Gospel Reflections

2nd Sunday of Advent

Matthew 3:1-12

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Marna Rogers

Published: December 04, 2016

Read Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him... Read More…

“Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God's arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight! ...”

...When John realized a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a Baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: Brood of snakes! What do you think you're doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snake skins is going to make a difference? It's your life that must change, not your skin! ...What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming?..."

Recently, a twelve-inch garter snake sunning itself on the path triggered such a visceral reaction in me that it brought me to a full stop to decide whether I would give it wide berth, or turn around and retrace my steps. In the end I wound my way, passed by and announced the snake's presence to the next walker, whose reaction suggested a similar feeling about snakes.

Imagine my surprise when the Second Sunday of Advent offers us this image of John the Baptist confronting the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ presence, calling them a Brood of Snakes. Where had he encountered snakes? Perhaps it was wakefully on the desert floor at night? Had it been life-threatening?

In this preparation time for Christmas 2016, we pause to consider our life choices and what will enable us to assure our hearts are “green and blossoming.”

There is so much in the world that needs rebirth. Our hearts can feel heavy with the suffering of so many, no matter where in the world our eyes focus. We recognize all the good present in those areas, but also, like John the Baptist, some individuals and groups unsettle us because the well-being, the very life of others, is not valued and protected by those in power and those we would call neighbors to those hurting.

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