This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on December 13, 2015.
“You brood of vipers!”
What pastor has the courage, or probably more likely the foolishness, to proclaim this from the pulpit? I might try it for a dramatic entrance, but I am likely not going to be so bold as to actually back that abrupt intro with the exhortation fervor of John the Baptist. Perhaps I might let John’s words echo in the room for a moment, before softening their effect by redirecting them to John’s audience rather than my own.
John takes no such soft approaches, and it makes the exhortative words quite confrontational to our ears just over two weeks before Christmas. This passage flies in the face of the Joy theme of the third week of Advent.