In today's Gospel there is this interesting parable. Last night when reflecting on the Gospel, I was drawn to the gold coins and what they represent. Today though it struck me, that this was a very important key to that whole exchange.
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.
Why is this important to understanding the truth of the parable? I think it is in the key of who Jesus is, and not who they thought he was going to be. As in the first reading, the Jewish people were well aware of the fact they were still under oppression from Roman rule. They had been beaten down for many, many years. Here they were expecting deliverance. They wanted to see God fulfill that promise he made to David when he said, "And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever."
How confusing it must have been for the people who thought that Israel would have a king forever. Then not only did they lose their king, but they also lost Jerusalem itself. It was destroyed completely and they were carted off into captivity. Trying to make sense of that they began to develop the theology of the Messiah. It was he they were waiting for. It was he they thought Jesus to be, and they were right in thinking so. The problem was they expected him to be a military leader. Just like David of old, like the judges, someone to rise up against their enemies, and rebuild the kingdom. King David's kingdom was a time of unrivaled prosperity. Everyone had everything they needed, food, wealth, etc. It was what they longed to be returned to.
Here was Jesus approaching Jerusalem and the people around him thought the Kingdom of God was about to be manifest. Even though Jesus had been telling them over and over that he would have to go into Jerusalem and die, they thought he was going to rise up as King and overthrow Israel's political enemies. So Jesus tells us this parable. What does it mean though? Well, Jesus is the nobleman in the story. Jesus is warning them that what they think is going to happen, is not exactly what is going to occur. He has to go to another country, he has to journey back to where he came from, that is to Heaven, in order to become King.
This parable is all about his crucifixion. He is also telling us what we must do while he is gone. That's where the gold coins come in, and that's where my blog from last night starts off. (Are you ready to give an account?) Are we ready to show Him when he returns as king what we have done with his gifts? As we approach the end of the liturgical season we are reminded through our readings that one day will come the end of time. That at that end of time we will be called forward to give an account of what we have done with the things God has given us. As we approach this weekends Mass, let us prepare ourselves for an encounter with Christ the King.
He has gone to prepare a place for us. Are you ready? Get ready. Be ready. Stay ready.
His servant and yours,