Reflection of Canon Augustine on the movie "Passion of Christ":


Myra and I went to view movie "The Passion." I went with open mind. I have been reading quite a bit commentary from the critics of the passion. We had invited a Muslim couple to join us. They both teach at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Campu

During the whole movie they both were sobbing and several times he held my hand tried to share his feeling with me. You know Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified but was taken alive to heaven. Judas was crucified in his place. During the watching of this movie, the gruesome act of suffering of Jesus reminded me that Cross of Jesus was a violent and horrific act against an innocent and sinless man. You can separate the blood and pain but it is a reality. Over the years Jesus has become to many of us a sissy, goody, goody O.K. guy. All of a sudden it reminded me and it became a reality that the Lamb of God was sacrificed on the cross for my sins. It was a powerful message but difficult to digest. It reminded me of the suffering of Christ and the suffering goes around us everyday. On the Cross of Christ the naked face of ultimate aggression , violence, hatred, jealousy, injustice, greed and evil forces is exposed. These are evil forces which crush our common humanity today in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Kashmir. Christ even today suffers with the people dying all over the world because of starvation, oppression, illness, despair, violence and war. There is no suffering of our world that has not been suffered by the Son of the living God in his passion. So the good news is that there can be no human beings who are completely alone in their suffering since Jesus Christ in his incarnation has become Emmanuel, God with us. That is our proclamation to the world that "God so loved the world that he gave his Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have life everlasting." It is this life everlasting which is offered by Jesus Christ to the world and it is a message of hope that death can not bury in its womb the author of life and darkness can not hide the Light of the World. At the end I was left hanging with my feelings of sadness and chaos. The question I asked myself: Can we face the death of Christ without knowing about his resurrection? The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the death does not have the last word but was the gateway to new life. We experienced in the gruesome acts of the nailing of Jesus to the cross and in the jeering of the Roman soldiers, and passing of Fatwas of the High Priest, the ultimate harm, shame, rejection and condemnation any human being can suffer. But the sting of death could not kill Jesus . Same way the forces of evil, racism and hatred can not win victory in our world facing terrorism and even imperial might of the Super power. Cross of Jesus inpies us to be the harbingers of hope. We need to work as followers of the Cross of Christ that the tyranny, oppression, injustice and exploitation against any members of the human family is our pain and Christ is crucified again. When Jesus said, "Father forgive them they know not. It is finished." At that moment I saw that the sting was taken out of death and that Christ indeed was victorious over the power of sin and evil. I felt that at that moment it was the vision of the risen Christ emerging in the midst of human suffering. That is why as Eucharistic people we give thanks to God for his sacrifice and each time proclaim during the celebration of our worship service: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." Alleluia! The Rev. Canon Patrick P. Augustine+

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