Painted by Gerrit Van Honthorst (1592-1656),
Painted in 1623,
Oil on canvas
© National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me
But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is still working, and I also am working.’ For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son, so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life. ‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. ‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Reflection on the painting
In yesterday’s gospel reading, Jesus asked the paralysed man at the pool of Bethesda ‘Do you want to be well again?’ Jesus is often portrayed in the gospels as probing what it is that people really want. Jesus already knew what the man wanted, yet he still asks. At the very end of today's Gospel reading, Jesus shares with us what HE wants. He says, ‘I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me’. Jesus is saying that he wants what God wants and that his will is in perfect harmony with God’s will. And now he wants us to want what he wants.
Our calling is to be in perfect harmony with Jesus, as Jesus was in perfect harmony with his Father. And where in the arts are things in beautiful harmony with one another? In music. In music, individual sounds are joined together to create a unique wholesome sound. If humanity were in perfect harmony with Our Lord, what glorious sound that would be!
Two days ago we looked at a painting by Gerrit van Honthorst depicting the Holy Family. Today we are looking at another one of his paintings, one that masterfully demonstrates that Van Honthorst was one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. He painted with verve and assurance, using bright, cheerful colours. Joy is bursting out of this painting. The conductor of the house concert (who has his back turned towards us) is pointing out what notes to sing. His conducting brings harmony. Harmony in music exists when the guidance of its leader is followed. Harmony in our faith is achieved when we follow Christ.
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A very colorful and joyful painting. God’s will not mine be done.
‘I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me’
I’m working on this for my own life, to try not to think that I know better than Him. To be in harmony with God, instead of going my own sweet way.
The painting for me, gives me a moment of faith that we will one day, all live in peace, hope and harmony.
Wat een prachtig meesterwerk. Wat een harmonie van kleuren en muziek. Zo menselijk, zo gewoon en toch geweldig. Alhoewel misschien liederlijk, deze mensen lijken wel goden! De meester laat de schoonheid van het leven zien en horen. Luister niet, maar zing…
What a wonderful world we would live in, with no wars, no cruelty, no falling out with each other, and perfect harmony! Neither would we be overheating the planet, nor driving creatures that have every right to be here to extinction…
Indeed Rosemary but it’s not going to happen because we humans are broken which the Christian faith explains rather well. We will not deliver Utopia in this life – perfection awaits in the next!
Love today’s gospel – not so keen on the painting…
The lute player has a very off the shoulder dress which might put the conductor off the beat! Yes this is a happy image – would that all life was like this.
Last night we prayed for an end to all violence and suffering in the world. I think that is a petty big ask and most unlikely to come about. I prefer to have my prayers more accurately directed! We need to focus on our own bit of the world that we inhabit and try to bring harmony like this group of musicians are doing in theirs….
Kind of like Mother Teresa said, “Do small things with great love.”
Exactly. People go on about changing the world and making a difference. Sort out your own backyard first!!
Colourful painting of joy , and happiness ,an enjoyment of sharing this time together making music
Another Gerrit! Thank you Patrick! No one conveys smiling quite like he does- he is a master at conveying joy I think. Look at the man, top far right. They are all having a good time together. This has lifted my mood so much this morning.
‘I can do nothing on my own,’ Jesus says- if He says this what else can we do but admit we need Him too, and each other. We can do nothing on our own. All is His.
This picture beautifully portrays the joy of all who work in harmony. Lord, this day, may we bring such joy to all we meet and work in harmony for a peaceful world.
Amen to that Rona!
Amen indeed. We should work for harmony and do our individual bit.
What a happy crowd! I’d love to hear what they are singing.