Realizing Peace on Earth

A scene from Mary Magdalene about not waiting to live your best life

Mary Magdalene is a movie about the relationship between Jesus and his only female apostle, Mary.

My favorite scene in the movie is when Mary awakes and finds Jesus alive after death. He has realized the kingdom of heaven on earth. She tells the apostles what Jesus told her: that the kingdom of heaven is here, now, and that waiting for it is not the way. She tells them that the world will only change as they change and, as they change, the kingdom of heaven will appear. They dismiss her but she promises to spread the message about how peace can be realized in this lifetime, in physical form.

The scene starts at 1:45:02 in the movie. It’s not available on Movieclips but the trailer offers a taste of Mary’s fortitude in the scene.


(to apostles)
This whole time we've been looking for a change in the world but it's not what we thought. The kingdom is here, now.

Mary, you saw him? Truly? But then...the kingdom? How can that be right?

Because it's not something we can see with our eyes. It's here, within us. All we have to do is let go of our anguish and our resentment and we become like children just as he said.

I believe that you saw him, that he came to you. And it was a sign: that he will return, and he will bring the kingdom. The true kingdom. The new world.

The world will only change as we change.


Mary walks down the hill from Jesus's tomb to the Resurrected Jesus. He is seated. Tired and tranquil, he looks at her. She kneels, speechless.

You do not lose heart, even now.
Didn't you ask what it would be like?
The kingdom?

She grins. He grins. And they both sigh, almost laugh, with relief.

The meaning of Jesus’s smile at the end of this scene “says” more than words can about the meaning and struggles of life, but Mary tries to articulate it in words to the apostles, which fall short. This shows the importance of silence for realizing deep truths. , through sitting still and being patient (like Mary was for Jesus), and metaphorically through surrendering anger and fear to love and faith instead of shouting, protesting, and proselytizing (like the apostles).

I watched Mary Magdalene shortly after experiencing a confusing and painful existential breakdown that a restored and renewed faith in Jesus helped me move through. Before this, I watched Last Temptation of Christ, The Mission, The Case for Christ, and other movies based on Christian faith. While Willem Defoe’s version of Jesus in Last Temptation of Christ helped me deal with the inner chaos of the mind trying to acclimate to an open heart, Joaquin Phoenix’s version of Jesus in Mary Magdalene comforted me and helped me remember that peace on earth, here and now, is possible.

Is there anything in your way of realizing peace, here and now?

By Robert Gibb

Practicing screenwriting and writer @ Scene Lift

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