cyril_alexandriaIsrael was not completely destroyed: in fulfilment of the Prophet’s words a remnant was saved, for no small number came to believe in Christ.

Of these the company of the holy Apostles formed the original group: they were so to speak the first-fruits. Thus Scripture says: On that day the Lord will be a crown of hope, a garland of glory for the remnant of my people.

It is the Lord of Hosts himself who will crown those who have believed with hope and glory: with hope for the blessings to come, and with the glory in which they will reign with him; and when they have attained their heavenly reward they will be the envy and admiration of all the world.

For those who hope, what could equal the glory of being crowned in Christ’s kingdom?

Elsewhere Isaiah tells them: You will be a beautiful crown, a royal diadem, in the hand of your God. For Christ will crown those who believe in him with everlasting glory, while he refreshes them now with the most magnificent hopes.

There will be a share in these things for the remnant of my people, says the Prophet, that is, the remnant of the Jews, as well as those belonging to another people, namely the Gentiles, who are likewise devoted to Christ and pray to God their heavenly Father crying out: Lord, you surround us with favour as with a shield.

It pleased God the Father that Christ should become for us an unbreakable shield. Placing himself between us and the darts of the devil, he saved his people from being wounded or harmed in any way by his malice.

Some such meaning is im­plied, I think, in the words spoken about the people he had won for himself, that is, those justified by faith. They will be preserved by a spirit of justice for him who sits in judgement, and of courage for those who thrust back the attacker.

For once, long ago, Satan almost destroyed the sons of earth when he flung them into the pit of sin. There was no one who did right, not a single one; they had all left the right path, they were depraved, everyone, as the Psalmist says. But when the only-be­gotten Son, the Word of God, became man, he judged our case, deciding between us and the tyrant Satan.

The latter he con­demned to destruction, and removed him as the destroyer of earth-dwellers and a murderer, so saving us who were lost. This is his teaching when he says: Now is the hour of judgement for this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, shall draw the whole world to myself.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on Isaiah (PG 70:617-619); 22-923);  from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Advertisements