Today's Gospel in Art - If the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Burglar Rats, Artwork by Banksy  2019 © Pest Control - Banksy

Burglar Rats, Artwork by Banksy 2019 © Pest Control - Banksy

Gospel of 12 August 2020 - Luke 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:

'See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.'

Reflection on the Graffiti Installation

This photo is taken inside Banksy's own bathroom… Burglary rats, as he calls them, are seen causing mayhem inside the bathroom. The detailing is clever. The objects placed in a perfect position in relation to the stencil sprays. We associate rats with thriving in sewers, in filth, but also with being independent thinkers and cunning. So they carry this dual aspect, which is why Banksy uses them so much in his art. Rats carry negative and positive connotations. Like a street artist, furthermore, the rodent multiplies in retaliation to society's attempts at pest control, as the graffiti underground continues to grow stronger in response to government's attempts to cleanse the city of street art. Self-preservation and alertness are key to the rat and to the graffiti artist alike.

Our Gospel reading today is also about alertness. The Christian life is a matter of conscious choice, of being awake and 'alert'. Of course, it takes a lot of effort and prayer to be alert at all times and to be deeply grounded in one's faith, to be able to handle any unexpected event which may come upon us. Some tragic events indeed creep upon us like a burglar in the night, unexpected. We know within us that we must be always ready for the most tragic events happening to us. But when these events do happen, they still present a big challenge, however strong we may feel in our faith. Closeness to Jesus is what keeps our alertness alive.


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Tags: Christian Art, Patrick van der Vorst, Banksy

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