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TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

The 2004 movie produced by Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ, is one of the most popular and controversial films of our time. These questions will help in thinking through the movie, or in discussing it with others.

1. Do you know why Jesus had to die?
When learning from The Passion of the Christ the facts about Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, it’s essential to understand the reason for it. One of the most important of the many reasons given in the Bible why Jesus had to die was to receive the wrath of God in the place of others. “For all have sinned,” God says in Romans 3:23. And because God is just and holy, He must punish those who have sinned. But because He is also loving, He was willing to send His Son—Jesus—to take the hammer blow of His wrath so that others might receive His mercy. When Jesus allowed Himself to be spiked onto that wooden cross, He was accepting God’s curse so that sinners could receive God’s blessings forever. As Galatians 3:13 puts it, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”

2. Do you know who really killed Jesus?
There is no single, earthly source to blame for killing Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus, so they arrested Him and delivered Him to the Roman official, Pontius Pilate, for execution. He could have released Jesus, but Pilate, too, shares responsibility because he succumbed to the influence of yet a third party who contributed to the death of Jesus, the crowd in Jerusalem who kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:23). In the end, however, it was sinners like me and you who killed Jesus. “While we were yet sinners,” the apostle Paul tells us, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No one can point a finger at any other person or group for the death of Jesus. Our sins were the reason Jesus had to be crucified.

3. Do you understand the role that God the Father played in the death of Jesus?
Ultimately, it was God the Father who killed His Son, Jesus. The Bible clearly says that Jesus was “delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Jesus did not die by mistake. Although our sins made Jesus’ death necessary, God brought it to pass. So in God’s sending Jesus to receive His wrath so others could receive eternal life, sinners are saved from God, by God.

4. Do you realize why Jesus’ death was different from the death of everyone else in history?
The death of Jesus was unique because His life was unique. Since Jesus never sinned, He never had to die; rather He chose to die. And because Jesus never broke the law of God, He could die as a substitute in the place of lawbreakers. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains, God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

5. Do you know why Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)?
When God in His justice laid the crushing guilt of sinners upon Jesus, God in His holiness then had to reject His own Son as though He were a sinner. As Jesus was suspended between earth and Heaven, the prophecy of Isaiah 53:10 was fulfilled: “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.”

6. Do you know why Jesus’ last words were, “It is finished” (John 19:30)?
Because of His love, God sent Jesus to be the propitiation—the wrath-taker—for the sins of people who did not yet love Him. “In this is love,” says 1 John 4:10, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Once He had taken our guilt and God’s punishment, Jesus triumphantly declared to His Father, “It is finished,” and died.

7. Do you see the relationship between Jesus’ death and His resurrection?
The resurrection of Jesus vindicates all His claims. Anyone could claim, as Jesus did, to be the only way to God (John 14:6). But Jesus substantiated this and all His other claims by doing something no one else has ever done—rising from the dead, never to die again. Moreover, by not leaving Jesus in the grave, God showed that He accepted His Son’s death as a substitute for the death of others. The Bible is plain that the cross of Jesus, without the resurrection, would have meant, “your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). “But now Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20), as proof that Jesus’ death in the place of sinners satisfied the requirements of God’s justice.

8. Do you realize what the death of Jesus can do for you that you cannot do for yourself?
First among many things His cross alone can do for you is this: the death of Jesus can make you righteous in the sight of God. No amount of good that we do can atone for our sins or earn us a place in Heaven. And if we die without receiving the benefits of Jesus’ death, the wrath of God will fall on us forever. Conversely, the Bible speaks of those who have experienced the benefits of the cross as those who have “been justified by His blood,” and declares that they “shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9). To be “justified” means more than having all sins forgiven. It also means to be given credit for living the perfect life Jesus lived. Only a perfect life earns entrance into a perfect world with a perfect God. And only through the death of Jesus can we get the perfect life of Jesus that we need to enter heaven.

9. Do you understand the central message of this movie?
Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was crucified as a substitute for sinners, and rose from the dead to be King over everyone and everything forever.

10. Do you know the biblical response to the message of The Passion of the Christ?
It’s summarized in one of the best-known and best-loved verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Many people will have deep, but merely temporary, emotional responses to The Passion of the Christ. Instead, may the Lord grant you to find in the greatest evil ever committed—the death of Jesus—the greatest, richest, and most satisfying blessing ever offered—God Himself.

7 GREAT QUOTES FROM THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST MOVIE

7 GREAT QUOTES FROM THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST MOVIE

7 Great Quotes From The Passion Of The Christ Movie

Here are seven great quotes from the movie, The Passion of the Christ.

Matthew 27:4 “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

This was just after “Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” (Matt 27:3) because when Judas had betrayed Jesus, Who was totally innocent but the Jews refused to take it back. What was done was done and even the Jewish leaders and Judas’ betrayer evil actions was turned into good because God uses evil for His purposes (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28) and even thought they meant it for evil, God brought about much good for many (John 3:16). 

Matthew 27:24 “So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

Just as Judas had said Pilate also says that Jesus was innocent and so he washed his hands of it, however the blood stained hands of Pilate, just as those of the Jews, could not be cleansed of their guilt for betraying the sinless Son of God.   Every pair of hands that reject Jesus as Savior also have their hands blood stained but for those who trust in Him, His blood doesn’t actually stain our hands but washes away all of our stains and makes us as having the same righteousness as that of Jesus (2nd Cor 5:21).

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In the Beatitudes, Jesus contrasts what we are to do as opposed to the way that the world lives.  Can you imagine any of the Pharisees or Sadducees dying for their enemies?  Jesus point is that “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same’ (Matt 5:46) or in other words, if we love those who love us, so what!?  The world does the very same thing. We are to go beyond what the world does and even love our enemies, but more than that, pray for those who are our persecutors.  This is the godly, agape love that is willing to die for an enemy (Rom 5:10).

John 19:26-26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

Even while Jesus hung on the cross in utter agony, He still thought about His mother and looked to the Apostle John and told him, “Behold your mother!” but more importantly, I think Jesus is showing the relationship of His mother has changed.  He is her Son, yes, but that He is also her Redeemer, Savior, and Lord.  At this point, Jesus became Mary’s Savior too and superseded the mother-son relationship to become the Savior and the saved (that would be us too).

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

We might think that Jesus’s life was taken by men but the truth is that He voluntarily laid down His life so that we might have eternal life but there are other sheep that haven’t yet been born (us) that He has also laid down His life for as it says in John 10:16-18 “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” and so it is “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

This quote of Jesus closely resembles John 10:11 because it shows that Jesus “gave up His spirit” and not that His life was taken by others.   Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to fight for Him but He knew that His purpose was to die to redeem those who placed their faith in Him.  This also proves, beyond any doubt, that God can use evil for good (Gen 50:20) and there has never been and there will never be any more evil used for good than at the cross (John 3:16) because His life became a ransom for many.  What about you?  Have you trusted in the Savior for your eternal destiny?

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Since every one of us, just like “sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a) so “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b).  Don’t think that we, as lost sheep, found our own way because sheep are one of the dumbest of all animals. No, the Great Shepherd sought out the lost sheep, even willing to leave the 99 behind, to find the one that was lost.  That was me and if you’re saved, that was you.  Sheep don’t come home by themselves because they get lost so easily.  They need to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice because sheep always recognize their shepherd’s voice.

Conclusion

Some of the best quotes from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion if the Christ” are direct quotes found in the Bible because Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14) and every Word of God is great.  If you have never seen this movie, I highly recommend it, but it is for mature audiences only because it is very graphic in nature, however it is one of the most accurate depictions of the Passion of Christ that has ever been made.  I don’t know of any Christian who can watch this and not fall on their face, cry out to God, and shed tears of love for how much He was willing to endure for those who didn’t deserve it.

April 2019: Month of the Holy Eucharist

April 2019: Month of the Holy Eucharist

Updated March 02, 2018

Holy Thursday, the day on which Catholics celebrate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper, falls most often in April, and so it is no surprise that the Catholic Church dedicates this month to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

The Real Presence

Other Christians, most notably the Eastern Orthodox, some Anglicans, and some Lutherans, believe in the Real Presence; that is, they believe, as we Catholics do, that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ in the sacrament of the altar (though only Catholics define this change as transubstantiation). However, only the Catholic Church has developed the practice of Eucharistic adoration. Every Catholic Church contains a tabernacle in which the Body of Christ is reserved between Masses, and the faithful are encouraged to come and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Frequent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is a path to spiritual growth.

Eucharistic Adoration

The practice of Eucharistic adoration on earth not only brings us grace but prepares us for our life in Heaven. As Pope Pius XII wrote in Mediator Dei (1947):

These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are reechoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb “who was slain.”

This month, why not make a special effort to spend some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? It doesn’t need to be long or elaborate: You can start simply by making the Sign of the Cross and uttering a short profession of faith, such as “My Lord and my God!” as you pass a Catholic church. If you have the time to stop for five minutes, all the better.

Act of Adoration

Priest holding goblet and communion bowl
Brand X Pictures

In this Act of Adoration, we thank Christ for His continued presence among us, not just through His grace but physically, in the Holy Eucharist. His Body is the Bread of Angels, offered for our strength and salvation.

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
Body of Christ, be my salvation;
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains;
Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
O good Jesu, listen to me;
In Thy wounds I fain would hide;
Ne’er to be parted from Thy side;
Guard me, should the foe assail me;
Call me when my life shall fail me;
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end. Amen.

An Explanation of the Anima Christi

This beautiful prayer, often said after receiving Communion, dates from the early 14th century. St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, was particularly fond of this prayer. The prayer takes its name from its first two words in Latin. Anima Christi means “the soul of Christ.” This translation is by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of the great converts to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century.

For the Peace of Christ

John Henry Cardinal Newman's altar, untouched since his death. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The altar and private chapel of John Henry Cardinal Newman, which has been untouched since his death in 1890, and will be visited by Pope Benedict XVI during his September 2010 tour of the United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

O most sacred, most loving heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou sayest, “With desire I have desired.” I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O make my heart beat with Thy heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it; but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.

An Explanation of the Prayer for the Peace of Christ

When we come before the Blessed Sacrament, it’s all too easy to be distracted, to let our minds wander to our cares and responsibilities. In this prayer for the peace of Christ, composed by John Henry Cardinal Newman, we ask Christ in the Holy Eucharist to purify our hearts so that we may be filled with His love. It is, therefore, a very good prayer to begin a period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion

Thomas Aquinas in prayer
St. Thomas Aquinas in Prayer, c. 1428-32. Found in the collection of the Szepmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

I give Thee thanks, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, that Thou hast vouchsafed, for no merit of my own, but of the mere condescension of Thy mercy, to satisfy me, a sinner and Thine unworthy servant, with the Precious Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ. I implore Thee, let not this Holy Communion be to me an increase of guilt unto my punishment, but an availing plea unto pardon and forgiveness. Let it be to me the armor of faith and the shield of good will. Grant that it may work the extinction of my vices, the rooting out of concupiscence and lust, and the increase within me of charity and patience, of humility and obedience. Let it be my strong defense against the snares of all my enemies, visible and invisible; the stilling and the calm of all my impulses, carnal and spiritual; my indissoluble union with Thee the one and true God, and a blessed consummation at my last end. And I beseech thee that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring me, sinner as I am, to that ineffable banquet where Thou, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness and content, joy for evermore, gladness without alloy, consummate and everlasting bliss. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

An Explanation of the Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion

St. Thomas Aquinas is known today primarily for his theological works (most famously the Summa Theologica), but he also wrote extensive meditations on Scripture, as well as hymns and prayers. This beautiful prayer reminds us that, while we are unworthy to receive Communion, Christ has still given us the gift of Himself, and His Body and Blood strengthen us to live a Christian life.

In this prayer, Saint Thomas expresses his gratitude for the gift of the Eucharist. When we receive Holy Communion in a state of grace, God grants us additional graces (sacramental grace) that strengthen our faith and our desire to do what is right. Those graces help us to grow in virtue and to avoid sin, draw us closer to God in our daily lives, and prepare us for an eternity with Him.

To the Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist

Sacred Heart Statue, Saint-Sulpice, Paris
Sacred Heart Statue, Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Philippe Lissac/Photononstop/Getty Images

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a way to express our gratitude for His mercy and love. In this, prayer, we ask Jesus, present in the Eucharist, to purify our hearts and to make them like His own.

Faith in the Eucharist

O, my God, I firmly believe that Thou art really and corporally present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I adore Thee here present from the very depths of my heart, and I worship Thy sacred presence with all possible humility. O my soul, what joy to have Jesus Christ always with us, and to be able to speak to Him, heart to heart, with all confidence. Grant, O Lord, that I, having adored Thy divine Majesty here on earth in this wonderful Sacrament, may be able to adore it eternally in heaven. Amen.

An Explanation of the Act of Faith in the Eucharist

Our eyes still see bread, but our faith tells us that the Host that is consecrated during the Mass has become the Body of Christ. In this Act of Faith in the Eucharist, we acknowledge Christ’s Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and look forward to the day when we will not only believe but see Him in Heaven.

Petition Before the Blessed Sacrament

Believing all that Thou, my God, hast in any way revealed to us–grieving for all my sins, offenses, and negligences–hoping in Thee, O Lord, who wilt never let me be confounded–thanking Thee for this supreme gift, and for all the gifts of Thy goodness–loving Thee, above all in this sacrament of Thy love–adoring Thee in this deepest mystery of Thy condescension: I lay before Thee all the wounds and wants of my poor soul, and ask for all that I need and desire. But I need the grace to use well Thy graces, the possession of Thee by grace in this life, and the possession of Thee forever in the eternal kingdom of Thy glory.

An Explanation of the Petition Before the Blessed Sacrament

When we come before the Blessed Sacrament in any Catholic church, it isn’t as ifwe’re kneeling before Christ; we are actually doing so, because this is His Body. He is as present to us as He was to His disciples. In this Petition Before the Blessed Sacrament, we acknowledge Christ’s presence and ask Him for the grace to serve Him as we should.

Act of Love

Elevation of the Host during Mass at St. Mary's Oratory, Rockford, IL (Photo © Scott P. Richert)
Fr. Brian A.T. Bovee elevates the Host during a Traditional Latin Mass at Saint Mary’s Oratory, Rockford, Illinois,

I believe Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament, O Jesus. I love Thee and desire Thee. Come into my heart. I embrace Thee, O never leave me. I beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, may the burning and most sweet power of Thy love absorb my mind, that I may die through love of Thy love, Who wast graciously pleased to die through love of my love.

An Explanation of the Act of Love to the Blessed Sacrament

Every visit to the Blessed Sacrament should include an Act of Spiritual Communion, asking Christ to come into our hearts, even when we cannot receive His Body in Holy Communion. This Act of Love, written by Saint Francis of Assisi, is an act of spiritual communion, and it can be prayed even when we aren’t able to be physically in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

An Offering of Oneself to Christ in the Eucharist

My Lord, I offer Thee myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thou hast died for me, and I in turn make myself over to Thee. I am not my own. Thou hast bought me; I will by my own act and deed complete the purchase. My wish is to be separated from everything of this world; to cleanse myself simply from sin; to put away from me even what is innocent, if used for its own sake, and not for Thine. I put away reputation and honor, and influence, and power, for my praise and strength shall be in Thee. Enable me to carry on what I profess. Amen.

An Explanation of An Offering of Oneself to Christ in the Eucharist

We should leave each visit to the Blessed Sacrament renewed in our commitment to live a Christian life. This Offering of Oneself to Christ in the Eucharist, written by John Henry Cardinal Newman, reminds us of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, in dying on the Cross, and asks Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to help us to dedicate our lives to Him. It is the perfect prayer to end a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Today’s Prayer and Saint for Monday 22nd April 2019

Today’s Prayer and Saint for Monday 22nd April 2019

St. Abdiesus

Image of St. Abdiesus

Facts

Feast day: April 22
Death: 342

Also called Hebed Jesus, a deacon in the Christian community of Persia who was caught up in the persecutions conducted by King Shapur II. Records indicate that Abdiesus was accompanied in his martyrdom by Abrosimus, Acepsimus, Azadanes, Azades, Bicor, Mareas, Milles, and a women named Tarbula. Some were Persian courtiers, others priests and bishops. Tarbula was the sister of St. Simeon, and suffered a particularly cruel death by sawing

Prayer for Eternal life with God

Heavenly Father,
in glorifying Jesus 
and sending us your Spirit, 
You open the way to eternal life. 
May my sharing in this Gift increase my love
and make my faith grow stronger. 
Send Your Spirit to cleanse my life 
so that the offering of myself to You at Mass 
may be pleasing to You. 
May my sharing in the Eucharist, 
our Bread of Life, 
bring me eternal life.

Other Saint for today include:

St. Abdiesus
St. Acepsimas
St. Alexander
St. Apelles
St. Arwald
St. Authaire
St. Bicor
St. Epiphanius and Alexander
St. Joseph of Persia
St. Leonides of Alexandria
St. Leo of Sens
St. Mareas
Bl. Maria Gabriella Sagheddu
St. Milles
St. Opportuna
St. Parmenius, Chrysoteins, and Helimenas
St. Senorina
St. Tarbula
St. Theodore of