After seeing the movie, SON OF GOD, last night, I went to 8:00 am Mass with a more open view in my heart and mind. The movie was powerful and emotional. I realized how “cleaned up” our version of Christ is as I looked at the beautiful crucifix at St. Theresa’s. The priest even mentioned the tender face Christ has on their crucifix. The movie last night really brought home the brutal murder, the acceptance of God’s will, and a mother’s pain watching it all unfold……our Savior’s story is pretty darn brutal! (I always knew that, but when you sit in a pretty church that part can get pushed to the side! Besides…maybe it was that handsome actor playing Christ who caught my attention a little more!?) The movie captured the essence of Jesus, the man, nicely. On the way home, Liz, Leslie, Sr. Lucy and Sr. Francis and I spoke about the movie. Sr. Francis made the point that she was happy that the producers included the resurrection and ascension into heaven. Without that part, we wouldn’t have our faith! Our Christianity is based on the rising of the dead man….not in the dying…….powerful movie!
SO…St. Theresa’s is beautiful. I have been past it so many times, but this was a first time for going in. It did strike me that the glamour, marble, stained glass, flowers, candles, and ”cleaned up” tender-faced Christ in the middle (He was made in Italy!!) made the church surroundings so peaceful and lovely, yet our story, that links us all, is such is such a brutal and ugly path that creates the underlying foundation of our faith! Interesting.
The priest did a beautiful homily. He had a nice speaking voice and was easy to listen to. Until this morning, I have totally lost track of time and he reminded me (along with the other 100 people there!!) that Lent starts next week!! WOW! I guess I had my eye on Easter, but Ash Wednesday snuck up on me.
He spoke about “giving something up for Lent” or “Doing something special for Lent” as the usual routine. But, then he posed a thought to everyone. He said something along the lines of, “What if everyone gave up UNFORGIVENESS AND BITTERNESS for Lent?” He went on to talk about how Unforgiveness blocks us in so many ways….we hold little grudges that just hurt us, we keep the seeds of bitterness for wrongdoings long ago somewhere in our hearts, we “can’t forgive” because the other person did something to us…..and he put it out there that other person has moved on most likely and we stand there holding the burdens of Unforgiveness and Bitterness. Then he brought Christ into the picture….and the movie came right back to my mind visually.
Christ watched his murderers nail him to a cross of wood in front of his friends and mother.
Then he prayed for them. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
And in that prayer, he even tried to excuse their behavior as he spoke to His Father! WOW!!
I don’t think I could ever be that forgiving and yet, we are asked to follow Christ’s example. We are asked to forgive each other for the day to day little stuff and even this kind of big stuff sometimes that puts walls up between us!
The priest left us with the thought of….if the entire world gave up Unforgiveness and Bitterness for Lent…what a peaceful, CHIRST-FILLED, world we would all live in! It is a beautiful thought for the day……and for Lent…and for always!