There is one painting that always impresses me, namely the painting of "the Archangel Michael" in the Chapel of the Novitiate of "SVD" in Batu - Malang, Indonesia. The novitiate is a basic formation house for a Catholic priest candidates. In that chapel, there is a painting of the Archangel Michael against a demon. But Michael the Archangel in the painting does not carry a weapon - while in the Catholic art tradition, Mikael the angel is always depicted carrying a sword. I asked the painter, Br. Othmar Jessberger, about it. He said, "It was forbidden by God to use a weapon, so I painted Michael the angel without a weapon, but he fought with the power of God."
The reading from Ephesians 6:10-17 reminds me about the painting again. God wants us to be true warriors, while our enemies are sin and evil. We fight against sin and evil. The equipment we use is not a sword, a gun, a tank or any other worldly weapon but "the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God" (Eph. 6:7).
God wants us not to fight evil with evil, but with tenderness. The word of God will always protect our heads from the influence of evil because we are still weak imperfect humans. Our thoughts are easily corrupted by evil thoughts. Meanwhile, the sword of the Spirit will enable us to sort out and divide the bad and the good. The word of God, according to Hebrews 4:12, is "sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart".
Sometimes we are tempted to respond bullying with bullying. We go savage and think that others deserve the same bullying that they have given us. Like warriors, we prepare strategies to fight others by words and actions. But God wants us to become true soldiers, namely soldiers of Christ. Let's think before we act, and response an evil with a right and wise way. The guidelines are the Word of God.
Reflection on Ephesians 6:10-17 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD(Listen to the Podcast here)