Second Sunday of Advent


IS 40:1-5, 9-11

2 PT 3:8-14

MK 1:1-8


In my life, I create plans to maintain order, structure, and efficiency. From my lesson plans in the classroom to the recipes that my wife and I cook, most aspects of my life are planned. This year, I have been taught that I am not in control. I remember when we transitioned to distance learning in mid-March. The plan was to continue classes digitally for two weeks. My lesson plans changed dramatically to accommodate. “Two weeks” became “indefinitely,” and my plans had to change again. My meticulously managed calendar became wide open, as all of my in person commitments disappeared.

In the first reading, Isaiah asks, “Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, / and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?” (Isa. 63: 17). The plans that I create are not bad in and of themselves, but my attachment to them creates limits for me. When I try to control the different aspects of my life, I stress and worry over things that might happen. When I become attached to my plans, I “fear God not” and try to be in control. As I have come to learn, God’s plans are greater than my plans. 

Isaiah also proclaims, “No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you / doing such deeds for those who wait for him” (Isa. 64: 3). You see, I often want the amazing deeds that Isaiah mentions, but I want to make those things happen now! However, these great things do not come from my plans. Instead, we wait for these wonderful deeds that come from God.

So do I cease making plans? No. However, I must be willing to break my plans, because God’s plans are greater than my plans. I must be ready to respond with love to God who is all around me: in my students, in my community members, in my wife. I must allow myself to look up from my plans to see God in the beauty of the falling leaves and in the joy of my playful puppy.

After all, we are not the products of our own doing. Isaiah praises God, saying, “Yet, O LORD, you are our father; / we are the clay and you the potter: / we are all the work of your hands” (Isa. 64: 7). God forms us into beings more beautiful than what we could become on our own. As we begin Advent, we pray for the hope to be able to depend on God and God’s love and not only on ourselves. 

Peter Ferrari, ‘13
English Teacher
Jesuit High School
Sacramento, California