Sunday Within The Octaves Of Corpus Christi Day Which Is Accounted The Second Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.14.v.16 Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 14:16-24
At that time, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.' "
Now we have seen who it is that maketh us this supper, what the Supper is, why it is called a Supper, rather then a dinner, how great a supper it is,and in what courtesy manner: It remaineth that we consider with what disposition we should come unto it, that we seem not uncourteous and deserve blame,as well as they that refused to come.
Our Blessed Lord Jesus.as is expressed in the Gospel, being in the midst of a great throng of people where divers did not only touch him, but press hard upon him, amongst whom a certain woman who had a bloody flux,and had spent all her substance upon Physicians, and could have no cure, came secretly behind him,and touched the hem of his garment, saying within herself: If I could but touch the hem of his garment, I should be cured.
Christ turned about and asked, who touched him? his disciples knowing nothing thereof, answered: Do you ask who touched you being in the midst of a throng of people? Christ said,Somebody hath touch me,for there is virtue gone out from me, as if no body else had touched him,but she: Even so many come to the Blessed Sacrament, and touch it, pressing as it were upon it by frequency thereof, but few touch it indeed with that profit of their sick souls, as they might if they came with that disposition as this woman did.
First she came to him with a full and perfect faith, that he was able to cure her if she could but touch the hem of his garment, for which sayth Christ commanded her, and said: Her faith had made her whole.
Secondly,her hope & confidence that he would cure her; saying within herself: If I could but touch the hem of his garment,I should, that is to say,I believe verily not only that he can, but also that he will cure me.
Thirdly, her humility.thinking herself unworthy to touch any thing of his,but the hem of his garment;& withall her reverence and devotion, thinking Christ so Holy, that there was holiness or virtue even in the hem of his garment worthy of reverence.
Fourthly her shamefastness and confusion for her foul disease, for which in the old law of Moses they were sequestered from the conversation of people.as leapers were; in regard whereof she came behind Christ, as St.Maire Magdalen did, and secretly touched the hem of his garment. The poor woman thus doing, was cured of her disease.
St Paul complaineth, two laws he had within him, one of the spirit, another of the flesh. That of the flesh,he said, he felt in his members, that drew him to do that evil which he would : this he calleth, the law of the flesh, which fighteth against the law of his spirit.
This disease we all are subject unto, and it may rightly be called a flux,because it floweth unto us from Adam,and from us to our posterity,and is always flowing and sliding away unto ill: and it may be called bloody, because it tendeth to the ruin and destruction of souls.
For which disease if we frequent the Sacrament of the holy Eucharist, and there touch the garment of Christ, which is his sacred Humanity in the Sacrament, where withall his Deity is there, clothed as with a garment; if we do this,I say with those dispositions that the woman aforesaid touched the material garment of Christ, our said disease shall be cured, or so much repressed as it shall do us no harm, especially if we add one other disposition of the woman, to wit, a continual thankful remembrance of so great a benefit as she had: for as the Ecclesiastical history reporteth, she made the portraiture of Christ in brass in a garment, with a little embroidered hem like his, as the Jews used, & set it in her garden, to be continually in her eye, which pleased God so well,that for a testimony thereof, he made a strange herb grow under it,and when it grew up to touch the hem of the garment (as it did) he rewarded her thankfulness with another benefit, giving virtue to the herb to cure the bloody flux, and diverse other diseases besides.
Likewise distraction in our prayers, and wandering thoughts of our mind, is a continual flux we are subject unto , and deprives our soul of much spiritual profit and sweetness, ( as flies dying in sweet ointment, destroy the sweetness thereof,) which diligent attention and recollection bringeth unto us.
The garment of Christ, that is to say, the picture or image of Christ which is as it were his garment, set before our eyes when we are at prayer, devoutly casting our eyes thereon, now & then, is a remedy also for this kind of flux.