I admit I was turned off by the title of the review… ‘The Chosen’ is the Jesus TV show your very Catholic aunt keeps telling you to watch. And you should.”
Apparently, Mary Grace Mangano, the reviewer read my mind. She wrote “I could not help but think, oh, a Bible show. I pictured the sort of show we watched in my C.C.D. days and didn’t put it high on my priority list.”
Yet, The Chosen, as I found out, has become a global phenomenon since its release in 2019. More than 300 million views on the internet in over 190 countries and appropriate languages. This year’s Christmas special will be the first such internet series to be shown on big screens in theaters. Rock concerts are generally thrilled with $1.5 million in sales in the first 12 hours!
But once I got to the following I had to read the rest…
The church needs this show. The faithful need this show… It sounds strange to say, but in all the books, podcasts, homilies, catechesis and education I have encountered that have formed my faith, it never occurred to me that the apostles had full lives with families, jobs, commitments and challenges, just like I do—and that Jesus disrupts all of that when he arrives.
(Now) As I read the daily Gospel, I can picture James and John, sons of Zebedee, asking for seats at the right hand of God and not understanding what their requests mean. I appreciate how tense forming community would be for Jews like Simon and Andrew, who had had their exorbitant taxes collected by Matthew, now someone they are supposed to work with and love. I resonate with Mary Magdalene who bravely leaves her old ways behind but still needs to be reminded of God’s love for her.
Many previous attempts to depict Christ on the screen have focused on his divinity, but what I appreciate about “The Chosen” is that its creators acknowledge that we can never fully grasp his divinity. But Jesus’s humanity? Yes, that we can understand. And that is what this show captures so well.
Mr. Roumie who portrays Jesus said,
People have been “reluctant to believe it’s more than a melodramatic platitude-driven story about Jesus and His followers.. where he’s just a stone statue who talks in King James language that divorces people from their own lives and reality.” But when they do, sometimes by accident, encounter the show, a number of fans have experienced profound reminders of how much they are loved by God.
Any show that can inspire that kind of response… is worth tons of scholarly articles I have read even in recent years.
I wonder if you too might have the same final reaction as the reviewer.
Although I initially put off my aunts’ suggestions that I watch “The Chosen,” I have now become the person recommending the show to everyone I know.
More than ever, I see the apostles as people like me. That is such a different understanding than the too-holy-to-touch view I sometimes previously espoused.
But, I guess I need to get used to different—because Jesus changes everything.
As I have written before this is the way St. Vincent seemed to read the scriptures… and was transformed by what he read.
We all must ask the question
- Do I appreciate the humanity of the people transformed by Jesus?
PS I am just beginning season one and am probably late to the party. I look forward to hearing from those who already know this series.
See viewing instructions keeping in mind their “Pay it forward” approach of donations to fund the development of future seasons. (It is definitely a candidate for “Binge-watching”!
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk