Friday, September 21, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost


O Lord, teach me, and I will know. Then I saw their purpose. For I did not know I was like an innocent lamb led to be sacrificed. They plotted an evil device against me, saying, “Come, let us put wood in his bread, and destroy him root and branch from the land of the living, so his name might not be remembered any longer.”
But, O Lord,
You who judge righteously,
Who tests minds and hearts,
Let me see Your vengeance on them
For I have revealed my righteous plea to You.
Jeremiah 11:17–19 LXX (Je 11:18–20)

It is the consensus of all the church that these words are spoken by Christ through the person of Jeremiah. For the Father made it known to him how he should speak and revealed to him the zealotry of the Jews—he who was led like a lamb to the slaughter, not opening his mouth and not knowing. But the word sin is implicitly added to this last phrase, in agreement with what was said by the apostle: “When he did not know sin, he was made to be sin on our account.” And they said, “Let us put wood on his bread,” clearly referring to the cross on the body of the Savior, for he is the one who said, “I am the bread that descended from heaven.”

They also said “let us destroy (or eradicate) him from the land of the living.” And they conceived the evil in their soul that they would delete his name forever. In response to this, from the sacrament of the assumed body, the Son speaks to the Father and invokes his judgment while praising his justice and acknowledging him as the God who inspects the interior and the heart. He asks that the Father would return to the people what they deserve, saying, “Let me see your vengeance on them,” obviously referring only to those who continue in sin, not to those who repent. Concerning the latter, he said on the cross: “Father forgive them, for they do not realize what they are doing.” He also “disclosed his cause” to the Father, that he was crucified not because he deserved it but for the sins of the people, as he declared: “Behold, the prince of the world came and found nothing against me.” The Jews and our Judaizers believe that all of this was said only by Jeremiah, arguing from prophecy that the people have sustained these evils in their captivity. But I fail to see how they hope to prove that Jeremiah was the one crucified, since such an event is nowhere recorded in Scripture. Perhaps it is just a figment of their imagination.

Jerome, Six Books on Jeremiah 2.110

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Christ in All the Scriptures


And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.… Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Lk 24:27, 44–45)

The Law and the Prophets also are to our eyes books containing the promise of things which, from the benefit they will confer on him, naturally rejoice the hearer as soon as he takes in the message. To this it may be said that Before the sojourn of Christ, the Law and the Prophets did not contain the proclamation which belongs to the definition of the Gospel, since He who explained the mysteries in them had not yet come. But since the Savior has come and has caused the Gospel to be embodied, He has by the Gospel made all things as Gospel.… For when He had taken away the veil which was present in the Law and the Prophets, and by His divinity had proved the sons of men that the Godhead was at work, He opened the way for all those who desired it to be disciples of His wisdom, and to understand what things were true and real in the law of Moses, of which things those of old worshiped the type and the shadow, and what things were real of the things narrated in the histories which “happened to them in the way of type” (1 Co 10:11), but these things “were written for our sakes, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” With whomever, then, Christ has sojourned, he worships God neither at Jerusalem nor on the mountain of the Samaritans; he knows that God is a spirit, and worships Him spiritually, in spirit and in truth; no longer by type does he worship the Father and Maker of all. Before that Gospel, therefore, which came into being by the sojourning of Christ, none of the older works was a Gospel. But the Gospel, which is the new covenant, having delivered us from the oldness of the letter, lights up for us, by the light of knowledge, the newness of the spirit, a thing which never grows old, which has its home in the New Testament, but is also present in all the Scriptures. It was fitting, therefore, that that Gospel, which enables us to find the Gospel present, even in the Old Testament, should itself receive, in a special sense, the name of Gospel.

Origen, Commentary on John 1.8

Friday, September 14, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:14–29)

The answer of the Lord was suited to the petition; for the man said, “If You can do any thing, help us;” and to this the Lord answered, “If you can believe.” On the other hand, the leper who cried out, with faith, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean,” received an answer according to his faith, “I will, be clean.” There follows, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” But if he had already believed, saying, “I believe,” how is it that he adds, “help my unbelief?” We must say then that faith is manifold, that one sort of faith is elementary, another perfect; but this man, being but a beginner in believing, prayed the Savior to add to his virtue what was lacking. For no man at once reaches to the highest point, but in holy living a man begins with the least things that he may reach the great; for the beginning of virtue is different from the progress and the perfection of it. Because then faith mounts up through the secret inspiration of grace, by the steps of its own merits, he who had not yet believed perfectly was at once a believer and an unbeliever.…

Again, in a mystical sense, on high the Lord unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to His disciples, but below He rebukes the multitude for their sins of unfaithfulness, and expels devils from those who are vexed by them. Those who are still carnal and foolish, He strengthens, teaches, punishes, while He more freely instructs the perfect concerning the things of eternity. For oftentimes when we try to turn to God after sin, our old enemy attacks us with new and greater snares, which he does, either to instill into us a hatred of virtue, or to avenge the injury of his expulsion. Or by this demoniac are signified those who are bound by the guilt of original sin, and coming into the world as criminals, are to be saved by grace; and by fire is meant the heat of anger, by water, the pleasures of the flesh, which melt the soul by their sweetness. But He did not rebuke the boy, who suffered violence, but the devil, who inflicted it, because he who desires to amend a sinner, ought, while he exterminates his vice by rebuking and cursing it, to love and cherish the man.

Bede, Commentary on Mark

Friday, September 7, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Prophet Isaiah
Be comforted, you fainthearted. Be strong, do not fear! Behold, our God renders judgment, and will render it. He will come and save us. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will speak clearly. For water shall burst forth in the desert, and a valley in the thirsty land. The waterless desert shall become meadows, and the thirsty land springs of water. There will be the gladness of birds, a habitation of reeds and marshes. (Is 35:4–7 LXX)

The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also on the Son of God, Christ Jesus, the Lord our God, but the Son of God—of that God who is both one and alone, that is the Founder of all things, as already has been expressed above. For this Jesus Christ, I will once more say, the Son of this God, we read of as having been promised in the Old Testament, and we observe to be manifested in the New, fulfilling the shadows and figures of all the sacraments, with the presence of the truth embodied. For as well the ancient prophecies as the Gospels testify Him to be the son of Abraham and the son of David.… Him, too, Isaiah alludes to: “There shall go forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall grow up from his root.” The same also when he says: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.” Him he refers to when he enumerates the healings that were to proceed from Him, saying: “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear: then shall the lame man leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent.” Him also, when he sets forth the virtue of patience, saying: “His voice shall not be heard in the streets; a bruised reed shall He not destroy, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.” Him, too, when he described His Gospel: “And I will ordain for you an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David.” Him, too, when he foretells that the nations should believe on Him: “Behold, I have given Him for a Chief and a Commander to the nations. Nations that knew You not shall call upon You, and peoples that knew You not shall flee unto You.” It is the same that he refers to when, concerning His passion, he exclaims, saying: “As a sheep He is led to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth in His humility.” Him, moreover, when he described the blows and stripes of His scourgings: “By His bruises we were healed.” Or His humiliation: “And we saw Him, and He had neither form nor comeliness, a man in suffering, and who knows how to bear infirmity.” Or that the people would not believe on Him: “All day long I have spread out my hands unto a people that believes not.” Or that He would rise again from the dead: “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and one who shall rise to reign over the nations; on Him shall the nations hope, and His rest shall be honor.”

Novation, On the Trinity 9

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Same Holy Spirit Who Worked in Christ's Birth Now Works in Rebirth

Baptism of St Paul - Capela Paletina

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Lu 1:35)

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (He 2:14–15)


And so to undo this chain of sin and death, the Almighty Son of God, that fills all things and contains all things, altogether equal to the Father and co-eternal in one essence from Him and with Him, took on Him man’s nature, and the Creator and Lord of all things deigned to be a mortal: choosing for His mother one whom He had made, one who, without loss of her maiden honor, supplied so much of bodily substance, that without the pollution of human seed the New Man might be possessed of purity and truth. In Christ, therefore, born of the Virgin’s womb, the nature does not differ from ours, because His nativity is wonderful. For He Who is true God, is also true man: and there is no lie in either nature. “The Word became flesh” by exaltation of the flesh, not by failure of the Godhead: which so tempered its power and goodness as to exalt our nature by taking it, and not to lose His own by imparting it. In this nativity of Christ, according to the prophecy of David, “truth sprang out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven” (Ps 85:12). In this nativity also, Isaiah’s saying is fulfilled, “let the earth produce and bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together” (Is 45:8). For the earth of human flesh, which in the first transgressor, was cursed, in this Offspring of the Blessed Virgin only produced a seed that was blessed and free from the fault of its stock. And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is reborn, the water of baptism is like the Virgin’s womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing.

Gregory the Great, Sermon on the Feast of the Nativity 24.3

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Is God Mean or Good?

This past Sunday, Psalm 78:1–7 was read. During the reading, I was struck by the first four verses:
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
Asaph exhorts God’s people to contemplate the dark sayings he will be teaching throughout the psalm, but the teaching is of God’s paternal care for His children. He narrates the history without sidestepping any negative issues or intentions of the people, for example:
And may not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not set its heart aright,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Ps 78:8)
These deeds and commands of God are to be told to our children, so they can also live faithfully before Him. But there is no cover for sin amongst the people of God as they are disciplined severely for wandering away. God can be mean.

Earlier today, a Facebook acquaintance posted that the best argument against God’s goodness is the problem of evil/pain. I told him that he only needed to look at the cross of Christ to see that God’s goodness is actually demonstrated in this most evil, painful deed. And later, I noticed in a more full reading of Psalm 78 that evil/pain can work for good.
When He slew them, then they sought Him;
And they returned and sought earnestly for God.
Then they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer. (Ps 78:34–35)
Notice that the calamities and the slayings brought upon Israel were designed to draw mankind unto Himself. Yes, the turning was short-lived, yet the slaying of the obstinate was just and turned the people to righteousness, though only for awhile.

Is God good? Absolutely. He gives us our very breath and daily sustenance. Is God mean, even cruel? He can appear so, but works the circumstance to good for those who love Him. Those who turn away have no such promise, but are are left to continue aimlessly until they might hear the word of God and believe.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost


Wondrous are Your testimonies;
For this reason my soul searches them out.
The revelation of Your words gives light,
And it causes children to understand.
I opened my mouth and drew in my breath,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Look upon me and have mercy on me,
According to the Your name.
Direct my steps according to Your teaching
And let no lawlessness rule over me.
Ransom me from the slander of men,
And I will keep Your commandments.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant
And teach me Your ordinances.
My eyes poured down streams of tears
Because they did not keep Your law. (Ps 119:129–136)


[David] showed that it was not without reason that he loved them: they are estimable, capable of enchanting and prompting love in those able to discern them. And from where did you come to learn their virtue? The explanation of your words sheds light and imparts understanding to infants. He is saying: Illuminated by Your light, I received this knowledge; Your law imparts understanding to all held in the grip of ignorance, resembling babies.

By mouth here he refers to the mind’s enthusiasm: it draws in the grace of the Spirit. He says elsewhere, “Open wide your mouth, and I shall fill it”; and the divine Apostle prayed that a word be given in the opening of the mouth; and the inspired author himself said in another psalm, “The Lord will give a word to those bringing the good news with great power.” He said this here, too, I opened my mouth, and sucked in breath, because I panted after your commandments: since You saw me longing for Your commandments, You accorded Your grace.… He asks to attain the divine benevolence, not simply but, he says, as You are in the habit of providing mercy to those who love You; this is the meaning of in the judgment of those loving Your name, that is, I beg to enjoy the same verdict as they do. With our prior movement of enthusiasm, and God’s provision of help and guidance in the journey, there is no room for the influence of sin.… Christ the Lord declared enviable and blessed those who are mocked and defamed, but also bade them pray not to enter into temptation. So the prayer of the inspired author accords with the evangelical laws.

The divine is incorporeal, simple, and without composition. Sacred Scripture, however, speaks about it in a rather corporeal and concrete fashion, adjusting its language to human nature. So the shining of the divine face is to be taken as the end to sorrows and the provision of good things. My eyes shed streams of water since I did not keep your Law. This is also the apostolic law, “If one member suffers,” it says, “all members suffer with it.” So the inspired author aims at the evangelical perfection, lamenting the others’ transgressions. By streams of water he referred to the abundance of tears, meaning: I shed tears like a spring on perceiving people’s transgressions.

You are righteous, O Lord, and your judgments upright. The testimonies you enjoined are righteousness and truth pure and simple: You manage all things justly, O Lord, out of care for people and in Your wish to make them doers of righteousness. You gave a Law, You leave transgressors in no doubt what penalties they will pay, You promise good rewards to the observant, and You confirm your promises by actions.… The inspired author laments those living a life of lawlessness, and on seeing the lawgiver despised he is rightly angered. This zeal made Phinehas celebrated; this rendered the great Elijah famous; burning with this the triumphant Stephen accused the Jews of unbelief; exemplifying this in himself, the divinely inspired Paul cried aloud, “Who is weak and I am not weak? who is scandalized and I am not on fire?” And blessed Luke says of him that in Athens his spirit was afflicted within him seeing the city given over to idolatry.

Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 119

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unus Pro Omnibus


One for all, all for one (Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno) is a phrase popularized by Alexander Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers. The motto defined for the musketeers the loyalty that had been forged between equals: each would stand with the whole regardless of the adversity. As a confession, the motto reminds and spurs mission and camaraderie akin to that used by branches of the United States armed forces (e.g., the Marine Corps and Coast Guard use Semper Fidelis and Semper Paratus respectively).

While mottoes and slogans are useful as a rallying point of communal relationship among equals, the matter differs greatly in an unequal relationship, wherein the greater person has proportional resources or ability while the lesser has diminished. This is especially true of the human-divine context wherein we humans have nothing sufficient to bring for resources before an almighty God. Shortly before His ascension, Jesus made this abundantly clear as He left instructions for continuing the kingdom ministry.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28:18–20)
There are four occurrences of “all things” in the passage, showing us that Jesus establishes from whom all authority flows, where to go, what to do, and His level of involvement.

All authority (18)
Before the world was, the preincarnate Son existed with God as God (Jn 1:1), having equal glory (Jn 17:1) and equal involvement in creation (Pr 8:30; Jn 1:3; He 1:2). While for a time, Jesus humbled Himself and acted in submission to the Father (Pp 2:6–8), He completed the work of redemption and was exalted to the highest position (Pp 2:9–10; He 1:3–4) with full restoration of all commensurate rights and privileges of the Godhead. Only in accord with His name and authority are the apostles (and by extension the Church) allowed to act.

All nations (19)
From the beginning, God had selected one people to be His conduit to bless all ethnic groups (Ge 12:1–3) and draw them to Himself (Ge 12:1–3; Is 11:10; 42:6–7; 49:6). Before ascending, Jesus gave beginning instructions where to begin and the extent of their journeys (Ac 1:8). Those first apostles were encumbered by the physical limitations of time and distance, however, the work of Christ was and is passed from one generation to the next in ever-widening spheres.

All things (20)
Christians have a singular message for all nations. We carry with us the warning of certain future judgment and the blessing of atonement made by the Lord Jesus. While many have had a tendency to be simplistic by sharing a bare-bones gospel, asking for a decision, then calling it a day; the actual work is more involved. Notice that the work of making disciples (the active verb phrase in this command) is two-part: baptizing and teaching. To be a believer in Jesus is to be a disciple; to be a disciple of Jesus is to be both baptized and taught. Both are required from the very beginning: there is no such thing as a believer who willingly avoids baptism or teaching.

More to the point here, we need to address the amount of teaching intended for the disciple: enough to observe all things Christ taught. Certainly, this does not mean that a disciple receives the firehouse approach that one would get from a Bible college or seminary, but it does mean that instruction and learning is lifelong. From the earliest opportunity, doctrine is to be inculcated on the novice with the intent of being good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1Pe 4:10).

All days (20)
Jesus promises to be intimately involved in the work from beginning to end without fail. The word always in the above translation is literally translated all the days or all the times. Instead of assigning a date to which we might look for all things would come to an end, He sets our attention on Himself. He goes with us as He did faithfully in the wilderness of Sinai (Ex 23:20–23) lighting our way, guiding our path, and providing the true bread and true drink to refresh and strengthen on the journey (Jn 6:32–33, 53–58).

One for All
We owe our daily existence to God’s providential hand, and every thing that we gain in this world comes from His good hand (Jm 1:17). As a result, any thought that we might offer something needful or of substance is absurd. The kingdom of heaven is not our design, but we enter into the work when we remember first Whose work it is.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Ro 11:33–36)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 
Spoils of the Temple, Jean-Guillaume Moitte


So the Lord said, “These people draw near to Me and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, and they worship Me in vain, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men. Therefore behold, I will proceed to remove this people, and I shall remove them. I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise and hide the understanding of the intelligent.” (Isaiah 29:13–14)

But if we are impure and unfaithful, all things are profane to us, either due to heresy inhabiting our hearts or to a sinful conscience. Moreover, if our conscience does not accuse us and if we have pious trust in the Lord, “we will pray with the spirit and we will pray with the mind; we will sing with the spirit and sing with the mind,” and we will be far removed from those about whom it is here written: “their minds and consciences are polluted.”

“They claim to know God, but they deny him with their deeds. They are accursed, disobedient and repelled by every good deed.” It is about these persons whose minds and consciences are polluted, who claim to know God but deny him with their deeds, that it is said in Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” See how they honor God with their lips while fleeing from him in their heart; professing belief in God with words, their works deny him.

Jerome, Commentary on Titus 1.15-16

First, then, I assert that none other than the Creator and Sustainer of both man and the universe can be acknowledged as Father and Lord; next, that to the Father also the title of Lord accrues by reason of His power, and that the Son too receives the same through the Father; then that “grace and peace” are not only His who had them published, but His likewise to whom offense had been given. For neither does grace exist, except after offense; nor peace, except after war. Now, both the people by their transgression of His laws, and the whole race of mankind by their neglect of natural duty, had both sinned and rebelled against the Creator. Marcion’s god, however, could not have been offended, both because he was unknown to everybody, and because he is incapable of being irritated. What grace, therefore, can be had of a god who has not been offended? What peace from one who has never experienced rebellion? “The cross of Christ,” he says, “is to them that perish foolishness; but unto such as shall obtain salvation, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” And then, that we may know from where this comes, he adds: “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’”

Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.5

Friday, August 17, 2018

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost


Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53–58)

Long-suffering truly and of great mercy is Christ, as one may see from the words now before us. For in no wise reproaching the littleness of soul of the unbelievers, He again richly gives them the life-giving knowledge of the Mystery, and having overcome, as God, the arrogance of those who grieve Him, He tells them those things whereby they shall mount up to endless life. And how He will give them His Flesh to eat, He does not yet tell them, for He knew that they were in darkness, and could never avail to understand the ineffable: but how great good will result from the eating He shows to their profit, that perhaps inciting them to a desire of living in greater preparation for unfading pleasures, He may teach them faith. For to them that have now believed there follows suitably the power too of learning. For so says the prophet Isaiah, If you will not believe neither yet shall you understand. It was therefore right, that faith having been first rooted in them, there should next be brought in understanding of those things whereof they are ignorant, and that the investigation should not precede faith.… For this cause did the Lord with reason refrain from telling them how He would give them His Flesh to eat, and calls them to the duty of believing before seeking. For to those who had at length believed He broke bread, and gave to them, saying, Take, eat, This is My Body. Likewise handing round the Cup to them all, He says, Drink of it all of you, for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is being shed for many for the remission of sins. Do you see how to those who were yet senseless and thrust from them faith without investigation, He does not explain the mode of the Mystery, but to those who had now believed, He is found to declare it most clearly? Let them then, who of their folly have not yet admitted the faith in Christ, hear, Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you.

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John 4.2