Rod Dreher writes about the Passion today, not just the movie, but the event, too. He meditates on his own relationship the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, his own culpability… our culpability… mine. Would I have been different from those who mocked him? I’m not, when I choose to sin, knowing it is wrong, but doing it anyway. Would I have been different from those who beat him? I’m not when each sin piles upon the Victim the punishment due.
This is my problem with all those “Catholic” journalists sent to review the movie on Monday all over the country. In Boston, they included James Carroll of the Boston Globe and Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald. Together they share the same mindset toward the Catholic faith: pick and choose, what I want is more important than what is right or true. And you could see it in their reviews. They focused on the brutality and violence and could not comprehend it. All they wanted to see was a Jesus who isn’t condemned or brutalized, because the violence of the Passion convicts us of our sins. They want the non-judgmental Jesus, the friendly teacher who spouts pious sayings that make us feel good, but doesn’t call for our complete and total abandonment to Divine Providence in the way He showed us at Golgotha.
Rod gets it. He understands the reality of sin. Of course, Catholics should neither be obsessive about sin nor dismissive of it. We must recognize our sinfulness, and thus live the Season of Penitence, but we must also recognize God’s mercy, and thus live the Season of the Resurrection. Of course, human nature’s tendency is to want to skip penitence and go right on to the Resurrection. All things in their time. So today we contemplate our sinfulness, our need for reconciliation with God, and our need for the Savior’s sacrifice.
Remember: Christ did not become the Savior just by being born, preaching the Gospel, or doing miracles. He became the Savior by His death and resurrection. “By His stripes we are healed.” Something to ponder on Ash Wednesday. And perhaps at the movies.