While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.' His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, 'We do not want this man to be our king.' But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, 'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.' He replied, 'Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.' Then the second came and reported, 'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.' And to this servant too he said, 'You, take charge of five cities.' Then the other servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.' He said to him, 'With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.' And to those standing by he said, 'Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.' But they said to him, 'Sir, he has ten gold coins.' He replied, 'I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.'" After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Jesus and His followers approached Jerusalem and people were wondering about the Kingdom of God. In a similar way, we are approaching the Feast of Christ the King (next Sunday) and can ask likewise: What is that Kingdom of His?
Many of the gospel passages during the last weeks meant to sketch the character of this Kingdom. Today, many of the elements return and Luke explicitly sets the scene for the imminent showdown in Jerusalem. We know what Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem means and, henceforth, can interpret His present statements regarding His Kingship in the light of His sorrowful assent to the throne of the cross.
Jesus is a King of love. He did not enter the world claiming power just for “being a Nobleman.” He could have demanded worship from the first moment of His Incarnation on. Instead, He humbly walked among His fellow man and refused every dignity other than ascending Mount Calvary in our place. He became our King by suffering for us, by loving us to the extreme. He is our ruler in the realm of grace, because He redeemed us and, thus, made us worthy to reach our final destination in the house of the Father.
In this light, the departure and return of the Nobleman in the parable embrace all that Christ did in order to become the King He is: His Sacrifice, His Resurrection, His Ascension to the Father and His future return at the end of time. The gold entrusted to the servants is the gold of Christ’s love left in our hands; golden love in the multiple shapes of grace which we receive day after day in our Christian life: the sacraments, the Gospel, the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, the saints, the works of mercy, etc., etc., etc. All this gold is not only meant to sustain us, but we are called to “trade” with it: share it, proclaim it, impregnate society with it. Finally, there are those who do not accept the Kingship of the Nobleman, meaning that they reject the loving redemption offered by Christ. They do not consider that what He has done makes Him apt to be their Ruler. What a heartache!
Christ, Our King! These days are an invitation to praise and worship Jesus as your ruler, your Lord, your God. He deserves the adoration of all creation and yet He humbled Himself and became one of us. When He journeyed to Jerusalem, He assumed the Kingship of Men in the sense that He, as Son of Man, assumed the “responsibility” for all our sins. He is King not only because of His Divine Dignity but became our King by putting His head on the block for us - or rather: by hanging on the cross for us. That love is what made Him King. His blood is the golden love He entrusted to us. We have received that gold. May He help us to not fearfully hide it today but “trade” it with our neighbors.