The controversial film The Passion of The Christ, by Mel Gibson, is hitting theatres on Ash Wednesday (February 25th). One radio personality has seen an advanced screening of the film, to which she said that she was left “speechless” and could only say: “It should have been me”.

The major controversy with the film seems to revolve around possible anti-semitic feelings people may have at the end of the film. Gibson (who is Catholic) states that this is not the intent of the film. Interestingly, the gospel is an offence to many people, both Jews and non-Jews alike, and the name of Christ is regularly used as, not only a swear word, but as a target for ridicule; anti-Christian sentiment is often ignored and even endorsed in society today. Some would even say that “anti-Christianism” is at an all time high with all that’s happening in the world today: we’re allowed to take the Lord’s name in vain, but say anything about any other “god”, you’re in trouble.

Another aspect which I find interesting, and something which many people (especially non-Catholics) may not know, is that the source material for the film is not only derived from the four Gospels, but also from another book written by Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustian nun who lived in Germany between 1774 to 1824. During her life, God gave her “extensive visions” pertaining to the life of Christ and His final days. I’m not really sure what to make of all this, except that, being of Catholic persuasion, Emmerich (and Gibson, I suppose) do feel that the “virgin Mary” has a place in the plan of redemption.

Last I checked, Scripture states otherwise.

Anyhow, I’ll probably try to see the film. Maybe I’ll even be humbled by it. But I’m not sure if the human imagination (or “visions” of a nun) could match the reality of what really happened at the cross, and the magnitude of the passion of Christ at Calvary, until we enter the gates of heaven. And even then….?