The BLOG: Culture

‘The Passion of the Christ’ revisited

Hope springs eternal but there are a finite number of springs we get to enjoy, so it is a good season to check our life’s road map and destination, and recalculate if necessary. Have we gone off the rails? Are we looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Could it be we’ve overlooked things of true value like love, while settling for a basket of Peeps and jelly beans?

With the perspective of a grandmother, I look back on my many springs and many blogs with a sense of urgency in view of current events. The following blog was written in 2004 before my sons flew the nest. The nest has been empty a good while but a half-dozen grand-babies already are giving a big return on my husband’s and my investments.

Sensing looming danger my focus is now upon the kind of world our grandchildren will inherit and how to equip them for this post-Christian era. “The Passion of the Christ” debuted a dozen years ago but the message is eternal and worth revisiting.

I came away from watching the movie “Passion” identifying more with Mary, the mother of Jesus, than with Him or the hypocritical religious types, the Roman torturers, mocking crowds, or helpless disciples.

I’m not sure if this was because I’m a mother of sons or if it was a deflection, a dodge from the full message because it is just not de regeiur to be devastated in public. We Americans like to be under control so when emotions well up we quickly, unbeknownst to even ourselves, stifle them. This film was about human frailty becoming a vessel for God’s passion for mankind.

I liked the relationship it showed of Jesus to his mother. He drew strength from her in that very visible and tangible way moms interact with their children; that earthy, lifelong bond that is understood by all but the most depraved torturers (like those who took great pleasure in flaying Jesus’ body or who set off bombs amidst crowds of people with children). Probably they got that way, like Captain Hook in Peter Pan, for lack of a mommy.

Jesus’ relationship with his father in Heaven was portrayed as it affected Jesus; at times he doubted his father’s plan but in the end yielded to it in a sublime trust we are asked to emulate.

If the very realistic and drawn out torment of Jesus didn’t get to you, then I bet the mother of Jesus mopping up his spilled blood did. It would take a mom or a dad to do that, one that had lost all concern for what others thought of them. One who was passionate about their child. Sometimes it is only our kids that awaken that passion in us. Most can relate to the impulse to do anything for our kids. That’s it — that’s what the Father was demonstrating through Jesus. The passionate, unconditional love, like a parent has for their child — with it, a person can conquer fear of death— without it, a person may be incapable of giving love or compassion.

When Mary went to Jesus as he carried his cross, he gained strength and explained “See I’m making all things new!”

The lost boys and girls who tormented Jesus, like those in Never-Neverland, were caught in eternal torment of selfishness themselves. They had not matured to a point where they could put others first.

Parenthood, when it’s done right, has a way of causing your own priorities to take a back seat. That is why parents often come apart when they lose a child. It goes against nature.

For Jesus and Mary and all of us, life requires a sublime trust in God’s plan.

Chris Noonan Funnell

Chris Noonan Funnell

Chris Noonan Funnell is a local columnist and her blog is