The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas,
Painted by Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664),
Painted in 1631,
Oil on canvas,
475cm. high, 375 cm. wide
© Museum of Fine Arts, Seville, Spain

The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas,
Painted by Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664),
Painted in 1631,
Oil on canvas,
475cm. high, 375 cm. wide
© Museum of Fine Arts, Seville, Spain

Gospel of 28 January 2020

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Mark 3:31-35

The mother and brothers of Jesus arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

Reflection on the Painting

Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). He is among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, is an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching. He is one of the Dominican order's greatest influential people in the history of the Catholic Church . He taught philosophy and theology with such genius that he is still considered one of the leading Christian thinkers, and still highly influential today. His humility, on a par with his genius, earned for him the title of ‘Angelic Doctor’. We study him in great detail here at seminary. For the little I personally have learnt so far about him, what strikes me the most is that whilst he was highly intelligent, he remained modest and a perfect model of childlike simplicity and goodness. He was very kind in word and in deed. It is this balance between the intellectual depth and the goodness of his heart which is so attractive and a great model for all of us.

Our painting today, The Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas, is a huge, almost five-meter high painting by Zurbaran executed in 1631 for the College of St.Thomas in Seville. The lower half of the painting shows the foundation of the college, with on the purple velvet covered table the Act of Foundation of the College. The two founders of the college are shown: the Emperor Charles V and Cardinal Diego de Dez, with behind him the Dominican monks. In the upper half of the painting we see Christ flanked by His mother, and opposite them God the Father talking to Saint Dominic. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove is casting its light on St Thomas who is depicted with a pen and book in hand. Around him are Saint Jerome and Augustine (who we discussed yesterday in our painting where he confronted the devil) on the left, Ambrose and George on the right.

As we continue to dive into the intellectual depth and beauty of St. Thomas' thoughts, we pray that we may follow his views on the goal of our human existence: union and eternal fellowship with God…

Share this Gospel Reading

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on telegram
Share on email

**You must be logged in to leave comments.

Readings related to Mark 3:31-35

23 January 2020

Mark 3:7-12

Jesus travelled in Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, ...

22 January 2022

Mark 3:20-21

Jesus' relatives were convinced he was out of h...

20 January 2021

Mark 3:1-6

Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do ...

20 January 2022

Mark 3:7-12

Feast of Saint Sebastian

Join our community

In addition to receiving our Daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection, signing up for a free membership allows you to: 

The mission of Christian Art is to offer a daily Gospel Reading paired with a related work of art and a short reflection. Our goal is to help people grow closer to God through the magnificent pairing of art and the Christian faith.


Join over 40,000 people who receive our daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection

Skip to content