Room in Brooklyn,
Painted by Edward Hopper (1882-1967),
Painted in 1932,
Oil on canvas
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Room in Brooklyn,
Painted by Edward Hopper (1882-1967),
Painted in 1932,
Oil on canvas
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gospel of 11 March 2021

He who is not with me is against me

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.' Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

'He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.'

Reflection on the Painting

'He who is not with me is against me' we read in today's Gospel. We are challenged to examine which side of the battle we are fighting on: are we with Jesus or against Him? Of course we would all say that we are on His side, but our actions often reveal the contrary. There is a constant tension in our faith, where in our heart we feel we are on Jesus' side, but in our actions we prove the opposite.  We feel that division and frustration within us, especially during Lent, when we are looking more closely at ourselves. Lent is this beautiful time of year when we can spend even more time alone with God, maybe like the woman in our painting having a quiet moment at home reflecting.

Edward Hopper is an artist who masterfully paints reflectiveness, loneliness and solitude. Figures are seen in pensive moods, sitting quietly. I'd like to think that some of these people may be praying, in the midst of the busy American life going on around them. I recently read in an article that because of Covid, "we are all Edward Hopper paintings now". Nevertheless, reflectiveness and meditation is not the same as the loneliness they refer to. In our faith we actively choose moments to step away, in quietness, to find God and listen to Him.

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