Gospel in art: As the tares are gathered and burned, so will they be at the end of time

Peasant Burning Weeds, Vincent van Gogh © Van Gogh Museum & Drents Museum, Netherlands

Source: Christian art

Gospel of July 26, 2022
Matthew 13:36-43

Leaving the crowd, Jesus went home; and his disciples came to him and said to him, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field.’

He replied, “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the tares, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Now, just as the tares are gathered up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause offense and all that do evil, and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Listen, whoever has ears!

Reflection on painting

In 2019, the Van Gogh Museum and the Drents Museum jointly acquired this early painting by Vincent van Gogh, Peasant Burning Weeds, from 1883. The small but mighty work shows a solitary figure of a man standing on a deserted plain at dusk, illuminated by a fire made of burning weeds. Van Gogh painted the work in Drenthe, Holland, where he stayed in the fall of 1883. It is one of the few surviving paintings from the period.

In a letter to his brother Theo (sent October 22, 1883), Vincent wrote of this piece: “Here are some evening effects – I’m still working on that weeder, which I caught better than before in a painted study as for the tone, so that it conveys more the immensity of the plain and the twilight that is emerging, and the small fire with the thread of smoke is the only point of light. I kept going out to watch it in the evening…’ The evening effect is very striking indeed, just using brown tones.

Today’s gospel reading speaks of the tares being picked up and burned, speaks of the final separation of good and evil at the end of time. The parable explains that until that final separation at the end of time, good and evil will coexist in the world and in the Church and in each of us. But in the end, the final separation will take place. It will be done by God, not by us.


Christian art: www.christian.art
Today’s picture: https://christian.art/daily-gospel-reading/matthew-13-36-43-2022/

About Oscar L. Smith

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