Septuagesima Sunday The Gospel Mat. 20 v.1. Tuesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Matt. 20:1-16
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable:"The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle. And he said to them: 'Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just.' And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: 'Why stand you here all the day idle?' They say to him: 'Because no man hath hired us.' He saith to them: 'Go ye also into my vineyard.' And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: 'Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.' When therefore they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: And they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: 'These last have worked but one hour. and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats.' But he answering said to one of them: 'friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good?' So shall the last be first and the first last. For many are called but few chosen."
This Sunday being three weeks before lent, the Church invite us to labor in Gods vineyard this Lent, and to that purpose appointed this gospel to be read, and peculiar name, to witt, Septuagesima Sunday because it is seventy days before Easter,and the next, Sexagesima as being Sixty days; & the next Quinquagesima being fifty days before Easter, which serve to prepare us for the worthy keeping of Lent.
Consideration for Tuesday
For many are called but few are elect.
These words may have a double sense.
Though, Many are called to the Catholic faith, but few embrace it in comparison of them that are, called. All the world hath been called to Christianity by the preaching of the Apostles, whom Christ sent unto all parts of the world, as the Prophet David sayth of the Apostles, their sound went forth into every country, and their word unto the uttermost bounds of the world; so all the world was called, and is still called, partly by new preach in unto them, partly by notice they might take by the old: but the hundredth part of them are not Christians, and of them also many shall be damned; so that in comparison of the whole world, who are called few are saved: but in themselves the multitude is so great of all nations,and countries,and people,and languages, (as St John saith) that they cannot not be numbered, of which number every Catholic Christian may have a certain hope to be one though he live but an ordinary good life: for in the house of God there are many mansions. Another sense is, that some do live an extraordinary good life, aspiring unto perfection with great fervour,and zeal of piety, and devotion,not only in religious Orders (though that be the ordinary way to perfection) but also abroad in the world. Of these the number is but small in comparison of the rest, that live an ordinary good life: and of these doeth the parable properly speak, telling them for their comfort, it is never to late to aspire unto perfection, for though it be late ere they begin, yet by reason of the haste they, may make in their work, through their fervour,and zeal, they shall be rewarded with them that labor all the day after a cold and ordinary fashion.
And that this is the proper sense of this parable itself.
For every one that was hired or called, persevered unto the end of the day, and received his wages of salvation; neither doeth the latin word (electi) which is here used, signify of his own nature (saved) but selected,or choice laborers, as a band of trained soldiers, are called, milites electi, selected or choice soldiers.
And this appeared more plainly out of another parable in the gospel: Where amongst many invited to a marriage only one was found to have his wedding garment.
Thus this parable affords comfort for all, whether their labor be ordinary,or extraordinary, so they preserver; all shall received one reward in substance, to wit; salvation but greater encouragement to them that strive to be perfect for as St. Paul saith, as one star exceed another in brightness: so shall one man exceed another in accidental glory in heaven,according to the measure of their merit: where unto out of our gratitude to so calling us to his vineyard, we ought to aspire, to the highest in spiritual perfection bids emulate or animate the best.