In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ first words are an invitation to metanoia–an invitation to repent, to change, to be converted. No matter where we are on our faith journey, Jesus is calling us to a deeper relationship with him. Metanoia: A Journey with Christ into Conversion is a video series that explores areas in our life where change is often needed if we are to follow Jesus. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, and led by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, President of Franciscan University, the series leads us on an inspirational journey of grace, hope, repentance, and transformation.
You can watch the series for free at https://wildgoose.tv/ (you’ll need to create an account). Following is a brief overview of each 30-minute episode. Download the viewer guide to find questions for discussion or personal reflection.
If you’d like to gather with others via Zoom video chat to discuss the videos, please contact Laura Hollinrake; she will coordinate day and time details with those who are interested.
Episode 1: Who Do You Say That I Am?
Jesus took his disciples to Caesarea Philippi–a place full of images of pagan gods and idols–and asked them who people think he is; the disciples give various answers. Then Jesus follows up by asking them who they think Jesus is. This is an important question because Jesus will soon leave for Jerusalem where he will meet his death. It’s important that the disciples understand who Jesus is if they are going to follow him, and it’s just as important for us to answer that question if we are going to follow Jesus.
Episode 2: What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?
Perhaps the most important question every person needs to be able to answer is this: What do I need to do in order to inherit eternal life? Many people believe that it’s enough to simply be a good person, to avoid breaking the commandments, and to go to church. While these things are extremely important, the key to inheriting eternal life is being in a relationship with Jesus who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.
Episode 3: Death and Life
There is a paradox in the life of a Christian: In order to live, one must die. If one hopes to become great, one must first become little. Jesus says from the beginning that if people want to follow him, then they must deny themselves and pick up their cross. Self denial, difficulties, crosses and suffering are part of the Christian life. In a world of extravagance, choosing less or going without is counter cultural, but it can help us grow.
Episode 4: Sin and Mercy
We need to take sin seriously because Jesus takes it seriously. Sin offends God and hurts human relationships, but it isn’t a stumbling block for God’s love. God has mercy and compassion towards sinners. Too often people believe that God couldn’t possibly love or forgive them, but Jesus came to earth to break the power of sin and death and set sinners free.
Episode 5: Jesus Prays
In the Gospels we see again and again that Jesus took time to pray. Jesus sought intimacy with his Father–the kind of intimacy that is only achieved through prayer. If prayer was necessary for Jesus, how much more necessary is it for each of us?
Episode 6: Hunger and Thirst
We are created with a sense of incompleteness, with a deep longing and hunger for God. Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life that can fill and satisfy. This revelation of the Eucharist proves to be a hard teaching for many and Jesus loses followers over it, but his disciples stay even though they struggle to understand. They do not turn to anyone else because they know that Jesus alone, “Has the words to eternal life.” Only Jesus fills the hunger of the human person.
Episode 7: Jesus Calls and Empowers
Jesus loves each of us and calls to each of us by name. His love is always personal. Jesus’ love and call empower us. Like he did for Lazarus, Jesus calls each of us out of our tomb–out of what binds us–into fuller life. He calls us because he loves us.
Episode 8: Jesus’ Power over the Evil One
There is an evil one and he desires to destroy us; we see images of the evil one in the very beginning of Scripture. However, Jesus confronts the evil one and has authority over him. Jesus has given us a share in his power over the evil one. Every time we resist temptation and respond to grace, we participate in Christ’s saving victory over evil. This response to grace is conversion, which is God acting in us.
Episode 9: This Teaching Is Hard
In the scriptures, Jesus teaches some things that can be hard for us to accept. We have a tendency to deal with this by making Jesus into our own image—emphasizing the things we like and ignoring the things that challenge us. It is important that we be obedient and humble when we come face to face with some of these “hard teachings.” Ultimately, we can be confident in knowing that Jesus gives us the grace we need to embrace these hard but beautiful truths.
Episode 10: Do You Love Me?
God never gives up on us and always seeks us out in order to love us. God does not force himself on us, but tenderly and patiently waits for us to return to him. Jesus came in love to save us and we respond by sharing the news of this great love with the world. We tell others who we know Jesus to be. We tell how we have been loved, how he has done great things for us. When we come to know the love of Jesus we are moved to share it with others.