Question: I am 87 years old, live in a retirement community and can no longer…
Grab your phone, or turn on your TV, and watch ‘The Chosen’
This time last year, my then-roommate and I were deeply immersed in the first season of “The Chosen,” the first-ever multi-season series based on the true stories of the Gospels of Jesus Christ.
I had grown up with watching “Jesus of Nazareth” around Christmas and Easter and later watched “The Nativity Story” and “The Passion.” All of these adaptations had their highlights, giving different portrayals of certain characters and how they would have acted.
So I didn’t know what to expect from a long-form adaptation.
Long story short, my roommate and I watched all eight episodes of season one of “The Chosen” in about a week. We couldn’t get enough. Immediately, we were hooked, drawn in by the convicting and relatable representations of the different Gospel characters we know by name and yet still never felt we knew.
A year later, the first episode of season two aired on Easter Sunday. This time, I watched it with my parents and sister, who had (finally) binged the first season during Holy Week. Once again, I was captivated by the storytelling. This episode in particular drew me in, as it gave a beautiful portrayal of how John the Evangelist could have been inspired to begin his Gospel.
At the same time, I’ve been listening to the “Bible in a Year” podcast from Ascension, presented by Father Mike Schmitz. So far, in the first 90 or so days, we had read from Genesis through the opening chapters of First Samuel before jumping forward into John’s Gospel the week after Easter.
As I listened to that first episode of the Gospel of John, I heard the words I had heard so many times before, but I heard them with new ears and a new heart:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:1-5).
Without giving too many spoilers, I saw the scene from first episode of season two of “The Chosen,” where John the Beloved is writing the first lines of this Gospel, remembering back to a moment in Jesus’ early preaching where John was able to put words to who Jesus was: the Word made flesh, the Word that has always existed from before all time. The God of the universe was before him, and he, John, was seeing him move hearts — his included.
If you haven’t watched “The Chosen,” I can’t recommend it enough. All last summer, my friends and family heard me rave about it. Some listened to my recommendation right away. Others (cough, cough — my family) took months to catch up. But I have yet to hear someone who didn’t like it or was disappointed by the storytelling.
As I write this, the second episode of season two is about to be released on their app, where you can find — for free — the entire first season and the newly released episodes. All you need is a smartphone and, if you like, a TV to cast it to. Then you watch, enjoy and let your hearts be moved. I know that’s what I’m going to do. But whatever you do, make sure you start from the very first episode — which has my favorite moment in the entire show so far.
It can be easy to fall into the rhythm of our faith and lose the sense of wonder that moves us to a deeper relationship with God. But if you want to fall more in love with the person of Jesus, if you want to see the disciples as the broken yet redeemed people they were — people like you and me — please, please, please just watch “The Chosen.” And then tell me what you think.
Ava Lalor is assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor and editor for Radiant magazine.