Septuagesima Sunday The Gospel Mat. 20 v.1. Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Matt. 20:1-16At 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 Wednesday
Why stand you here idle.
Though it is very like, these men being in the market, were worse then idle, drinking, swearing, or uncharitably talking, backbiting, playing at unlawful games,or in greater excess then they should, and many such misdemeanors, as are usual in markets, fairs, taverns, and like: yet he that hired them, rebuked them for nothing but that they were idle, and not occupied in some good exercise or other, where in he did like a good Physician, that to cure a disease goeth to the root or cause thereof. Idleness is the mother or school mistress of all these vices aforesaid, and many more.
Otiositye or Idleness (saith the wise man) teacheth much naughtiness. Idleness and plenty of bread, sayth the Prophet Ezechiel, was one of the sins of Sodom, that is to say, the cause thereof. Take away idleness, saith the heathen Poet Ovid, and Cupid's bow is broken. St. Jerome writing to a holy man in the wilderness called Rusticus, that had written unto him for his advice in spiritual affairs, saieth thus. Let the devil never find thee idle,and then well mayest thou be tempted, but hardly overcome.
Adam before his fall when he had no need of anything being in a Paradise of pleasure, God placed him there, as Scripture saith, to the end he should work,and keep it; where it is to be noted, that to work, is put first, and after to keep it, as if it, and not loose it: he must work, and not be idle; which no commandment, but a good caveat.
But after his fall when he had,God commanded him to work, saying, In the sweat of thy brows,shalt thou eat thy bread. Poor men must of necessity, labor they are commanded:rich men have no necessity, and consequently no commandment.
But they have that condition put upon them, that is equal to a commandment: to wit: if they will have care of their souls health, if they will keep themselves in the grace of God, they must not be idle, they must employ their time in some good exercise or other;so none must be idle,neither poor nor rich.
Neither is idleness only a cessation from labor: but to do that which we must undo again, and reverse, as we must all manner or mortal sin, by bitter penance, if we will be saved: sin thereof is a kind of idleness, and the worst idleness of all.
Let us therefore do as good laborers do that work many together, strive to go before one another; let them that are behind strive to over take them that are before.
Let us imitate and exhort one another to do well, as the Prophet David did saying,come let us rejoice to God our Savior; and in another Psalm: Magnify our Lord together with me,and let us exalt his name together. And if any be sluggish, & slothful let us send them with shame to the industrious Emment, as wise Solomon did, to see how busily,and industriously they labor in Summer to live in winter. When we are idle or ill occupied, let us take our selves with the manner,and say to our self: I am hired to labor in the vineyard, and behold I play the loitering companion.