Since Lent Culminates in Holy Week: My Own Thoughts on the “Obscenity” of Mel Gibson’s Movie, "The Passion of the Christ"
I disagree with claims that the physical sufferings of Christ were the worst the world has ever known. Victims who survive full-body, third-degree burns probably suffer physically more— and longer— than Christ suffered physically.
The saving import of Christ’s suffering is not in its physical intensity, but in the fact that he died. However, his interior MORAL suffering is what we cannot begin to measure. A perfect man, whose intellect and emotional life were never clouded by sin and its distortions, whose consciousness was more awake than sinners can experience or imagine— THAT kind of man can suffer with an INTERIOR totality, openness and vulnerability that NONE of us can experience or imagine. Christ was that man. He OPENED HIS BEING to shoulder, to take on, to take away WITHIN himself the sins of the world.
Gibson’s movie, "The Passion of the Christ”, made an obvious graphic point of literal portrayal of the OBSCENITY of the physical violence perpetrated on Christ. The movie leaves the viewer with the emotional rawness of having viewed OBSCENE physical violence, violent physical OBSCENITY. However, the Word of God himself in the Four Holy Gospels and the entire New Testament DOES NO SUCH THING!
[The crucifixion image here is from the Beuronese school of art.]