Friday, December 8, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to the Second Sunday in Advent

Behold, the Lord is coming with strength,
And His arm is with authority.
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd
And gather the lambs with His arm;
And He will comfort those with young.

(Is 40:10–11 LXX)

These words are a glimpse of the second coming of the Savior. It is then that He will give the laborers their reward. “He will reward each according to his works,” according to the word of the apostle. “For the day,” he says, “will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” This is the proclamation that the Lord has ordained to the holy apostles to make in their turn. “Go,” He has said, “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” One can, therefore, see that the oracles of the prophet are thus in agreement with the words of the Gospel.

Of this prophecy also let us observe the fulfillment in the exact way and in the truth of the holy Gospels. In the first place, the Lord has said, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep and am known by My own … and I lay down My life for the sheep.” Moreover, He has likewise gathered the lambs with His arms—by the power of His teachings. For soon He said to the fishermen, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Presently, He called the publicans and ate with them. Again, another time, He allowed even a woman who had led an evil life to shed tears at His feet. He has likewise comforted pregnant women with the thought that they would give birth for salvation. As they learned of the destruction of death and the hope of the resurrection, they possessed sufficient solace for their pains in the expectation of the benefits that had been announced. Finally, while the holy Virgin still carried Him in her womb, He filled Elizabeth, who was with child, with joy.

Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on Isaiah

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