|Rembrandt's Prodigal Son|
This may prompt us to think about disputes among siblings. Or it may move us to ponder forgiving someone who has wronged us. Some people become so fixated that they let wrongs “imprison” them, so to speak. This parable challenges us to forgive. If we can’t forgive on our own, pray for the grace to participate in the forgiveness of Jesus.
Did you ever wonder what Jesus really looked like? You probably heard about the Shroud of Turin. Whether or not it’s authentic, that’s one portrait or face of Jesus. The great painters also give us different portraits: da Vinci; Raphael; Michelangelo; El Greco; Rembrandt. Do you have a favorite portrait of Jesus?
The four recognized Gospel writers, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, give us different portraits and different ways in which to follow Jesus. Moreover they wrote to different audiences; and so they wrote differently. As we write differently to different people.
Mark is an action Gospel. The Jesus in Mark seems very approachable, very human. Mark wrote shortly after scores of Christians perished in Rome and many asked: where is God? Has God forgotten us? To be a disciple may mean enduring chronic illness; making sacrifices; giving generously to others.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus in John is noble, majestic and divine. Remember how this Gospel opens: In the beginning was the Word. Yes, Jesus is completely human and completely divine. To be a disciple, for John, is to be in relationship or friendship with Jesus, especially in prayer.