The Mission (1986) film by Roland Joffé

The Mission (1986) film by Roland Joffé

In the film, The Mission expresses how Christianity is related to varied cultures and the ways that mankind can accomplish God’s purpose in the world.  In the film, the Mission of San Carlos and the Guarani native people faced many obstacles which include the Spanish ‘Portuguese war and enforcement of slavery. Regardless of the few local resistance from the Guarani warriors, Father Gabriel continues to do God’s work in spreading Christianity and converting people including Rodrigo Mendoza ( Bolt. 120)

The perspective of Rodrigo Mendoza

Rodrigo Mendoza is first viewed as an antagonist character in the film as he was a renowned slave trader. He involved himself in kidnapping Natives and selling them to white man plantation and other farm owners. After the betrayal of his wife and half brother Felipe, Mendoza is depressed emotionally and psychologically after killing his brother. Father Gabriel advise penance for Mendoza which led to the converting and change of way of life. According to writer Bolt in the film shows  Mendoza lamenting, “For me, there is no redemption, no penance great enough…” portraying his great sins he committed. The climax of the film mostly involves the Guarani war that took place between 1754 to 1756, whereby the natives defended their lives and home by fighting the Spanish-Portuguese armies. More importantly,  Mendoza during this period ultimately decides to break his vows to protect the mission. He chose to teach and educate the Guarani people martial combat and the Art of War. Father  Gabriel was against Mendoza fighting since he believed that God would protect and save them. Based on Mendoza’s decision of getting converted and protecting the mission shows that there is a relationship between the Kingdom of Heaven /God and the world. The decision clearly shows how dedicated people of God who love their work in serving Him. Mendoza was ready to protect the work of God by fighting off the Spanish-Portuguese army, forcing him to break his Holy vows. The Kingdom of God is holier, and no violence, whereas the Kingdom of the world filled with hate and unreasonable cultures. The link is martyrdom in the world kingdom ensures that the glory gets magnified to the Kingdom of God.

Additionally,  the primary goal of God’s Kingdom is to protect humanity and preserve what is right and just while for the Earthly Kingdom, the goal is to spread the Good News and the teaching of the Bible to all. There are methods of divination in which involves spiritual realms whereby angel and demons fight to persevere the realms. In the Kingdom of the world,  Christian education teaching, and preaching are the main methods that Father Gabriel used in the mission. An affiliated Christian group that is a representative is the Catholic Church.

The perspective of Father Gabriel

Father Gabriel is a character in the film which his traits can be seen as holy,non- violent,  and compassionate. During the climax,  Father Gabriel decides to no use violence during the war lead to his demise. His decision of standing with the mission during the attacks viewed as sacrificial battle and a holy way to accomplish God’s work. As Christians, there is a need to conform and follow the teaching of Jesus of spreading the Good News without violence.  God’s work got accomplished as Father Gabriel’s bravery, and total commitment to his vows proves the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth. Concerning Father Gabriel’s decision during the climax of the Guarani War demonstrates a link between God and World kingdoms. The relationship between these two Kingdom is representative of God’s work. The Kingdom of God needs world representation, for example, various religions in the world. The goal of the Kingdom of God is to establish a divine spiritual realm, whereas the Kingdom of the word goal is to preserve the teachings of God as to how Father Gabriel did during the climax. Methodology in this concept is that the Kingdom of God deals in spiritual ways as for the earthly kingdom advocate violence. One contemporary Christian person is Mother Teresa as her devotion and protection of God’s work through charity is similar to the perspective of Father Gabriel at the mission.

 

The perspective of The Prelate, Father Altamirano

It is imperative to understand the character of Cardinal Altamirano as he is portrayed in the film as an individual lacking faith, and idealistic. He had the duty of supervising the missions all over Brazil and his decision to close the San Carlos mission impacted the morale of the native Guarani and Father Gabriel. The choice of closing the mission as the idea of protecting the inhabitants was merely to avoid the bloodshed that would come during the war. The relationship between the two kingdoms is humility and fear of God’ work in that Father Altamirano purposely wanted to promote the Jesuit Order among the native. Still, the Order all over Europe already dismantled at the beginning of the war. The goal and the methods of the Kingdom of God are manifested through humanity, expressing God as King of our lives, letting His will be done. Father Altamirano quotes by saying,  “They must learn to submit to the will of God” indicating that Kingdom of the world depends on the last word of God regardless of their resistance to change. A contemporary example is a papal church.

Summary

Conclusively, the film The Mission has a moral lesson to Christians and the rest of the world to show them the power of evangelism. The overall reactions are that resistance to change in a cultural perceptive is common as the  Natives did not like outsiders and their religion. Slavery is unethical and unacceptable as the film portrays Portuguese slave trade as a business that was heavily criticised by the Jesuit Order and Spain. As one of the issues is martyrdom in the film as Father Gabriel and many others were gunned down in the mission village disrespecting the will of God. The Insights concerning converting a culture to religious conformity proves to be successful as Christianity has spread all over the world through missionary activities.

Work cited

Bolt, Robert. “The Mission (1986 film).” The Robert De Niro Handbook-Everything you need to know about Robert De Niro (2012): 120.

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