He (John the Baptist) said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath/anger to come (ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς)? Bear fruits that befit repentance…’” (Lk 3: 7-8a)

Today, on Meatfare Sunday, when we commemorate The Last Judgment, I’m thinking about St. John the Baptist’s approach to “the wrath/anger to come.” He’s asking, Who told you to “flee” from it? You can’t do that, because you can’t flee from your own selves, and from the “wrath” or “anger” you carry and multiply within yourselves, as a “brood of vipers.” What you can do is make a change, in “repentance” (a change of mind), and turn away from self-centered anger and fear, embracing God-centered love and faith instead. Similarly, our Lord in His parable of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25 tells us that we will ultimately be judged according to the love we had for one another.

So let me not be a “viper” today, and let God replace in me the viper-like qualities that isolate me from Him and others, like self-centered anger, resentment, and fears (of human opinion, of human failure and/or success, of financial insecurity, and so on). I re-connect today with His grace-filled love, judgment, and other light, letting Him bring me change and growth, so I can “bear fruits” in His kind of usefulness to myself and others.

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