So now we have arrived at the Second Sunday of Advent. Does anyone know what that means?  Perhaps we can come up with several responses to this question, but there is at least one answer of which I know that will always hit the nail on the head. The Second Sunday of Advent always marks the entrance of John the Baptist onto the scene of salvation history.  And what are the first words that he utters according to today’s Gospel readings?  He calls the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers.” Please now, remember what I have said so often about the Pharisees and Sadducees-for all intents and purposes they are us. Also remember that the Pharisees and Sadducees were among the faithful church going people of the day. They would have essentially been known by society as “the good guys,” and I am sure we would be considered among the good guys of our day.  So why, in his first words, does the Baptist refer to the good guys as a brood of vipers? By the way, does anyone know what a viper is?  Among the definitions found in the dictionary are the following two: 1. a snake with hollow fangs that it uses to inject venom into its victims when it bites, 2. an offensive term for someone who is considered to be malicious, treacherous or ungrateful. Which of these would you rather be?  Well, at least as I see it he refers to them (and to us) as a brood of vipers, because he believes that they simply presumed that they would be saved.  You might say that John was the first in the Kingdom of God, who railed against the entitlement culture, and that the entitlement culture is nothing new. So what about us-do we sometimes fall into the rut of kind of just going through the motions of practicing our faith, and more or less presuming that we are entitled to salvation? I know one thing; I would not want John the Baptist to answer that question. This Advent, let’s allow him to wake us up out of our spiritually dull routine and watch with joyful hope for the coming of our Savior.  Let’s not give John any reason to think of us as a brood of vipers.


AuthorCathy Remick