Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Even before the movie “The Passion of Christ” came out, the director, Mel Gibson, got a lot of grief for it. Some of it came from a former priest. In a TV interview, this ex-priest said the movie did not reflect the life of Jesus Christ. It was too bloody, too graphic, and way too much of it focused on the physical pain Jesus endured. He said something like, “Well, if an alien were to come down to earth and see this movie, he would wonder why they were killing this man!” I thought Mel Gibson’s response to the good old ex-priest was ingenious. He said in reply, “Yes… if you were an alien.”
I am a strong believer in the passion of our Lord. This part of our story must be told over and over again. Why? Because persecution and pain, betrayal and denial, suffering and death are a major part of human life. They suck years (if not life) out of us! But what (really “who”) is the solution to all these ills? Jesus Christ.
If it were not for the resurrection we would still be searching for an answer. If Christ had not risen from the tomb, we would still be looking for our Savior! We would be like Mary, crippled and fearful. We would be like the Apostles, hidden away or locked out forever.
Yesterday, I saw the movie, “The Hunger Games”. I wanted to see it because so many kids have seen it. One kid asked me afterwards, “What did you think?” I told him the truth. I told him that I thought it was great. He looked surprised. I told him, “Don’t be surprised. I love a good story and this is a good story because this is our story.” The names may change but the story never changes.
The Hunger Games will always be a good book and a good movie, today, tomorrow and forever because the story is full of Christian principles. And don’t be fooled. Christian principles still influence a significant part of the world. Do you think that books and movies like this exist in other parts of the world? Do your research and find out for yourself. The answer may surprise you. In fact, you may find that some books, television cartoons and movies in many parts of the world teach (and glamorize) children to hate their enemies; to kill them; cost whatever it costs.
This movie could have been written shortly after the Lord’s resurrection. ‘The Capitol’ (like the ancient capital of Rome) consisted of perverted and twisted people. Vice ruled. Selfishness ruled. Utilitarianism and narcissism ruled. But in ' District 12' (in the small town of Bethlehem) you find the Messiah, the Liberator who blows away all of our paradigms. This person is hard to define for they are both mysterious and unassuming; strong and meek; humble and tenacious; loving and bare-knuckled; peaceful and wild; beautiful and forceful.
At a certain moment in the movie I began to laugh hysterically. It was when a member of the ‘Capitol’ (‘Effie’) accused the protagonist (‘Katniss’), for the third time, of not possessing ‘good-manners’. I finally got it! I understood why the author put that line in the book and/or movie. She was making a point, the same point the Gospel writers made over and over again. The Jews and Romans accused Jesus of being a threat to society; of being evil, of not possessing good manners because he cured on the Sabbath! But in reality, when did crucifixions ever become good manners? When did murdering innocent people (the ‘hunger games’) become mercy and sport? Again, we should not be surprised. In fact, criticism will always be leveled at Christians from those who participate in a twisted society, where virtues and vices are turned upside down; where authentic priorities are replaced by superficial ones. Is that not the case in our own twisted society where careers take precedence over children; where animals are treated better than humans; where the ‘right-to-die’ is valued above and beyond the ‘right-to-life’? Of course ‘Effie’ will be offended by the honesty of ‘Katniss’, especially when lies are valued over truth; outwardly appearance trumps authenticity; and where beauty is not skin deep but one layer above the skin!
I loved the costumes, make-up, and hair styles of all the ‘freaks’ in the ‘Capitol’. I think this is the first time I ever saw our society parodied for what it truly is: insecure.
Katniss (like Mary Magdalene) was a strong woman, but there was one moment when she wept; and wept uncontrollably, and that was at the death of a good and holy simple little child. She wept at the death of a friend. This is where our two stories slightly diverge . Would she never see her friend again? Would the death of her friend mean the death of all hope? Is evil more powerful than love? Is death more powerful than love? These questions will always be the most important questions! And again, Jesus Christ answers all our questions. The answer come straight from Him: “Why are you weeping? Why do you seek the living among the dead? Mary!”
Now, let us do what the Lord told us to do. Let us go tell our brothers and sisters! Let us tell them what Christ told his followers: “Go tell by brothers and sisters, I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” This is the greatest news ever: The Father is my Father and my God too!
Now why are you still weeping?