The Sermon on the Mount,
Painted by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 - 1625),
Painted in 1598,
Oil on copper,
© The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The Sermon on the Mount,
Painted by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 - 1625),
Painted in 1598,
Oil on copper,
© The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Gospel of 29 January 2023

Jesus went up the hill, sat down and began to teach

Matthew 5:1-12a

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit;

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy the gentle:

they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Happy those who mourn:

they shall be comforted.

Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:

they shall be satisfied.

Happy the merciful:

they shall have mercy shown them.

Happy the pure in heart:

they shall see God.

Happy the peacemakers:

they shall be called sons of God.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’

Reflection on the painting

Even though the painting by Jan Breughel the Elder (1568 - 1625) is packed with figures, it is only a small painting at  26 by 36cm in size (10 1/2 × 14 1/2 in.). So as a viewer one needs to go up close to really see what is going on in the painting. Jan Breughel in his composition decided to put Jesus amongst the crowds. He is hard to identify. Yet everybody is congregating around him to hear what he has to say.

Identified by a pale yellow halo, Christ stands on a small podium near the centre. We can see the disciples behind Jesus. Plenty of further detail to look at. In the foreground, a gypsy is telling fortunes and a vendor sells bread. Looking at the head-dresses, we can see Jews, Arabs, monks, farmers, poor people, rich people, etc… The Sermon on the Mount is for everyone!

Set in a beautiful landscape, this painting also reflects the interior landscape of Christ when he gave us the Beatitudes: a generous, colourful, tranquil heart. The Beatitudes are not a set of rules, but they are rather a vision of where true happiness lies… deep inside Christ, reachable within the rich landscapes of our own hearts. We could understand the different beatitudes as like the different pieces which make up a beautiful landscape. The more we live these beatitudes, to more beautiful our interior landscape becomes.

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Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
4 months ago

Another Northern Renaissance painting; I am beginning to recognize the genre. I wonder how much Jan Brueghel the Elder (and so many other Renaissance artists) were motivated and inspired by their own Biblical knowledge, or that by of their patrons. I am not sure why it matters–the works touch me either way–yet many of the works exhibit a profound understanding of scripture. Is such divine wisdom driven by the patrons, the artists, both? The Dutch success in trade and commerce in this period seems to have yielded beautiful fruit; may it be God’s will in our time.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Me too. Those Northern artists resonate with me far more than the Italian Renaissance ones – although anything ‘early’ Italian included, seems to touch me more..Giotto, Cimabue.
I really like your thoughts today.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
4 months ago

Thank you. I am a novice, and trying to learn. Looking at these beautiful works and the commentaries, after the daily readings from the USCCB, starts my day. I have appreciated your frequent and enlightening comments. God bless.

Maria Jose Beriain
Member
Maria Jose Beriain(@mjberiain)
4 months ago

Mis oraciones para todos en vuestros exámenes. Que Dios os llene de sabiduría, conocimiento y amor a Dios.
Precioso el cuadro. Tan pequeño de tamaño y tanta riqueza artística dentro de él.
Gracias Patrick

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
4 months ago

Tofay is world Leprosy (Hansen’s disease) Day. Please pray for all those who suffer and for those who help them.

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
4 months ago

My prayers will be for you all at Mass today.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
4 months ago

Prayers assured Deacon Patrick.

Sandy Morris
Member
Sandy Morris(@sandy-j)
4 months ago

Thank you for this site, and you all have our prayers.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
4 months ago

I will pray for you all. I hope you get the questions you can answer well, and the Holy Spirit guides your words, as with this lovely painting and excellent reflection that touched my heart this morning. Thank you.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
4 months ago

My wife studied at Regina Mundi in the early ’70s so will feel some kind of connection, she will be praying until ordination.

Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas(@katteliekemeissie)
4 months ago

I’ll pray for you and all seminarians (in the whole world) as I do each day. You will pass the exams successfully; I’m sure because Jesus is on your side.

Steve williams
Member
Steve williams(@jsrwilliamstalktalk-net)
4 months ago

praying for you and all your fellow seminarians. 🙏🙏

marleen de vlieghere
Member
marleen de vlieghere(@marleen)
4 months ago

Everyday that week, I will light a candle for you , Patrick and for all the seminarians.

marleen de vlieghere
Member
marleen de vlieghere(@marleen)
4 months ago

You have so much to do, Patrick and still find the time to answer all the mail. Admirable! Thank you!

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron(@silvya)
4 months ago

Mi querido Patricio, rezaré especialmente por usted y sus compañeros. Paz y bien.🕊

Peter Hagan
Member
Peter Hagan(@peter-hagan-1)
4 months ago

Thank you Deacon Patrick for your lovely reflections. We will be praying for you. May the Holy Spirit guide you in your exams. 🙏

Michael Trudeau
Member
Michael Trudeau(@michaeltrudeau)
4 months ago

As a retired professor I keep a list of college and post-graduate students to pray for. You are already on the list, so this provides me with added focus. If you do as well on your exams as you do on this devotional, you’ll be top of your class.

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