“Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!” (Mt 3:1 and 4:17): Conversion in the Gospel and the Christian Life

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    The aim of this contribution is to understand conversion as part of the Christian life, and to do so in light of Scripture and its interpretation in the Catholic theological tradition. We will begin and end with sections engaging the question of conversion as an everyday event and draw from Scripture in the middle sections for guidance as to what it means to ‘convert.’ Together, these sections help us to appreciate conversion as a radical transformation that touches upon all of the domains of one’s life. In the first section, we will address the different aspects of the question of conversion. We will draw in particular from the work of Bernard Lonergan for this task. This brings us to section two, where we study the call to conversion, or metanoia, in the Gospel Both John the Baptist and Jesus call the people into the kingdom of God with the same words: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:1, 4:17). For both, it marks the beginning of their public ministry, indicating how fundamental conversion is when we want to heed the call to the kingdom. We will study these passages considering recent New Testament scholarship, paying particular attention to the meaning of the word metanoia which is often translated as “repent.” This study of the Gospel raises several questions on the process of conversion and its actors. We will take these up in section three where we bring the biblical commentaries of Thomas Aquinas into the discussion. In the fourth and final section, we will bring all these insights together and consider their bearing on moral theology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-66
    JournalJournal of Moral Theology
    Issue numberSpecial Issue 1
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


    • Thomas Aquinas
    • Bernard Lonergan
    • conversion
    • moral theology


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