Dear Friends in Christ,
“I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message
to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God
and faith toward our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:20-21).
Two weeks ago, I was on a zoom meeting with the Conference of Bishops. Pastor Albert Starr was a guest presenter. Pastor Starr serves as the Director for Ethnic Specific, Multicultural Ministries, and Racial Justice. The words that he shared with us were grounded in prayer and Scripture. As he reflected on the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests, he spoke a phrase that I cannot let go of. He said that the way forward will be marked by a “metanoia movement”. Metanoia is the Greek word for repentance, so Pastor Starr was calling us to a “movement of repentance” that brings sweeping change to our personal and collective hearts and minds. How very true and how very Biblical.
In the Book of Acts 20:20-21, Paul reminds the Ephesian elders about the message of the Crucified and Risen Jesus that he proclaimed and taught from house to house. This message was marked by a call to repentance and a call to faith. Reading these words from the Book of Acts reminded me of the opening words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:14-15). The message of the good news of Jesus is also grounded in a call to repentance and a call to faith (believe). It appears to me that Jesus, St. Paul, and Pastor Starr are all speaking the same language.
Later this week, I plan to call Pastor Albert Starr to learn more about his call for us to begin a “metanoia movement”, a movement of repentance to change our personal and collective hearts and minds.
As you pray and ponder these next few days, how might you and your parish take a first step into a “metanoia movement” toward racial reconciliation and justice?