cyril_alexandriaOn Luke 19:1-10.

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly: for to-day I must abide at your house” (Luke 19:5).

Jesus saw the man’s soul prepared most readily to choose a holy life, and converted him therefore to piety.

The man therefore received Jesus joyfully: and this was the commencement of his turning himself to good, of his departure from his former faults, and of his manfully betaking himself to a better course.

But perchance someone may say to our common Saviour Christ, ‘What do You, O Lord? Go You to lodge with Zacchaeus? and deign You to abide with the chief of the publicans? He has not yet washed away the stain of his greedy love of lucre: he is still sick with covetousness…’

But yes, He says, I indeed know this, in that I am God by nature, and see the ways of every individual upon earth. And more than this, I know also things to come.

I have called him to repentance, because he is ready thereto: and though men murmur, and blame My gentleness, facts themselves shall prove that they are wrong.

For Zacchaeus, it says, stood up, and said to the Lord, “Behold, the half of whatever I possess I give to the poor, and if I have defrauded any man, I make fourfold restoration.”

[…] Let not the…multitudes therefore murmur when Christ saves sinners; but let them answer us this. Would they have physicians succeed in effecting cures when they visit the sick?

Do they praise them when they are able to deliver men from cruel ulcers, or do they blame them, and praise those who are unskilful in their art? But, as I suppose, they will give the sentence of superiority in favour of those who are skilful in benefiting such as suffer from diseases.

Why therefore do they blame Christ, if when Zacchaeus was, so to say, fallen and buried in spiritual maladies, He raised him from the pitfalls of destruction?

And to teach them this He says, “To-day there is salvation for this house, in that he also is a son of Abraham;” for where Christ enters, there necessarily is also salvation.

May He therefore also be in us: and He is in us when we believe: for He dwells in our hearts by faith, and we are His abode.

[…] God promised salvation in Christ by the holy prophets, saying, “There shall come a Saviour from Zion, and He shall take away iniquities from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them, when I will bear their sins.”

Christ therefore arose, to deliver the inhabitants of the earth from their sins, and to seek them that were lost, and to save them that had perished. For this is His office, and, so to say, the fruit of His godlike gentleness.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, Sermon 127.

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