Think differently and believe in the good news: that's what Jesus wants from us as His followers. That’s what He says when we hear “convert and believe in the Gospel.” The word convert is from the Greek metanoia which means to think above: “meta” from the Greek above and “noia” is from the Greek “nous” which means mind. So Jesus wants us to change by going into our above mind. Now the opposite of metanoia in Greek is paranoia which means the “below mind” from the Greek “para” which refers to that which is underneath. Who in the Bible lives in the netherworld or the underworld: the devil and all the evil spirits. So to be paranoid or fear filled or worried or anxious or depressed is to have the paranoia mind, the mind of the devil. It’s your choice! Do you want the metanoia life or the paranoia life? Thinking with “your above mind” lets you see God and that nothing is impossible with God and for God and that you will be ok one way or another. Thinking with your paranoia mind you see your problems and the God who is above your problems.
When you hear the word convert you are most likely thinking of quitting a life of sin, keeping the commandments, starting going to church on a regular basis, becoming a better parent, spouse, co-worker, citizen, Christian, or friend; you are thinking of praying more, fasting more; in other words you are thinking of actions, of things you need to do. Whereas the Bible has a different idea because the Greek word for conversion is "metanoia" which literally means to THINK differently; to have your thinking be turned from the below, the “para”, to the “meta”. Conversion has to do with how you think not with what you do. In order to act differently you first have to think differently. All these actions are wonderful - like getting rid of sin, going more to church, praying more, fasting more, working on becoming a better parent - but they have nothing to do with conversion.
If you think differently you will for example begin to believe in the beatitudes which for our world are a text only a lunatic would believe; "crazy" writing that says when you weep you need to rejoice, when you are poor you should be happy, when you are insulted it's a good thing, when you mourn be joyful. "Crazy" stuff that's why it's so hard for you to believe in it and that's why you need to convert! Change your life by changing your thinking.
The word blessed or blessing means happy - so you see how much you need to convert, change your way of thinking, to coincide with how Jesus wants you to think in order to be happy in this life; think differently in order to believe finally in the good news, that the 'curses' of this world are blessings and then and only then will you be happy.
Today Jesus is looking at you who think that He has abandoned you because of how hard your life is and He says: Change the way you think. Where you think I am absent: THINK that I am there! Where you think that I have left you: THINK that I am always by your side. Where you think you won't make it: THINK that with Me you will make it through everything. Where you think that things don't make sense: THINK that you don't have to understand everything but you do need to do always trust in Me. Where you think that things don't make sense: THINK that they will eventually make sense in God's time not in your time. In other words, there where you find yourself all hopeless, abandoned, alone, thinking all is total nonsense, suffering, burdened, depressed, anxious, full of all sorts of problems thinking there is no way out, looking at all your bills that you can't pay, seeing your family situation, work situation; there where you find yourself thinking you won't ever find a partner and that you will always be alone, there where you find yourself thinking you won't beat that cancer; it is there that you need to convert and believe in the Gospel; it is then and right there that you need to THINK differently.
Don't you get it? THINKING differently is 1,000 times harder than going to church or praying or doing something; it's way easier to come plunge yourself in a pew and expect miracles to happen rather than to work on THINKING differently. That's conversion and that's what Lent is about; to make you THINK differently. That is why you are unhappy, all down, sad, gloomy, plunged in darkness; because you don't want to convert; you don't want to THINK differently.
THINK DIFFERENTLY to believe in the good news that God is with you and for you and if He is for you and with you all will be well. You will be well. You are well. You will be ok. You are ok. You just need to think it and then believe it and in doing so come to live it.
Father Adam Kotas