Observed as a Commemoration
Blessed Jordan of Saxony O.P. succeeded St. Dominic as Master of the Order in 1222. Bl. Jordan was such a powerful preacher that St. Albert the Great was moved to join the Order after hearing one of his sermons. Bl. Jordan was an effective promoter of Dominican vocations and he is the patron of Dominican vocation work. He died in 1237 when his ship sank en route to the Holy Land.
Every year the Season of Lent makes demands that are always difficult and challenging. And after hearing the Gospel we could say the scribes and Pharisees deserved Our Lord’s rebuke. But, of course, Our Lord’s words are also directed towards us, not someone else. So when Our Lord says, “I have come to call sinners to a change of heart,” he is talking to us.
Another word for this change of heart that Our Lord invites us to is ‘conversion’. And change is the essence of conversion. ‘Metanoia’, the Greek word for conversion, suggests an internal turnabout, a change of heart that is revealed externally in one’s conduct and behaviour. This Gospel vision of metanoia is a profound change of the whole person inside and out. It comes about when the Holy Spirit reveals to us the Good News that God loves us unconditionally.
Conversion is always a response to being loved by God. In fact, the most important part of the conversion process is the experience of being loved and realising that God’s love saves us. We don’t save ourselves. That’s the key message of Lent year after year.
The point of this annual message is that conversion is not a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but rather a continuous, ongoing life-long process. We may have more than one conversion experience in our lifetime, but each one prompts us to turn more and more towards God, because each conversion experience reveals God in a new and brighter light.