This is the second Sunday of Advent and Matthew’s voice is no less ominous than the first (see 24:36-44 and 3:1-12). He is calling for the Pharisees and the Sadducees to repent for the Kingdom of God is near. It is the voice of John the Baptist that issues the call. He calls them a ‘brood of vipers’, a phrase that I associate with Matthew. Matthew writes his gospel to the Jewish community, but he recognizes that Jesus has many enemies in the community, including Sadducees and Pharisees who continually try to trick Jesus into breaking the law. We know this because he uses stories like Noah’s flood and the tracing Jesus’ ancestry to David so that he has a legitimate claim to the Kingdom. Jesus is the messiah that all Jews had anticipated. This is the message of John the Baptist who promises that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit, not with water.