|A Review of
Passion of Christ, Passion of the World.
Reviewed by Chris Smith.
With Holy Week almost upon us again, the time of the church year in which we pause to remember the arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus, I decided to read through Orbis Books’ new edition of Leonardo Boff’s book Passion of Christ, Passion of the World. For those who are not familiar with Boff’s work, he is one of the main figures in the liberation theology movement, and certainly the best-known Brazilian liberation theologian. I have previously read several of his other books, but had not read this one, so this seemed like a fitting time to do so.
Passion of Christ, Passion of the World is a challenging read in many regards. One needs to proceed slowly through it, digesting as she goes. Although Boff’s writing style tends toward the academic, the content of what he is saying offers a much steeper challenge than the way in which it is written. The essence of Boff’s argument is that we are called to follow Christ in entering into the suffering of the world. However, in the U.S. where not only is suffering foreign to us, but where we also go to extraordinary lengths to avoid suffering (and to cover up our own sufferings), how are we even to begin to make sense of Boff’s work? Our religious approaches here in the U.S. to the suffering and death of Christ, often serve to conceal the many ways in which our lifestyles subject others around the globe to suffering and death. To quote Boff: