Showing a segment of the DVD Jesus of Nazareth worked out beautifully last night.
As I mentioned yesterday, I showed the segment beginning with the Way of the Cross, leading up to the end of the film as the Risen Christ assures his apostles (and us) that he will be with us always. This is about 40 minutes.
I paused the video frequently, pointing out information and asking questions and inviting the young people to ask questions. They indeed had a number of very good questions about Jesus’ death and Resurrection. It made for a very good educational and formative experience. We talked about Nicodemus, Mary Magdelene, the act of crucifixion, the Pharisees, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus, the “good thief” (“Dismas”), Jesus crying out “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” the apostle John, Peter’s denial, the Jewish burial customs, and the question of whether or not Jesus could have been “spared” this gruesome death. Kids can get into some heavy stuff, eh?
From there, we went right into a reflective prayer, focusing on the story of the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus. The young people were extremely well-behaved (it helps when 2 of the usual trouble-makers are not present) and prayerful.
Back to Jesus of Nazareth, this is a good way to use video in religious education. Be sure to preview the DVD ahead of time and find points at which to pause it and ask and invite questions. It transforms the young people’s mindset from one of being passively entertained to one of being actively engaged in learning. Jesus of Nazareth is a good resource for catechesis because it is quite faithful to Scripture for the most part and, where it isn’t, it allows you the opportunity to point out what Scripture actually does teach. Our young people are so visually-oriented, it is good to provide them with visuals of the Gospel.