The Third Sunday of Advent

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? … Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” — John the Baptizer

Fiery words from a fiery prophet! John was seeing something catastrophic about to take place… he describes it as a “wrath to come”. This “wrath” is that which is determined to set itself against all forms of human cruelty, oppression, greed and violence. This “wrath” is determined to turn the world back upright—reflecting the justice of the One who made it. This “wrath” is envisioned by John as the purging of a threshing floor of all chaff… the wheat being gathered in the barn. The “wrath” is coming, so says John, for the sake of the wheat.”

And in light of this world shaking coming of a justice seeking “wrath”, John answers the question, “what should we do?” by telling them to share… “If you have two coats, share one with someone who doesn’t have any… and do the same with your food.”

It is easy to get caught up in all the apocalyptic fervor that the kind of rhetoric we see in John can produce and, thus, miss the utter simplicity of the practical response that is called for—it’s a lesson our parents tried to teach us on the playground—“share”. Its also the ethic that the one chosen to point the way for the Messiah would employ. Perhaps there is something deeper and more profound to sharing than first meets the eye. See you on Sunday!




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