Much has been posted about this story of a wayward young man and his rocky journey to faith. And so I am chiming in…briefly.
What an encouraging story of God’s mercy for the sinner who finally repents. His path to God was certainly not one to which most of us can relate.
You’ve seen the trailers. An atheist boxer, with language that might make a sailor blush, stumbles his way to the cross. For the faint of heart, the dialogue might make you squirm. Yet it is a somewhat safe way to observe the reality of life for those without the guidance we have come to know through the Holy Spirit.
But suddenly there has been an unexpected fallout from Father Stu…even from those who have not seen the film.
For those who are not aware, the star Mark Wahlberg has a past. Shocker, as if none of us do. I won’t go into the details of the errors of his youth [you all know how to use the Internet]. And the serious issues that plagued Mel Gibson, particularly after he produced The Passion of the Christ, are the stuff of a trash magazine editor’s dreams. Talk about products flying off the shelves! Yes, both Mel and Mark have sinned.
And what is the response from a certain element of the Christian community? Compassion? Rejoicing that those who were lost have been found? Think again. People instead are badmouthing Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson for their personal transgressions. Talk about missing the point…completely!
[SIDEBAR: I’m glad my personal sins are not available for public consumption as are those of these men]
Sacred Scripture gives us many examples of the sinner who comes home. King David. St. Paul. The thief on the cross. And the most relevant to the common man, the Prodigal Son. How can we embrace these stories, yet reject God’s mercy at work in our contemporaries? Could it be these new examples before our eyes are God’s way of saying, “I’m still here…I’m still about the business of rescuing the repentant sinner.”
In response to those who are judging the production of Father Stu by the sins of those involved in making it, get real. You may as well stop watching any films. Or reading any books. Or listening to any music. Or listening to a sermon or homily. We all are sinners. Look in the mirror. The Bible made it clear that we seek to repent of our own transgressions, rather than trying to find those in others.
We are not omniscient and cannot see into the hearts of those we dare to condemn. So, let’s leave the judgement to God. We are an Easter People and Jesus died for all who repent. Now go see the movie Father Stu…then rejoice in a son who finally came home.
May his and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
P.S. This post’s admonition is as much for me as it might be for the reader. Christ have mercy on me, a sinner.