February 10, 2015

by Patrick Sullivan

As Lent approaches I find myself reading and discerning the Scriptures in a very different way than I usually do.

For while my heart is still on evangelization, I cannot help but think that our proclamation of Jesus must take on a different tone as the season approaches.

You might say that we have to live in a constant tension.

When the forty days begin, we must at once… …turn inward even as we continue to go out.


The goal of the Christian in Lent is to walk, talk and breath the mission that he or she has been given.

And yet…

…there can be no hiding the fact that we are in mourning for a fallen world.

Something is wrong about and around and within us.

And the cross that we will bear in just a few days time, that outward sign, will be a reminder to all who see us that this is true.

Consider just one Biblical example that caught my eye recently.

In Luke chapter 10 Jesus gives a mission to the seventy disciples to go precisely where he sends them in order to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God.

“See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.”

Now don’t get distracted by the imagery and do not fantasize about your own meekness.

We are all wolves at one time or another throughout the day, even as we might be lambs.

But the lamb too, is not in Judaism a symbol of innocence or meekness.

It is the symbol of something sacrificed, offered up if you will, for something else.

Notice too, the lack of greeting on the road.

If we are to trust the Rabbinic commentators on this point, and I see no reason not to, then to withhold a greeting while passing others on the road is a sign of mourning.

In particular, it might be the kind of act one does when that same person considers themselves to be feeling the effects of a divine judgment.

What then could Jesus be conveying to the seventy as they are heading out to the exact locations where God is sending them?

Well, I think it is this:

The world is in trouble. There are few who are right with our God. And you, my dear followers must let them know this, even if it means that you will become a sacrifice in the process. Your pride, your status, your comfort, all of it must be sacrificed for your mission.

So that is what I have been thinking.

Lent is coming.

I think we should get ready.


Catholic Lay Evangelist, Patrick Sullivan is an author, speaker, educator and founder of Evango, a Catholic media organization that meets the baptized where they are at while inspiring them to engage in the new evangelization.

Book Patrick For Your Next Event

Catholic Lay Evangelist, Patrick Sullivan meets the baptized where they are at while inspiring them to engage in the new evangelization.

As Seen On: