For class tonight, I am going to show the final scenes of Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus. (I had planned to do this a couple of weeks ago, but that night we were invited to attend a special presentation by the 6th graders).
I’ve always thought that Jesus of Nazareth was a very good portrayal and is very educational for the young people without the uneccessarily extreme graphic approach that Mel Gibson took in The Passion of the Christ.
The scenes I am showing begin with Jesus carrying his cross, leading up to the end of the movie in which the Risen Christ is with the apostles. All told, this segment is about 40 minutes.
Throughout the viewing, I will be pausing the DVD to comment about scenes, clarify inconsistencies with the Gospel accounts, explain things that may be confusing to the young people, and take questions. This will be an active and educational viewing experience, not a passive form of entertainment.
Immediately following the video and some discussion, I will lead the young people in a reflective prayer, inviting them to insert themselves into some of the scenes they will have just witnessed and to converse with Jesus throughout the moments of his Passion and Resurrection.
My goal is to set the tone for these final few weeks we have together, intensifying the emphasis on our personal relationship with Jesus and the saving power of the Cross and Resurrection in our lives.