Last night’s television production of “The Passion Live” on Fox was strange and wonderful, at times contagious and very moving, and caught much of America’s attention last night, including mine. It reminds me that Jesus’s story is very much alive today. Coupled with the fact that, count ’em, four faith-based movies are in theaters now, I feel very encouraged to continue to write novels based on Bible stories because I can see there is a growing passion, even among young people, for returning to our roots in the Scriptures and then applying its meaning in our lives today. I think we could all see glimpses of ourselves last night in Judas, Peter and the other apostles, Mary and even Pontius Pilate as they sang modern songs that resonated with how they were feeling as Jesus’ Passion played out – and how we feel this week as we hear the stories again. I couldn’t help but hear a song in my head from another musical based on the Passion, “Jesus Christ Superstar” when the disciples sang, “What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happening…” I think I would have wanted to be front stage and center for the action, making history back then. But would I have had the courage to stand up for my friend if it meant being arrested too, or would I have pretended I didn’t know him (like Peter)? Would I be anxious about the days to come, or simply be content to live in today, having faith that God’s got this as Jesus does in Luke 22:42 on the Mount of Olives as he knows he’s about to be taken a prisoner: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” It was startling and brilliant, I thought, that police officers led Jesus away in handcuffs with the two other criminals and then he came back in orange prison garb. It made it real in today’s times, which is what I hope to do with my novels. We need to encourage each other to feel passionate about our faith and our purpose, but stay grounded in today, like Jesus sings back to the disciples in the JCS song, “What’s the Buzz?” which paraphrases the Gospel: “Don’t you mind about the future, don’t you try to think ahead, save tomorrow for tomorrow think about today instead.” I hope you all have a passionately joyful Easter week!
Monthly Archives: March 2016
Some Monday mornings are harder than others…sometimes we feel too tired or downhearted to face the day. After pulling my back and spending a weekend trying to rest (which is quite difficult for me, always with so much to do), I woke up feeling this way, and the loss of an hour of sleep (daylight savings time) and dreary winter scenery outside – bare trees, dark gray sky and a steady rain falling – didn’t help. I believe it’s times like these we especially need to turn to God and ask for his strength. I took a few minutes to do that…and I then felt a renewed energy and a small voice said, “go, get to work, it will all be ok.” So for all of you out there who may be feeling downtrodden today, I offer you the song “We Will Rise Again” written by David Haas (just click on photo to hear it) that always brings me to joyful tears with beautiful lyrics taken from Isaiah 40:1-31: “Like a shepherd I will feed you; I will gather you with care. I will lead you and hold you close to my heart. I am strength to the weary; to the weak I am new life. Though the young may grow weary, I will be their hope. (Refrain) We will run and not grow weary, for our God will be our strength, and we will fly like the eagle, we will rise again. Lift up your eyes, and see who made the stars. I lead you, and I know you, I call you each by name. Fear not, I am with you; I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; uphold you with my hand.” No matter what I hope you have a blessed day!
Have you seen the movie “Spotlight?” You know, the one that won the Oscar for Best Picture? I talked my husband into watching it with me over the weekend despite his misgivings. I’m an Oscar fanatic – I try to watch as many films up for awards before the big night as possible so I can make “informed decisions” during the Academy Awards show (my favorite of the year). Of course Spotlight was the one movie I didn’t see beforehand (so it figures it won.) While I wouldn’t say Spotlight deserved to win Best Picture, I do think it was well done – and it did give you plenty to think about, if not fire up serious doubts about the Catholic Church that you may or may not have had already. If you don’t know, it’s about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the scandal of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and the cover up of it by various officials of the Church. While it’s hard to argue against the fact that the Church and its representatives hurt a lot of people, I find myself still defending my Catholic faith, even in the wake of the movie. Easy for me to say, I’m not a victim? Not really, because I was (although my case involved a Catholic school teacher). It took a long time for me to forgive and reconcile myself with God, my faith and the Church. Sometimes it’s easier to blame others or hold onto anger and resentments. But I know if I do I’m only hurting myself further. While seriously flawed at times, I still believe the Church is God’s house, both physically and spiritually, that it was given to us by Jesus Christ, and it still does a lot of good in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing at that defense when I debate with others, but when I find myself “fighting” internally, like I did after the movie, I realize my faith wins. As humans, not robots, we are meant to question and challenge, not just live in blind faith…it helps us grow. And often I find my faith gets even stronger when tested. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7) Like anything in life, I believe instead of focusing on the problems, we need to focus on solutions…to not turn away but to help build the Church and the Kingdom.