”Metanoia” is the word that is used to describe the change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. Metanoia is what the Gospel passage for this Sunday is about (Luke 19 :1-10). The passage centres on Zacchaeus, the tax collector. At the time of Jesus, a tax collector like Zaccaheus would be despised for several reasons. He was seen as a great sinner for working for the enemy, the Roman ‘occupying power’, against his own people. Secondly, tax collectors like him would be expected to exact more money from the people for himself – i.e. he lined his own pockets. After meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus is challenged to look at his life.
There is no mention of Jesus pointing out to Zacchaeus his crime. Perhaps the very person of Jesus moved Zacchaeus to realize that what he had been doing was wrong. Close contact with someone who is good can open our eyes to our shortfalls in life and inspire the confidence that we can do much better. As we come before Christ in the Eucharist may our eyes also be opened to how we can have our own metanoia. Part of the growth in life needs to include many occasions of metanoia.
God bless Fr Michael