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The Passion of the Christ: 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?'

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 Contents - Apr 2004AD2000 April 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Passion of the Christ: 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?' - Michael Gilchrist
National Church Life Survey: church-going declines further - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Riccardo Piol of Communion and Liberation makes an impact in Victoria - AD2000 Report
Books: Archbishop Hart launches new book on Dr Mannix - Daniel Mannix: Wit and Wisdom - Archbishop Dennis Hart
Film Review: Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ': a contemporary masterpiece - David Schütz
Events: Adore 2004 Youth Eucharistic Congress - Nicole Osmak
God 'number one' in East Timor - Paul Russell
Events: Chesterton conference to be held in Melbourne - Tony Evans
Theology: Fr Aidan Nichols to lecture on von Balthasar in Melbourne - Tracey Rowland
Whatever happened to reverence at Mass? - Matthew Greene
The Salesians in East Timor: progress report - Br Michael Lynch
Letters: Church architecture
Letters: Catholic schools
Letters: Jehovah's Witnesses
Letters: Corrections - Fr Timothy Deeter
Letters: The Sign of the Cross - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Life under threat - Brian Harris
Letters: Taking a stand in the culture war - Robert and Carmel Garrett
Letters: Easter greetings from India - Fr S. John Joseph
Poetry: Two Poems on the Passion - Marion Craig and Brian Mulligan
Books: The Catholic Revival in English Literature 1845-1961, by Ian Ker - Francis Phillips (reviewer)
Books: An apology for the revival of Christian Architecture, by Augustus Welby Pugin - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Priestly Fraternity of St Peter - Holy Week 2004
Books: AD Books - More new titles for 2004
Reflection: Right is right, even if nobody does it (G.K. Chesterton) - Fr F.E. Burns

Unprecedented media attention has been focused in recent weeks on the central symbol of Christianity - the cross - even if much of the coverage has been uncomprehending.

Whatever the merits of the Mel Gibson-directed movie, The Passion of the Christ (see review on pages 8-9), it has been a timely corrective to the watered-down interpretation of Christ's life and teachings presented in many post-1960s homilies and catechetical materials.

The hard reality of being a follower of Christ is the obligation to take up one's own cross: offering up frustrations, disappointments, pains, losses and tragedies in union with Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross. It is this which gives meaning to what can otherwise seem pointless.

The Gospel accounts of Our Lord's passion and death are under-stated, but there is no doubt what was specifically entailed in being scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified. The Mel Gibson film simply presents these in all their excruciating detail. Here indeed is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; the bloody sacrifice of God's own Son which is at the heart of the Mass.

These are fundamental Christian truths that have been obscured in recent years, leading many younger Catholics to find their religion "boring" or "irrelevant".

But, for the Christian, there are two sides to the coin. While the sacrifice of God's only-begotten Son may provide meaning and consolation in the midst of our own sufferings, ultimately, it is Easter Sunday that rounds off the Christian story as a beacon of hope. For beyond the inevitable pain in this life there lies the promise of the Resurrection.

As the two angels told the women at Christ's empty tomb in Luke's account: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."

  • Michael Gilchrist, Editor (E-mail:; website:

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 3 (April 2004), p. 2

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