evangelization and lent
"Because He spoke this way, many came to believe in Him." —John 8:30
Jesus told people they would die in their sins unless they believed that He was God (Jn 8:24). Like the Israelites who were bitten by the saraph serpents, humanity is sentenced to death and damnation unless it looks with faith on Jesus (see Nm 21:8; Jn 3:14). People desperately need to know and love Jesus.
Although the greatest need of every person is to believe in Jesus and although He commanded us to be His witnesses, many Christians don't share their faith in Jesus with others. One of the main purposes of this Lent is to change that. Lent is the imitation of Jesus when He was led by the Spirit into the desert to fast for forty days and overcome the temptations of the evil one. When Jesus emerged from that desert, He "returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee" (Lk 4:14), where He proclaimed the good news of redemption (see Lk 4:18).
In imitation of Jesus, we should leave the Lenten desert and proclaim the good news of life in Jesus. We should acknowledge that our refusal to evangelize is sinful. We should repent, go to Confession, and share our faith. We should ask others to pray that the obstacles to evangelization in our lives be removed. We exist to evangelize (On Evangelization, Pope Paul VI, 14). Our Lenten repentance must result in Easter evangelization.
Prayer: Father, may I evangelize as if I had seen with my own eyes Jesus' death on the cross.
Promise: "Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered." —Nm 21:9
Praise: St. Turibius, bishop of Peru for twenty-five years, counteracted others' poor examples of Christianity by founding hospitals and religious houses.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Mission Impossible or our audio tape AV 46-1 or video V-46.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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