The Violent Shall Bear It Away is a classic by Catholic novelist Flannery O'Connor who uses today's Gospel passage for her title. The most accepted explanation is that violence constantly attacks God and heaven, and that only those violent with the Love of God can bear it away. In the bizarre consequences of life and death, there is a battle between good and evil. When God's grace comes into contact with an errant life, a form of violent revelation occurs where falsehood and heresy is burnt off and the individual then sees with startling clarity. Those who undergo this spiritual violence take "the kingdom of God" with them as they go through the world.
Our Gospel ends with the words, "Whoever has ears ought to hear!" So what are we supposed to hear?
The first reading from the prophet Isaiah tells us: That God is active in our lives! He grasps us by the hand and speaks the words, "Fear Not, I will help You!" And while our actions are sometimes evil and we feel no better than a worm or a maggot, and we are afflicted and needy, the Lord calls us to a Life of Joy! The Gospel calls us to make a passionate commitment to living the Gospel in the midst of the struggles and obstacles of life.
Let us then live joyfully recognizing what Psalm 145 tells us, "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness," and let us act in this same way towards all we come in contact with: being good to all and kind and compassionate towards all. Let us See, Know, Observe and Understand that the Hand of the Lord guides us! As St. Augustine reminds us, "The Divine became Human so that we might become Divine . . . therefore, See what You Believe in and Become what you Receive--The Body of Christ!”
Very Reverend Bernard C. Scianna, OSA
Prior Provincial of Midwest Augustinians
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent