Septuagesima Sunday The Gospel Mat. 20 v.1. Thursday Meditation
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 Thursday
If the Master of the vineyard blamed some for being idle,before they were hired,saying to some at the third hour; why stand yee here idle? what would he say to them that should loiter,and stand idle after they are hired?
If we hire laborers, and they loiter. and spend the day in idleness: we think they are bound in justice to supply it, by laboring so much the harder one time or other.
So doubtless in the vineyard of Our Lord (where our work is the salvation of our souls which St Paul exhortheth us to work with fear, and trembling) if we loiter, and be idle, though at last we have our days wages, to wit salvation of our souls: yet before we have it, we must make satisfaction here, or in purgatory, for all our loitering, and idleness, to the uttermost farthing.
For though such may be saved,yet as St.Paul telleth us,it must be by fire, and they shall suffer detriment. He may well call it detriment:For what greater detriment is it for every hours loitering here in this life, to pay I know not how many years punishment, in the fire of Purgatory.
Satisfaction while we are here in the way of mercy will pay much more debt, then satisfaction when we are in the way of justice:it is ,much more satisfaction to do or suffer, of our own accord, and devotion; (as we do in this life) then to suffer whether we will or no, as we shall in purgatory.
Wherefore let us hearken to the Counsel of the wise man in the Scripture,who exhorteth us thus: Work as much as thy hands are able, while thou may. Our work is first to root out of the vineyard,of our soul,all vices,and then to plant the contrary virtues, in their place.
If we should imagine Christ himself in person hired and we should ask him what we should do first; he would bid us, first root out those vices we are most subject unto; and are most danger.
The order of Christian justice is, as the prophet David describes, first to decline from evil, and then to do good.
A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634