La Grande Table,
Painted by René Magritte (1898-1967),
Painted in 1965,
Gouache on paper
© Sotheby's London, 24 June 2009, sold for Â£553,000
Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread?
Jesus said to his disciples, 'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
'So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.'
Reflection on the Gouache on paper
Jesus when speaking to us in the Gospels, often draws on our daily lives to make His point. In our short reading today, He talks about children, bread, fish… all things that people would have been very familiar with in village life in Galilee. Jesus recognised that all of our human life has the potential to speak to us about God. All of our human experience can speak to us about how we are invited to relate to God. If someone in a small village can call upon a good friend to help him out, or if a son can rely on his father to provide food, then how much more can we all rely on God to help and feed us.
If you were to ask the villager for bread or an apple, he would not hand you a stone… We can ask for things to God, and he won't hand us a stone, but He will always give us proper food, proper nourishment. Our painting by Belgian surrealist René Magritte, shows fruit that has mysteriously transformed into stone. At the core of this image for the artist lies the paradoxical relationship between the solidity and timelessness of the rock and the perishable nature of the apple. By having the contrast of the fragility of a fruit and the solidity of stone, Magritte evokes the essential surrealist paradigm of questioning the significance we associate with objects and images, and creating new meanings by placing these objects in new and unexpected contexts.
Jesus uses every day objects and images, telling us today to keep praying, keep asking, keep searching and keep knocking… For the one who asks always receives…
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