FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY GOSPEL MT.8.23 THE THURSDAY MEDITATION
GOSPEL (Matt. 8:23-27)
At that time, Jesus entered into the boat, and his disciples followed him: And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: "Lord, save us, we perish." And Jesus saith to them: "Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith?" Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: "What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?"
Why the Tempest arose when Christ slept in the ship. And while, he suffer it to be so great, that the ship was like to drown
For the first, it was to signify that when the pastors, and prelates of the Church, (Who are every one in in their charge, as Masters in a ship are negligent, and careless of their flock, as if they were asleep, doeth the Tempeſt of heresy, and schism arise.
So did the enemy sow his Cockle, in the good corn, while the husband men were asleep.
And therefore Saint Paul awaketh them with these word.
Attend to yourselves; and to all your flock, and he rouse them up with this reason, immediately following: in which saith he, the holy ghost hath put you to govern the Church of God, that is to say, which charge not men but the holy ghost hath committed unto you; and by how much the more immediately you have it from God; so much the more strict shall be your account for the same.
That they have their authority more immediately from God, then temporal governors, it appeareth by this, that if all the priests in the world were extinct, all the world could not make a priest, but it must be immediately done of God.
Alſo they may be laid to have their authority more immediately from God then temporal Magistrates, or governors and therefore to render a stricter account: because their authority is over souls, which are more immediately from God, as being created of him, and of much more dignity then the body, whereof temporal magiſtrates have the charge.
And the same Saint Paul in another place, speaking of the vigilance of good pastors over their flock, and alleging it for a reason why their flock should be obedient, and subject unto them; is not content to say, for for they are vigilant over you, but they are, pervigilant (for so the Latin word is) that is to say very vigilant, or more then vigilant over you, and he addeth a reason why the pastors should be so; for they are, saith he, to render an account of those souls committed unto them, and therefore it behoove then to be very vigilant.