The Council of the Royal Academy selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875,
Painted by Charles West Cope (1811-1890),
Painted in 1856,
Oil on canvas
© Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer: John Hammond / Google Arts

The Council of the Royal Academy selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875,
Painted by Charles West Cope (1811-1890),
Painted in 1856,
Oil on canvas
© Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer: John Hammond / Google Arts

Gospel of 20 June 2022

Do not judge, and you will not be judged

Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’

Reflection on the painting

Our painting by Charles West Cope depicts the Council of the Royal Academy selecting pictures for their 1875 Summer Exhibition. Works of art are being presented to them and they judge. Every year since 1769, the Royal Academy has put on an open-submission art show, called ‘The Exhibition’ in earlier days but now known as the Summer Exhibition. The works on show are selected and arranged by Royal Academicians, who also enter their own works into the exhibition, creating an eclectic mix of work by established artists alongside emerging talent and first-time exhibitors. Nowadays about 15,000 works get submitted each year. Around 95% of artworks are rejected: they are judged and not deemed good enough for display.

The ‘judging’ Jesus mentions in today's reading is much broader. He recognises that we live in a very judgemental culture. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we are all guilty of it. We quickly judge politicians, our friends, footballers,… We have a tendency to condemn and judge others. As Jesus says, we can be overly concerned about the splinter in someone else’s eye while being arrogantly oblivious to the plank in our own.

When we have a piece of dust in our eye, our eyes well up and water diminishes our sight for a few minutes. Similarly, our sight is diminished when we focus one other people’s shortcomings. Jesus is asking us not to let other people's shortcomings be like dust in our eyes.

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Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
5 months ago

Judging…so easy to do…you have to be mindful all the time!
On a lighter note, an artist pal of mine had a painting accepted for this year’s RA Summer Exhibition – all works on the theme ‘Climate’; she just sent me a text to say somebody has purchased it, today being the preview day, so not even open to the public. She’s delighted!

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

Over the years I’ve heard several lessons on this passage; but since I so easily get planks in my eyes, it is good to be reminded that removing a plank is, unfortunately, not a one and done.
On a less spiritual level, the irony of Deacon van der Vorst selecting this particular work made me smile.

miguel vargas
Member
miguel vargas(@miguel)
5 months ago

I have been a little convicted lately, when it comes to health among believers. Over weight people, who purposely show no regard for taking care of or treating properly their “temple”. Some have said that exercise is a waste of time because our bodies are wasting away anyways. God has commanded us to be good stewards of “all” he has entrusted to us.

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