This weekend will see our last reflection and picture meditation on St Matthew’s Gospel.

For almost a year Fr Dries van den Akker SJ, a member of the formation team of the International Novitiate, and religious artist Peter Clare have collaborated on this project, which formed part of the diocesan response to the Year of the Word: God Who Speaks scripture campaign.

Thanks to Fr Dries and Peter a weekly reflection on St Matthew’s Gospel, and an accompanying picture meditation, have been added to the Archdiocese website.

This Sunday, 22 November, is the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of Year A (the Year of St Matthew’s Gospel) before we begin the new Church Year and the First Sunday of Advent Year B (the Year of St Mark’s Gospel).

“This is the last Sunday of the Year of the Word where we read Matthew’s Gospel and meditate on its illustrations,” said Fr Dries.

“We enjoyed this. Thanks for your attention and encouraging reactions.”

Peter added: “Well it has been quite a year I have to say. I am most grateful for the support and exposure that the Archdiocese of Birmingham has given to my work.

“From the beginning when I first felt the call to paint the St Matthew Cycle back in 1993 it was my intention that the cycle should be used as a base for reflection and prayer on the life of Our Lord and the story of our salvation.

“As a convert to Catholicism the reality of Jesus has been central to my life and work and to have that work used as it has been over the last year has ticked a lot of boxes.

“I am also grateful to Fr Dries for his support and encouragement. He has been a great task master driving me on to complete the paintings that were still no more than a note of chapter and verse. In this lockdown what else did I need to do?

“So thank you and everybody involved in the diocese who have helped.”

Although St Matthew’s Gospel comes to an end our weekly journey will continue with St Mark.

*Special thanks to Con McHugh for photographing Peter Clare’s paintings.

Picture: Matthew 14:23