Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Mission

I don’t go to the movies much these days.
I only have basic cable
and I can tell you that I watch more
Little House on the Prairie,
Seventh Heaven, and Touched by an Angel
than anything else.

I do manage to watch Beverly Hillbillies
and I Love Lucy reruns.
(Ricky Ricardo was a Latino before his time,
but that’s another blog entry!)

When my sons were younger,
we’d be at the theater every other week.
My eldest sons are now in their twenties.
I can tell you
that when my sons were training to become altar servers
they were top notch,
remembering all of the special names of things liturgical.

I’ll never forget when Fr. Kelly
asked the group of young folks in front of him
what the name of the this was,
as he pointed to the ambo.
My boys were the only ones to raise their hands.
When called upon,
they answered correctly.
"How did you remember that,"
asked the priest.
My sons responded in the only way
a moving going youngster could,
"Because it’s like Rambo,
only without the ‘r.’"

Yes, the Rambo movies
were quite popular in the mid 80's.
But there was another movie
that went almost unnoticed
around the same time.
In fact,
I think it was more popular South of the Border
than in the United States.
It starred a very young Robert De Niro.
So young, in fact,
that when I watched the movie last night,
I barely recognized him.
It was his voice that gave him away. . .

Anyway, thinking of this film for a few days recently,
I went to my local video renting place
to see if I could find a copy.
Sadly, they didn’t carry it.
Couldn’t find it at the library either.
I did the only thing I could do:
I bought it online over at

It’s a true story about a Jesuit mission
and the wonderful gift of music
God has graced an indigenous community with.

It’s a story that begins
with a missionary
gaining the trust and confidence of the indigenous
through music.
It’s a story that ends
with music that survives
when not much else does.
(And this reminds of the woman
who works at the archdiocese
who told me music isn’t evangelization,
but that’s another blog entry as well!)

It’s a movie about brave and daring missionaries,
and dare I say,
very hard working men,
who brought Christ
to those the world said
where nothing more than animals without souls.

It’s a story about men
who trap other men and use them for slaves.
It’s also a story about men
who are slaves to wealth and power.

It’s a story about a bishop
who knew what was right, just and moral
but deciding to side
with those of earthly power and greed.

It’s a story about murder,
conversion and penance.
And a story about forgiveness.

It’s a story about one man’s
journey of faith
as he answers the call to priesthood.

It’s a story about the horrors experienced
by a community
and the Jesuits who risked their very lives,
indeed, risked excommunication
to protect and guard the sacred
when the church, herself, would not.

Buy it.
Rent it.
Just watch it.
The name of the movie is,
"The Mission."
It starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons.
It will tug and your heart strings.

And then make you all the more hungry and thirsty for justice.
What’s scary,
is that it also opens your eyes
to where many of the injustices lie.

. . . .The thing is,
justice cannot be lukewarm.
that’s a very scary thought. . . .

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