From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
It sometimes is hard to think of Jesus as a violent revolutionary, especially someone who is known also as the prince of peace. His preaching though was of violence, though not of a military violence which was the great fear of the Romans. His was of a spiritual violence, not of destroying the world but of turning it on end. The great contrast was that his preaching was both peace and violence. Peaceful in that he did not lead a a group that wanted to overturn those in power, and violent in that he wanted to turn over their minds in their relationship both to one another and to God. His preaching that the violent are taking over Gods Kingdom gives indication the degree of change needed to bring that Kingdom to fruition. It was not a slight rearrangement of ideas, but a violent overthrowing of an established order; the changes were BIG. One measure of how great even a change towards a peaceful relation might be is the resistance that greets those changes. The resistance that early Christianity faced was possibly at its greatest during the Diocletian Persecution that occurred during the lifetime of Saint Lucy:
St. Lucy (283-304) was born in Syracuse, Sicily, where she also died. She was of a noble Greek family, and was brought up as a Christian by her mother, who was miraculously cured at the shrine of St. Agatha in Catania. Lucy made a vow of virginity and distributed her wealth to the poor. This generosity stirred the wrath of the unworthy youth to whom she had been unwillingly betrothed and who denounced her to Paschasius, the governor of Sicily. When it was decided to violate her virginity in a place of shame, Lucy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, stood immovable. A fire was then built around her, but again God protected her. She was finally put to death by the sword. Her name appears in the second list in the Canon.