Today's Gospel in Art - Unclean hearts

Waterdrops No 10, 1977, by Kim Tsang Yuel 1977, © Christie's Hong Kong

Waterdrops No 10, 1977, by Kim Tsang Yuel 1977, © Christie's Hong Kong

Gospel of 12th February 2020 - Mark 7:14-23

Jesus called the people to him and said, 'Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.'

When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, 'Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?' (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, 'It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men's hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.'

Reflection on the Painting

Yesterday clouds, today water… Water is a nearly universally recognised symbol, embodying the ideas of purity and spiritual cleansing. That is what Christ is talking about in today's reading. Purity in life and fellowship with God depend upon the presence of God in your heart, and the resulting obedience to Him… not just in simply obeying rules…

The Pharisees and scribes had developed all these lists, rules, regulations and rituals. As time went by, their importance, received more respect than the actual words of God. They made the Word of God secondary to their rules. That is what Jesus protests against: man-made rules may put you into fellowship with men, but not necessarily with God!

Our Korean artist of today, Kim Tsang Yuel, has dedicated his life to mastering painting perfect, exquisite, pure waterdrops on a flat, monochromatic canvas, lightly treated in earthen tones. Over the years, I have come across these paintings in many different sizes and each time I see them, the beauty of these painted drops seduces me. In real life upon seeing waterdrops, you know that they are only temporarily there. This seemingly ephemeral moment is so brief that it is hardly noticed in nature. But the artist, by painting these drops, captures them for eternity.

When interviewed about his art, he stated: "I see repetition in terms of prayer. You repeat and repeat until it blocks out all other thoughts, and you pass into an empty state'. Looking closely at the smallest things in the universe, like the simple beauty of a drop of pure water, whether in the real world or in this painting, shows us what God is capable of doing for us!


Christian Art Today -

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Kim Tsang Yuel

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.