Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 22.v.1.Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
PIERO DI COSIMO
Incarnation of Jesus (detail)
GOSPEL Matt. 22:1-14
At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son; and he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marraige. But they neglected; and went their way, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise; and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry; and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers,and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marraige indeed is ready, but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marraige. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marraige was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests, and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? but he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
Parables without explication and application unto the things signified thereby, are nothing but plain fictions. Wherefore we will explicate this Parable one piece after another, as occasion doth require, and first of the marriage who made it,between whom it was, and what kind of marriage it was.
The King that mad it, was God the Father, who by his title of Creation, Conservation,and Gubernation is King of all things visible and invisible, King of kings (as the Scripture styleth him) and Lord of Lords.
His Son to whom he made the marriage, was Jesus Christ,the second person in Trinity.
His spouse was our human nature, whereunto he was united in a more intrinsically knot of union,then any human marriage, for in a human marriage, be their union never so great,and indissoluble (as it is) yet they remain two persons, in one flesh:but in Jesus Christ, God and man is untied together in one person; which is the greatest union of all.
The Bride-chamber is the pure and untouched womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, out of which Christ by his sacred Nativity came into this world like a bride-groom, (sayth the Prophet David) out of his chamber, exulting and rejoicing like a giant to run his course, of doing the offices of a good Bride-groom.
This marriage was so honorable unto mankind, and so admirable, that the Prophet David foreseeing it in spirit, cried out to God thus by the way of admiration: What is man that thou shouldest so magnify him, and the son of man that thou shouldest so esteem him? Thou hast humbled him little less then the Angels: Nay it may be said, in dignity, above the Angel; in so much that were not the Angels now confirmed in grace, it were enough to make them rebel again, as they did once against God, for exalting and dignifying man so much above them, that are so much above him, in dignity of nature; & to take as great indignation at it, as the eldest son would to have his Father prefer his younger brother before him in his inheritance, the Angelical nature being the eldest son of God, in comparison of man.
If a potent King should marry with a poor seely beggar, the honor would extend not only unto her,but unto all her kinred, but peradventure no great profit unto any of them, but to her: So though this marriage of the son of God with mankind,must needs be most honorable unto all mankind as well as unto that particular, and individual nature, whereunto he was united,yet it might not have been so profitable unto all, as to have redeemed all from sin, and damnation,& to have made all men comparteners with him in his Heavenly glory, as no doubt he would that particular and individual nature.
This I say was not a necessary sequel,but God of his infinite love & goodness towards mankind, would have it so, and therefore celebrated another marriage, a spiritual marriage between his son being made man,and the universal Church throughout the world,of which the Prophet Osee in the person of Christ sayth: I will espouse myself unto thee in faith, and for this spouse of his, to redeem her from sin, and to make her partaker of his heavenly glory,he died upon the cross, applying the merit thereof unto her for that end,in so much that he was no less profitable unto all mankind by this second marriage, then he was to that particular & individual nature he was first married unto.
I say,he was as profitable to all, at least in his intention,his will being that all men should marry themselves unto him in faith, and be saved.
This is the marriage here meant in the parable,or rather marriages in the plural number, for so the Latin word, Nuptial here used, doth signify both the marriages aforesaid.
Here we may consider that although God intended,and desired that all men should come to the faith of the Catholic Church, and be saved, yet there be few that do, in comparison of them that do not, through their own fault& refusal to come to this marriage, according to these words in the conclusion of the parable; Many are called and few elected:this I say, we may consider, and acknowledge how much we are bound to God, that we by his especial grace & favour are members of his spouse the holy Catholic Church, out of which there is no salvation.
We may likewise learn by this strict & indissoluble union of Christ with our nature,to unite ourselves inseparably unto him in our poor love, and with St. Paul glory therein, saying: What shall separate us from such a love of such a God? either tribulations, or affliction, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or sword? In all these things we do overcome, sayth he, for him that hath so loved us.
Finally in that the Angels,out of their love to God and humility, do not only not malign us, that are preferred to the honor of these marriages before them, but love us, and serve us never the less.
Let us learn to love & serve them,especially our guardian Angel,and not to malign those that are preferred before us, in the graces and gifts of God, but rather love and serve them so much the more,by means whereof we may by our charitable congratulation,and complacence therein, be made partakers of their merit.