Non occ.: That what He had last said should not lead any to suppose that John was an alien from the kingdom of heaven, He corrects this by adding, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Hom in Ev., xx. 14: By the kingdom of heaven is meant the heavenly throne, wither when sinners defiled with any evil deed return in penitence, and amend themselves, they enter as sinners into the place of another, and take by violence the kingdom of heaven.
Because John the Baptist was the first who preached repentance to the people, saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” rightly therefore from that day forth it may be said, that “the kingdom of heaven sufferethviolence, and the violent take it by force.” For great indeed is the violence, when we who are born of earth, seek an abode in heaven, and obtain by excellence what we have not by nature.
Not that He cuts off all Prophets after John; for we read in the Acts of the Apostles that Agabus prophesied, and also four virgins daughters of Philip; but He means that the Law and the Prophets whom we have written, whatever they have prophesied, they have prophesied of the Lord. That He says, “Prophesied until John,” shows that this was now the time of Christ’s coming; and that whom they had foretold should come, Him John showed to be already come.
John then is said to be Elias, not according to the foolish philosophers, and certain heretics who bring forward their metempsyc...
Now He used so many dark sayings, to stir them up to inquiry. And if not even so were they awakened, much more, had all been plain and clear. For this surely no man could say, that they dared not ask Him, and that He was difficult of approach. For they that were asking him questions, and tempting Him about common matters, and whose mouths were stopped a thousand times, yet they did not withdraw from Him; how should they but have inquired of Him, and besought Him touching the indispensable things, had they indeed been desirous to learn? For if concerning the matters of the law they asked, Which is the first commandment, and all such questions, although there was of course no need of His telling them that; how should they but ask the meaning of what He Himself said, for which also He was bound to give account in His answers? And especially when it was He Himself that was encouraging and drawing them on to do this. For by saying, The violent take it by force, He stirs them up to earnestne...
Or; All who come thereto with haste take by force the kingdom of God through the faith of Christ; whence He says, “from the days of John until now,” and thus He brings them in haste to His faith, and at the same time adds support to those things which had been spoken by John. For if all things were fulfilled until John, then is Jesus He that should come; wherefore He adds, “All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”.
Then He adds another token of him, saying, “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias who was to come.” The Lord speaks in Malachi as, “I will send you Elias the Tishbite;” and of the same again, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face.”.
“If ye will receive it,” shewing their freedom, and requiring of them a willing mind. John the Baptist is Elias, and Elias is John, because both were forerunners of Christ.
Jesus did not stop even at this praise of John but said, “He is Elijah who is to come.” Then he added, to underscore the need for deeper understanding, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus said this to stir them up to inquire further. By this they were awakened so that everything might be plain and clear. Thus no one could claim that Jesus was unapproachable or that they did not dare ask him questions. For they were asking all sorts of questions and testing him in many small matters. Even when their mouths were stopped a thousand times, they did not turn away from him. For if they did not hesitate to inquire of him about these common things, they surely would be inquiring about indispensable things in whatever way they wanted to learn. In this way he himself was encouraging them and drawing them on to ask such questions. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily