First Sunday After The Epiphany Which Is The Sunday Within The OCTAVES Thereof GOSPEL Luc.2.42 The Tuesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
Holy Family with the Infant St John the Baptist and St Elizabeth
Luke 2. 42-52 GOSPEL
When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among His kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men.
The commandment of visiting the Temple was this: Every one of the masculine sex shall appear in the sight of the omnipotent Lord God of Israel. Where we may learn, that although God be in every place yet more peculiarly he is said to be in the Temple: in so much that to go to the Temple, is here termed to appear in the sight of the almighty Lord God of Israel. And all those names, omnipotent, Lord God of Israel, (where as any one might have served to signify whom the law meant) were set down, to teach us with what reverence, devotion, fewr, and love they ought to be present then in the Temple, and much more we in our Church where God it yet far more peculiarly present, by reason of his real presence in the blessed Sacrament, commonly reserved, and kept in our Churches.
Where of the Temple of the old law was but a figure. Valorous Maximus reporteth, that when Alexander the great took the City tyre, not withstanding he was so much enraged against them, that he wold spare none but put all to the sword, yet he spared those that fled to the Temple of their idols or false Gods, for refuge, commanding all the rest to be slain, and burnt.
Consider what reverence, and respect this pagan Tyrant, had to the Temple of his Idols, and consequently with what reverence, and devotion the people carried themselves there, and how little we use to our Churches, & places or prayer, making them rather dens of thieves, then houses of prayers that is to say of wanton, and lascivious looks, curiosity, and pride of apparel painting, & newfangled attires, and toys, to be looked on; and such distractions as do not only rob our souls like thieves, and steal away the merit of our prayers; but offend God in profaning the holy place, worthy to be whipped out, as Christ whipped out the abusers, and profaners of the Temple.
And no doubt but God doth whip, and punish us for that, as much as for anything else as Saint Paul said of the unworthy receivers of blessed Sacrament of the body of Christ that therefore many of them were punished with infirmities, and many died, though we flatter ourselves, and will not take notice thereof,
The consideration of the continual presence of God, and our good Angel, that attendeth upon us, (as every one of us by special favor of God have one deputed unto us) is so sovereign a thing, that of we did mind it, it would make us perfect; and carry ourselves as if we were always in a Church or place of prayer.
And that would be verified in us which God said unto his servant Abraham, walk in my presence, and be perfect; that is to say, and thou shalt be perfect, or, it will make thee perfect.
The Prophet David saith. And with him, to wit, with God I shall be immaculate; that is to say, if I consider always I am (as indeed I am,) I shall keep myself immaculate or free from the filthy fowl spots of sin.
And in another place the same Prophet saith of himself, I had always God in my sight. And it is most like that thus was the principal exercise that brought these two most perfect men, to that degree of perfection as they were.
O that we could build us Tabernacles (as saint Peter spake) in every place, I mean mental Tabernacles or representations of the presence of God: how perfect would it make us in all our life, and consideration.