A001- Dominica I Adventis Domini  Sermo 1


The seasonal winter sermons of the preacher and proclaimer of the divine Word, interpreter of sacred scripture and most subtle professor, Saint Vincent, confessor of Valencia, of the Order of Preachers, happily begin.


First Sunday of Advent. Sermon 1     Part one -The theme


Mt 21.9

And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.


    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," (Mt 21:9).  We have prescribed  for today's gospel this text from Mt 21.  This Sunday is one of the greater Sundays of the entire year, because it is the first Sunday of the Coming (Adventus) of the Lord.  Holy Mother Church sets aside the ordinary texts of the office and begins the office of the Advent of the Lord. So, wishing to conform myself to holy mother church I propose now to preach about the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, how he shall come at the end of the world to judge the good and the wicked, rendering to each according to his works.  God willing,  we shall have many good thoughts. But first let us salute the Virgin Mary. 


   "Blessed is he who comes," etc. The words proposed is a short song which was sung by the children and the crowd at the coming of Christ into the city of Jerusalem, saying "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." To more fully introduce these words and as an introduction to the matter to be preached, it must be known  that there are found in sacred scripture clearly and manifestly three comings [adventus] of the Lord in this world, solemn and notable. general and principal.

            First was in virtuous humility. [de humiltate virtuosa]

            Second in gracious charity,[de charitate gratiosa] 

            Third in rigorous majesty. [de maiestate rigorosa]

   The first advent is already past, the second is present, the third is yet to come.  From these three advents corresponds three weeks of Advent, and the theme is understood principally of the third and last coming, and the greater, because then the good shall say, "Blessed is he who comes…etc."




  The first advent of the Lord was in virtuous humility, and this already is past, when he wished to descend through incarnation, conversation, captivity, scourging and passion, that those believing in him and obeying might ascend into heaven.  The reason why he came in such humility was the pride of Adam and Eve, because they preferred not to obey God, but rather their own will.  The sin of Adam was pride, as St. Thomas says II Sent. Dist. 22, q. 1, a. 1 and II-II, q. 163, a. 1.  And, as St. Thomas says, "Disobedience in him was caused by pride," and so Augustine says To Orosius [Dial. QQ. lxv, qu. 4), " man puffed up with pride obeyed the serpent's prompting, and scorned God's commands."  Truly also in the sin of the first parents, as St. Thomas says, II-II, where above in the solution ad 2m, gluttony has its place.  It is said in Genesis 3," And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat," (Gn 3:6), but it was not its goodness and beauty that was the first motive for sinning, but rather the argument of the serpent who said: " your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods,"(v. 5),  and it was by coveting this that the woman fell into pride. Hence the sin of gluttony resulted from the sin of pride. Therefore the first sin was pride rather than gluttony. 


   And pride is the foundation of all sins. V.g. Why is someone avaricious?  It is from pride, because he does not wish to obey the precept of God saying, "You should not lust," or "not commit thefts" etc.  Why is someone lustful? Is it not from pride, because he does not wish to obey the precept, "You shall not commit fornication?"  Same for gluttony and the other sins.  Authority: "Pride is the beginning of all sin," (Sir 10:15). Therefore Christ comes in great humility to reform us, like a servant in administering to us the works of redemption through human incarnation. 


   But you wish to understand well this lesson taught by the humility of Christ, imagine that there were many great lords and some gathered at dinner, and they did not have a servant waiter.  Imagine that the son of the king, having taken off his royal clothing and dressed simply had come to serve them all, first by offering them water for their hands and second,  by serving the food.  Would this not have been by the son of the king an act of great humility?   The humility of the Son of God is incomparably greater.  All nations of men were gathered in the room of this world, awaiting the sublime dinner of celestial feasting, but we did not have a waiter who would serve it to us.  For this purpose the Son of God exchanged, or rather hid the clothing of his godhead, and putting on  the apron of humanity comes to wait on us, although he was changed in no way by the incarnation.  Of this see in III Pars of the Summa of St. Thomas, q. 1, a. 1 ad 1, and q. 2, a. 6, ad 1 and in III Sent., dist. 2, q, 1, a. 1, ad 1.  Authority: "Who being in the form of God," namely with the clothing of deity, "…emptied himself, " that is, humbled himself, "taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man," (Phil 2:6-7), namely to serve and minister to us.


    And first he gives us water for our unclean hands, because all were conceived, born, and nurtured in sins. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5: "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned," (v. 12).  And we have in De confess. d 4, c 2, firmissime tene: On this account he first ordained the holy sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is ordained as a remedy against original sin; it is a certain spiritual regeneration and the gates of the sacrament. Whence and children lacking all actual sin, are baptized, because of the infection of original sin in which they have been conceived.  "We were," the Apostle Paul says, "by nature children of wrath," (Eph 2:3)  This sin through the act of nature or through a vitiated origin from the parent is passed down to the offspring, about which St. Thomas richly and subtly treats, II Sent., dist. 31, q. 1, a.1 & 2, and also I-IIae, in q. 81. 


  Next he serves the food saying, "I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat," (Mk 8:2), and he gives spiritual foods, namely evangelical and celestial teachings. Second he gives the food of miracles, by curing the sick and raising the dead.   Third he gives the foods of the virtues.  Note how tasty and nutritious [confirmabiles] they were.  Finally, he again gives warm water for the hands and feet after dinner, even warm water at supper, because from his side poured out blood and water.  The first water was of baptism, the second of penance which by the passion of Christ has its power and efficacy of washing the filth of sins from souls. 


   Of this service of humility Christ himself spoke, " the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many," (Mt 20:28).  And he speaks of the first coming, already past, about which it is necessary to eat him, and praise him.  One way of speaking the theme with a change is to say, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of a servant." 




    In the first coming Christ came as a servant, but in this second coming he comes as a friend [socius].  Reason: because it is the fashion and manner of a friend [socius] to stand with, to go with, to converse with, to eat and drink with [us], and so the Lord Jesus Christ comes from heaven to our home to simultaneously dine with us in communion.  O what a dinner [refectio] it is for the devout soul when a man, prepared, receives communion, the intellect is fed with the enlightenment of a clear faith, the memory with the best remembrances, the will with good and holy desires.  The mouth with devout prayers, and finally the whole body is fortified for penance and continuing a good life.  Nor does he  withdraw from us after communion, unless we should plan [congerium] for mortal sin, because otherwise it does not recede, so this association is so greatly pleasing.  So he himself said, "and my delights were to be with the children of men," (Proverbs 8:31).  Note "with the children of men," namely of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and doctors who have begotten us in the Catholic faith.  See how he is our companion.  Authority.  "The Lord is faithful in all his words," (Ps 114:13), namely by fulfilling his promises, because the words being pronounced, whether by a good or a bad priest, immediately he comes to the host. 


   The second coming is of gracious charity, and this is present, because every day in the sacrament of the altar in the consecrated host he is really there just as he came in the first coming in the womb of the Virgin, when the Virgin Mary said the words, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord," (Lk 1:38).  Thus in every mass, when the priest says the words of consecration Christ comes to the host.  And so we adore him in the sacrament of the altar.  Of this coming we should eat him and praise him saying, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the friend."  In this way he does not show his dominion.




   The third coming shall be in rigorous majesty [de maiestate rigorosa], when he shall come for judgment, for judicial retribution.  Although when a man dies the soul immediately goes to judgment, and the Lord returns to it according to his deeds which he did here, because if here he had done fitting penance for his sins, immediately he gives him eternal glory.  If however he did evil and impenitent, he gives him the punishment of hell.  If, however, he was lukewarm, because neither wholly good nor bad, but mediocre, if because he had confessed, made satisfaction and forgave injuries etc, but had not done fitting penance, he gives him retribution of the punishment of purgatory, but these retributions are only of the soul, because the bodies both of the good and of the wicked which aided the souls does not yet have retribution, but they are turned to dust [incinerata]. 


   Thus the Lord shall come for the general judgment and shall render retribution not only to the souls but also to the bodies according to their works.  The general judgment of the future is at the end of the world, as St. Thomas says with three arguments in IV Sent., dist. 47, a. 1. 


    First that just as God in the beginning created all things together, so he shall judge all things together, and so the universal judgment shall correspond in being the match of the first production of things. 


   Second because as St. Thomas says, where above in the solution for a. 2, man can be considered in two ways, as a singular individual, and as part of a multitude, whence a twofold judgment is due to him.  One singular, which happens to him after death, when he shall receive according to those things which he did in the body, although not totally, because not with respect to the body, but just with respect to the soul.  The other judgment ought to be of him as he is a part of the whole human race, and so judgment shall come to him in the universal and general judgment, nor does God judge twice in the same matters, because he does not assess two punishments for one sin, but the punishment which had not been completely inflicted before, in the last judgment will be completed, when the wicked and evil ones are punished simultaneously in body and soul.  


   Third it is clear because although everyone who is damned is certain of his damnation, and the blessed of their glory, nevertheless not to all is the damnation or reward made known, nevertheless what is fitting that is known by all, so that the justice of God is apparent to all, and this commonly happens in the general judgment where all are gathered together. 


   Of this coming he himself says, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works," (Mk 16:27).  Then he shall not come in humility, in poverty and simplicity, as in the first, nor as a companion as in the second, but he shall come as Lord which such majesty and power that the whole world shall fear and tremble. 


   He shall come like the most powerful of kings, who comes to his castle or city rebellious or disobedient to him with armed troops, with bombs and catapults etc.  So shall the Lord come to the castle or city of this world in which there are many rebels and disobedient to Christ the King, that he wishes and commands humility and they are proud, vain etc.  He commanded mercy and generosity and they are the worst, avaricious, extortionists, thieves and robbers.  He commanded chastity, they are lustful.  The same with the rest.   Belief without obedience will not save a man, no king or lord would be content with the belief of his subjects without obedience, on this account Christ shall come to the city of this world not as a servant, nor as a companion, but as Lord with many soldiers [cum multis gentibus], because on that day the heavens will be emptied.  Because no human nor angelic creature shall remain there, for all shall come with the king for judgment.  The horn or trumpet shall sound, thunder and lightning etc., to the extent that heaven and earth shall shudder.  Note. If  heavens and earth and the creatures which never have sinned against God are not able to stand up to his coming, what will it be for sinners, who have committed so many sins against God?  Then it would be better to be in hell than to see God. 


   About this Job said, in the person of a sinner, "Who will grant me this, that you may protect me in hell, and hide me till your wrath passes," (Job 14:13).  But on that day the good shall stand secure, nor shall they fear.  Therefore holy mother church praying for all the faithful says, "Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth are moved, when you come to judge the world with fire."  Then Christ shall show himself as Lord and all peoples will recognize him as Lord,  David [says]: "The Lord shall be known when he executes judgments: the sinner has been caught in the works of his own hands," (Ps 9:17).  Then the blessed and the good rejoicing shall proclaim the theme in its proper form, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."   The theme now is clear.