As the saying around Portland goes, “Keep Portland Weird,” we were not overly surprised to find out when we went out for evangelization that it was “No-Pants on the Subway Day,” which means many people went around on public transit in their underwear.

Though there is an element of humor about this, this also reflects a serious and sad problem in our society of people longing to find meaning in life. Without the the meaning that the Gospel brings to life, many end up filling their time with bad choices and nonsensical or meaningless forms of entertainment. But this wasn’t just a modern day problem. Most people don’t realize the early Church faced similar evangelization conditions to what Catholics face today, trying to spread the Gospel among what is effectively a pagan society. Look at what Paul encountered when he visited the public square in the Greek metropolis of Athens:

“16 While Paul was in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of [pagan] philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus [town square], where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (Acts 17)

Pray for these people, pray for our culture, and pray for the conversion of the entire world… and then join us!