The Lukan Kingship parable is one of the more awkward parables included in the Gospel of Luke. Part of the complexity is the figure of the King. In the story, he is not the virtuous king Christians idealize: he reaps where he does not sow, desires to secure his kingship, and slews his opponents. If Jesus is meant to be understood as the king, he does not necessarily draw out a natural attraction for us to follow him.
For Ignatius, he imagined people would desire to follow Jesus seeing the goodness of Jesus. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises retreat offers an exercise usually titled the Call of the King, or sometimes the Kingdom meditation. In it, Ignatius offers a depiction of Jesus as the virtuous leader who invokes all people who hear his call of both loyalty and love. That depiction of Jesus, if Jesus is meant to be considered in the place of the king in our Gospel reading, does not seem to be present save for one aspect: the singular focus on establishing a kingdom.
The king in our Gospel returns to his servants to see if they have proven to be useful servants. For those servants who multiplied their master’s money, they are rewarded with a governing role in the kingdom. The fearful servant shows himself as useless and the king casts him aside. The opponents of the king are overcome.
With respect to the desire for establishing a kingdom, Jesus and the king in the parable share a common trait. Jesus has overcome sin and death. Jesus desires to establish a society full of people who keep the God of life as their primary concern. Jesus hopes for our collaboration and fruitfulness in working towards this vision. The choice is ours. Will we work for the Kingdom of God?
How do I build the Kingdom of God already? Where is the Lord calling me to be fruitful with the gifts, time, and talents that I have been given?