism

Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ has been accused of fuelling anti-Semitism. It must be acknowledged with regret and shame that Christians, including Catholics, have had a history of anti-Semitism. However, it has also been one of the exciting positive developments in recent history that recent generations have done much to heal these wounds.

As to the precise charge of anti-Semitism in Gibson's film, it is difficult to comment before the film has been viewed in this country. However comments from the USA suggest: