This week, our readings include some of the most challenging verses from John the Baptist and some of the most comforting verses from Isaiah and Paul. Laying them side by side always makes for interesting contrasts:
Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. … The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”
“ You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance …9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”