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"It is as it was."

It would be very easy to allow this post to veer off into an extended rant about various critics and dirtbags in the press who wrote hit pieces on The Passion of the Christ even before they'd seen it, but I'm going to avoid that. It would also be easy to rant about people who sneered at Pope John Paul II's comment on the movie, but I'm going to avoid that too.

The movie is bigger than that.

As I understand it, Mel Gibson wanted to tell the story of Christ's death and resurrection in as realistic a manner as possible. After watching the movie on my laptop in the privacy of my room, I have to say that I am very, very glad I did not see it in a movie theater, because Gibson achieved his goal. I'm not sure anyone without children can really appreciate this movie, because while it is a movie about Christ and his suffering, it's also a movie about His mother and the agony she endures as her only son is put through the worst human beings can devise.

There is pain and agony, but there is also kindness and redemption. For every brutish legionary wielding the cane and the scourge, there is a Cassius who helps Jesus as best he can; for every stone-throwing inhabitant of Jerusalem, there is a St. Veronica wiping the blood from His face. There is also Abenader the centurion; though he doesn't get the line I was expecting from him, it is obvious that he has come to believe. Gibson includes many of the traditional, non-scriptural stories in the movie, and many minor characters in the Passion get their moment in the spotlight. It all feels real, and it hits you like a sledgehammer. I cried, I wept...not entirely surprising, since I normally cry during the Good Friday Mass, but I cried until I hurt.

You can pick nits, and people have, but there is no denying that this is a powerful movie. If you believe, it makes you look at yourself and realize how unworthy you are to have had Him endure this for you. This movie will probably never win any awards in Hollywood, but I'm pretty sure Mel Gibson wasn't doing this for the Academy.