Wednesday, March 17, 2010


“St. Cyril of Jerusalem”
Iconifer and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. Cyril of Jerusalem[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Readings and Commentary:

1 John 5:1-5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Commentary on
1 Jn 5:1-5

The beginning of this chapter from St. John’s first letter provides us with an understanding of Christ and God being of the same essence. “Children of God are identified not only by their love for others (1 John 4:7-9) and for God (1 John 5:1-2) but by their belief in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. Faith, the acceptance of Jesus in his true character and the obedience in love to God's commands (1 John 5:3), is the source of the Christian's power in the world and conquers the world of evil (1 John 5:4-5), even as Christ overcame the world (John 16:33).”
CCC: 1 Jn 5:1 2780, 2790
 Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
(John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.

R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
R. Your words. Lord, are Spirit and life.

Commentary on
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise. In this passage we give praise for God’s gift of the Law which guides us in our daily lives. The hymn also extols the virtues of obedience and steadfastness to the Law and its precepts. The passage also reflects the idea that following God’s statutes leads to peace and prosperity.

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither,
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Commentary on
Jn 15:1-8

This selection begins the discourse on the vine and the branches – really a monologue on the union with Jesus. It is still part of Jesus’ farewell speech. The familiar image of the vineyard and the vines is used which has imagery in common with Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21:33-46 and as a vine at Psalm 80:9-17; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; 17:5-10; 19:10; Hosea 10:1. The identification of the vine as the Son of Man in Psalm 80:15 and Wisdom's description of herself as a vine in Sirach 24:17. This monologue becomes a unifying tie that pulls everything together.

CCC: Jn 15:1-17 1108; Jn 15:1-5 755; Jn 15:1-4 1988; Jn 15:3 517; Jn 15:4-5  787; Jn 15:5 308, 737, 859, 864, 1694, 2074, 2732; Jn 15:7 2615; Jn 15:8 737

St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386)
He was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, Holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and some of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883.

We often take for granted that Church doctrine, what makes us Catholic, has always been there. We forget that there have been times in the past when the actions of a few brave souls articulated a truth that has formed us in all the generations since they first set pen to paper or orated to group that had been given poisonously wrong teachings about faith or morals. St. Cyril of Jerusalem was one such person.

He came into the Church at a time when the there was a lot of variability in Church teaching about everything from the nature of Christ himself not to mention the way we worshiped within the churches. His Catechetical and Mystigogical lectures teach such things as the proper way to receive communion (in the hand). He fought valiantly against Gnostics and heretics in the early Christological Heresies at a time when Bishops were being killed for their views.

We look back today and give thanks to God for extending the vine of Christ and placing its pruning into the brilliant and loving hands of such as St. Cyril. We ask also for his intercession that we might faithfully carry on his tradition of proclaiming the faith by our words and actions.


[1] The Icon is “St. Cyril of Jerusalem” Iconifer and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. 
[3] See NAB Footnote on 1 John 5:1ff 
[4] Taken from Universalis, March 18, 2010

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