Friday, 21 March 2008
It's been an eventful week for us, as we went down to the diocesan cathedral in Norwich on Wednesday for the diocesan Chrism Mass. It was a beautiful liturgy and we had a real sense of being a part of the Church in East Anglia, something that Bishop Michael talked about in his homily. Holding up for us the example of St. Felix who has just been given the status of a feast in the diocese, he encouraged everyone to imitate the apostles in bringing the Good News of Christ to the people of East Anglia.
Part of that good news is obviously the event which we commemorate today - the passion and death of Jesus - acknowledging with gratitude his mercy towards us, and repenting of our own sins which made him 'a worm and no man'. This morning the seminarians from Oscott joined the local community in a walk of witness through the town centre, and we sang 'Man of sorrows' and 'All for Jesus' while students from the secondary school performed a mystery play of Jesus' death. We are just about to go in to Birmingham cathedral for the reading of the Passion and the veneration of the Cross, and this evening we will watch the BBC portrayal of the Crucifixion.
I only saw the first BBC episode on the Passion, which left me with mixed feelings. Much of the script did not come from the canonical Gospels at all, and rather than being hostile to the biblical portrayal of Christ's mission it just seemed to reduce it to a generic message of 'the Kingdom of God is in your hearts.' While some people are happy that Mary is not sweet or saccharine, she also seems to have had no say in her role as Jesus' mother, and does not really have faith ('It's easy to believe when you're young,' she says wearily). Also Jesus comes across, as he often does in these things, as a bit weedy. Still, I liked some of the dramatisations, and especially think Pilate is played well.