Christ the Redeemer,
Photograph by Elias Schäfferle,
Depicting the stature of Christ the Redeemer,
Created by French sculptor Paul Landowski in 1922, in collaboration with Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa
© Elias Schärfere / Pixabay
As the lightning flashing from one part of heaven
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’
Reflection on the photograph
Today's reading is not an easy one. The Pharisees are asking Jesus a simple question: 'When is the Kingdom of God coming?' He does not give them a straightforward answer. Basically he is telling them that it doesn't matter when the kingdom comes: what truly matters is the nature of the kingdom. And that nature is present in each of us here and now! We don't have to wait for the kingdom to come: it is already here, reigning deep inside each of our souls.
The image Jesus paints of lightning for his Second Coming is interesting. He makes the point that when he returns, everybody will know about it. Just as we can see lightning from a distance, we will see Jesus returning with more glory and power than any lightning can bring.
Our photograph, taken by 20-year-old Elias Schäfferle, depicts the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. A bolt of lightning is hitting the right hand of Christ. It looks almost as though the lightning is actually emanating from Christ's hand. The giant sculpture, 30 metres / 98 feet high, was created by French sculptor Paul Landowski, in collaboration with Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, and constructed between 1922 and 1931.
Light in Scripture often refers to truth and knowledge of God. So the burst of light that emanates from lightning illustrates the raw power of Jesus Christ, flashing down from heaven to earth. The power of Truth upon his second coming will be so magnificent. But we already know this truth: we don't have to wait. The rule of God is already working itself out in the lives of those who are seeking to live by the example of Jesus. We need eyes to see the many signs of how God is already at work among us through his Son and the Spirit. All we need to do is to repeat to ourselves those beautiful words of Jesus in today’s gospel reading, ‘The kingdom of God is among you’.
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Readings related to Luke 17:20-25
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