“This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
This proclamation of Jesus has been a constant presence in my mind the past few months, and with today’s readings, it echoes all the more clearly.
Sisters, there is a constant battle for our attention, affection, and souls. But because we don’t see it with our eyes, we fight what we can see: each other. A friend becomes an enemy; a family member becomes a stranger; a person in need becomes vexatious, an opposite thinker becomes the cause of all evil.
And yet Saint Paul makes it clear, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).
This, of course, does not clear us from any harm we do to one another, but rather it should spur us onto the reality that we need Jesus. We can’t be as holy as we ought or even want to be without His grace. But His grace requires our cooperation.
The Lord gives us the breastplate of righteousness, but we must choose to wear it. We must choose to put on our feet the readiness for the Gospel of peace, to hold onto faith as a shield, and gird ourselves with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
More than just metaphors, these make up the daily spiritual dress of one preparing for the real-life battle for our souls. It is how the Lord equips us to love as He loves.
Jesus wants to gather us together as one, like a mother hen gathers her chicks, but we must cooperate and move inward—closer to Jesus, and therefore, closer to one another. This is an active call to do the hard and humble work of repentance so that we can be better, do better, and love better, because as Saint Teresa of Calcutta simply states, “Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other” (source).