Sunday Within The Octaves Of Corpus Christi Day Which Is Accounted The Second Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.14.v.16 Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
St Margaret Mary Alacoque Contemplating the Sacred Heart of Jesus
GOSPEL Luke 14:16-24
At that time, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.' "
Our Saviour Christ being upon a time invited to the house of a certain Pharisee to dinner, and discoursing in parables as it should seem, of the kingdom of heaven, (where by the way, we may learn to sauce our meat at table as much as conveniently we can, with spiritual discourse, especially upon Holy-days, as this of Christ was upon a Sabbath day)one of the company that was like wise invited, being moved with the sweetness of discourse burst forth into these words: happy is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God, whereupon Christ proposed this parable.
So it appeareth hereby that though our holy mother the Church applieth this great Supper unto the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar,as she may well do: yet Christ applied it to the kingdom of heaven, according to which phrase of speech he said to his disciples, I prepare for you, as my Father hath for me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink upon my table, in my kingdom.
This great supper therefor was a parable of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar,and the Sacrament a figure of the great Supper of the kingdom of heaven,and the way thereunto,which is so great,that Christ sayth of it by the way of interrogation, what availeth it for a man to gain all the world, and loose his soul, that is to say,the kingdom of heaven? this I say, he doth by way of interrogation as if it were an absurd and ridiculous thing to make any compassion between the Kingdom of heaven and the whole world; yea he might as well have said a thousand worlds, so great is the kingdom of heaven.
It is a Supper,because it is the last refection of our souls, and lasts forever. And because our feast in heaven dependeth of this in earth, and is in some sort portionable thereunto; to make that in heaven great, by glory, we must make this in earth great, by grace, which is the seed of glory. Besides that argument of Christ himself aforesaid, for the greatness of the kingdom of heaven, to wit, what availeth it a man to gain all the world, and loose his soul? we may a little conceive of it by this example of Christ,where he sayth to his good and faithful servant' Well fare thee my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord; as if he should say, The joys of heaven are like a huge Ocean Sea,and cannot enter into thee, as other joys do seem to do,and therefore go thou into it,and dwell therein forever: neither were we able to behold the face of God in his glory ( in the vision whereof consist the Sum of our Felicity) with the eye of our soul,no more then the Sun in his Sphere with the eye of our body. should not God by his, miraculous power elevate and enable the faculties of our soul thereunto, as appeareth by the three disciples that were present with Christ at his transfiguration,who were not able to behold the brightness thereof, but fell flat with their face upon the ground,which transfiguration was but a little glimpse of his glory in heaven.
The unspeakable excellency of this feast,of Glory,I say, the Prophet David, being notable by words, setteth forth by way of admiration thus: Oh what is there in heaven for me,and what would I in earth, but thee, O lord! and St. Paul to comfort the Thessalonians, and arm them against the dreadful day of Judgement which some frighted them with all more then enough,as if it were then at hand, said no more but this: Comfort yourselves with this: After judgment we shall be without Lord forever,as if he should say: To be with God is perfect felicity,all felicity is contained in that one,as all delightful tastes in the world were in that little seed of Manna, no bigger then a Coriander seed, that being a figure of this.
In a banquet also every one hath as much of it, as if the banquet were made for him alone, and besides if he loved the rest as dearly as himself, he hath so many banquet all in one, as they are whom he so loveth: This property likewise, the feast of glory in heaven hath in a high degree, God so ordaining, to increase the banquet, so much the more that those that come there, shall be in such perfect charity together, that they shall joy in one another felicity as much as in their own.
These things being considered together with the perpetuity thereof, let all the sumptuous banquets that ever were,or shall be in the world give place to this, or rather be nothing in comparison thereof.
And let me see who, (unless he believe it not,or that as the Scripture sayth,our corruptible body doth so oppress the soul,and this earthly habitation of ours so depress our sense that we cannot think thereof,for vain worldly cogitations) will not with St. Paul desire to be dissolved from his body and to be with God, forever,and to eat and drink,and feast at his table,in heaven, rather then to be in this miserable and wretched life?
Thus we have seen what the feast of heavenly glory is as well as that of the Blessed Sacrament in the former Meditation: Now we will see who be invited to it ,and who be so foolish as to refuse to come thereunto.