Lenten Reflection: From “The Chosen”
Have you watched any of the episodes of “The Chosen”? It is a multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. The show has received high praise in some circles (I like it!) and has garnered a vast audience all over the world. The series was created by Dallas Jenkins who wanted to do a series on Jesus that would show not only his divinity, but also his humanity. In the program we see Jesus preaching and working miracles, but we also see him telling jokes, fixing his own meals, dancing with his friends, conversing naturally with people, and saying his evening prayers. Jenkins had three religious advisors while making the film: a Rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Protestant minister.
“The Chosen” is now in its third season. And you can watch it for FREE on “The Chosen” app, the Angel app, and the show’s website. It’s also available on Netflix, Peacock, Fox Nation, and Amazon Prime. The show stars Jonathan Roumine who, as one critic said, captures Jesus’ “masculinity and gentleness.” The series makes familiar people in the Gospels come alive: Peter, Andrew, Matthew, and the other apostles as well as Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdalene.
I chose one 7 l/2 clip from the series for us to view and reflect on. It is the cure of the hemorrhaging woman (Mk. 5:25-34). Jesus is on his way to see Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter who is dying. The crowds push him from all sides. A nameless woman appears who has had a serious (and embarrassing) menstrual problem for 12 years. According to Mosaic law, she is “unclean” and anyone she touches is unclean too. After being crushed by the crowd, the woman finally succeeds in touching the tassel of Jesus’ garment. Instantly she is healed. Here’s the video. Click on closed caption if you wish. A few reflection questions and thoughts follow the video.
The video has been blocked. Sorry. But you can find it by searching: “The Chosen – cure of the bleeding woman.” Click on the excerpt that is about 7-8 minutes long. It is well worth the search!
What is your general reaction to this short clip from the film? (Maybe describe your thoughts/feelings in a word or two.)
Did anything stand out for you? If so, what?
For 12 years, this woman has been cut off from community because of her condition. What effect do you think Jesus’ words, touch, and healing will have on her life?
What did you think of this portrayal of Jesus? Is he realistic? approachable? strong? compassionate? Can you relate to this Jesus? Why or why not?
Here are some of Jesus’ words to the woman. Can you hear Jesus saying any of these words to you?
She calls herself “unclean,” but he calls her “daughter.”
“It was not my garment that healed you. It was your faith.”
“My daughter, you have been fighting for so long, you must be exhausted.” (What effect would these words have on her?)
“You have blessed me today.” (What do you think Jesus means by these words? Can we humans actually bless God? bless Jesus?)
“I’m so glad we found each other.” (What did they give to each other?)
“Go in peace.”
This week we begin our Lenten pilgrimage. On Ash Wednesday we are reminded that “we are dust.” Yes, but we are also the daughters and sons of the Living God. We are brothers and sisters to one another. We are one world community. During Lent we traditionally focus on three practices: prayer, fasting, and alms giving. As we do these things, let us remember that at the heart of our faith, is our personal relationship with Jesus. How might we strengthen that personal relationship this Lent?
My prayer for all of us is this: May we hear Jesus call us by name… May be feel Jesus’ loving gaze upon us… May we experience his profound understanding of where we are at this particular time in our lives… May we feel him grasping our hands and saying to us: “You have blessed me… I’m so glad we found each other.” And may we hear his words, “Go in peace.”
I hope many of you will share a few of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and questions below. Or you might share your Lenten “practices” this year. I also invite you to comment on what someone else has said. I would love to hear from you! So would our other readers!
P. S. I ask your prayers for a retreat I’ll be leading this coming weekend for graduates of Regina High School. The 24 women will be gathered at Bethany, our retreat center here in Chardon from Friday evening until Sunday noon. Thank you for your prayerful support!
Our song is a gentle yet strong Lenten hymn, “Gracious God” by Jesse Manibusan.
You can leave a comment below. Thank you!
Oh Sr. Melannie! That clip was beautiful. I wept as I watched it! I have heard of “The Chosen” and have watched just one episode from season three. Maybe this Lent I will start to watch it from the beginning. Thank you! Those young students from Regina High School are about to be blessed by your presence!
John, Your words urged me to watch the clip again although I have watched it several times already. I am always deeply moved by it. One of my Lenten resolutions is like yours: I’m watching the episodes in order. The series presents not only a Jesus I can really relate to, but also the times in which Jesus lived and the people he engaged with (especially his disciples) who are so human, unique, imperfect, and beautiful—like us! Thanks for your comment, John! Melannie
Sr. Melannie, I have been blessed by your spiritual “seasonings” or sowed & scattered blessings and meditations for many years. Gratias!!
I appreciated the “open letter to the woman at the well” in Give Us This Day for March 12, 2023.
I intend to share that reflection with female inmates (4-6) at the local county jail during our weekly Wednesday visit. I believe they will be uplifted and encouraged by Jesus Christ speaking directly to them in their currently unhappy social circumstance.
(The evangelist, John, informs us that Jesus stayed with the Samaritan townsfolk evangelized by the Samaritan for TWO DAYS! WOW!!)
Fr. Duane Pribula
NW Minnesota; Diocese of Crookston
Ordained June 13, 1970
Dear Fr. Duane,
Thank you for your kind words about my writing! I’m most grateful! And I’m happy that you’re using my “open letter to the woman at the well” with female inmates at your local county jail. I plan on posting that reflection on my blog on March 13, 2023.
May God continue to bless your ministry in Minnesota! Thanks again, Duane! Melannie
I too have been touched by the Chosen. The clip isn’t available. What season was it taken from? I’d like to see it.
Good morning Sister Melannie,
You ask if we can bless Jesus or God. I would say, “yes,” because we are invited into a personal reciprocal relationship with the Trinity: our Father, our Redeemer, and our Spirit of Love. We are asked to recognize the divine within us that mirrors Glory back to our Creator. Is that not a blessing?
Thank you very much for this beautiful reflection that speaks wonderfully of bountiful riches, graces, and opportunities. Much to ponder!
Prayers for your weekend Regina alum retreat.
Dear Joanne, Thank you for your insight: “we are invited to a personal RECIPROCAL relationship with the Trinity.” Nicely said. And thanks for your prayers for this upcoming weekend retreat. I’m most grateful! Melannie
I love this series. Relationship with Jesus appears easier and oh so desirable.
Since we know the stories we anticipate. I find the calling of the apostles so meaningful. I am particularly attached to Matthew, Peter and Nathaniel as they become so real.
Much to ponder during this Lenten season
As always Sister Melanie, you provide much food for thought.
Dear Sue, I loved your sentence: “Relationship with Jesus appears easier and oh so desirable.” I really resonate with those words. And, like you, I am particularly drawn to Matthew and Peter. I have to get to know Nathaniel better. Thank you for writing! Melannie
I loved when Jesus touched the woman’s face and held her face in his hands. Then she touched his hands. What a wonderful feeling for her! She was considered unclean and untouchable for so many years. She must have missed human touch. What a blessing they were to each other!
I hope to watch the series. Thank you for your reflection! I always learn something new. Blessings to all as we walk through this season of Lent.
Dear Paula, Yes, how much this woman must have missed human touch—not being touched or not being permitted to touch another human being for 12 long years! I can’t imagine her sense of isolation… I hope you get the chance to watch more episodes, Paula. Thank you for your comment! Melannie
I am watching season 3 of The Chosen with my faith sharing group; and we just watched this episode last time we met.I have wept both times. It is so powerful – the enormous faith of the woman, the empathy of Jesus and her blessing him. Imagine that . I’ve never really comprehended how we could possibly bless Jesus. But we can. I see that now.
I am uncertain what my Lenten practice will be. (A little behind on that). I just listened to Fr.Mike Schmitz’s Ash Wednesday homily and he suggested we focus on things that get in the way of our drawing closer to Jesus. So I am reflecting on that.
Thank you so much for your weekly reflection Sr. Melannie. am praying for you and those that will gather at the upcoming retreat.
Peace in Him, Amy
Dear Amy, How nice that you are watching this program with your faith sharing group. I imagine you have some enriching discussions afterward! Fr. Schmitz’s suggestion for Lent is a good one. I can think of a number of things that could “get in the way of our drawing closer to Jesus”—such as busyness, fear, feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness… Thank you for your beautiful comment, Amy! Melannie
I,too, have been following The Chosen, thanks to all the donors who are letting us watch it free. my favorite scene is also the.”Woman With the Hemorrhage. It is a very touching scene. Her faith has healed her. I enjoy all your weekly blogs and share them with my friends.
Dear Maureen, Thank you for reminding us how we are able to watch this remarkable series FREE–through the generous donations of others! An thank you for sharing my blog with others. I’m honored! Melannie
Chosen is a powerful program. Many lives have been touched by it. I thought the phrase your faith has healed you touched me the most
Dear Rebecca, Yes, many lives have been touched by this series. It has been translated into many languages across the globe! And I agree that the woman’s FAITH is what healed her–not some magical power that goes out from Jesus’ clothes! Thank you so much for writing! Melannie
This series is so moving. Many tears have been shed realizing that our God is real. My husband is a Deacon in our parish and is during an adult education course on The Chosen. He has started with Season 1. I am seeing these episodes for a second time and the richness of the words and gifts of Faith bring new meaning the my life in Jesus. Thank you Sister for reminding us that we are loved by our God.
Dear Susan, How wonderful that your Deacon husband is using “The Chosen” in your parish. I am sure your presence there is enriching for everyone. Thank you again for your response to this week’s blog! Melannie
Sr. Melannie, I just spent my Sunday afternoon catching up on your blogs. I was way behind! This was the last one. For my Lenten activities, I usually increase my devotional readings, but I think I must now add watching ‘The Chosen’. I had started watching when it first came out, but gave up on it. It will take some time but hopefully I can catch up by the time Lent ends. Maybe one episode a day as part of my devotions? Thank you for bringing this wonderful series to light and thank you always for your prayerful and thought-provoking blogs. Oh, and by the way, I am amazed at how you always seem to find the perfect song to accompany your blog! May God continue to bless you and your sisters!
Dear Christine, I’m so glad to hear you’re catching up on my blogs. Welcome back! I used an excerpt from “The Chosen” for a prayer service at the weekend retreat I led for 24 women. I chose the cure of the hemorrhaging woman. It’s so beautiful! There were many tears among the women… Thank you, again, Christine, for your comment! Blessings on your Lent. Melannie