Christ Walking on the Waters, 
Peinture de Julius Sergius Von Klever (1850-1924),
Painted circa 1880,
Huile sur toile

Christ Walking on the Waters, 
Peinture de Julius Sergius Von Klever (1850-1924),
Painted circa 1880,
Huile sur toile

Gospel of 8 janvier 2020

Ils ont vu Jésus marcher sur le lac

Marc 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were filled, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. He could see they were worn out with rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the lake they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But he at once spoke to them, and said, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed.

Réflexion sur la peinture

Today’s Gospel follows immediately on from yesterday’s reading and starts with the words, after the five thousand had eaten and were filled… The disciples had a busy day. After helping to feed the crowds, they went off on the boat, whilst Jesus decided to stay on land to pray. The disciples gave Christ his space to pray. They didn’t always have to be by His side. Jesus needed His own personal time with His Father. Especially after feeding the 5,000 Jesus must have thanked His Father for the amazing day they all shared. I would imagine it was a prayer of thanksgiving that Jesus expressed; thanking God for the graces people received that day, and also asking God that the miracle would inspire people for generations to come.

Mark in today’s reading is contrasting Jesus praying on dry land, with the disciples who are out on stormy seas. Whilst they might be going through rough waves, they learn that they are not forsaken and that Christ is watching over them, even when He isn’t physically with them. They learnt that they can trust fully in Christ and should never be afraid of any danger. I am sure that this  miracle of Jesus walking on stormy seas would have inspired the early Christian communities which were persecuted. Jesus is always with us, through danger, martyrdom, rough times… He is watching over us, even when we don’t always realise. Jesus’s words ‘do not be afraid’ still resonate with all of us Christians today…

Julius Sergius Von Klever who painted our picture was a Russian academic artist. He was much admired by Tsar Alexander II and Count Stroganov who both purchased works by the artist, We see Jesus, with the sun acting as a halo, walking on stormy waves towards the boat holding the apostles. The boat, a symbol for the early Christian church, and the storm as a symbol for the persecutions. A simple, yet very effective painting. The treatment of the canvas is much influenced by French impressionism which would have reached Russia by the time Von Klever painted this.

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