Obstacle Course,
Painting by Dee Carpenter,
Painted in 2013,
Gouache and watercolour on paper
© Dee Carpenter, Fairbanks, USA

Obstacle Course,
Painting by Dee Carpenter,
Painted in 2013,
Gouache and watercolour on paper
© Dee Carpenter, Fairbanks, USA

Gospel of 22 August 2022

Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees!

Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who shut up the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in who want to.

Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you have him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.

Alas for you, blind guides! You who say, “If a man swears by the Temple, it has no force; but if a man swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound.” Fools and blind! For which is of greater worth, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? Or else, “If a man swears by the altar it has no force; but if a man swears by the offering that is on the altar, he is bound.” You blind men! For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred? Therefore, when a man swears by the altar he is swearing by that and by everything on it. And when a man swears by the Temple he is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it. And when a man swears by heaven he is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.’

Reflection on the gouache

Strong words in our reading today! We hear from Jesus a tirade of words against the Pharisees. Jesus was very critical of those who were an obstacle for people coming to believe in him. Remember, he was even critical of his own disciples for trying to prevent children approaching him. Jesus saw the Pharisees as putting obstacles between him and the people. He wanted them to build bridges instead!

When we talk about our own faith and bear witness to Jesus before others, we must take great care not to become obstacles ourselves. Of course that doesn’t mean that we should shy away from having certain conversations or avoid conveying the Church’s teachings in a spirit of love, but we have to be mindful of how we present things.

Our gouache on paper is entitled ‘Obstacle Course’ and is by award-winning self-taught artist Dee Carpenter. It is a very sweet composition showing little ducklings facing a small obstacle. One brave duckling is facing the obstacle and has nearly managed the steep climb. He will be an example to the rest so they can follow suit. In our faith, we can be the ones gently showing the way and helping others to overcome obstacles… rather than build new obstacles for them.

Share this Gospel Reading

Did you like this Gospel reading and art reflection?

Join in the discussion about this artwork & Gospel reading

Subscribe
Notify of
3 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
miguel vargas
Member
miguel vargas(@miguel)
1 month ago

Thought it should have been titled: obstacles, of course. In this life we will have trouble. Fear not! John 16:33

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
1 month ago

I can’t get to Patrick’s commentary. We have loads of little ducklings hatch every year and start swimming around on the ponds near where we live. Every day their numbers decline as they are killed by the diabolical black coots. A good illustration of the battle between good and evil in the world!

Jo Siedlecka
Member
Jo Siedlecka(@jo-siedlecka)
1 month ago

A delightful image and thoughtful interpretation.

Readings related to Matthew 23:13-22

28 August 2019

Matthew 23: 27-32

Feast of Saint Augustine

10 March 2020

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

2 March 2021

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

26 August 2019

Matthew 23: 13-22

You hypocrites!

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.

CONNECT WITH US

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

Skip to content