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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Ladder 49

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Above average -- if overly sentimental -- action drama and paean to firefighters concerning a young fireman (Joaquin Phoenix) as he progresses over the years from rookie to seasoned professional, with the unusual feature of there being as much screen time devoted to his domestic life as to the "Towering Inferno"-like fire sequences, which are generally more enervating than truly exciting. Director Jay Russell's drama -- which also features John Travolta as the paternal fire chief -- boasts a solid, appealing and down-to-earth performance from Phoenix and an authentic-seeming portrait of firehouse life with middle-class workers (mostly Catholic, as it happens) that compensates for the more conventional aspects of the plot. A couple of instances of crude language, an implication of premarital sex and some intense firefighting scenes. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.



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Martha: Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death. 
<p>No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner. </p><p>Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an “unrecollected activist.” The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: “...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); “One does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4b); “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a). </p><p>Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).</p> American Catholic Blog Anger and inconsistency feed each other. Anger in a parent can lead to erratic discipline, and erratic discipline promotes anger and frustration. Good parents work hard to discipline with a level head. The best parents though, even after many years or many kids, are still working on the level-headed part.

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