Before we go out to evangelize, we must sit at the Teacher’s feet


Peter preached at Pentecost, and three thousand persons were baptized.  

Where did Peter get the courage to stand up and preach this? He could only do this after he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He did this only after he had watched Jesus ascend into heaven 10 days prior and he could only do this after he had been formed and sat at the feet of the Teacher, Jesus Christ, for three years. And he could only do this after he was called.

Before Peter could do ministry, he had to “let it be done unto” him (Luke 1:38).

We can’t give what we don’t have. We can’t make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19) unless we have been sitting at the feet of the teacher.

Before we can come to a Petrine posture – that of going out to the nations and doing ministry – we must take on the Marian posture.

The Marian posture is “letting it be done unto” us – just like the Blessed Mother and Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke.

During this Year of Encounter we have been called to prayer, to sit at the feet of the Teacher, to be in a posture of receiving, to say, “Let it be done to me.”  Pope Francis tells us in the “Joy of the Gospel,”

“Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer” (Joy of the Gospel #262).

This mission of evangelization for our diocese is a huge task. We set out to change our culture and to change hearts, to learn new things and new ways of approaching ministry and at times to unlearn things that no longer work or are no longer fruitful. This is a task that can’t be “programmed.”

We have asked you to be in prayer in your parishes for this very reason. This is a tall task and we need to start with prayer. I would encourage you to keep hosting and attending monthly Holy Hours for the purpose of praying for this new plan for evangelization in the diocese and also pray for Bishop Medley and his leadership in this endeavor.

Pope St. John Paul II once said, “In order to evangelize the world we need experts in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Holy Eucharist” (Message for World Mission Sunday 2004). This shows the importance of our monthly Holy Hours. Before we can go and pour ourselves out to others we have to let the Lord pour into us.  

The seeds that lay dormant during the winter don’t mean there is nothing going on with the seed. This time of prayer on your part is prepping the soil. We best evangelize from a posture of prayer.

Again, quoting Pope St. John Paul II: “First of all, I have no hesitation in saying that all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, #30).

Needless to say, prayer is the most important thing we will do. Stay tuned for new things to come from the Office of Evangelization.

Joe Bland is the director of the Office of Evangelization in the Diocese of Owensboro. To learn more, visit

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