The Sadducees and Pharisees had a problem, and his name was John the Baptist. They were considered-and thought themselves to be-the official leaders of Israel's religion, and here they were taking a back seat to a person clothed in camel's hair and eating locust and wild honey, for heaven's sake! It was entirely too much!
A few of their comrades approached him while he was baptizing in the Jordan, and what a welcome they got! They were called a brood of vipers, no less, snakes in the grass, and received a scolding, being told they should put away attempts at ritual. John would be satisfied only by proofs of repentance. Who does he think he is to treat us like that? We are children of Abraham!
And that upstart said, 11Big deal." He claimed that meant nothing to God; God could raise up children to Abraham from the stones around them.
And here's the lesson for us: titles and rituals mean nothing to God. We take some pride in being called Catholic Christians, but the fact that we are means next to nothing to God. We can receive the Eucharist, taking the Lord's life into our own, but if we don't live according to his Gospel, what good will it do? We still have to produce good fruit along with the internal attitudes that cause a change in our behavior, an acceptance of one another and all created things as gifts from God.
That is the only way to realize Isaiah's vision of perfect harmony.
-Fr Sas, December 8 Homily
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A