SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

Agnus Dei
Francisco De Zurbaran
1635 – 1640
Museo del Prado, Madrid

The artist presents a simple still-life with extraordinary realism and symbolism. Against a dark background, resting on a table is a merino lamb. Still alive, it lies silent with bound feet – a posture indicating sacrifice. For the Hebrew Passover meal, God had commanded the sacrificing of a spotless lamb, whose blood marked the doors of the Israelite households. The blood saved them from the Angel of Death.
The image of the Passover Lamb effectively foreshadows the Passion of Christ – the Lamb of God whose blood and sacrifice set us free. Notice the purity of the lamb’s wool. Its spotlessness reflects Christ’s innocence. Now observe the Lamb’s feet. Though tied for slaughter, they show no indication of resistance or struggle. It depicts Christ’s willingness and incomprehensible love to set us free and take our place with abounding grace.

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

Madonna of Humility
Fra Angelico
1433-1435
Museum of Catalonia, Barcelona

Unlike popular medieval representations, the Blessed Virgin is not seated on a majestic Gothic throne. Rather the Virgin of Humility rests against a cushion directly placed on the ground. She is cloaked in blue (divinity), red (humanity), green (life), and gold (glory). Christ Child gazes at His beautiful Mother. As He takes His first step in faith, notice the protective arm of the Gentle Mother around her Little Boy. A choir of angels bears witness to this tender affection. With much adoration, Baby Jesus offers a white lily to His dear mother. The open flower signifies Mary’s openness and Humility.Humility for Mary was not weakness but a strong-willed determination to let God’s will be done in her life. The greatness of Mary was that she constantly focused on the greatness of God.

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

The Transfiguration
Raphael
1516 – 1520
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

Raphael’s last painting, ‘The Transfiguration’ is hailed as ‘most beautiful and most divine work.’ The scene takes place at Mount Tabor. The upper foreground of the painting illustrates the Transfiguration of Christ, while in the lower foreground, we see the next episode – the healing of the demoniac boy. Christ floats in glory, surrounded by Moses (law) and Elijah (prophets). The three apostles prostrate themselves in awe of this magnanimous glory. Artistically, the painting is divided into two parts: the celestial and the earthly. Observe the striking contrast through the play of light and shadow. The celestial regions are filled with splendor and calmness as against the feelings of agitation, trouble, confusion, and suffering that abounds the earth. As the finite look up and cry out for help, the Infinite Christ brings hope and restoration.

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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Seeking the created not the creator – 18th Sunday in ordinary time – John 6:24-35

Today’s Gospel is a continuation, if you please, of last Sunday’s Gospel text. To refresh your memory, last Sunday’s we heard of the multiplication of the fish and the loaves. At the end of the sign (Remember that the Gospel of St John does not have ‘miracles’ but signs) Jesus left the place as he realized that the people, whose bellies were full wanted to take him and make him king by force.

For the crowds, the sign they experienced was about having a belly full of food they failed to see that the real sign was Jesus. Even though the crowd acclaimed Jesus as prophet and sought to make him king (John 6:14-15), they seem not to have really understood the significance of what happened in the feeding miracle (John 6:1-14). Last Sunday they called him a prophet even though it was clear he was the long-awaited Messiah. The simply chose to see what they wanted.

That brings me to my first reflection. Who is Jesus to me? The correct answer is my Lord and saviour. Any other expression is secondary. There are many who in order to sound secular and popular treat Jesus as ‘a god’ or ‘one of the gods’. Jesus is GOD, the only begotten son of the father. This must be our confession of faith no matter what. We cannot choose to see Jesus the way we wish to in order to sound secular or socially acceptable.

The Gospel now tells us that Jesus heads to Capernaum, his de facto headquarters in Galilee and is quickly followed by the same crowds. At first Jesus confronts them. “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26), I do not think Jesus was scolding the crowd for seeking bread because they were hungry. I think Jesus was disappointed that the crowd did not expect more, not more bread but something more. Sadly, because they found a source for food, they were not looking for Jesus, they are looking the man who could keep feeding them.

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Dear Parishioners

I promised you that I would come back to you each month to keep you abreast with what is happing in the parish. The pandemic seems to keep us away from worshipping in Church but I do hope it has not kept you away from Our Lord Jesus Christ. To this effect we have ensured that we broadcast Sunday mass and the daily Gospel teaching; the links are sent to you via your animators on the WhatsApp group. It is my fervent hope that each family has submitted at least one family members cell phone details to the SCC animator. This is our only way to communicate with you. Please remember that while we at the parish have made every attempt to reach out and communicate to you, those who do not co-operate in this matter cannot claim ignorance of matters pertaining to the Church. We are not asking for your bank details, just one number of a family member to keep you abreast and informed of what is happening in the parish.

I am happy to let you know that our new parish office has been inaugurated. This space was designed and renovated by our own parishioner, Luis. We asked Edwin and Flory D’souza who are grandparents to do the honour of cutting the ribbon. I will now be available to parishioners on a daily basis for pastoral matters, Monday to Saturday on the ground floor, in the new parish office. Please note that for office matters you will need to follow the office timings. I hope that with this there is great accessibility to the priests and availability on our part for you. In time, the store room on the ground floor will be converted into a meeting room so that all meetings can be held at the ground floor itself. With this, I hope that movement to the father’s private rooms will be limited to the necessary and urgent only.

Last month I made an appeal to you my dear parishioners to give us one rupee or one percent of your monthly income towards the community welfare fund. This fund which I am told hovered at Rs 30,000 has now gone up, thanks to your contribution, to Rs1,70,620 for the month of June. I am grateful to many of you who have responded to this call and I hope that all our parishioners will contribute to the fund.

Last month we reached out to 96 families and provided food grains; this means that we have to keep aside close to a lakh of rupees from the fund towards the care of those who are needy. This is in addition to the 55 fresh meals that are made available thrice a week to our parishioners. I have also given Rs 50,000 in medical assistance this month.

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