Christ in the Garden of Ghesemane,
Painted by Hermann Clementz (1852-1930),
Painted circa 1900
Oil on canvas
© Wikimedia Commons
Ask..., search..., knock...
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 painting
When Jesus teaches us, usually it comes out of his own experience. Jesus encourages in our Gospel reading to keep on asking God, to keep on searching for God and to keep on knocking on God’s door. He is saying these things, as that is exactly what Jesus did too. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked God to take away this cup of suffering. At the last supper he encouraged Peter to keep searching and asked God that Peter’s faith might not fail. On the cross he knocked on God’s door asking God to forgive those who crucified him and even to open the door for the criminals hanging next to him. Jesus did the asking, searching and knocking himself. He teaches out of his own experience.
When we ask, search and knock, we imitate what Jesus did in the garden. And even if, as Jesus experienced there, our prayers are not answered in the way we want, we will have expanded our hearts dramatically to be more open to God’s presence.
Our painting, circa 1900, by Hermann Clementz, simply depicts Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. A gentle light is emanating from him, especially around his head, but also a light is coming from above. His hands are firmly clasped together.
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