Fishing nets at Pourville,
Painted by Claude Monet (1840-1926),
Painted in 1882,
Oil on canvas
© Kunstmuseum, Den Haag, Netherlands

Fishing nets at Pourville,
Painted by Claude Monet (1840-1926),
Painted in 1882,
Oil on canvas
© Kunstmuseum, Den Haag, Netherlands

Gospel of 28 July 2022

The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea

Matthew 13:47-53

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

Reflection on the painting

Many of our Gospel readings are set around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus did a lot of his ministry. Hence the sight of fishermen casting large dragnets into the sea would have been very familiar with Jesus’ audience. When the nets were thrown out, many different kinds of fish are caught: good fish, dead fish, clean fish, unclean fish… Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like this everyday reality. His own ministry has something of the quality of the casting of a dragnet. We too are called to cast our nets very wide, embracing everyone. Yes, there will be judgement, but we won't be the ones separating the good fish from the bad... that will be done by God.

Claude Monet painted this painting, Fishing Net at Pourville, in 1882, at the height of Impressionism in France. The image depicts large fishing nets, set up alongside the shores of Pourville-sur-Mer, near Dieppe in northern France. We see a fragile structure of slender stakes holding up a fishing net above the pounding surf. The stormy seas are bringing the fish into the nets.

It is not surprising that Monet was attracted to the sight of storms, sea and rugged coastlines. The irregular form of the nets stands out against the open sea but is also absorbed into the landscape through its transparency. The rosy evening sky accentuates the purplish glow of the nets and the blue-green sea breaks in white-crested waves on the greyish blue rocks. Yes, this painting is all about colour… an unusual use of colour: the sea is not blue, but green and grey; the nets are not brown, but purple; the sun is not yellow but white. The paint is applied to the canvas in short, nervously curved brushstrokes, conveying the blows of the storm.

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Iris
Member
Iris(@molly)
21 days ago

I liked the reading today. Have not seen this particular Monet painting before, it is very beautiful.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
21 days ago
Reply to  Iris

I wouldn’t even have guessed it was by him…

Tina Shaw
Member
Tina Shaw(@tina)
21 days ago
Reply to  Iris

I also did not know this Monet, I love the colours

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
21 days ago

Another of Jesus’ teachings on the subject of ‘the blazing furnace’. I never hear about eternal damnation in church. Either the Church has lost its bottle about preaching on this subject or else it does still believe in it but keeps off the topic for fear of alienating its constituency. Discuss….

Graham Barsby
Member
Graham Barsby(@barsbee)
21 days ago

Keeps it off topic so that nobody is offended……….

Michael Trudeau
Member
Michael Trudeau(@michaeltrudeau)
21 days ago

I think it is a very challenging balance for priests and preachers. On the one hand, they have to care for those who have already come to the Kingdom. They have these sheep to guide in becoming more and more like Jesus. On the other hand, there are those who are lost. They need to hear about just how dangerous a position they are in, and that safety is only found in Jesus. Fear is an uncomfortable feeling, but it motivates one to seek safety.

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