It was a normal day for Elizabeth and that was something to be thankful for indeed. Just six months ago her husband had a most unusual meeting when serving as a priest before God. Indeed, in that one brief meeting, their lives changed forever. Not only did Zechariah actually meet an angel of the Lord, but Elizabeth was now also with child – something she never dreamed could be a reality. Yes, thankfully, today was going on as a normal day. It started with preparing the morning breakfast and after that the household chores followed by the laundry. My goodness how those things just seemed to pile up each and every day. With only a few more tunics to launder, Elizabeth could begin to see the end of the long list of things to do.
Suddenly, she heard the greeting of her cousin, Mary, and just as suddenly, the child inside of Elizabeth leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting. As Elizabeth stood there holding on to the tail of one of those last tunics, she felt the power of the Holy Spirit come over her. Looking at Mary, Elizabeth speaks the whole, utterly surprising truth as she says, “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” Not only was she pregnant with a child – now she was also a prophetess proclaiming a holy truth!
So much for that normal day. Continue reading
“You brood of vipers?! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?!” Were you able to hear what else John the Baptizer had to say after these words? the lessons that go to the heart of our faith?
During the season of Advent, we focus on waiting and preparing for the coming of our Lord on Christmas Day. We stop for a season and try to reorient the thoughts of our hearts to the good news that is coming into the world, and we enter into a season of introspection and prayer in order to prepare our hearts to receive Christ into the world on that glorious morning. Our waiting begins with readings that foretell of Christ’s coming again with good apocalyptic readings from the gospel. In the second week of Advent, we learn of John the Baptist also preaching in the wilderness of the coming of Christ. He calls for us to prepare the way of the Lord as all flesh will see the salvation of God. Our time in Advent up to this point is focused on preparing ourselves to be recipients of that salvation by taking the time to fill the valleys of our hearts with the love that God shares with each of us in our daily living. As we turn to this week, John the Baptist takes his cry in the wilderness to a new level and offers us one more way to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ on Christmas morn. Did you hear it? Did you listen to the response that the crowd gave to John’s proclamation in the wilderness? He starts with a brood of vipers, and the crowd responds in a way that should take us by surprise in our hearing. They do not recoil from his words or question his message. Instead, they turn and ask him, “What then should we do?” Continue reading