Bishop Barron on Metanoia

I’ve been intrigued for a long time about the origins of the word “repent” which I basically thought came from the Greek term “metanoia”, and which I, in turn, thought meant a change of direction. Well, I was wrong, and now I find… (not Red, Red Wine as the answer… Thanks Neil Diamond for a great song!) I need Greek scholars more than ever for help in these matters. One classics scholar told me that “metanoia” is a change of mind. This same notion came up on Bishop Barron’s Facebook page today, and I think it is very worth a read. God bless, and happy “metanoia” to you!

“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.”

Bishop Robert Barron

Thursday, June 9, 2022
Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 5:20-26

Neil Diamond, while perhaps not a Greek scholar, did give a great concert at the iconic Greek Theater. Regarding the topic of metanoia “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” just about says it all…

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