PALM SUNDAY

Apr 8, 2019

PALM SUNDAY

Once again Saint Cyril of Alexandria is making an appearance on this blog and since we already know something about him and his history I would like to share with you his antidote for pride. Something he struggled with mightily.

St. Cyril of Alexandra: If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist . . .

“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity. If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart. If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate. If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent. Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.”

+ St. Cyril of Alexandria

Gospel: Luke 19:28-40

            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Commentary: Cyril of Alexandria

Behold, a righteous king will reign, and princes will rule with justice. The only-begotten Word of God, together with God the Father, has always been king of the universe, and to him all creatures, visible and invisible, are subject. People on earth, having been caught in the snares of sin, were persuaded by the devil to reject his sovereignty and to despise his royal power, but the judge and dispenser of all justice brought them back under his own dominion.

All his ways are straight, says scripture, and by the ways of Christ we mean the divine precepts laid down in the gospel. By observing them we make progress in every virtue, do honor to ourselves by the moral beauty of our lives, and attain the heavenly reward to which we have been called. These are straight, not winding ways: they are direct and easily followed. As it is written, The way of the upright is straight; the road of the just is made smooth. Its many decrees make the law a rugged way and its difficulty intolerable, but the way of gospel commands is smooth, without any roughness or steep ascents.

The ways of Christ are straight, then, and as for the holy city, which is the Church, he himself was its builder and he makes it his own dwelling. In other words, he makes the saints his dwelling: sharing as we do in the Holy Spirit, we have Christ within us and have become temples of the living God. Christ is both the founder of the Church and its foundation, and upon this foundation we, like precious stones, are built into a holy temple to become, through the Spirit, a dwelling place for God.

Since it has in Christ such a firm foundation, the Church can never be shaken. Scripture says: I am laying the foundation stone of Zion, the cornerstone, chosen and precious. No one who believes in him will ever be put to shame. When he founded the Church, Christ delivered his people from bondage. He saved us from the power of Satan and of sin, freed us and subjected us to his own rule, but not by paying a ransom or by bribes. As one of his disciples wrote, We have been freed from the futile ways handed down to us by our ancestors, not by anything perishable like silver and gold, but by the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without mark or blemish. He gave his own blood for us, so that we no longer belong to ourselves, but to him who bought us and saved us. Those therefore who turn aside from the noble rule of the true faith are justly accused by all the saints of denying the Lord who redeemed them.

(On Isaiah IV, 2: PG 70, 967-970)