Casting pearls before swines (from the series of "Flemish Proverbs"),
Painted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638),
Painted after 1600
Oil on panel
© Wikimedia / Dorotheum Vienna

Casting pearls before swines (from the series of "Flemish Proverbs"),
Painted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638),
Painted after 1600
Oil on panel
© Wikimedia / Dorotheum Vienna

Gospel of 21 June 2022

Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs

Matthew 7:6,12-14

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

Reflection on the painting

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus tells us, 'Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs’. What a graphic and strong image! Jesus means that we should not waste good things on people who will not appreciate them. This does not mean that we have to hold back from witnessing to the Gospel and sharing the Good News with people who might be sceptical. Jesus himself ate with and taught sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. We are to share the Gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that it is not welcome, we are to move on. That is a judgement call we each have to make: when to move on in a particular situation.

I’d like to think though that with every gentle witnessing we do of the Gospel, whether by word or deed, something will touch the audience or the person listening. Think of water. Water will enter a house through even the smallest of cracks. So can grace enter a person through the smallest crack or the smallest openness that is there. And once the water of grace has entered… who knows what can happen!

Our very small painting is by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. We see a richly dressed man casting large pearls before swines. But he is still holding plenty more in his apron. Maybe soon he will stop casting the pearls… 

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Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
6 days ago

I like the gospel, the reflection AND the wonderful painting. The man looks clueless, but as Patrick says, he might wake up…

Jo Siedlecka
Member
Jo Siedlecka(@jo-siedlecka)
6 days ago

I really like this reflection – the analogy of water entering the smallest crack. That must be true.

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