Dame fortune smiled on the beloved first wife and me this past weekend when we managed to see Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ!
We had gone to the theatre (Tinseltown) the week before but the movie was
sold out, so we dined on steak, salmon, and a decent Merlot, somewhat disappointed,
but at least sated. I can’t remember ever being denied access to a movie
because it was sold out, but, to be honest, eastern Ohio -- where we live
-- is not known as a hotbed of cultural activity.
The beloved first wife, an erudite Biblical scholar, gave the movie her nihil obstat quominus imprimatur,
thus rendering any Scriptural criticism moot. Yes, we are aware that Brother
Gibson utilized “artistic” license here and there, but to tell you the truth
I think his interjections only underscored and highlighted Gospel themes.
I was particularly intrigued with the spiritual appearance of Satan who was
having a really bad day. And, the scene where Jesus is working on a “big”
table as his mother calls him for dinner, only served to define the human
essence of the Incarnate Word.
charge that Brother Gibson engaged in anti-Semitism is an invidious calumny
of the lowest order, pronounced by either blithely ignorant moral relativists
or Hollywood princelings ensconced in La La Land. The statement that Mel
won’t be working in Hollywood anytime soon leads me to suggest that he might
consider my hometown, East Liverpool, Ohio, as an excellent location for
his movie studio; we’re a little thin on employment these days.
scene pregnant with spiritual relevance was when Christ’s mother and Mary
Magdalene mopped up the blood of our Lord. Every orthodox Jew and Christian
understands the Blood Covenant and that scene worked to visually describe
the spiritual significance.
But Gibson’s depiction of Christ’s crucifixion, those three hours separated
from the Father and his plaintive cry; “Eli, Eli, lama sabach thani,” defined
Christ’s greatest suffering. A spiritual suffering we mortals can never know
or even begin to comprehend. It was the price required to allow man the opportunity
to gain the presence of God!
And, though we live in “…the darkening twilight of Christendom,” The Passion of the Christ
has lit a brilliant beacon that will light the way for many who have dwelt
in darkness. So here’s to Mel Gibson, may he have a long life, and continue
to exercise his artistic creativity in the manner he chooses, not Jeffrey
Katzenberg or David Geffen. Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ, is simply the finest movie we’ve ever seen!
Bob Cheeks has written for The American Enterprise, Human Events, Southern Partisan, and The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
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