Second Sunday of Advent
Matthew 3:1-12: “’You brood of vipers….’”
Repentance: that is the key word of John the Baptist. “Metanoia” is the same word St. Paul insists upon: a “change of lifestyle” might be a way to put it. And more: a change from the heart, from the very way we see things.
Imagine walking into a mall this Sunday afternoon and urging people to repent. Why should they? What should they change? I suppose many would say they wish they could lose some weight, or if they were really bent on holiness try to drive more courteously. I do not know, but I suspect that people who are blind do not know at least earthly light – yet they also do not really know darkness. So it is with our “generation.” Without the light of God, we cannot see the great darkness into which we have fallen. But the statistics say something. The number of abortions. The broken families. Murders. Depravity of all kinds. Violence broadcast day and night, on screen, in “music.”
Once in a while, when we or someone we love experiences something of the venom of human wickedness we realize that a certain group of people are a “snake pit” – the “brood of vipers” St. John excoriates. Generally, though, we like to think we and everyone else are “nice.” But that really only means non-threatening, smiling. It has nothing to do with the heart, which, as Scripture tells us, is “desperately wicked.” So let us seek the joy of knowing God, and trusting in His mercy, beg Him for the grace to receive His light – and having received it, repent of the darkness, the passions, that drive us most of the time. If we see even a little of the truth about ourselves, we will surely walk more gently, more humbly with Our God, who is Truth itself – and thankfully for us, Mercy.