The Second Sunday in Advent The Gospel Math. 11 v.2. Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Salome Presented with the Head of St John the Baptist
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.
Saint John being in prison sent his disciples unto Christ: not to desire him to come, and visit him, or to relieve or release him, or for any temporal good of his own: but for their spiritual good, that they might be instructed, and confirmed in the faith,and believe of Jesus Christ; Not to be certified himself, whether Jesus were the promised Messias, and Savior of the world, or no, as by his words he did seem to pretend: (for he knew well, and preached him plainly to be so. But made that an occasion to do them good, that they might learn the truth, from the mouth of Christ himself.
He sent them also out of true humility, to repress in his disciples that great opinion which they had conceived of him, being their master, greater then as yet they had of Christ our Lord.
He sent them also, (as St. Gregory holdeth) to know whether after his death, he were to go down to the sols of the fathers, and holy men of the old testament, that rested in those inferior parts, and expected the coming of Christ) who was to open the Kingdom of heaven unto them, which was shut unto them before; and to carry them news, that the Messias was come into the world,and shortly to descend unto them,to deliver their soul from those prisons,and translate them unto Heaven.
Hereby we may learn,that neither imprisonment,nor any thing else, should hinder us from procuring the spiritual good of others (as St. John did of his disciples by sending them unto Christ) especially if they be under our charge, as they were under St. John.
For he that hath not care of his own charge (sayth St. Paul) breaketh his faith, and is worse then an infidel.
Also, when we see any man esteem of others in our comparison less then in deed he should: we may learn here to rectify this estimation though it be with the extenuation of our own overmuch reputation; as St.John did by sending his scholars unto Christ, that by seeing his miraculous works, they might rightly esteem of him as they ought and much more then of their first master St.John, which thether unto they had not done.
Lastly we learn here-hence to be mindful as well of the dead, as of the living: as St.John did of them that were in the Limbus.
For many remember their living friends, but quickly forget to pray for them as they ought, when the are departed.