Susan Ciancio explains the wisdom in the dialogue in the movie Resurrection, now streaming on Discovery+.
“What did you find?”
“Nothing. We found nothing. And everything.”
In the movie Resurrection, Mary Magdalene asks that question to John after they find the empty tomb. John’s response is a poignant moment — one of my favorite in the entire movie — because it sums up the entirety of our faith. Jesus’ resurrection is everything!
But this wasn’t the only line from the movie that impacted me. The movie contains many hidden gems of dialogue that elicited that “wow” moment. They were lines that I wanted to rewind and hear again — and then ponder.
As I watched Resurrection, I felt as if the writers were using the characters to provoke the audience to go beyond the dialogue and to apply their words to today. With religion and conscience protections constantly under attack, we know that there are people who want to make Jesus go away. We know that people believe He is, according to Pilate’s words from the movie, a “danger to the status quo.”
We see further evidence of this when Peter’s childhood friend, in trying to convince the Apostles to join and fight against the Romans, said: “They will snuff out His ideas one by one until it will be as if He never existed.”
Later, Caiaphas said: “Why couldn’t this Jesus just stay dead?”
And a Roman leader stated: “If you cannot control a story, kill it.”
Do we not see this attitude today? Do we not see an attempt to turn society away from Christ and His teachings and to, instead, indoctrinate people — especially children — to a secular world where anything goes and where they want to kill the truth about Christ and morality?
But the truth cannot be erased. And we see this theme of Christ’s truth throughout the movie, beginning with Pilate’s question to Jesus at the beginning: “What is truth?”
The movie then explains and defines truth—Christ is the Lord. There are people out there today who want to suppress that truth. And many are scared of Jesus because they think He is a danger to the “status quo.”
But we must have hope, for Jesus won’t “stay dead,” as the modern-day Caiaphases want. His truths will not be suppressed. And though people have tried for 2,000 years, they cannot snuff out His teachings or the people who believe in them. This truth really hits home when the movie closes with the fact that two billion people in the world believe in Jesus without ever having seen Him.
No, we cannot actually see Him in the flesh, but we can hear His words. We can see Him in the Eucharist and in Adoration. And we are blessed because we believe. As Jesus said to Thomas: “Blessed are they who have not seen me and still believe.”
Resurrection also beautifully focuses on the relationship between Peter and Christ, with two extremely touching scenes. In one, we see Peter’s shame at denying Christ. Sitting in the Upper Room, Peter reflects on his actions and says: “I so want to tell Him I’m sorry.” Christ then appears, laying His hand on Peter’s shoulder. We feel the peace and the love. And Peter knows instantly that he is forgiven.
Later, we see Peter’s excitement upon seeing Christ. The Apostles are fishing after the Resurrection and are unable to catch anything. Christ stands on the shore and shouts to them to cast their nets on the right. At first, Peter doesn’t realize that it is Christ talking to them, but when he does, he dives into the water and swims ashore, embracing Christ with immense love.
It made me think: Shouldn’t we all feel this same excitement when we “see” Christ? And shouldn’t we all desire to apologize to God when we know we have hurt Him with our sins?
Though Resurrection wasn’t the most compelling movie about Jesus that I’ve ever seen — and the special effects and character development were a bit lackluster — the wisdom and the thought-provoking dialogue made this cerebral movie unforgettable, especially with this last line from Peter: “The kingdom of God is coming, and we will be fit to enter!”
The movie makes us think: What will we do to make ourselves fit to enter? This is what we must contemplate every day of our lives.
Resurrection ends with stirring images of Catholics throughout the world worshipping in different ways — some praying, some processing with the Eucharist, some dancing, and some singing. The beauty and the joy elicited by the faithful help us understand that John’s prophetic words have truly come to pass.
In the empty tomb, we have found everything.
Resurrection is available for streaming on Discovery+.
Copyright 2021 Susan Ciancio
Images courtesy of Discovery+. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About the Author
Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer. She is executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program and editor of ALL's Celebrate Life Magazine.