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Thursday, December 14, 2006

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St. John of the Cross

Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalm 145
Matthew 11:11-15

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violence and the kingdom

"The kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force." —Matthew 11:12

Halfway through Advent, the Lord brings up the subject of violence in relation to His Kingdom. Jesus tells us that His kingdom has suffered violence, and the violent are taking it by force (Mt 11:12). This could have several meanings:

  • Satan has forcibly stolen people and resources that rightfully belong to God. We must engage in spiritual warfare using the spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting to bring down Satan, destroy his strongholds, and return the stolen property to God (see 2 Cor 10:3-5; Gospel of Life, 100).
  • We are "more than conquerors" in Christ (Rm 8:37). The gates of hell cannot prevail against us (Mt 16:18, KJV). Such modern-day Goliaths as abortion, secular humanism, pornography, poverty, and racism would have no chance against us in battles if we would only step out in faith and fight them with "the sword of the Spirit, the word of God" (Eph 6:17).
  • The violent of this world seem to get what they want. This implies that we, the Church, would get Jesus what He wants if we were more militant and less passive. We must do violence to our own fleshly tendency to apathy (Gal 2:19; 6:14). We are the "Church Militant," not the "Church Lazy and Fearful." The kingdom of God suffers violence because we sit on the sidelines rather than engage in battle.

Give Jesus a fitting Christmas present. "Fight hard for the faith" (Jude 3) with prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness (see Tb 12:8).

Prayer:  Father, I know the battle belongs to You (1 Sm 17:47), but I also know You want me on the battlefield. May I fight not against people but against the kingdom of darkness (Eph 6:12).

Promise:  "Fear not, I will help you." —Is 41:13

Praise:  St. John dedicated his life to the passion of Jesus.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006

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