Second Sunday of Advent


Is 40:1-5, 9-11
Ps 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
2 Pt 3:8-14
Mk 1:1-8


Today's Second Reading bridges the anticipation and impending fulfillment of the coming of Jesus.  In order to partake in his salvation, we are called to "conduct [our]selves in holiness and devotion."  For me, this is an invitation to practice greater intentionality so that I may be ready to receive and celebrate Jesus well upon his arrival. 
As a post-graduate volunteer in Ecuador, I was challenged to live intentionally each day.  This was quite different from the non-stop lifestyle I'd grown used to in college.  Even so, I quickly found that being more deliberate in my actions and relationships helped awaken me to the many ways in which my everyday surroundings were already dripping with the Divine. 
For instance, speaking a second language invited me to really think about and choose my words carefully.  It also required that I listen to others more sincerely.  These exchanges, which were often messy and fragmented, unearthed the dignity and grace that come from deeply knowing, and being deeply known by, another person. 
In another way, preparing meals from scratch invited me to befriend and learn the stories of each man and woman who grew our town's produce or passed along a cherished a recipe.  This resulted in a heightened appreciation for the genius of God's creation, and for the labor and commitment required to nurture a seed all the way into a meal. 
Finally, feeling helpless in the face of suffering allowed me to seek support in my six community mates - and through them, God - instead of numbing out through social media or consumerism.  Because of that, I encountered the God of Accompaniment, who suffers with God's people and cries out for the recognition of each person's full humanity.
Living this way helped me savor the reality that I am a human being, not a human doing.  
- - -
 When a spirit of intentionality governs our thoughts, words, and actions, we glimpse the many graces of God that infuse our every moment. 
How can you slow down today? 
What or who in your life is deserving of greater thought and care?
As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, let us remember that his birth into the world also signifies his birth into each one of us.  May we approach this new day intentionally - as individuals and as a community - so that we might welcome Jesus into our hearts with joyful awareness. Then we will be ready for his radical transformation within us and around us. 
Aly Monteleone
Associate University Minister