Today’s readings present quite a challenge. The First Reading from Isaiah is so nice. Everyone will get along with everyone else, wolves and lions hanging out with lambs and eating hay, babies playing with poisonous snakes, sounds great right? God’s justice will be in full force and will not tolerate wickedness, but overall there is a very happy tone to this reading. Same with the Psalm and the Second Reading from Romans. There is special emphasis that even the Gentiles (non-Jews) will be able to flourish and partake in God’s paradise.
Then we hit the Gospel from Matthew. It starts off with John the Baptist and the phrase we reflected deeply on last week “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Now we get into the second part.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.(Matthew 3:-8)
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
Anyone know what a winnowing fan is? Thank you Wikipedia: “Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.” Ouch! I’m pretty sure I want to be grain, how about you?
All last week we were preparing ourselves for prayer, finding quality times for prayer and exploring a few different kinds of prayer. We closed yesterday considering how we even need to prepare our attitude in order to experience fruitful prayer.
There is more to do. It is not enough to pray, even daily, without connecting it to something. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees we must produce fruit. That fruit is displayed for us most beautifully in Mary at the Annunciation. It is the fruit of submission and communion.
We will explore this theme all week. For now, today’s prayer is to repeat three times slowly and with great care Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel after he told her God wanted her to be the mother of the Savior:
May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38)
***Thanksgiving has just passed but before we get too carried away in the hype of Christmas we should remind ourselves that being thankful is something for everyday, not just Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for today? How does having a thankful spirit change the way you view your day? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.