In last Sunday’s Gospel reading, John the Baptist issued a resounding call to prepare the way for the Lord. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.
In today’s Gospel reading, John spells out what repentance looks like. For John, when people repent their actions change. Words and creeds are empty if they don’t result in action, particularly actions that assist the needs of others.
John’s rhetoric is neither polite, nor gentle. In Luke’s Gospel (as opposed to Matthew’s) John calls the whole crowd that has come out to see him a brood of vipers and warns them: “Do not begin to say to yourselves; ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor.’” His message is clear. Don’t assume that, because you have a certain ancestral lineage or a particular religious connection, that you belong to God [...]