The Adoration of the Shepherds,
Painting by Andrea Mantegna (1428-1506),
Painted in 1445,
Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood
© Metropolitan Museum, New York

The Adoration of the Shepherds,
Painting by Andrea Mantegna (1428-1506),
Painted in 1445,
Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood
© Metropolitan Museum, New York

Gospel of 1 January 2023

The shepherds found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.

When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

Reflection on the painting

Andrea Mantegna executed this painting by the age of 18! What tremendous talent at such a young age.

We see Saint Joseph asleep, dressed in a yellow cloak, on the left. He is exhausted from all he did to protect his family. On the right we see the shepherds in scruffy clothes. Both shepherds are about to kneel in front of Baby Jesus, with one of them with hands joined prayerfully, the other having taken off his hat in respect. The rocky foreground is in stark contrast with the gentle green plain in the distance. It accentuates the tough journey that the Holy Family had to endure over the past few days. The Virgin is shown in prayerful devotion, with her child lying on the hem of her blue robe. She and Jesus are surrounded by cherubim. A dying tree can be seen in the distance, whilst a fruiting tree to the left of the Holy Family is seen blossoming. Plenty to look at in this painting.

May this image, as the first painting of the New Year I am sharing with you on Christian Art, accompany you throughout 2023. Whatever this new year has in store for us, the Holy Family is there to accompany us every step of the way.

The war in Ukraine is having a massive global impact. It shows that when one nation, one race, or one group of individuals suffer, everyone else suffers with them. Wars in the end don't know any borders. But that is just one war. Let's not forget all the other wars globally that barely make the headlines and where suffering is immense. These too are attacking the whole world in our humanity.

We pray to the Holy Family, to make our family one with you Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Help us to be instruments of peace on this first day of 2023.

Wishing you all a joyous new year, filled with beautiful moments.

Yours,

Patrick

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Maria Contreras
Member
Maria Contreras(@gera)
1 month ago

Feliz año nuevo para todos, que Dios escuche nuestras plegarias por los enfermos, las víctimas de la guerra, los migrantes y refugiados. Que el Espíritu Santo ilumine nuestro camino.

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