Today's Gospel in Art - What I want is mercy, not sacrifice

The Seven Acts of Mercy, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, © Courtesy Sotheby's New York

The Seven Acts of Mercy, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, © Courtesy Sotheby's New York

Gospel of 21st September 2019 - Matthew 9: 9-13

As Jesus was walking on, he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him.

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, 'Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When he heard this he replied, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.'

Reflection on the Painting

After yesterday's rather harsh sculpture, back to something more joyful and cheerful today: Breughel's Seven Acts of Mercy. Set as part of a 16th century village scene near Antwerp, the painting depicts the acts of mercy we are all asked to perform as part of our devotion to our faith and God. Jesus clearly tells us today 'what I want is mercy, not sacrifice', so looking at the seven acts depicted, see if you can find them in our painting today...

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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Mercy, Pieter Brueghel the Younger

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