33rd Week of Ordinary Time: Re-Establishing All Things in Christ

5/87.1 To re-establish all things in Christ.

As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, many hoped that He would inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth. They imagined that the Lord would make a triumphal entrance into the Holy City and that the Roman occupation would be overthrown. We know from the Gospels that the Apostles argued on several occasions about who would be the most powerful figure in the Messiah’s government. These illusions were an extension of the hopes and fears of the Jewish people of that time. As part of his effort to correct these false expectations, Jesus told this parable. [6572]

A nobleman went into a far country to receive kingly power. Many of the petty rulers of the Roman Empire had to go to Rome to receive investiture from the Senate and the Emperor. The nobleman in the parable leaves the administration of his territory in the hands of ten trusted associates. Before leaving, he gave them ten pounds. The pound was not negotiable currency, being used, rather, as a monetary unit for accounting purposes. It was equivalent to thirty-five grams of gold. The nobleman gave his deputies this charge: Trade with these till I come. They were to do their best to turn a profit. And this is what they did for days, weeks and months until the day of his return.

The Church has acted in a similar fashion since the day of Pentecost. At that time she received the immense Gift of the Holy Spirit, the infallible Word of God, the sacraments, indulgences ... St Josemaria Escrivá has commented: In two thousand years a great task has been accomplished, and it has often been accomplished very well. On other occasions there have been mistakes, making the Church lose ground, just as today there is loss of ground, fear and a timid attitude on the part of some, and at the same time no lack of courage and generosity in others. But, whatever the situation, the human race is being continually renewed. In each generation it is necessary to go on with the effort to help men realize the greatness of their vocation as children of God, to teach them to carry out the commandment of love for God and neighbour.[6573] We have to make good use of these divine gifts.

Each and every Christian shares in this important responsibility. The Second Vatican Council has declared: Enlivened and united in his Spirit, we journey towards the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love: ‘To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth’ (Eph 11:10).[6574] This is our charge until the Lord returns, until the moment of our death, which may not be so very far distant. We need to make the Lord present in all earthly realities. God has created all things and He maintains them in existence. Yet he wants us to offer them up to his glory. This is our task in business, politics, family life, sports, education ...

The Lord says to us in the Book of Revelation: Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.[6575] We will find the meaning of our life in Christ and nowhere else. The entire Church and each of her members carry the treasure of Christ. We give glory to God whenever we struggle to be faithful to our duties as citizens and believers.

5/87.2 The rejection of Jesus.

While the ten trusted servants were busy with their trading, the other subjects of the absent nobleman had a different plan. But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us’. The Lord must have felt considerable pain at the very thought of these words. Clearly, the parable was autobiographical in nature. Jesus is the nobleman who travels to a far-away land. The Lord was well aware of the rising hatred in the hearts of the Pharisees. Paradoxically, the more He manifested his goodness and mercy, the more his enemies hated him. How grieved the Master must have been in the face of this whole-hearted rejection! Their hatred would soon find its culmination during the Passion and Crucifixion.

The rejection in the parable is also meant to signify the treatment accorded to Our Lord in subsequent centuries. In our own time, there are abundant manifestations of this rebellious spirit. We find acts of hatred and indifference in literature, in the arts, in science, in family life ... One can almost hear the defiant shout: Nolumus hunc regnare super nos! We do not want this man to reign over us! He is the author of the universe and of every creature, but He does not lord it over us. He begs us to give him a little love, as He silently shows us his wounds.

Why then do so many people not know him? Why do we still hear that cruel protest: ‘We do not want this man to reign over us’? (Luke 19:14) There are millions of people in this world who reject Jesus Christ in this way; or rather they reject his shadow, for they do not know Christ. They have not seen the beauty of his face, they do not realize how wonderful his teaching is. This sad state of affairs makes me want to atone to Our Lord. When I hear that endless clamour – expressed more in ignoble actions than in words – I feel the need to cry out, ‘He must reign!’ (1 Cor 15:25) ...

For many years now, Our Lord has urged me to repeat a silent cry, ‘Serviam’ – ‘I will serve!’ Let us ask him to strengthen our desire to give ourselves, to be faithful to his calling – with naturalness, without fuss or noise – in the middle of everyday life. Let us thank him from the depth of our heart. We will pray to him as his subjects, as his sons! And our mouth will be filled with milk and honey. We will find great pleasure in speaking of the kingdom of God, a kingdom of freedom, a freedom He has won for us (cf Gal 4:31).[6576] Let us serve Jesus as our King and Lord, as the Saviour of all mankind and of each one of us. Serviam! I will serve you, Lord! This battle cry shall sound in the intimacy of our prayer.

5/87.3 Extending the Kingdom of Christ.

After a time, the nobleman, now vested with kingly authority, returned to his homeland. He generously rewarded those servants who had done as he had commanded. He castigated those who had wasted their time and his gifts. The bad servant was not diligent, and he brought no return; he did not honour his master, and he was punished. Thus, then, to apply the faculties he has given me to know, to love, and to serve him, and by this diligence to refer my whole being to him, is for me to glorify God.[6577] This is the purpose of our life: to give glory to God now on earth and for evermore in heaven in the company of the Blessed Virgin, the angels and the saints. If we have this purpose well in mind, then we will be good administrators of God’s gifts.

St Augustine had the habit of saying, Love is never burdensome.[6578] The Lord is eager to reward our fidelity in this life. What a treasure He has in store for us in Heaven! We have to use our time and resources to extend the reign of Christ on earth: in our home, among our neighbours, with our fellow students at the university, with our colleagues and clients at work ... We have to make a special effort to do apostolate with those who have in some way been entrusted to our care. St Augustine has left us this sage counsel: Do not forsake the care of your little ones. Do everything you can for the salvation of your home.[6579]

In these days before the Feast of Christ the King, let us pray over and over again: Regnare Christum volumus! We want Christ to reign! First and foremost, we should be sure that Christ reigns in my mind, my will, my heart and my whole being.[6580] My Lord Jesus, grant that I may feel your grace and second it in such a way that I empty my heart, so that you, my Friend, my Brother, my King, my God, my Love ... may fill it![6581]

[6572] Luke 19:11-28

[6573] St. J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 121

[6574] Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 45

[6575] Rev 22:12-13

[6576] St. J. Escrivá, op cit, 179

[6577] J. Tissot, The Interior Life, p. 55

[6578] cf St Augustine, Sermon 51, 2

[6579] idem, Sermon 94

[6580] cf Pius XI, Encyclical, Quas primas, 11 December 1925, 21

[6581] St. J. Escrivá, The Forge, 913

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Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.

Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.