The Kingdom of God suffers Violence

Friends in Christ, today Our Lord says: ‘the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.’ What does he mean?
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There are two senses, in which Jesus is speaking. In the first place, he speaks about what is happening at that time. The Pharisees were not open to the gospel, in fact, they resisted and put up roadblocks for others. Christ said of them, ‘you have taken away the key of knowledge, you yourselves do not enter and you prevent others from entering.’
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John the Baptist was calling the people to repent of their sins, and even though the Jewish leaders tried to dissuade them from listening, they went in droves to repent and change their life. ‘And all the people heard him, and justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John’ – but the Pharisees rejected all of this and did not repent. The devil was trying to prevent people, but the they wanted salvation, they really wanted it. ‘The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, but the violent are taking it by force.’
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But Our Lord did not speak only of the events of that time, his words would always be applicable, even today. There are many lukewarm Catholics and other Christians in the world; in our homes, our workplaces, our schools. Many live as the pagans, just the same way, same ideas. The majority. But then there are those who are really living the kingdom of heaven, living out the Christ-life; there are not many.
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A man I spoke to recently said, that at his office, whenever a moral question arises, or a hot-button social issue, or a religious question, everyone knows who they are going to ask: him. He’s the ‘resident Catholic.’ If someone has a serious personal concern, and needs to talk to someone of Faith, they say, ‘you should talk to Joe, he’s close to God.’ There are other Catholics where Joe works, but they are lukewarm, and everyone knows it. They go along with the crowd, and so they are not witnesses to the gospel at all.
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‘Strive to enter the narrow gate, says the Lord; many will seek to enter but will not be able.’ The Faithful Christians are small in number, but they actually believe, and they will stop at nothing to follow Jesus Christ, and bring others along too.
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Recently a young woman in our RCIA class was quite sick, but she dragged herself to class anyway. I told her ‘go home and rest, just read the class notes.’ But I knew why she had forced herself to come: She wants in – she wants baptism – very much, she wants in, to the kingdom of God.
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We should want it that bad as well, if we are real Christians.

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