Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 22.v.1.Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
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."
When we take any great joy & contentment in any benefit that happeneth unto us, we cannot express it better,then to make a feast to our friends, that they may know our happiness,and congratulate with us, and be merry together, then the which nothing is more pleasing unto us, we being sociable creatures; thus did a poor woman in the gospel for the finding of one groat that she had lost and another man for finding one lost sheep; and thus do men generally be they poor or rich at their marriage,to express their great joy & contentment they take in their new spouse, making extraordinary feasts unto their friends, as if they would signify thereby that, that state of life were unto them a continual feast: and therefore our Savior Christ would express the benefits and comforts we have by the two marriages aforesaid between him& our human nature,and again between and the Catholic Church, by the example of a Feast; and not an ordinary feast, but a marriage feast,which is wont to be the greatest of all; and not of an ordinary person, but of a king, which is the most sumptuous and delicate of all others: and it is aptly called a feast, of the effect, because by these benefits we attain unto that supreme feast of eternal joys & glory in heaven, which is called in the Scripture a feast, and so great a feast, as no eye hath seen, nor tongue can express,neither can it enter into the heart of man to conceive, or imagine; and that which increaseth the greatness thereof most of all,is, that it is not a dinner, as this in the Parable is called,after which we labor, and are hungry no more, but take our eternal rest and repose in heaven, with saturity, and all manner of celestial delights, without any little alteration, disturbance,or interruption, so much as one moment or twinkling of an eye.
And who would not account those things here a feast, whereby we attain to that feast there,and are put in a firm hope, and security thereof? Or, who would neglect to come to such a wedding being invited, and being come, neglect to put on a wedding garment, to be thrust out again with shame and reproach, as he in parable was, being worse then if he had not come at all?
And here, as we have shewed what is the wedding, so we will declare what is the wedding garment.
There be some garments that besides the keeping a man warm, covering his nakedness, and adorning his body,are signs of a certain especial profession, which is as it were a new marriage with God, besides that general marriage aforesaid, and in that respect may be called a wedding-garment; for example,the garment or habit of a religious person, or of a Judge,or the like.
The marriage garment here meant is not such, for under these garments may lye hidden & covered the Idols of divers sins,& vices, contrary to their profession, as Rachel carried away with her Fathers Idols, and hid them under her garments,when her Father pursued her, & searched her Tabernacle for them; but the garment here meant is the fulfilling our duty to God and our Neighbor,which I prove thus.
Charity, is the garment here meant, according to all Divines: But charity is the fulfilling of our duty to God and our Neighbor, or as the Scripture calleth it, the plenitude or fulling of the law of God: Therefore the fulfilling of our duty to God and our Neighbor, is the wedding garment here meant.
This is the garment,which covereth,as Scripture saith,the multitude of sins.
This keepeth our souls warm, Charity being a spiritual fire; this adorneth our souls with grace which is the pulchritude,and beauty of our souls;this is the true sign of a good Catholic,and disciple of Christ,as the habit of a religious man,or a judge,is of their profession, Christ saying unto us: By this you shall be known to be my disciples, if yee love one another,as I have loved you.
And here I will end this Meditation,having by this which is said of the feast in general,as it were laid the tablecloth, or covered the Table.
In the next Meditation,we will serve in the several dishes of the feast.