Gospel in Art: The Son of Man Comes at an Hour You Do Not Expect


Baptism of the Neophytes by Masaccio. Painted from 1424 to 1425 Fresco. © Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

Source: Christian art

Gospel of October 19, 2022
Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You can be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break into the wall of his house. You too, be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord answered, “What kind of steward is faithful and wise enough that the master places him above his household to give them their food allowance at the proper time?” Happy is this servant if the arrival of his master finds him in this employment. Truly I tell you, he will set him above all he has. But as for the servant who says to himself: “My master is late in coming”, and who begins to beat servants and maidservants, to eat, to drink and to get drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect. not and at one o’clock he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the infidel.

The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even begun to fulfill those wishes, will receive many, many lashes. The one who didn’t know, but deserves to be beaten for what he did, will receive less beatings. When much has been given to a man, much will be asked of him; when a man has been given a lot of trust, even more will be expected of him.

Reflection on the fresco

Our Gospel reading today says ‘The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect’. We don’t know when we will die. In the past, this led to practices such as, for example, the nobility always having a priest at hand, to give absolution just before death in the event of a fatal accident. Or the early Christians waited to be baptized until old age or the time of death, so that they would be in a “sinless pure state” at death. Of course, this is all far too calculated and is not what Jesus is thinking about in our reading.

We never know when our life will end, so rather than overcalculating the end of life, Jesus urges us to live a good life. The Lord will examine what we have done in the years given to us, not just what we have done in our last days!

Our fresco by Masaccio represents the Baptism of the Neophytes. Also in Florence (as was yesterday’s fresco), the splendid color tones have been rediscovered during a recent restoration. We see a grown man being baptized while another man on the right waits, but clearly cold and shivering. Behind this nude, there is another neophyte still fully dressed, in a red coat. The trickle of river water flowing against the kneeling neophyte’s legs is subtle. Likewise, the water that Saint Peter pours from the basin, with a gesture somewhat like that of a peasant who sows his seeds, splashes on the man’s head. Her hair is soaked. It is a beautiful depiction of adult baptism.


Gospel in art: https://christian.art/

Thought of the day: https://christian.art/daily-gospel-reading/luke-12-39-48-2022/


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