Movie night is a special time for my husband and I. After the kids go to bed, we sit on the couch (sometimes with a glass of wine and chocolate or chips and salsa) and watch a movie together. It is something I look forward to since we do not get many date nights, and it is a wonderful way to just enjoy being together.
Recently, we purchased some older movies recommended by the the National Catholic Register, hoping that these movies will not only entertain, but inspire as well. Some of you may remember “Jesus of Nazareth,” a 4-hour TV movie that includes a star-studded cast (at least at the time!). Abe and I decided to tackle this movie first – a movie I remember bits and pieces of when watching with my parents. The thing I remembered the most from this movie is the striking blue eyes of the actor who played Jesus in the film (Robert Powell). Yeah, so I was working from a pretty blank slate!
This movie has seriously haunted me (in a good way) since I have started watching it. The scenes of Jesus during his ministry are so amazing and beautiful. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about a scene here or there. One scene that has touched me the most in the part where the tearful woman (played by Anne Bancroft) interrupts a dinner where Jesus is eating with the Scribes and Pharisees. This scene is amazing – please watch it below:
Wonderful right? Didn’t you feel like Jesus was looking right at you when he says “Go, and sin no more”? (at about 4:56) The director did a great job in this scene!
What struck me as so amazing is that I asked myself the question – do I want to be a humble sinner, or do I want to be a pharisee? We want to be the person who is humble before God, but so many times the “pharisee” in us rears his ugly head. The pharisees saw themselves as the chosen people who were supposed to keep themselves away from the “unclean” and show that they are faithful by going to church and “appearing” holy. They judged others as sinners and failed to see their own faults. Then, Jesus comes along and tells them they must love everyone and serve others, not just the “chosen people of God.” In this video clip, I see the pharisees and scribes as willing to hear what Jesus has to say, but they are not open to the possibility that He is speaking truth; they already know everything.
The more you learn about your faith, the more you become tempted to judge others – “Why are they dressed like that in church?” “So-and-so curses all the time – that is so un-Christian-like.” I guess that is the devil’s way of making us use our knowledge to be self-righteous instead of using it to be a model of faith and accepting to all, meeting everyone where they are during their faith journey.
This scene brought me to tears because it is so powerful, yet so simple. Recognize that you are a sinner, and you will find it hard to not love others. Recognize your own wretchedness, and you will find it easy to see the good in everyone – isn’t that why Jesus ate with sinners? He knew they were open to love, needing acceptance and willing to seek what He had to offer.
If we already think we know it all and have the faith figured out, we don’t need Him. Well, we DO need Him – open your heart and realize you are a humble sinner, and the greatest commandments can be followed.
I just wanted to share this insight with you – I hope it helps with your spiritual journey toward an amazing friendship with Jesus! Oh, and if you haven’t seen “Jesus of Nazareth” recently or have never had the pleasure of watching it, get it soon!