First Week of Lent

Friday, February 26, 2021

Matthew 5:20–26

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches that if a brother has something against us, we must be reconciled with him before we offer our gift at the altar. This reconciling requires a change of heart and mind.

The word often misleadingly translated as “repent” is metanoiete. This Greek term is based upon two words, meta (beyond) and nous (mind or spirit), and thus, in its most basic form, it means something like “go beyond the mind that you have.”

The English word “repent” has a moralizing overtone, suggesting a change in behavior or action, whereas Jesus’ term seems to be hinting at a change at a far more fundamental level of one’s being. Jesus urges his listeners to change their way of knowing, their way of perceiving and grasping reality, their mode of seeing.

What Jesus implies is this: a new state of affairs has arrived, the divine and human have met, but the way you customarily see is going to blind you to this novelty. Minds, eyes, ears, senses, perceptions—all have to be opened up, turned around, revitalized. Metanoia, mind transformation, is Jesus’ first recommendation.

Reflect: What does the fact that the divine and the human have met and are forever joined in the person of Jesus Christ indicate about God’s reality, which is often beyond what our five senses perceive?

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