PREACHING FOR TODAY
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
December 3, 2017
Elizabeth A. Donnelly is a frequent speaker and writer on Catholic affairs. As a trustee of a Catholic family foundation, she is part of a group of female foundation leaders who have engaged in d
DECEMBER 3, 2017
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT* Unexpectedly, in Mark’s gospel, it is the faithful actions of two unnamed that serve like bookends around the frightening reading of Chapter 13. Jesus lifts the women up as examples of the prayerful discernment and vigilant action to which he is calling his disciples – and he contrasts the women’s generosity with the ostentation and hypocrisy of others. At the end of Chapter 12 [41-44], a desperately poor widow gives two copper coins—worth no more than a penny—to support the temple, as opposed to the rich who give only out of their surplus. And at the beginning of Chapter 14 [3-9], an anonymous woman anoints Jesus with expensive oil while he is dining at the home of Simon the leper; thus She recognizes Jesus – unlike anyone else present – as the Messiah. Again, Jesus points us to be alert and look to the unnamed, the unimportant, the unexpected people who challenge Us to be more generous, wholehearted disciples.ialog with top Vatican officials on the role of women in the Church. She has served on several boards including those of Jesuit Volunteers International, Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Bread for the World, and thelidarity Network.
Donnelly offers a reflection on how we might make this season of a more active time in our lives of faith and discipleship:
Advent is commonly seen as a time of preparation for the Lord's coming, both at Christmas, and his second coming at the end of time. And yet I have always chafed against a sense of passivity in the way Advent is portrayed as a season of waiting and watching. If, however, we take a closer look at our Gospel reading today, we see that Advent is clearly a time when Jesus is calling us both to carefully notice God's action around us and faithfully act as disciples.
Donnelly's brief commentary on two verbs used in today's Gospel pa