The Day of the Lord

Jesus said to his disciples:

“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”

Luke 17:26-37

 

The Flood with Noah's Ark. Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1601, Kunsthaus - Zurich

The Flood with Noah’s Ark. Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1601, Kunsthaus – Zurich

From http://www.dailyscripture.net

The choices we make now – for or against Christ – will either lead us on the path of life or death – heaven or hell
God’s Day of Judgment is a cause for great joy and reward for those who have waited with patient hope and longing for the Lord Jesus to return again in glory and power. The people in Noah’s time ignored the Lord’s warning of judgment because their hearts were hardened and they were rebellious towards God. When the great flood swept over the earth, they missed the boat, literally! Whose boat or safety net are you staking your life on – the world’s life-raft to short-lived success and happiness or to the indestructible Ark of God whose foundation is Jesus Christ and his victorious cross? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when the day of final judgment comes. They rejoice even now that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) and they look with eager longing for the day when they will see the Lord face to face (Revelation 22:4). Is your hope firmly placed in the Lord Jesus and his return in glory?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory.”

Ejecting the Money-changers

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

John 2:13-22

 

El Greco painted several versions of this scene. Here we see an early one before 1570, now in Washington DC, and one in his mature Mannerist style from about 1600, now in London.

Christ cleansing the Temple, El Greco, probably before 1570, oil on poplar wood,Height: 65.4 cm (25.7 in). Width: 83.2 cm (32.8 in)., National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Christ cleansing the Temple, El Greco, probably before 1570, oil on poplar wood, Height: 65.4 cm (25.7 in). Width: 83.2 cm (32.8 in)., National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

From the NGA website:

“In this tempestuous scene, El Greco depicted an angry Christ driving the moneychangers from the Temple. An uncommon theme, it became increasingly popular in the latter half of the sixteenth century, promoted by the Council of Trent as a symbol of the Catholic church’s attempt to purify itself after the Protestant Reformation. Here El Greco portrayed partially draped women and bare-chested men writhing and twisting to escape the blows of Christ’s scourge, emphasizing the agitation of the participants and exaggerating their irreverence. The setting is one of classical grandeur, more reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance palace than of the sacred precincts of the Temple in Jerusalem.

This panel was painted in Venice before El Greco made his way to Spain. The illusionistic space and voluptuous figures in this early work are vastly different from the flattened space and stylized forms of Byzantine art, which continued to dominate painting in El Greco’s native Crete. El Greco’s arrival in Venice, in about 1567, coincided with a high point in that city’s artistic achievement. That the Cretan artist had absorbed the influence of the Venetian masters and taught himself a new way of painting is evident in the movement and drama, solidly modeled figures, and boldly brushed colors of this panel. The influence of the Venetians is equally evident in the elaborate architectural setting with its complicated perspective.”

Christ driving the Traders from the Temple, El Greco, circa 1600, oil on canvas,106.3 × 129.7 cm (41.9 × 51.1 in)

Christ driving the Traders from the Temple, El Greco, circa 1600, oil on canvas, 106.3 × 129.7 cm (41.9 × 51.1 in), National Gallery, London.

 

And from the London Museum:

“In the time of Christ, the porch of the Temple in Jerusalem accommodated a market for buying sacrificial animals and changing money. Christ drove out the traders, saying, ‘It is written “My house shall be called a house of prayer”; but you make it a den of thieves.’ (Matthew 20). This episode is known as the Purification of the Temple.

The picture is dominated by the figure of Christ, poised to unleash his whip. On the left are the traders and on the right are the Apostles. In the 16th century the subject of the Purification of the Temple was used as a symbol of the Church’s need to cleanse itself both through the condemnation of heresy and through internal reform.

The reliefs in the background allude to the themes of punishment and deliverance. On the left Adam and Eve‘s expulsion from Paradise prefigures the Purification of the Temple, and on the right, the Sacrifice of Isaac prefigures Christ’s death as the source of redemption.

El Greco painted the subject several times throughout his career, both in Italy and in Spain. This version, with its strong colours and elongated forms, was probably painted in Toledo in about 1600.”

 

For an article on El Greco’s several versions, click here.

 

With this reading I was reminded of the recent attempts by Pope Francis to reform the Vatican’s finances as well as his critique of the excesses of capitalism. May the Lord bless and protect the holy Father in his attempts to cleanse the Temple!

The Widow’s Mite

 

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.

Mark 12:41-44

The Widow's Mite, James Tissot, watercolor, Brooklyn Museum of Art

The Widow’s Mite, James Tissot, 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 7 3/16 x 11 1/16 in. (18.3 x 28.1 cm), Brooklyn Museum

From the Brooklyn Museum website:

The exhibition James Tissot: “The Life of Christ” includes 124 watercolors selected from a set of 350 that depict detailed scenes from the New Testament, from before the birth of Jesus through the Resurrection, in a chronological narrative. It marks the first time in more than twenty years that any of the Tissot watercolors, a pivotal acquisition that entered the collection in 1900, have been on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

Born in France, James Tissot (1836−1902) enjoyed great success as a society painter in Paris and London in the 1870s and 1880s. While visiting the Church of St. Sulpice, he experienced a religious vision, after which he abandoned his former subjects and embarked on an ambitious project to illustrate the New Testament. In preparation for the work, he made expeditions to the Middle East to record the landscape, architecture, costumes, and customs of the Holy Land and its people, which he recorded in photographs, notes, and sketches. Unlike earlier artists, who had often depicted biblical figures anachronistically, Tissot painted his many figures in costumes he believed to be historically authentic, carrying out his series with considerable archaeological exactitude.

First presented in Paris in 1894, the watercolors were received with great enthusiasm, and a highly publicized exhibition later traveled to London and the United States, visiting Manhattan, Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In 1900, at the suggestion of John Singer Sargent, the Museum decided to acquire the series; the purchase funds were raised primarily by public subscription, spurred on, in part, by exhortations in theBrooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper urging readers to contribute to the campaign.

For more on this collection, click here.

Junia, female Apostle

Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.

Romans 16:3-9

Junia the Apostle, modern icon

Junia the Apostle, modern icon

I found these icons on the interests but couldn’t find information on the image origins.

For an overview of the scholarly questions about Paul’s reference to Junia as an apostle, see this article, which also includes references for further reading.

St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Romans 15:14-21

 

St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, Caravaggio, 1600-01, Santa Maria Popolo, Rome

St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, Caravaggio, 1600-01, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome

 

I am a huge fan of Caravaggio, as my readers know, and this is one of my favorite paintings by him. We see Paul, thrown from his horse and sprawled on his back, blinded as he gropes toward the vision that only he can see. The horse and groom appear unconcerned, which only serves to highlight Paul’s distress. Caravaggio uses a technique known as tenebrism, with a spotlight illuminating the scene and offering strong contrasts of light and dark. The unusual composition is mostly taken up with the horse, but the red cloak draws our eyes down to the stricken apostle.

Have you experienced a similarly disorienting conversion? Okay, so maybe you weren’t literally thrown from a horse! But perhaps you were thrown off your life’s course in unexpected ways by the sudden, possibly unwelcome, invasion of grace. I know I sure was! Like Saul, who persecuted the early church, I thought the last thing I could ever possibly become was a Christian! Yet it happened. And God still has to sometimes knock me from my horse, so to speak, to set me on the right path. I see myself in Paul, laying stunned on the road, groping blindly for a clearer vision of God’s will for my life.

What about you?

Jesus Is My Homeboy: A Photograph Series

The lectionary reading today (Luke 15:1-10) has the Pharisees accusing Jesus of eating with sinners. The photos of David LaChapelle’s “Jesus is my Homeboy” series seem to exemplify this, and I appreciated this blogger’s thoughtful response to these images.

David LaChapelle's "Last Supper"

The Jesus Question

When fashion and fine arts photographer David LaChapelle saw someone wearing a “Jesus is my Homeboy” T-shirt in 2003, he was touched by the simplicity of the message.  It made him wonder who Jesus’ original homeboys (the twelve apostles) were—or rather, who they would have been had God chosen to incarnate himself in twenty-first-century America instead of in first-century Palestine.

“The apostles were not the aristocracy, they were not the well-to-do, they weren’t the popular people; they were sort of the dreamers and the misfits,” LaChapelle said in a 2008 interview for The Art Newspaper TV.  If Jesus were here today, he said, he would be hanging out with the street people and the marginalized:  the poor, the homeless, prostitutes, drug dealers, gangsters, and so on.  And more than that, these people would have been his closest and most faithful band of followers.

And so LaChapelle created this…

View original post 775 more words

St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us!

The parochial school where I was baptized as a girl was St. Charles Borromeo in sunny San Diego.

JaneCommunion

That’s me, ready for my First Communion! I felt so holy in my white robe and veil!

“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor.” St. Charles Borromeo

 

JaneJimCommunion

With my brother Jim, so cute in his little red blazer!

 

Saint Charles Borromeo spent his life and fortune in the service of the people of his diocese. He directed and fervently enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent, fought tirelessly for peace in the wake of the storm caused by Martin Luther, founded schools for the poor, seminaries for clerics, hospitals for the sick, conducted synods, instituted children’s Sunday school, did great public and private penance, and worked among the sick and dying, leading his people by example.

 

Saint Charles Borromeo by Tiepolo, 1671, Cincinnati Museum of Art

Saint Charles Borromeo by Tiepolo, 1671, Cincinnati Museum of Art

 

All Souls Day

Last Judgment, Stefan Lochner, 1435, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany

 

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

John 6:37-40

The Last Judgment from the Beaune Altarpiece, Rogier Van Der Weyden

The Last Judgment from the Beaune Altarpiece, Rogier Van Der Weyden

From Catholic Online:

“All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest protestant church to celebrate the holy day. Most protestant denominations do not recognize the holiday and disagree with the theology behind it.

According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.

Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out… Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin.”

Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history.

Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.

The belief in purgatory has not been without controversy. Certainly, some flagrant abuses of the doctrine were used to raise money for the Church during the renaissance. Famously, Martin Luther argued with the monk, Johan Tetzel, over the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold as spiritual pardons to the poor and applied to the souls of the dead (or the living) to get people into heaven. The abuse of indulgences and the blatant, sometimes fraudulent practice of selling indulgences for money, led to Luther’s protest.

When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, he omitted the seven books of the canon which refer to prayers for the dead. He then introduced the heretical belief that people are simply saved, or not, and argued that there is no need to pray for the dead to get them into heaven.

The Church reeled from Luther’s accusation, and reformed its practice of selling indulgences. However, it reemphasized the Biblical and traditional practice of praying for the departed and the importance of such prayers.

All Souls Day is celebrated in much of the western world on November 2. Other rites have their own celebrations. The Eastern Orthodox Church has several such days throughout the year, mostly on Saturdays. All Souls Day is not a holy day of obligation. It should not be confused with All Saints’ Day, which is a holy day of obligation.

Many cultures also mark the day differently. In North America, Americans may say extra prayers or light candles for the departed. In parts of Latin America, families visit the graves of their ancestors and sometimes leave food offerings for the departed.”

The Last Judgment, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Vatican 1536–1541, Fresco, 1370 cm × 1200 cm, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Last Judgment, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Vatican
1536–1541, Fresco, 1370 cm × 1200 cm,
Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

All Saints Day

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne
and around the elders and the four living creatures.
They prostrated themselves before the throne,
worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
honor, power, and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Revelation 7:9-12

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints, instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown. It owes its origin in the Western Church to the dedication of the Roman Pantheon in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs by Pope Saint Boniface IV in 609, the anniversary of which was celebrated at Rome on 13 May. Pope Saint Gregory III consecrated a chapel in the Vatican basilica in honor of All Saints, designating 1 November as their feast. Pope Gregory IV extended its observance to the whole Church. It has a vigil and octave, and is a holy day of obligation; the eve is popularly celebrated as Halloween.

The early Renaissance artist, Fra Angelico, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and whose name means “Angelic Friar,” is described by Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as having “a rare and perfect talent.”

 

 

 Last Judgment, Fra Angelico, c. 1431, Tempera on panel, 105 x 210 cm, Museo di San Marco, Florence


Last Judgment, Fra Angelico, c. 1431, Tempera on panel, 105 x 210 cm, Museo di San Marco, Florence

From Web Gallery of Art:

“Elevated in the deep azure sky and surrounded by concentric rings of cherubim and angels, Christ sits on a glowing bank of clouds as he judges the world. He is flanked by the interceding figures of John the Baptist and the Virgin. Rows of saints and prophets, identified by their distinctive attributes, varied expressions and brilliantly coloured mantles, sit suspended on clouds in the heavens. A long row of tombs leads to the distant horizon, bisecting the valley below. To the right of Christ, the Blessed kneel in adoration, their faces radiant with the love of God, as angels dance in a circle in the verdant vegetation of Paradise. Golden rays of light stream through the open gates of the City of God and illuminate the white gowns of the Blessed seeking entry. To Christ’s left, demons with pitchforks drive the agonized Damned into the mouth of a mountainous Hell. The ghastly torments that await them are portrayed within its flaming circles, where naked sinners, some strangled with snakes, suffer for their transgressions.

The abundance of figures (270 in all), nuanced evocation of their emotions, descending perspective of the row of tombs and ascending landscape reveal a mastery of narrative and space that was unprecedented in Angelico’s small-scale works.”

Detail of Saints in Heaven from The Last Judgment by Fra Angelico

Detail of Saints in Heaven from Last Judgment by Fra Angelico

 

At his Angelus audience on November 1, 2013, Pope Francis said that the feast of All Saints is a reminder “that the end of our earthly existence is not death, but rather paradise!”

The Pope reminded the crowd in St. Peter’s Square that the saints “are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us.” What distinguishes the saints, he said, is that “when they knew God’s love, they followed him with all their heart, without conditions or hypocrisy.”

“The saints never hated,” the Pope continued. “Hate does not come from God, but from the devil! And the Saints distanced themselves from the devil.”

Returning to his central theme, the Pope emphasized that sanctity is not an unattainable goal. “All of us, in baptism, receive the inheritance of being able to become saints. Saintliness is a vocation for all.”

The Kingdom of Heaven, the Pope said, “is for those who do not base their security in material things, but rather in the love of God.” Jesus shows this path to sanctity in the beatitudes, he said, and the witness of the saints teaches us to “trust in the Lord, because the Lord never disappoints.”