Ninth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc. 19. v. 41. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 19. 41-47.
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side; and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them: It is written, “My house is the house of prayer.” but you have made it a den of thieves. And He was teaching daily in the temple.
Amphides, a Philosopher, used to say, that Cities were Theaters of naughtiness, and another called Straonicus of Athens, being gone forth of the City Heraclea, looked back upon it with an extraordinary eye, and viewed the gate and walls thereof so earnestly, that one observed him, and asked him what it was he beheld so earnestly? he answered:I am ashamed to be seen to go out of a common stews, signifying that the City, by reason of the frequency of people of all sorts, and of the occasions of all manner of vice, had not only a common stews of bawdy in it, but it was itself a stew of all manner of vices; & so no doubt are other populous Cities and Towns, Theaters or a Stews of all manner of vice and iniquity: & for a disastrous prefagement hereof, he that built the first City in the world,which was Cain the son of Adam, was a reprobate, and accursed of God.
But of all other Cities in the world none comparable to Jerusalem, which besides her other abhominale sins, she committed the most heinous, and exorbitant sin of all sins, the Crucifying of Christ Jesus, the Saviour of the world, laying violent hands, and that in a most violent and barbarous manner, upon God himself, for so was Christ perfect God,as well as perfect man.
This perfect God and perfect man Christ Jesus, three or four days before his passion,approaching near unto this City, and beholding it, and withal seeing, and foreseeing all the abominations thereof, and that they would most maliciously put him to death, and all the miseries and calamities that were to light upon it for the same,far better then Stratonicus saw the sins of Heraclea, and presented them before his eyes as lively, as a little after he did the sins of the whole world, in the garden of Gethsemane (which made him sweat blood and water he wept over the City.
This he did to give us example to have compassion of other mens sins & calamities,and to comfort and assist them in what we can, at least with our earnest prayers, and supplications to God for them, we being members all of one body: and if natural members do as it were condole and help one another,much more mystical members of one and the same body the Catholic Church,as Catholics are of one another compaginated and united together, with the sinews of faith and charity, wherewith we may stir up our selves to compassionate one another, as well as they, yea and command and enforce ourselves thereunto by our freewill,far beyond nature; the virtues of faith and charity being divine & theological descending from heaven, and mounting thither again, above nature; and oftentimes, as in martyrdom, with the destruction of nature,or as in other Saints, holy people, with the mortification,& subduing thereof: wherefore if we do not compassionate the miseries and calamities of others,as Christ did here of Jerusalem, it is a sign,we are not true members of one another, and consequently not members of that body of the Catholic Church, whereof Christ is the head.
Concerning this charitable compassion towards others, St Paul proposing himself for an example sayth thus of himself: Who is sick or infirm, and I am not sick & infirm with him? who is scandalized,and I am not afflicted with it? and according to this he writteth to the Corinthans thus:I fear,least when I come to you again, God will humble me amongest you, and I shall bewail many of you, that have sin & heretofore, & not done penance for their impurity, and fornication, and wantonness,which they have committed.
Thus the good man was afraid, that out of his compassion,he should not be able to be merry, & comfortable amongst them, but sorry and afflicted for the miseries of others, as his own.
And what the benefit of this compassion is, we may learn out of a vision of the Prophet Ezechiel, which was this: Certain men were commanded to pass through the City of Jerusalem with swords in their hands,and to kill man, woman,and child,and to spare none, but those that did bewail the sins and abominations of the rest; one man being sent before with an inckhorne, to mark them in the forehead with the letter T,called in Hebrew and Greek Tau,which hath the form of the cross of Christ,& those only to be spared from the general destruction.
Those that live among wicked people and lament their sins are marked with a cross in their forehead, & they shall be spared, and find mercy at the hands of God, though they live a amongst never fo bad people, as Lot was delivered out of Sodom.