It was once said that you could determine the whole book by its first and last pages. The same goes with any movie, as with the movie The Godfather Part II, as it begins with gun shots, and death. A young boy flees to the safety of another country, leaving his homeland, but is unable to escape the legacy of his forefathers. Through his misdeeds, he becomes the seed of corruption.
During the movie you see little else than the violence which corrodes everything and everyone around. The one word I seem to hear more often than not is "family business." I was brought up in a home where "family business" was sacred. You were not to tell anyone what went on in your home. One of the characters on the movie, Michael, played that role masterfully as he excelled in "secret" misdeeds.
The weight of his "sins" shows itself in destruction pain and loneliness which is evident in his face which is longated, and bears an empty gaze. He wears the banner of mistrust. Nothing will mask the inner pain, which now bares upon this character physically, yet, patiently he waits for the opportunity to attack as his quest is for vengeance. Nothing will fill the void and the hell he's created upon himself in the guise of the love of his family. A family that did all the right things socially, but inwardly lived a life of secrets and corruption. Scenes show Baptism, and First Communion, and family birthday parties with children, crying babies in the background, and devoted wives who accepted their husband's authority or paid a bitter price, being completely dependent on them. This is how it was. They ate together, played the parts well, but did they really love each other? Did they have freedom? Did they live in fear? Did they seek above all "peace"?
Hand kissing and asking for the blessing of your elder, was a sign of respect. Like everything else, having gained the blessing, the person in this movie, turned on him and killed him. Thanks for the blessing. How do you break out of a culture of violence when it was carried within you to a distant shore?
God talks about it in the very first page of the bible, in Genesis. He knew it was not good for man to be alone. As Creator, He made them male and female, and blessed them. Everything on earth has a seed and God called His plan good. He knew we would fail, and His plan had a provision for that too. As leaders, you must reap of "good seeds", having "good intentions."
Michael was responsible for having his brother-in-law killed, and lied to his sister about it. He did the unspeakable and had his own brother killed. The movie scene, places Michael as the silent observer. His brother is "taken out", after he recited a Hail Mary, in a fishing boat, unexpectedly. These are only two examples of what we call a "bad seed" even if for the sake of one's family "business". Shouldn't we be trusting in God for the difficult decisions facing us in our lives? We should never be the author of death, as that is His job alone.
The expected vengeance to Michael was not from his enemies, which he feared, but from his own wife, who "lost love" for him. He was a changed man. He could look her in the eye and tell a lie with effectiveness. She learned to hate--hate even the child she carried within, "his" seed. What was the outcome of the aborted baby? She joined the cycle of death and destruction, which is a downward spiraling, and one that is hard to break. It is said that the more you do someting, the better you become at it. Hate is no different.
All the money and comfort in this world will not soothe your pain and suffering. But God, from the beginning, has provided a way back. She is cast out from the family. A scene shows visitations with her two children, and the evidence of the loss of affection of her son, toward his own mother, as she begs him for a kiss. They are the unwilling victims. The cost is great and indeterminable.
Michael did not want to pursue the path of his father, but assumed the role, for the sake of the "family business," which was handed down to him by his father. The movie shows that at one of his father's birthday parties, he dares to tell his brothers that he has enlisted in the service of our country, to their disapproval. Such news would grieve their father, on his birthday. What about Michael? His life, his opinions? His choices?
Now the final chapter is upon us as tonight we will learn what becomes of the head of the family, as commonly called "the Godfather". Is there, perhaps, a hint of "redemption," for the "quite" man, who had even learned to strike his wife in anger? Will there be repentance and sorrow for the many sins he committed, and for the all deeds, a lifetime of corruption, before he too goes to the grave?
(Isaiah 3:3) "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."
It's the same story, as that in the beginning of the bible and the movie. How will it all end? We have been given the truth, yet rejected it, as we did our Lord and Savior. There is only one answer, and that is that God's judgment will be tempered by His mercy. He is able to restore to those who seek him, through repentance, life in abundance and salvation now, and for all eternity. His gift is love, peace. His gift is creation, and the gift of His only begotten Son. (A gift of creation, given in Love). Not, like Michael, who's wifes hate for him, manifested that hate to her unborn child, for his child, their child, who secretly terminated his young existance, refusing to bring it into their corrupted world. How does one endure all that pain and suffering?
What is your legacy? What will you teach your children by your actions?
Through you, will they learn of war or peace? If you don't root out the seed of corruption, nothing else will matter. Stop the hate before its too late.
Now imagine this, an empty room, all you can see is a beautiful rose. You see its color, red. You did not have anything to do with its presence or beauty. Yet it has captivated you and given you not only pleasure to look at it, but the scent has filled you with delight. We know what the effect of the rose has been on you. The question remains as to what effect your presence will be on the rose.
Hopefully, we can learn co-existance regardless of our differences, respecting each other without harm and with appreciation for the gift we are. We must learn to be gifts to each other.
Will Michael ever learn? Will we ever learn? Why are we hell-bent on destruction? Lent gives us an opportunity for reflection and to change direction. All we need do is come to the "Giver of Life."
Reference of scripture are taken from The Orthodox Study Bible
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