When I hear the Gospel reading for today, I'm stopped in my tracks by the phrase "the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm" and necessarily I've had to spend some time canvassing the great minds of the church to figure out just exactly what Jesus meant by this. Well, it turns out that the Greek word that is translated "violence" above is probably best rendered "forceful" but that doesn't change the overall passage that much, yet it does give us some indication of what is meant by violence. The early Fathers of the Church felt that the passage was best understood by thinking about who was entering the kingdom of heaven--sinners, namely people who did not belong there. They were intruders, outsiders who had been let in through the violence of the cross. Taking this a step further, if our sins are really what nailed Jesus to a cross then we see that the violence we have done to the Son of God in some way has been our ticket to the kingdom of heaven. It is only those however, who are desperate to enter who get in. One imagines the crowds that surrounded Jesus and John the Baptist (a modern example might be Pope John Paul and the crowds that surround his visits). Only a desperate person would get close enough to touch Our Lord. So it is today. Are we desperate in our desire to enter the kingdom of heaven or is it somewhere way down the list of things to do today?
December 11, 2009
Michael Dubruiel on Thursday's Gospel
Good stuff - I find his thoughts almost always compelling (found here):