Fra Angelico, Lunette of the West Wall in the Niccoline Chapel, Vatican City, 1447-1449 (photo: Public Domain)
SCRIPTURES & ART: Today’s first reading is depicted in Christian art by a fresco of great 15th-century artist Fra Angelico
By John Grondelski, EWTN News, May 7, 2023
John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) is former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. He is especially interested in moral theology and the thought of John Paul II. [Note: All views expressed in his National Catholic Register contributions are exclusively the author’s.]
Writing an essay on the weekly Scripture readings in art grows more challenging in the second half of the Easter season, because the Gospels transition from Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances and the message of the Good Shepherd — themes either concrete or well-documented in art — to more abstract theology, usually taken from Jesus’ Last Supper Discourse in John’s Gospel, as he prepares to take leave of the Apostles at the Ascension.
Today’s Gospel, for example, speaks of Jesus’ imminent departure on “the way” known to the Apostles. When Philip (whose feast we celebrated last week) asks about that path, Jesus makes clear: “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Important theology, and we’ll comment on it, but it doesn’t lend itself readily to artistic depiction. For today’s art, we’ll turn to the First Reading, where the Acts of the Apostles speaks of the first deacons. But first — as befits its pride of place — the Gospel. …