By the 2nd week of Advent you should, “Get a life…a real one!” In 2013, I was privileged to hear Sr. Peggy O’Neil speak at the IFTJ. She insisted that we, “Get a life.” She said, “Go…touch those realities that are painful to see. Stare at how humane humanity is. See the real sin of whole peoples on crosses.”
I’m reminded by her passionate directive when we look at this week’s readings. Mark begins with two important statements: 1) Jesus is coming, so be ready, and 2) We must realize that we are forgiven, then accept that forgiveness. While the first week of advent highlights active waiting, the second week concentrates on making peace within yourself—we are broken and imperfect, but worthy of love and able to love others.
Too often we can’t “get a real life” because we are caught up in our own sin or inadequacies. Focusing on these things, we place an obstacle between us and God, resulting in a feeling of distance. This is not because God moves; it stems from us turning away from God and towards what we think might actually make us feel better. Perhaps we make fun of someone to try to feel better about ourselves. Maybe we desire the latest and greatest gadget, car, clothes, etc., to convince ourselves that we are enough.
There is no magic elixir to eliminate insecurities. The peace offered in the 2nd week requires us to reorient our lives—away from sin and towards God. The prophet Isaiah resounds God’s passionate plea to “give comfort to my people.” We must see our own agency in the world’s fight for justice and solidarity. We—flawed as we are—can make a difference in the world. So, what are you waiting for? Make room in your heart for God. Then, go “get a life…a real one!”
Tim is the VP for Mission and Identity at Walsh Jesuit High School. He has been associated with Jesuit institutions for 25 years.