Aquinas/Advent Homilies/Homily V

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Advent Homilies



"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars." — S. Luke xv. 25.

WE spoke in the Gospel of the preceding Sunday of the mercy of Our Lord's second coming; we will now treat of the justness of His Advent. It appertains to justice to punish the evil, and to reward the good; and therefore both these acts are treated of in this Gospel. The former in the words of the text, "And there shall be signs;" and the latter in the second part of this Gospel, "Look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." About the punishment of the wicked, the Gospel shows that the Creator and the creature unite for their punishment. This creature, which meets together for the punishment of the wicked, is three-fold spiritual, corporeal, and composite. The spiritual creature is an angel; the composite creature is a man; the corporeal creature is two-fold, superior and inferior the former being the heavenly bodies, the latter being the elements. Therefore the Lord points out in this Gospel that the wicked receive punishment from Him, by angels, by heavenly bodies, and from themselves. Firstly, they shall see the Son of Man; secondly, the powers of heaven shall be shaken; thirdly, there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; fourthly, the sea and waves roaring; fifthly, men's hearts failing them for fear. Of the first, it is known that in a three-fold manner God will afflict the wicked: firstly, in awarding; secondly, in convicting; thirdly, in condemning. Of the first, "I have been naked;" of the second, "Since ye have not done it unto Me," &c.; of the least of these, &c.; of the third, "Depart from Me, ye wicked." As in a three-fold manner the Son of Man afflicts the wicked, so do the angels also. In the first place by drawing the wicked to judgment; in the second place by separating them from the good; in the third place by consigning them to eternal fire. S. Matt, (xiii.41,42) speaks of this three-fold office of the angels, "The Son of Man shall send forth His angels," &c. "They shall gather out of His kingdom," and so draw the wicked to judgment, since with their heavy bodies they cannot move so quickly as the angels. "All things that offend and them which do iniquity, and so they will separate the evil from the midst of the just." "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire." So fulfilling the third office. The celestial body shall in the same way in a three-fold manner afflict the wicked. In the first place, by frightening them with signs; in the second place, by afflicting them with darkness; in the third place, by discovering their wickedness. Of the first, there shall be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, Joel ii. 30, 31, "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke;" of the second, S. Matt. xxiv. 29, "The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light;" of the third. Job xx. 27, "The heavens shall reveal his iniquity."

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