Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games and Holy Week

By Rick Howick
Principal, St. Catherine of Alexandria School, Riverside

I don’t plan to see Hunger Games. I’m not boycotting the movie, per se, but I don’t want to watch children and teens kill each other (it’s not an image I want in my head). I know several families have gone to see it and nobody seems scarred, and I see value in the theme of fighting against human cruelty and government tyranny.

One thing brought out by a critic was that religion is totally absent from the movie – not being used by the government as a tool of oppression, and not by the victims as hope in God. It was pointed out by another commentator that the theme of human sacrifice, from the age of Roman gladiators, through the Aztecs, has been a constantly returning theme in human history – at least, in non-Christian times.

We Christians, of course, already have that sacrifice in Jesus Christ, an innocent who died for the rest of us. That reality has quelled the need for scapegoats where our relationship to that sacrifice is taken to heart. The popularity of a book series and film on sacrificing innocents in our current culture raises a sad question about our society as it moves further away from Christian faith.

We Catholics have already seen the result of evil, and the price has been paid. As we look at the cross on Good Friday, we should not forget that He was sacrificed in an age that was often callous, merciless, and cruel, the result of institutionalized selfishness and sin. As our culture inches its way further from the values of Christ – life, love, selfless giving – give thanks that our families are steeped in His love and care.

May God richly bless our reflection on the sacrifice of Christ that Holy Week brings, and may He fill our lives with the joy in knowing that we are part of His Resurrection.

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