All the classics of horror are Catholicism twisted. Vampires are the shadow opposite of Jesus in the Eucharist; they prey on the blood of others to possess eternal life apart from God. Depictions of Frankenstein are distortions of the Mystical Body of Christ, with the dead parts of many monstrously combined as one. And what are zombie stories but corruptions of the Resurrection? A new friend of mine teaches a faith formation class with a 5th grader who periodically pipes up saying, “Jesus was a zombie.” So, this week, she taught them about how Jesus is different from zombies.
Zombies are typically said to be created by a virus or a magic spell, but Jesus lives by the power of God. Zombies lose their memory and intellects, but the risen Jesus knows his friends and converses with them. The bodies of zombies decay and they can be “killed,” but the risen Jesus is free from corruption and can die no more. Zombies “desire” to kill people, but Jesus would give them life. (What other differences can you find with your family?)
After seeing The Passion of the Christ in 2004, I heard a fellow seminarian say that the movie ending with Jesus walking from the tomb on Easter morning frustrated him—he want to see what happened next, he wanted the story to continue. Last Friday, I had the great pleasure of seeing a new film which tells that story: Risen. In it, a Roman soldier named Clavius is tasked by Governor Pontius Pilate to find the body of Jesus the Nazarene and end rumors of his resurrection. Only about a dozen people were in the theater on opening night, so if you want to enjoy this highly-recommended film on the big screen you should make a point to see it soon.