Message from Above?

Mel Gibson, right, directs Jim Caviezel, playing Jesus, in The Passion. A strange thing happened on the set of Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion, which depicts — gruesomely — the death of Christ: The actor playing Jesus was struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to send a message here?

CNN reports that Jim Caviezel was hit during shooting for the film, as was assistant director Jan Michelini. Adding to the strangeness of the incident, this was Michelini’s second go-round with lightning while on the set of The Passion.

The first time, a lightning fork struck his umbrella during filming on top of a hill near Matera in Italy, causing light burns to the tips of his fingers, VLife, a supplement to Variety publications said in its October issue.

Thankfully, neither was injured, though a producer said he saw smoke coming from the actor’s ear. I guess that doesn’t only happen in the movies.

Actor-director Gibson’s film has endured much criticism from Jewish and Roman Catholic leaders, who worry that The Passion will fuel anti-Semitism. The drama, which will be presented in subtitled Latin and Aramaic, is expected to open in theaters next Ash Wednesday, just in time for Lent. God willing.

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