In the 19th and 20th centuries, a common feature of parish life in the United States was the parish mission, a week-long retreat in which gifted visiting preachers would come in and try to scare people into repentance and confession. Subsequent studies have discovered that the scare tactics were quite successful in the short term, but before too many months had passed things were back to normal for most of the participants.
Real conversion, real change that keeps on going, isnt all that easy. Thats why St. Paul is administering something of a booster shot to his converts in todays epistle. Note that he doesnt try to scare his converts to death; instead, he tries to encourage them. In essence, he says that, whoever we are and wherever we come from, were all in the same boat, struggling against the current to build lives that are right and true. And best of all, were not struggling alone, because Christ is everything in all of you.
When your road gets rougher than usual or when you know youve made some bad choices, remember that Gods whole family is struggling along the same road with you, and that Gods own son, our brother Jesus, is right there in the midst of it all.