Eunice Kennedy Shriver, executive producer of "Mary, Mother of Jesus," a two-hour TV movie airing this Sunday on NBC, says she wants to present a Mary "more appropriate for our time." Her Mary is "a mother, a teacher, and a revolutionary rather than the beautiful, but rather placid—but not very passionate—woman depicted in the Middle Ages." In other words, Shriver wanted to make Mary more human.

It's a nice try, but Shriver ends up presenting an even more perfect image of Mary than the medieval church did. In the film, Mary ends up being the only good person in Palestine, the only person around her who knows what is going on—and that includes her son.

Joseph is presented as a flighty, angry man who shouts "You're dead to me!" upon discovering his betrothed is pregnant. James is the crazed younger brother who just doesn't measure up. Even John is a moron who only goes to Jesus' crucifixion because Mary forces him.

Jesus, meanwhile, is a bit of a bumbler himself—though he is barely present in the film. When he is around, he just doesn't get why everyone doesn't see things as he sees them. He's lost in the world, looking for direction, which is often provided by his Mother. Their relationship is nearly perfect—despite what you read in the Gospels. It seems that Jesus was repeatedly harsh to his mom. When Mary asks Jesus to turn the water into wine at Cana, Jesus' replies, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" At least, that's what happened according to John's gospel. In the NBC film, he gazes into his mother's eyes and sees how much she wants him to live up to his full potential. The film actually does show the famous "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" sermon (Matt. 12), but Mary is completely understanding. Without a moment's ...

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