The Second Sunday in Advent The Gospel Math. 11 v.2. Thursday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Gospel St. Matthew, 11. 2-10.
At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to Him: Art thou He that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them: and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send My angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
Go, and tell, what you have seen, and heard (said Christ our Lord until the disciples of St. John Baptist;) the blind recover sight, the lame walk, the poor are evangelized, or made partakers of the most happy tidings of salvation.
Here we may learn a form of humility in our words, and by using it, increase the virtue of humility in our selves, and teach others by our example to do the like.
Christ our Savior said not after a boosting manner, I do give sight to the blind, I do make the lame to walk, and although he might both truly, and without not of pride have said it: because he alone of his own only power did perform those miraculous works.
But he used a modester manner of speaking: The blind do see, the lame do walk.
Leaving unto them to gather the dignity of the worker, by the consideration of the works which they saw him do, with their own eyes.
Saint Paul had learned this lesson: when having numbered many good deeds, and graces which he had wrought, he put, himself presently in mind of the Grace of God, which was the principal cause thereof, with these words, as a conclusion of his speech, Not I but the grace of God with me.
The good servant in St. Lukes gospel, that had gained ten talents for one which his master had lent him: said not to his master, in boosting manner, I have gained so much; but modestly, as acknowledging his masters benefit: Thy talent hath gained other ten.
Holy Jacob, being demanded his age by Pharaoh, answered, a hundred, and thirty years, few and bad ones too: and yet he had spent his time in sanctity, & service of God.
Proud Nabuchodonosor contrary wise had no skill in this humble manner of speaking or thinking: but vaulted himself like a God, saying, Is not this babylon, that goodly great city, which I have built for the house, and seat of my Kingdom, in the strength of my power, and for the glory of my power, and for the glory of my beauty? &c.
But for that pride & arrogance of his, a voice came presently from heaven, saying: Thy Kingdom shall be taken from thee, thou shall be banished from the society of men, thy habitation shall be with beasts, and thou shall eat grass like an ox.
Which punishment was presently executed upon him.
Amongst these miracles which Christ bid.
St. John disciples tell their master, that they had seen; one was, that, the poor are Evangelized; which is to say, are preached happy; as Christ styled them in his sermon upon the mount, putting them in the first rank of the eight beautitudes which he there pronounced, saying, Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. as if he would say: if men be not poor in deed in their state, and fortunes: yet such is the excellency, and praise of poverty, that they are happy if they be at least poor in spirit; if although they have worldly wealth, yet they set not their affections upon it, but are willing to leave it, & lease it, rather then to offend God for it.
This virtue (as I may call it) of poverty, or rather more then a virtue being mother of a great many of other virtues, and a nurse of them all; Christ our Savior, the Lord, and King of all things, made choice of for himself, and his Apostles: to teach us the most ready.
the most secure, and easy way for gaining the Kingdom of heaven.
Which caused religious persons ever since, to make election of it as one of their principal votes; that thereby they might have Christ, and his Apostles for they companions in their journey to happiness. Those words also, The poor areEvangelized; may signify that the poor are to be Evangelized unto, that the gospel of Christ, and of eternal salvation in him, ought to be preached unto the poor, and needy, as well as unto the rich, and mighty without any respect to persons, or expectation of reward from man.
Or again, they may signify, that the preaching of the Gosepl, & conversion of the whole world, was not committed to rich, potent, or politic men, to poor unlettered & simple minded persons; which was the greatest of all miracles wrought for the confirmation of our faith.