THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, THE GOSPEL MT.8.1-13.THE TUESDAY MEDITATION
GOSPEL (Matthew 8 : 1 – 13)
At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him: and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying: Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will. Be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man: but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this one: go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant: Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marveled, and said to them that followed Him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.
ALL things (saith Solomon) have their and all things under the heavens pass with their spaces.
There is time to be borne, and a time to dye, time to plant, a time to pull up that which is planted, and after thoſe crimes it is out of time, and not to be done.
This Solomon speaketh of temporal, and worldly affairs, by reaſon of the disposition of natural things, which are confined to opportunity, time and place: but in things that belong to our soul, our business, and affairs, with God is never out of time or season.
I will declare, and show forth, saith the Prophet David, to wit, the praise, of God, at all times in the evening, morning, and none, and he will hear my voice.
The husbandman let his arable ground lie unsowed every other year, that it may rest, & bring forth a good crop: which if it were continually sowed it would not do; but in the affairs of our soul, we should not be idle, nor cease from good works not a day nor an hour nor a moment: if we do, unless it be to some good end, we shall not only loose our crop of spiritual commodity; but make our selves less apt to do good another time.
Of them that procrastinate or defer their conversion from time to time, or any other good work, we may say with the Poet; Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus crit. He that is not apt to day, will worse tomorrow if he stay.
There is no time out of time, to deal with God, in the affairs of our salvation, which God so much desire, as he will debar us of no time.
And as we may deal or negotiate with God at any time concerning our soul, for as S. Paul saith, whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, we may do it to the honor of. God, and offer up our minds to him: So may we have access to him in any place, where he is; and therefore S. Paul exhort us, to lift up pure hands in prayer to God in every place, and where is not God?
The adulterous woman found him for pardon of her sin in the Temple: and no marvel for there is his proper place, there our blessed lady found Christ when he was lost: Job found him, and talked with him upon a dunghill.
The Centurion in the City.
The woman of Canaan upon the way.
This leaper for the cure of his leprosy in a desert, and solitary place, as lepers by the law were commanded to live, and not in Cities, where they might infect others with their contagious disease.
But what do I say, we may have access to God in any place where he is; and he will come to us, to any place where we are, if we have but a desire.
And so it seems by the words of Christ, to the Centurion, when he desired him to cure his servant: I will come to thy house, saith he and cure him; and the like to this leaper, who saying to Christ, Lord if thou wilt, thou canst cleanse me, Christ, answered I will.
That is to say, I have a most earnest will, and desire to do it, and foreseeing thy disease from all eternity, I so disposed, that I should come this way, and meet thee, in respect whereof I rather come to thee, thou, then to me.
And so: I did to; Job upon the dunghill, so I do to the sick upon their bed and to all others in distress, that call upon me.
Oh that we would imitate this leaper; who finding himself, by reason of the foulness of his disease, debarred of all human society, was much grieved thereat and watched Christ when he came that way: so if We would consider the foulness of sin and the infection thereof, which make us unworthy to live, and converse amongst men, if we had our right; but rather in a wilderness amongst brute beasts (unto whom by sin we make our selves like) as appeareth by Nabuchodonosor, & the leapers of the old law: thone baniſhed amongst beasts yea, in a sort transformed into a beast, during the space of seven years, for sin, being made a figure of sinners, that transform themselves in to beasts: thother debarred of the society of men, as infectious of others.
And therefore if we live among men, to think ourselves unworthy thereof; If we had theſe conceits of sin, (as in deed it deserveth) we would seek more earnestly to come to God, for cure, as this leaper did, and God would meet us, of purpose, as he did him, if we desired the health of our soul, as he did the health of his body.
A PLAINE PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN BY FR.THOMAS HILL 1634