SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST THE GOSPEL LUC. 14. V. 1. TUESDAY MEDITATION: A PLAINE PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN THOMAS HILL 1634
GOSPEL - Saint Luke 14:1-11
At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the Sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had the dropsy: and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and the Pharisees, saying: "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" But they held their peace: but He taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the sabbath day?" And they could not answer Him these things. And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: "When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him and he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled and he that humbled himself shall be exalted."
And behold, sayth the Gospel, a certain man that had the dropsy, was in the presence (& view) of Christ.
Though it be not expressed how he came into the presence of Christ, no doubt the poor man not daring to speak to Christ to cure him, least he should offend the Pharisees, by giving occasion to break the Sabbath day, so superstitious were they in that point, straining at a gnat, as Christ said of them,and swallowing a Camel, pressed in as near as he could, to the presence of Christ, thinking that the sight of his infirmity would move Christ to compassion, more then his words, which although Christ knew well enough before,and needed no external means to move him,yet for our instruction he seemed to be moved thereat, and taking him by the hand,or laying his hand upon him,cured his disease; whereby we may learn two things: The one is, that as this dropsy man pressed into the presence of Christ to show him his infirmity; so if we covet to be cured of our spiritual infirmities we must press into the presence of God by devote prayer,and lay them open unto him by humble confession.
The other as it is good for poor and distressed persons to put themselves in the presence of the rich asmuch as they can, that the rich may see their misseries and wants,and seeing them mau be moved to compassion & comsieration to relieve them the better: so it is good likewise for the rich to behold and see the poor and distressed, when they come to their doors, and to hear their miserable case, & sometimes to go to their houses, hospitals, or prisons, where they are, that they may be the sooner moved with pity and commiseration to relieve and succor them, knowing that they receive a far grater benefit by the poor in relieving them, then the poor do by them in being relieved of them, Christ telling us, It is a more happy thing to give then to receive: & their reward shall b so much the greater, by how much the greater their compassion and commiseration is, which is never so great as by seeing & beholding them ourselves; and therefore Christ doth not upbraid the rich, for that they sent not to him when he was in prison, but that they came not to him, saying I was in prison and you came not to me, meaning not himself in his own person but those that are in captivity & prison, who often times need comfort and good counsel,as well as corporal relief.
If this poor diseased man had come to us when we were at a feast to have been cured of his disease, peradventure we would have been angry with him for coming at so unfitting a time,we would would have been troubled, we would have appointed him another time,as many make their poor Clients and Suters that are admitted in forma panperis, in the form of poor men,dance attendance from time to time; and others let the poor beg at their doors two or three hours peradventure,and give them nothing at last,but rather threaten and chide them away: but Christ did not so with this poor man, he cured him, as the good old man Tobias did, who being at dinner and hearing ofone of his country-men slain in the street, left his dinner and buried him in all hast: and oftentimes was so frequent and busyon burying of others that he lost his sleep.
The Wise man in the Scripture reckoneth up many things and sayth, there is a time for all: A time to be born, a time to die,a time to plant, a time to pullup, a time to kill,a time to heal, &c: but nameth no time to do good,and not to do good, for that is in season at all times, it is never to be deferred to another time.
If a man were in prison, and a messenger should be sent from the Magistrate to fetch him before him,and to set him free forthwith, if he came with him, that being a time for his release; I suppose he would not put it off, and say unto him,I am now busy,come to me another time.
The poor come to us, as messengers from God to set us free, from our prison, and bonds of pennance and satisifaction for our sins: Oh King, said Daniel to Nabuchodonosor redeem thy sins with almes, and thy iniquities with mercies to the poor.
When poor be an alm of thee,put him not off, he issent from God to free thee from thy sins,forwhich otherwise thousmust peradventure lie in the prison of Purgatory, til; thou pay the uttermost farthing:Say not tothy friend, sayth Salomon, that is to the poor, who are they best friends, Go and come again another time, I will give unto thee tomorrow, if thouhast now wherewithalll.
That it is a great benefit unto us,and that they are our best friends, our Saviour Christ telleth us in these words, Me you shall not have, sayth he, always with you, but the poor you shall,as i he should say thus: Although you cannot have me always with you in my own person,which our esteem do great a comfort and benefit unto you, yet you shall have another great benefit instead of it,you shall have the poor always with you,you shall have me always with you in my member,the poor,of whom you may purchase the kingdom of heaven, making them your friends in heaven with your alms here.