The Chosen: A Nice Christmas Gift

The Chosen a drama series retelling the experience of the disciples encounters with Jesus invites us to look at our "I" and at our unique relationship with Christ.
Fr. John Roderick

A few months into the Pandemic, I was introduced
to a new television series called The Chosen,
through a commentary I read on a Catholic news
site. I decided to check it out, discovering on
YouTube the special Christmas episode and the
subsequent 8 episodes of the first season.
The Chosen is a historical drama based on the life
of Jesus Christ and his followers. It is created and
directed by the American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins
which tells the story of the life of Jesus through
the eyes of those who encountered him. The series
is funded by its viewers through crowdfunding and
has raised already more than 10 million dollars,
making it the largest Crowdfunded project ever.
The second season will be coming out in the new
year.
Before the pandemic, I lived and worked as a
missionary priest in Bogotá, Colombia. I returned
home to Canada at the beginning of the pandemic
for health reasons but continue my ministry
(through Zoom and telephone!) as a chaplain and
teacher at an all-boys private school, and by
accompanying a group of young adults who meet
at my parish. During these long months, I have
continued to meet my students each week for
catechism classes, and every Saturday night, I join
the young adults for a weekly moment of school of community.
Throughout these months when it had not been
possible to physically be present and to share life, I
have been looking for creative ways to accompany
and transmit the life of the Church to all my
friends in Colombia
. Is this even possible when we
are thousands of miles apart? My desire to
communicate the faith is what drew me to The
Chosen
.

In this series, something essential about the
Christian experience is made visible. Through
dramatic retelling of the personal encounters of
each character with Jesus, the theme of “vocation”
as a deeply personal and unique relationship with
Jesus that shapes all of one’s life resounds. Christ comes to personally seek out each person, to touch our “I”.
In this first season, what strikes me the most is how the distinct characters of the New Testament are developed in light of their vocations, their personal callings by Jesus. The title itself, The Chosen, is an important key to understanding the development of the series. The stories of Mary Magdalene, Andrew and his brother Simon, Matthew the tax collector, and in a special way Nicodemus, are told through their personal calling and meeting with the Lord. They were called and chosen by the Lord himself. The viewer is introduced to their personal journeys, and the drama and search for meaning that each of these characters lived during their time with Jesus. We learn of their circumstances and difficulties which at times hindered their ability to recognize how the presence of Jesus corresponded to their heart and deepest longings.
I will never forget when Andrew ran to his brother Simon telling him that he had found the Lamb of God, and Simon, the struggling fishermen, looked confusedly at his brother saying: “Why are you speaking to me about lambs, when I can only think of fish?” There is also a good element of humour and irony interwoven into the script which makes it refreshing.
Why do I want to share this with the people whom I accompany in Columbia? The Chosen reminds us that we too are invited to view our own personal faith journey in light of the humanity and experience of the first disciples. We are invited to place ourselves in the shoes of Simon Peter, of Mary Magdalene and the others, and to recognize how our personal experience and search for God is no different than theirs. Each of us has a heart that longs for the truth and meaning and finds its fulfillment in the encounter with Jesus Christ.
Like these historical figures, through our baptism, we, have also been called and chosen by God. We are invited to live our lives as a “vocation”, that is,as a continual responding to the call of God which reaches us through the sacraments and the life of the Church, but as well through the concreteness
of our daily circumstances and difficulties. We are called to live a relationship of familiarity with Jesus and the Father, in the same way as the first chosen followers of Jesus.
During this Advent and Christmas season, let us ask to be renewed by the life of the Church and its sacramental life. Let us ask to be re-awakened by Jesus’ presence that seeks to encounter and call us in the concreteness of the daily circumstances of our personal vocations.
As we ponder the birth of the baby Jesus this Christmas, let’s not forget that he came to seek out a personal relationship with each one of us. As we strive to remember to keep “Christ” in Christmas, let’s also remember Christ’s passionate concern for our “I”.

For more information, please visit the shows site
https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen.