Of course we all know that this is the very happiest day of the Church year. Jesus died for our sins but rose again to show us life everlasting. What could be better?
The other reason I enjoy Easter so much.
I do love the Easter lilies. I love all the new converts who join us on Easter. Very exciting. Spring. A new start. Much more compelling than any lame old New Year's Resolution in the dead of winter. After all our hard work during Lent, we should have a better appreciation of all that makes life wonderful.
Don't think I'm not paying close attention to all of that.
The other reason I enjoy Easter so much. Bible movies.
Oh, how I love them. Right now I have Sister Mary Fiacre parked in front of "Barabbas", starring Anthony Quinn in the title role. I appreciate people who take a story, in this case the story from the New Testament when Pilate wants to wiggle out of dealing with what to do with Jesus. Pilate decides to let the crowd chose who to set free, since it's a holiday and someone gets to go free. To his chagrin, the crowd chooses Barabbas, a thief.
That's all we know for sure. Anything else we say about Barabbas, his life or whatever happened to him, or even how serious his crime may have been (for all we know he swiped a loaf of bread for his starving family...or his starving self), is one hundred per cent fictional. At best, scholarly.
For example, we might be able to determine the type of crime he committed based on his sentence. But then, sentences were much more harsh for far less crime, back in the day.
I get a charge out of the idea that somebody wrote a story about what might have gone on with Barabbas. How enterprising! First stop "Barabbas", next stop, "Wicked".
The movie, unfortunately, only deals with the tortured Barabbas and his guilt complex over having been saved from death. He remains a non believer up until the bitter end. He finally kills the evil Jack Palance (when is Jack Palance ever not evil?) while working as a gladiator. That doesn't even make him happen.
Anthony Quinn finally wants to be a Christian, gets it all wrong, gets a good talking to by St. Peter himself and dies a martyr's death on a cross.
And yet...Except for wondering how the director hornswaggled all of those ten thousand extras to get painted yellow (for the scenes in the sulfur mines) or sit around cheering in the hot sun for hours waiting for Jack Palance to get his, the movie is not that compelling to me.
I would have liked to have heard more about what landed old Barabbas in jail. One theory is that he was actually a terrorist. At least from the Romans' perspective. He was trying to overthrow the Roman rule in Judea. Barabbas was a big hero to the crowd, which was why they were happy to holler for his release. Like that man that threw his shoe at Mr. Bush. Lots of people hollered for his release, too.
My favorite Barabbas theory is that the crowd wasn't yelling for him at all. They were yelling for Jesus. The Jesus who always talked about "the Father". To yell for him they would have had to holler "Yeshu abbas!"
Pilate just heard them wrong. For example, I saw the crowd of people at this year's Superbowl ball game booing Mr. Bruce Springsteen. I wondered aloud how such an unpopular performer would have landed the much coveted Superbowl halftime show. I was informed that the crowd was not booing the band, but yelling "Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce".
That's not how it sounded at all. Maybe if everyone had rolled their "r's".
For our Easter celebration and relaxation tonight we will be on to "King of Kings". It's been quite some time since I've seen that, but as I recall Jesus is portrayed in that film as one of those people mosquitoes love to bite. The red haired, blue eyed Jesus of the old holy cards.
I can't wait!