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By Friar Jude-Mary Owoh, O.P.

‘Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm.’ Matthew 11:12

What is the measure of success and greatness today? Money, loads of it! Doing numbers (followers, power, influence on and offline). The Christian indices for success and greatness are different. John the Baptist was considered the greatest person to ever be born because he presented Jesus Christ to the world as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin (unbelief) of the world”. He sewed his fame into the fabric of history by dying for his belief in the redemption of the world by Christ. Yet, Christ added something completely shocking to the statement about the Baptist: ‘…yet the least in the kingdom is greater than he is.’ How can the greatest person in history still be lesser than the least person in God’s kingdom? God’s kingdom is the ultimate crowning jewel of our entire existence. To miss out on heaven is to miss out on everything. What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul? What?

The struggle to be great on earth and to assert oneself is important but eternal joy is far more important. So too is the attitude with which we must approach things that pertain to our eternal joy. Jesus says be violent. What? Violence? Yes, just not to others; to yourself. You cannot hope to see, touch and taste what no one alive has ever seen, touched or tasted and still wish to be preoccupied with purely mundane profit. To do this, you must take God’s hands as Prophet Isaiah says and walk the higher grounds of virtue and service to others; to crush mountains of corruption, blow off the chaff of deceit and look out for the interests of others just as much as you look out for yourself. Only the violent will clinch the coveted trophy of eternal joy and peace with God.


Lord, may I do violence to my tendencies to selfishness and be gentle and sensitive to the needs of others made in God’s image.


Isaiah 41:13-20; Psalm 145:1,9-13; Matthew 11:11-15


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