Smiling Woman,
Painting by Max Van den Oetelaar,
Executed in November 2018,
Oil, acrylic and mixed media on canvas
© Max Van den Oetelaar artist

Smiling Woman,
Painting by Max Van den Oetelaar,
Executed in November 2018,
Oil, acrylic and mixed media on canvas
© Max Van den Oetelaar artist

Gospel of 8 July 2021

You received without charge, give without charge

Matthew 10:7-15

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: 'As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

'Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.'

Reflection on the Painting

In our Gospel reading of today, Jesus continues to instruct His disciples. Today, following on from the reading yesterday, Jesus tells them to trust in the generosity of the people whom they will encounter on their travels. They should have confidence that they will be provided with whatever they need in order to help build God's kingdom: a place to sleep, money, food to eat… I think most of us would still try to take something with us 'just in case'. But Jesus calls for total trust in Him. He is asking us to pass on the abundance we receive to others; 'You received without charge, give without charge'. 

Every day we have the opportunity to do this. Probably the simplest way of doing this is just to smile at someone and be friendly. A smile works wonders. In a simple smile we can share the abundance that we have received. A smile doesn't just bring joy, it can also change our own attitude. If we feel stressed or annoyed, smiling at someone can break this state of negativity. Smiling is a simple thing, but we often forget the power it holds. Smiling is simply an expression of the joy of the Gospel bubbling to the surface!

Our mixed-media painting is by Dutch photographer, Max Van den Oetelaar. It shows a joyful woman smiling, surrounded by bursts of colour splashes. Smiling doesn't cost us anything... it is something we can easily and gladly give without charge

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