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When anesthesia was first used to diminish the pains of childbirth in the late 1840s, the religious leaders (all males) of various denominations objected. Their reasoning — Eve was told, “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children,” as one of the punishments for eating the forbidden fruit. They found reasons to criticize and throw stones.

In 1853, however, Queen Victoria of England allowed herself to be chloroformed while giving birth to her seventh child. Almost all of the criticism stopped. None of the religious leaders (all males) had the nerve to criticize the Queen.

In the Gospel reading today, Matthew 11:16-19, Jesus talks about the “no-win” situation the Scribes and Pharisees always wanted to put him in. He said that John the Baptist came along and he did not eat or drink and they complained that John was possessed by a demon. Then he, the Son of Man comes along, eating and drinking, and they say he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

Jesus’ final line speaks the divine truth: “But wisdom is vindicated by her works.

”The message might well be: “You are the result of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success and God creating your precious soul…….

This Advent Friday, Act like it!”

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