Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Currency" of the Kingdom

Chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke (part of which comprises today's Gospel for the Mass) has Jesus on the "home-stretch" to Jerusalem where he will undergo his passion. Much of Jesus' teachings and parables "on the road" to Jerusalem have focused on the Kingdom of God. From chapter 9 (where the journey motif begins) to chapter 19 (where it ends), the Kingdom of God is mentioned 21 times! Today's parable about a King who receives a Kingdom (Luke 19:11-28) may also reveal something insightful about the Kingdom or reign of God itself.

The parable tells the tale of a man who went away from his territory in order to be officially made "king" and returned to rule over his land. Being quite industrious, before he goes he disburses monies to his servants (the amount disbursed commensurate with their abilities) and instructs them to "engage in business" during his absence. Upon his return as king, he calls his servants to account and finds that two out of the three invested wisely and the other simply hid his money out of fear. The two who invested their money are commended and given positions of leadership while the last has his one and only coin taken away. At one level, the story is used by Luke to emphasize that despite Jesus' impending passion and humiliating death, he will inevitably reign as Lord of all. At another level, the parable illustrates the dynamics of the Kingdom or Reign of God.

As mentioned in previous blog reflections, this parable illustrates how the Kingdom of God comes as both "gift" and "task." Each of the three servants in the parable is "gifted" with money to do business with. The crux of the matter consists in what they do with the money, and, perhaps more importantly, how they "engage" with others in "doing business." This point illuminates how the dynamics of the Kingdom operate in our midst. The Kingdom or Reign of God grows every so subtly and "organically" in and through the efforts and gifts of those who "put themselves out there" by "engaging" in the "business" of sewing the seeds of the Reign in their everyday affairs. This requires on the part of the one "engaging in business" a fundamental awareness of the "call of the Kingdom", what it consists of (justice, mercy, reconciliation, healing, transformation, selfless service, etc...), and the determination to work for it's realization in every aspect of life (personal, interpersonal, social, cultural, political, etc...)

The "currency" of the Kingdom, it would seem, is faith. The faith of receiving the "gift" of the Kingdom and than engaging in the business of investing one's self and gift(s) in a way to bring about the further flourishing of the Reign of God that is already in our midst and yet still on the way. Pat, TOR