By Grace Harris
March 2, 2004

It's been four day's since I've seen the Passion, which left me deeply moved, and utterly silent for a long time.

Before I comment, I'd like to repeat what I consider to be the wisest commentary on the movie to date:  what Dennis Prager said during the Fox interview.  He said that people would see different movies.  He said that Jews, who had fears of pogroms branded into their souls, would go to the film expecting to see Jews accused of killing Christ, and that is what they would see.  He said that Christians, who nowadays don't even ask the question of who killed Christ, would go to the movie expecting to see the atoning death of their savior, and that is what they would see.

So according to Dennis, to a large extent, Shlomoh saw what he expected, Deke saw what he expected, Jim saw what he expected, Scott saw what he expected, and I saw what I expected.  That said, this is what I remember:

I only cried once.  It was during a flashback:  As Mary watched Jesus fall under the weight of the cross, she remembered him falling as a toddler and running to him.  Maybe its the mom thing, but I didn't just cry, I absolutely sobbed.

I saw Romans who were absolutely monstrous sadistic brutes, far, far worse than the Jews in the movies.  Indeed, I saw many many good Jews --even in the Sanhedron, two Pharisees objected to the proceedings and had to be thrown out by Caiphus.  But there was only one, ONE, decent Roman in the entire picture: Pilate's wife.  Even when the most evil Jews could no longer tolerate watching the scourging, there were plenty of sadistic Romans left to enjoy sticking around and taking it up to the next level.

I cannot tell you how enraged I felt when Pilate, knowing full well Jesus was innocent, gave him over to be crucified.  I hope he spends eternity in hell with Lady Macbeth, forever washing the blood from his hands.

I didn't see Caiphus as a Jew.  I saw him as a man in power, threatened by the non-comformist who challenged his comfortable and highly profitable world.  Caiphus wasn't worried about blasphemies.  He was worried about challenges to his power and authority. He was the Darth Vadar figure -- consumed by the dark side. Men like that exist in every religion and every people -- even Popes.  I would imagine that to an atheist watching the movie, it might seem like the story of what happens to a man who challenges the status quo and rubs the wrong person the wrong way.  I imagine my brother will take a very "anarchist against the empire" view of the Passion.  The point is, while Caiphus was truly evil, set upon achieving the death of his enemy, it is only circumstantial that he was Jewish.

If anything, the movie tempted me to hate people.  I felt like, why does God even love us, there is so much hate.  And in the midst of that temptation, I heard the voice of Christ, "Forgive them..."


Grace Harris converted to Roman Catholicism from Holiness Religion over 20 years ago. She is currently in a conversion to Judaism program.

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