Trembling Before a Righteous Judge

A Homily for the Third Week of Advent

Text: St. John 8:12-20

Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the Righteous Judge. Amen.

Growing up, I loved seeing the rather gruesome carvings that decorate the facades of many large European churches. Weird little kid that I was, one of my favorite themes was the Final Judgment: Christ sits enthroned, orb and scepter in hand, looking out at all who dare to come to the cathedral, as angels escort the Faithful into paradise and (here’s the part I really liked), the condemned are taken to places of torment, skeletons with pitchforks prod cauldrons full of sinners, and all manner of infernal punishments play out in stone. The sculptures are nothing if not vividly haunting.

These carvings capture a key turn in this evening’s readings:

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