Today's Gospel in Art - Who are my mother and brothers?


Alexander III and his family with Christ,  by Ivan Makarov 1890 © The State Museum of History of Religion, Saint Petersburg

Alexander III and his family with Christ, by Ivan Makarov 1890 © The State Museum of History of Religion, Saint Petersburg

Source: Christian Art

Gospel of 21st July 2020 - Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, 'Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?' And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.'

Reflection on the Painting

In our Gospel reading of today, Jesus stresses the point that the 'biological' relationships we have with our parents, brothers or sisters are not as important as the 'spiritual' relationships we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm sure there were some in the crowd at the time who thought Jesus was not showing love and respect to His Mother and brothers by speaking that way. Indeed, it may sound a little harsh, but He is simply letting us know that 'earthly ties' are not as important as 'spiritual ties'.

We are all called as individuals, with our immediate family, and then our more extended family and then the even wider family of all our fellow human sisters and brothers, to be united in Christ. In our painting by Russian artist, Ivan Karaow, we see Tsar Alexander III and his family being blessed by Christ. The composition is inspired by pictorial scenes of the Sermon on the Mount. Whilst Christ is at the centre of the picture, it is the Russian Imperial family, commissioners of this painting, who are depicted with full facial renderings. Tsar Alexander III was Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland from 1881 till 1894. During his reign, Russia fought no major wars, which gained him the name of 'Peacemaker'. The family in this painting would be called by Christ to go beyond just their 'biological' ties... and to be part of the wider Christian family we are all part of.

LINKS

Today's story - https://christian.art/en/daily-gospel-reading/489

Christian Art - www.christian.art


Tags: Christian Art, Patrick van der Vorst, Ivan Makarov

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