Father and Son
Sculpted by Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010),
Stainless steel, aluminium, water and bronze bell
Executed in 2005
© Installed for the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Washington, USA
Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened
Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
Reflection on the public sculpture
Today’s fountain sculpture by Louise Bourgeois features a father and a son. The father has is arms outstretched and we can almost hear him utter the words of today's Gospel, 'Come to me'. The little boy also has his arms outstretched and wants to reach his father, but can't. There seems to be a distance which can't be bridged.
Each of the two figures has a ring of water shooting up around it. When you see the fountain in action, sometimes the pressurised water completely covers one figure, so one figure is invisible to the other. A few minutes later the other figure has water shooting up all around it, with the other figure being completely visible. So the fountain rings around each figure at times 'hide' and ‘reveal’ the figures to one another. Louise Bourgeois was 94 years old when she made this sculpture. Remarkable! This sculpture shows in such a simple yet effective way how the fountain hides and reveals the boy from the father.
Today’s gospel reading gives us an insight into the prayer of Jesus. The words ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth...' demonstrate Jesus’ communion with his father. But that love between the Father and the Son then flows immediately into praying for those who labour and are overburdened, inviting them to come to him and receive the gift of rest. This two-fold dynamism of Jesus praying to his Father, which then energises loving service for the broken, is what we are called to do as well.
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Readings related to Matthew 11:25-30
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