Sunday Within The Octaves Of Corpus Christi Day Which Is Accounted The Second Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.14.v.16 Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
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.' "
As long we be in the state of grace, that is to say, in the unity of the Catholic faith, and our of mortal sin, and frequent the blessed Sacrament of the Altar at due times, we are guests at this great supper, which beginneth here in this life by grace, & is consummated in heaven by glory, where God reverseth the best cheere for the last as he did the best wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, which peradventure was a figure of this: and as at corporal Feast, guests are first invited by the Master to come unto them, and being at them, are often called upon and invited to eat, and drink, and by merry: so those that are not at this Feast already that is to say in the state of grace, are invited to it, by almighty the Master of the Feast,and those that are at it already, are invited and called upon to eat and drink plentifully, & to be merry, that is to say, to increase more & more in grace by works of piety, virtue, and devotion: especially in the worthy receiving of the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the principal dish of this Feast.
Both these invitations are done divers ways; sometimes by internal motions of the holy Ghost: sometimes by sermons and exhortations: sometimes by prayer, and reading good books: sometimes by sickness, poverty, misery, and adversity, (saving that rather a friendly compulsion, then an invitation, according to the parable where the lame, blind, poor, and impotent were compelled to come:) sometimes (but that is but seldom and with some thankful natures) by riches, prosperity & honor of the world, which rather for the most part hinder us: sometimes, or rather not sometimes, but continually by the Sundays, Holy days, and festival times of the year, the holy time of Advent, Lent, Ember weeks, Rogation, or public Supplication-days, commonly called Procession-week, common vigils, or Saints Eves, and the like: by these, I say, we are continually from time to time, and from year to year, invited to this great Supper, in the holy Catholic Church, and to eat & be merry thereat in our Lord.
If we refuse to come, as the married man did, or excuse ourselves for trysts, as the other two did, we shall not only loose the benefit of the banquet, but incur the displeasure of God, that biddeth us thereunto.
An further it is to be feared that as Christ when he sent his disciples to preach the Gospel of salvation,he bid them, if any reject them, to shake off the duct of their feet for a testimony against them, in the day of judgment: So these messengers being rejected of us, they shall be reserved, in the day of judgement, for so many witnesses to testify against us.
We may likewise learn, that since every little Service of God doth belong unto that supper of heavenly glory, and is the means to acquire and purchase the same, to neglect no little opportunity thereof, no more then a worldly man doth to increase his wordily wealth,be every little thing; considering, as St Paul sayth, that every little thing we do, or suffer in the service of God,workweth an eternal weight of glory in heaven.
Who would now excuse themselves, being thus invited, from coming to the heavenly banquet of the Service of God in this world, for such trifles, as those in the parable did; to wit for oxen, a farm, wife,and much less, for such small matters as incomparrison of those, which seem to be somewhat, but were accounted trifles, in comparison of the banquet were invited unto.
Fot though they thought them sufficient causes of excuse,yet they were not so accounted of the Master of the feast,but he was exceeding angry at it, and said there should not one of them that refuses to come, taste of his supper: and therefore sent forth into the high ways for poor, and lame, and blind, and sick, and the like, which had none of those impediments, to fill up his room.
Those that refused to come to this great supper, to feast themselves for oxen, farm, wife, or the like, seem to love those things better then themselves: And even so, those that for their inordinate delights of any worldly thing, refuse to come to feast their souls in the service of God, seem to love those delights better then themselves,better then their soul, which is the principal part of themselves; or rather hate themselves, according to that of the Prophet David, He that loveth iniquity,hateth his own soul.
But whatsoever it is of that, certain it is, that our inordinate affections and delights, are impediments to the service of God., and consequentlytothe salvation of our souls:and if they be towards thingslawfulin themselves and be our own,as these oxen,farm,and wife were,it is harder to be reformed then towards things , and not our own.
As for example,it is harder to use temperately and well our own, then not to steal from another. It is harder to discern our error in the one, then in the other, because it is about a thing lawful in it self, and having discerned our error, it is harder to leave it, because it is our own,and many more color able pretences of excuse we have for the one then the other, as those in the parable seem to have, but they were excused never the more, the Master of the Feast being very angry with them, and so much the more, because they were not more careful where there was more danger,namely i the use of things lawful in themselves and their own, and therefore Christ giving us a lesson in the Gospel for renouncing all inordinate love unto things lawful, as most dangerous impediments of following him, sayth: He that hateth not Father, and Mother, wife and children, yea and his own life, to follow me, cannot be my disciple: as if he should say in things lawful in themselves & our own, and so near unto us, it is impossible almost, we should keep our selves from inordinate love of them, and such inordinate love as may hazard our salvation,unless we carry ourselves, as if we did hate them.
Finally, that Christ taught men, as he did in the words immediately before this Parable, when tbey made a dinner, not to invite the rich that were able to invite them again, and so loose their reward; but the poor,lame, blind,& impotent, that God might reward them for it: that the Master of the feast here did so,that Christ hath ordained the feast of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar as well for the poor as the rich, vouchsafing the one his presence therein as well as the other,and that God at the feast of his eternal glory doth the like, affording us there his perpetual presence, and making it our feast, the best of us being infinitely more poor-blind,lame, weak, miserable &unworthily in comparison of him, then the most poor-blind, lame and the like miserable creatures are in comparison of the best of us, doth require that we should invite such to our Table: but since we do not, it being not the fashion, as least let us learn hereby not to use them harshly and hardly, but charitably and courteously, when they come unto our doors, as almighty God doth, and as we would desire to be used, if we were in their case.