When I was little, the first man I ever loved was Jesus. Jesus was nice to everyone. He never got cross (apart from that one time with the money lenders, but who doesn’t have off-days?). He really liked children. He could do cool stuff like walking on water / healing blind people / exorcising you if you’d been possessed by the devil. You got presents on his birthday and chocolate on the day he rose from the dead. You’d think for a small child that would have been the main draw. It wasn’t.
My mother says I had full-blown crucifixion fixation. Apparently I used to ask her to tell me the story of Jesus and then immediately insist she fast-forward to the bit on the cross. ‘This sounds a bit creepy and wrong,’ you are thinking, and I agree. But it wasn’t because I relished in the death – it was the opposite – it was because I was appalled by it. Complex feelings for a three-year old, perhaps. Welcome to Catholicism. A friend of mine who went to Catholic school also had Jesus-mania when she was little and once wrote a list of people she loved most in the world. Jesus was at the top – her parents barely scraped into the top ten. Her daughter has Jesus-mania now and writes letters to him every day thanking him for things like her breakfast and her new shoes. When I asked her once what she thought Jesus looked like, she said, ‘He has short, orange hair and he wears a blanket’. This is sweet – but one day she will learn of course that he looks and sounds EXACTLY like Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth, who is basically Jesus playing himself on screen as far as I’m concerned.
I’m afraid that Jesus got sidelined by Indiana Jones when I was seven, which was an entirely different type of relationship and had nothing to do with death or chocolate eggs. I stopped going to church. But you don’t forget your first love – especially when he goes on to be played by Jim Caviezel, who is super handsome, most notably in that scene where he makes a table for Mary and you can see how strong his arms are.