Today’s Gospel gives another image of the Kingdom of God; its presence now, and its eventual fulfillment. (Luke 19:11-28) Each of us are given “gifts” (ten gold coins) by a nobleman (God/Jesus), and are told to engage in trade until I return. Clearly, these gifts are given to be actively engaged in the commerce of building God’s Kingdom, which is the commerce of faith and love.
The gifts are varied, but because they deal with the dignity of each person, they are all precious. The gifts are specific and some of them “common” to all; such as the “gold” of God’s word, the Church, the Sacraments, etc. And while the parable encourages and teaches us to engage in this commerce of God’s Kingdom, it also includes the reality that some will resist this Kingdom. The conclusion of the parable also instructs that those who resist are to be left to God for proper treatment. Though they resist this Kingdom, they are not to be a discouragement or barricade to us.
Let’s use a clear image of our Tradition to flesh out the impact of this parable. We all know that when we were baptized, we were brought into the life of the Church, the Life of Jesus Christ. We were “given” at that time a white garment to be kept “clean” until the coming of our Lord. We were anointed with Chrism oil that this new Life granted us may be preserved. We were “given” a baptismal candle, to be kept burning brightly until the Lord calls us to go forth with Him, with all the heavenly hosts and saints into the fullness of His Kingdom.
So, what is the brilliance of that baptismal candle today? The Christian disciple is called to allow that light to grow even brighter in this life journey, through the life of faith. Our baptismal candle is to grow to that of the Paschal Candle which is lit for the first time every year at the Easter Vigil. This “gift” is to grow, and be shared with others through our generous gift of self; through our passing on our faith to others through our good works, and words of instruction and encouragement.
Perhaps, if we allow our light to shine brightly for all by the faith we live, we can illumine the darkness of those who resist the growing, coming Kingdom of God. Let us be mindful and grateful of the great gifts we have received from God, and grow and share them generously in this life, for our reward in Heaven is great!