Tuesday, February 4, 2014

He Came in Perfect Gentleness to Conquer the Greatest Foe

After [Jesus’] circumcision, [Mary] next waits for the time of her purification.  And when the days were fulfilled—and the fortieth was the full time—God the Word, who sits by the Father's side, is carried up to Jerusalem, and brought into the Father's presence in human nature like unto us, and by the shadow of the law is numbered among the firstborn.  For even before the incarnation the firstborn were holy, and consecrated to God, being sacrificed to him according to the law.  O, how great and wonderful is the plan of salvation!  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”*  He who is in the bosom of the Father, the Son who shares his throne, and is co-eternal with him: by whom all things are divinely brought into existence, submitted nevertheless to the measure of human nature, and even offered a sacrifice to his own Father, although adored by all, and glorified with him.  And what did he offer?  As the firstborn and a male a pair of turtles, or two young doves, according to what the law prescribed.  But what does the turtle signify?  And what too the other, the dove?  Come, then, and let us examine this.  The one, then, is the most noisy of the birds of the field, but the other is a mild and gentle creature.  And such did the Savior of all become towards us, showing the most perfect gentleness, and like a turtle moreover soothing the world, and filling his own vineyard, even us who believe in him, with the sweet sound of his voice.  For it is written in the Song of Songs, “The voice of the turtle has been heard in our land.”†  For Christ has spoken to us the divine message of the Gospel, which is for the salvation of the whole world.

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Sermon 3, (2:21-24)

*  Romans 11:33
†  Song of Solomon 2:12

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