[HOMILY] 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME | Rev. Fr. Isaac A. Mensah
Theme: Metanoia- "Change is here"
First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: 1Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Theme: Metanoia- “Change is here”
One Ancient philosopher who made a very deep impression on me in my philosophical studies was Heraclitus. His central philosophical claim is summed up in the phrase “life is flux”; recognizing the essential, underlying essence of life as change. In fact, nothing in life is permanent, nor can it be, because the very nature of existence is change.
For the philosopher then, change is not just a part of life but it is life itself. The only constant since the beginning of time is change. Our three readings for today underline our absolute need for change nay repentance and our immediate need for a prompt response to God’s call.
Explanation of the text
The Greek word for change is “Metanoia”. Metanoia, a transliteration of the Greek μετάνοια, means “after-thought” or “beyond-thought”, with meta meaning “after” or “beyond” and nous meaning “mind”. It’s commonly understood as “a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion.” The term also suggests repudiation, change of mind, repentance, and atonement; but “conversion” and “reformation” may best approximate its connotation.
The first reading tells us how God had to deal with the disobedient, fleeing prophet Jonah to turn him around (convert him), so that, repenting, he would go to Nineveh to preach repentance there. The wicked people of Nineveh, however, accepted Jonah as God’s prophet at once and promptly responded to God’s call for repentance as Jonah preached it.
In the second reading, Paul urges the Christian community in Corinth to lose no time in accepting the message of the Gospel and in renewing their lives with repentance because Jesus’ second coming may occur at any moment.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus began his ministry according to Mark’s account just after the arrest of John. This is very profound because John has been presented as a voice that cries in the wilderness and calls for repentance. The arrest means the stoppage of this voice and also an end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Jesus now becomes the new voice that doesn’t only call for repentance but also asks people to believe in the Gospel so as to be part of the Kingdom he himself inaugurates.
However, there’s one thing that is peculiar to all the three readings and that is the exigency and the immediacy with which the call was made and responded to accordingly.
Beloved in Christ, the whole Scripture is a continuous invitation to repentance. Only God can move the heart of a person to renounce sin and yet, one thing is also certain: God will not force His way into the heart of anyone. He says in Rev. 3:20 that ” Behold I stand at the door and am knocking; if anyone hears my voice and open, I will come in unto him”.
May we continue to open the doors of our hearts for total conversion and transformation. Remember “He who created you without you will not justify you without you”- St Augustine. But “to improve is to change and to be perfect is to change often”- Winston Churchill.
Change is indeed here…