Man is ordered to the good, the true, and the beautiful because in such things we encounter God.
As my good friend, Patrick van der Vorst at Christian Art suggests, Ladislav Záborský’s painting captures what today’s Gospel reading from Luke’s twenty-fourth chapter wants to make clear, “that the Risen Lord was not a ghost or a spirit. No, Christ was physically present and real after the Resurrection.”
For a Gospel reflection about this painting please enjoy below.
Peace be with you!
The fine arts, but above all sacred art, “of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands….”
The Risen christ at emmaus
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 24:35-48
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Reflection on the Painting
by Patrick van der Vorst
Luke in today’s Gospel reading wants to make clear that the Risen Lord was not a ghost or a spirit. No, Christ was physically present and real after the Resurrection. Luke writes: Look at my hands and feet;… touch me;… a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have…’ Jesus made it clear with those words that He was not a disembodied spirit. Also by what He did (walking, eating fish, etc…) He showed that He was there physically with them. He was physically raised from death and appearing to his disciples. These were not just apparitions, they were appearances!
All the appearances to His disciple after the Resurrection led them to a deeper understanding of who Jesus truly was. Ladislav Záborský manages in this painting to convey the physicality and divinity of Christ. As a Slovak painter, he attempted with each painting to discover God and was known for the ‘spiritual light’ effects in his canvases. About his own work he said: ‘Art that seeks truth and beauty is the anticipation of eternity’. A lovely quotation.
Credit: Patrick van der Vorst, Gospel Reading for Today, Christian Art, "Touch me and see for yourselves" April 18, 2021; https://www.christian.art/todays-reading.php Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
For today’s Mass readings this Third Sunday of Easter, visit https://bible.usccb.org/daily-bible-reading.
Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Created “in the image of God,” man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man (CCC 2501).
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Saint Paul, Letter to the Philippians (4:8)
St. Paul, Apostle, Martyr, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.