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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Debt

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

"The Debt" is a U.S. version of the 2007 Israeli film "Ha-Hov." It tells the story of three young Mossad agents (played by Jessica Chastain as Rachel, Marton Csokas as Stefan, and Sam Worthington as David and later by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciarán Hinds) who are sent to East Berlin to capture a Nazi war criminal, Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen) and bring him to Israel to stand trial for war crimes.
 
They succeed in capturing him but he escapes after a very tense and dangerous effort to sneak him out of the city. Stefan convinces Rachel and David to agree to tell their superiors that they killed Vogel. They agree. Stefan and Rachel marry while David resigns from the Mossad and disappears – only to return.
 
“The Debt” is an interesting title. Whose debt is it? The three spies who lie are indebted to the truth? Vogel must pay his debt to humanity for his crimes?
 
Ultimately, the toll taken on Rachel and David in particular, is too much to bear and each, in their own way, resolve a dilemma that Stefan takes in his stride, as long as it does not reveal that he is amoral. Or is he a patriot?
 
This is a very provocative film and though the subject explores the deepest and darkest recesses of the human heart and our own inhumanity to one another, the film has substance, it is interesting and extremely well acted and directed.


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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 The commandments are a gift, not a curse. Sin is less about breaking the rules and more about breaking the Father’s heart.

 
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