SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

Jesus drives out a demon
15th century
Très Riches Heures

We are in a Gothic synagogue. The people are astounded at Christ’s teachings with authority. The authority of His words translates into action as an unclean spirit screams in despair and attempts to battle with the Son of God. Watch as Christ in a blue cloak turns towards the man garbed in soiled clothes. Radiant by the Trinitarian halo, Jesus sternly commands, ‘Be silent and come out of him.’ The man convulses while the unclean spirit tries to escape. The crowd is appalled. Truly Jesus, our teacher, is powerful in word and deed. Through this He manifest the mercy and love of God. What a great grace it is to have known this God so powerful and so good!

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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Stop whispering your prayer, perhaps it’s time to shout! – Thursday, 8th week in ordinary time – Mark 10:46-52

This text precedes the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Mark 11:1). Today’s text is somewhere in the days preceding the Holy week and this we can safely surmise because in the next chapter Jesus enters Jerusalem and we are also told that today’s miracle takes place in Jericho and the distance between Jericho and Jerusalem is about 46 kilometers if you were to drive today.

The text of today is also to be found in the Gospel of Matthew 20:29-34 and in the Gospel of Luke 18:35-43. Mark’s Gospel is the only one which mentions the name of the blind man; he is Bartimaeus son of Timaeus. Bartimaeus, which is sometimes seen as his given name, is actually the man’s “last name.” Bartimaeus is an Aramaic phrase: bar Timaeus, where “bar” means “son of.” In Matthew’s Gospel we are not told the name of the man whose sight is restored but we are told there are TWO men who call to Jesus for help. Matthew and Luke also place this miracle story in Jericho and just before the entry in to Jerusalem though Luke will also give us the narrative of Zacchaeus the ‘famous’ tax collector of Jericho before he pens down the entry into Jerusalem.

Today I want to focus on what we can learn from Bartimaeus.

1. Illness at the time of Jesus meant that you were a sinner. Illness and sin were seen as two sides of the same coin. So, Bartimaeus was used to being looked down on and even silenced in public. But having lived through his situation he knows how to deal with people who try to silence him. When the crowds try to silence him and even do so “sternly” ordering him to be quiet he realizes that this may be the last chance he ever has. Many of us too feel silenced in our own homes, work places and lives. We feel relegated to a corner because of illness, physical challenges, challenges in our life caused at birth or may be just a dominating person who controls our lives. Bartimaeus knew when to cry out and to whom to cry out to. He knew that no one except the ‘Son of David’ could help him. Incidentally this title, ‘Son of David’ appears only here in the Gospel of Mark. The blind man had no sight but had insight. He grasped who Jesus was and what he could do even when his own disciples failed to understand Jesus.

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1638 – 1640
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

St Joseph steps out of the shadows into a mysterious light. In his arms, he beholds the glory of God-made flesh. Notice those aged lines on his sagging skin. It reflects the frailness of the elderly as he takes delight in the delicateness of a newborn. The relaxed Christ Child is playfully content as he holds up an apple. You’ve guessed it right! The fruit is a symbol of the bitter fall. Here it also symbolizes the fruitfulness of God’s promise of redemption. Notice the posture of the Saint. In reverence, he presents Christ Child to us. Is this not a glimpse of the Father’s heart? It reminds us of John 3:16 – ‘For God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.’

– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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Bhindi ka Salan

 500 g Bhindi (Washed, wiped and ends removed.)
3 tbsp Vegetable oil (Plus for frying)
1 tsp Mustard seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
15-20 Curry leaves
1 cup Onions (Thinly sliced)
½ tsp Turmeric powder 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 and ½ tsp Tamarind paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp Jaggery
2 tbsp Fresh coriander (Finely chopped)

For the Masala paste
 2 tbsp Peanuts
 2 tbsp Sesame seeds
2 tbsp Grated fresh coconut
3-4 Dry red chillies
1 inch Ginger (Chopped)
3-4 cloves Garlic

Instructions
Heat oil in a pan for frying the Bhindi and deep fry them until slightly browned on medium heat. Drain on a plate and keep aside. Dry roast peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut and dry red chillies until slightly browned and fragrant. Add in a blender along with ginger and garlic and make a smooth paste. Add some water to make the paste. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves and let them splutter for a few seconds. Add onion and fry until they turn slightly brown. Add the masala paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt along with 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and cook the curry for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Add the fried bhindi and again cook for 10 minutes. Add more water if required. Now add tamarind paste and jaggery and cook for a minute. Garnish with fresh coriander  

Notes
Wash the okra, remove the ends and wipe each of them with a cloth.
Use small tender okra to make this dish.
The masala paste must be smooth. Add little water to make the paste.
Cooking the curry for 15-20 mins is important for the raw smells to go.
This curry tastes the best next day as the flavours develop over time. So if possible, make it a day before, refrigerate overnight and then serve the next day.
You can air fry the bindi with a little oil spray if you are looking for a healthier version.

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

Mary, Untier of Knots
Johann Georg Schmidtner
c. 1700
St Peter am Perlach, Germany

The artist depicts a resplendent Mary suspended between heaven and earth. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, hovers above her. Dressed in crimson and deep blue, Mother Mary is presented as Queen of the Universe. A halo of twelve stars resounds her Queenship. The Blessed Virgin stands on a crescent, an indication of her Immaculate Conception. Surrounded by cherubs and aided by angels, she serenely unties a knotted white ribbon while at the same time crushing the head of a ‘knotted’ snake. Just as a child approaches its mother with a knotted shoelace, so do we go to Mother Mary with our brokenness. Remember, in her hands, no knot cannot be undone.

 Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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