Giovanni Angelo del Maino, “Saint John The Evangelist” (1520-30), Lime wood, ht. 143cm.

Whom we’re seeing in front of us is a person right from the 16th century, stretching out his hand as if asking for a handout. His facial expression supports the meaning of his extended arm and open palm – it’s an appeal to people for help.

But this person before us is not a beggar or at least not of the usual kind. He is asking people for something much worthier than money – he is asking folks to find in themselves the desire to receive – to be baptized into the sacred reality.

As the ritual of baptism is an introduction to the world of Gospels, to writings and popularization of the Gospels, the offering of the sacred message is in essence a ritual of initiation of human soul into sacred text.

The beggar – Saint John the Evangelist is inviting/asking people to be converted into Christian belief. He is showing his dedication to open to them a new life, and putting out his right hand with which he wrote the Gospel he is as if offering to the people his hand and palm to help them to become different than what they are – living (to use terms of today’s worldview) to rival, compete, “survive” and succeed, to win and be rewarded by consumption and entertainment.

Saint John the Evangelist is begging people to allow him to help them to become different human beings who’ll live spiritually – for a moral purpose in life – caring for others and for disinterested meaning of life instead of trying to dominate other people and nations and transform people into tools and objects of power and wealth.

John the Evangelist didn’t know yet that in the 21st century wealth and power will be named as the very instruments of humanism and that people will be happy to readily serve the masters of power and wealth because they will be rewarded by their masters with crumbs of the same power and wealth.

In the beginning of the 16th century Giovanni Angelo del Maino (1470-1536) through his sculpture is begging us to become independent from and indifferent to the seductive might of power and wealth – as the only way to prevent fight amongst people and wars and destruction of life on earth.

Independence from and resistance to the most pathological obsession of human nature – with appropriation of power and wealth without limits (making inequality extreme), is the ultimate meaning and the message of the ritual of baptism and the sacred narrations of the Gospels.

Giovanni Angelo del Maino, “Saint John The Evangelist” (1520-30), Lime wood, ht. 143cm.