Gospel in the art: Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?


Botafumeiro, by José Losada, 1851, © Wikimedia / Basilica de Santiago de Compostela

Source: Christian art

Gospel of July 25, 2022
Matthew 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons to make a request of him, and prostrated herself deeply; and he said to him, “What do you want? She said to him: “Promise that these two of my sons will sit one on your right and the other on your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup I’m going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ “Very well,” he said, “you will drink my cup, but as for the seats to my right and to my left, it is not for me to grant them; they belong to those to whom they have been attributed by my Father.

When the ten others heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said: “You know that among the heathen the princes rule over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This must not happen among you. Nope; whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom . for many.’

Reflection on the Swinging Censer

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint James the Apostle. According to the Gospels, James and his brother John, as well as Peter and his brother Andrew, were the first to be called by Jesus to follow him. All four were fishermen. According to the various gospels, Jesus took Peter, John and James to the Mount of Transfiguration. He took the same three with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Thus, James was one of the disciples who had unique and privileged access to Jesus. John, James and their mother were quite insistent! We read in today’s reading that they asked for the best places in the Kingdom of God. So, despite all the privileged access they had to Jesus, they still didn’t really understand what Jesus was.

This must have frustrated Jesus. So he simply said to them, “Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink? Both sons replied that they could. And indeed, they were right. Both continued to drink the cup of suffering. According to the Acts of the Apostles, King Herod Agrippa persecuted the church of Judea and had James killed by the sword. Additionally, he was the very first member of the Twelve Apostles to die for his faith in Christ. According to tradition, his bones were transported from Jerusalem to Compostela in northwestern Spain, where his remains still attract millions of pilgrims each year.

Besides the Tomb of Santiago, probably the next most well-known attraction in the Cathedral Basilica of Santiago de Compostela is the Botafumeiro (Galician for “smoke expeller”), containing burning incense that sways in its pierced metal container, suspended from chains. The current Botafumeiro is a brass and silvered bronze vessel, created by goldsmith José Losada in 1851. It has a burnished gold finish. It is one of the largest incense burners in the world, weighing 80 kg. and measuring 1.60 m tall (just over 5 feet). Strings typically last about 20 years before needing to be replaced. It costs around €450 per use, taking into account the special coals and unique incense used.


Christian art: www.christian.art
Today’s picture: https://christian.art/daily-gospel-reading/matthew-20-20-28-2022/

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