The mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons kneeling before Christ,
Designed by Father Jerome Nadal (1507-1580) and Bernardino Passeri (1530-1585),
Engraving by Hieronymus Wierix (1553–1619) ,
Issued in 1593, Antwerp
From the book Evangelicae Historiae Imagines
© Alamy / Christian Art

The mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons kneeling before Christ,
Designed by Father Jerome Nadal (1507-1580) and Bernardino Passeri (1530-1585),
Engraving by Hieronymus Wierix (1553–1619) ,
Issued in 1593, Antwerp
From the book Evangelicae Historiae Imagines
© Alamy / Christian Art

Gospel of 28 February 2024

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons

Matthew 20:17-28

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Reflection on the engraving

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, knew how important images were to the faithful. Art could bring people God and help proclaim the Good News. So Ignatius approached Father Jerome Nadal (1507-1580) and asked him to design a book that presented episodes of the Gospels with pictures, explanatory texts, and pious meditations. Father Nadal compiled and designed the Evangelicae Historiae Imagines (or Images of Gospel History). One of the illustrations in there is the artwork for today depicting the wife of Zebedee with her two sons kneeling before Jesus.

Published posthumously in Antwerp in 1593 at the Plantin-Moretus publishing house, the Evangelicae Historiae Imagines became a monument of Flemish and European printing in the 16th century and one of the major tools in the Counter Reformation. It contains one hundred and fifty-three engravings of the highest quality and detail. Published in Latin, the book became widely used in each country around the world, as far even as China. It was so successful when it was issued in 1593, that it was reprinted in 1594 in many more volumes, and again after those copies were sold out, the book was reprinted again in 1595. The engravers used new techniques of ‘perspective drawing’, which was never really achieved before in print making, thus depicting  more realistically the three-dimensional shapes of the figures and the landscapes, so that the Gospel stories became much more vibrant and realistic for the reader.

I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but just want to point out how well thought out this publication was. The top banner displays several pieces of liturgical, biblical, and/or descriptive information. Nr. 82 would indicate that this is the 82nd event of Jesus’ illustrated life in this book; the Roman numeral underneath (XXXVI) refers to the sequence of readings in the liturgical year, according to the Roman Missal of the time; etc… Below the illustration, we see some of Father Nadal’s main points or suggestions for reflection for prayerful meditation, using  the biblical text and using numbers (A,B,C,D,…), which then correlate to the illustration again. Look at the letter E’s text and then E again in the illustration (background on the left), where the crucifixion can be seen. A  masterpiece of printmaking, which I now realise has not left me space to write a proper reflection for today’s reading...

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Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas
1 month ago

I don’t aspire to a high place, don’t deserve it. I should be happy with a humble stool just inside the gate of heaven to be in the company of God and Jesus… if I could be in the countenance of my Holy Father, His Holy Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit. I have to wait and see if I am a sheep in His eyes …
Dear God, I do my utmost but I am only human and a sinner. I cannot live up to your expectations, have mercy on me and allow me when I am dead to see a glimpse of You in Your House of Light and Love.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Rya Lucas

That is one of the loveliest and heartfelt prayers I have read in a long long time.
Thank you and bless you Rya.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

You’re right Patricia!

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago

Agree!

Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas
1 month ago

Thanks, Patricia.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

Interesting…..I wish I knew the list of words not allowed in comments…..some of my comments are waiting for approval LOL……I wish I knew the list of forbidden words….I notice in other social media (X, youtube, etc) thoughts and comments must be approved…..its all so odd…..some comments are so innocuous and yet have to be approved…how odd!

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamie Cardinal
Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Maybe the word Cardinal is a trigger Lol!

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Could it happen this way because we are writing several at the same time?

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