Thoughts from the
Fourth Sunday of Easter C
April 17, 2016
Edith Barnecut, OSB, ed.
| Commentary by Cyril of Alexandria
I give my sheep eternal life.
mark of Christ’s sheep is their willingness to hear and obey,
just as the sign of those who are not his is their disobedience.
take the word “hear” to imply obedience to what has been
said. People who hear God are known by him.
is entirely unknown by God, but to be known in this way is
to become his kin. Thus, when Christ says, “I know mine,” he means, “I will receive them, and give them permanent
mystical kinship with myself.”
It might be said that inasmuch as he has become man, he has made all human beings
his kin, since all are members of the same race; we are all united to Christ
in a mystical relationship because of his incarnation.
Yet those who do not preserve
the likeness of his holiness are alienated from him. “My sheep follow me,” says Christ. By a certain God-given grace, believers follow in the footsteps
No longer subject to the shadows of the law, they obey the commands
of Christ, and guided by his words rise through grace to his own dignity, for
they are called children of God. When Christ ascends into heaven, they also follow
Christ promises his followers as a recompense and reward eternal life, exemption
from death and corruption, and from the torments the judge inflicts upon transgressors.
giving life Christ shows that by nature he is life. He does not receive it from
another, but supplies it from his own resources.
And by eternal life we
understand not only length of days which all, both good and bad, shall possess
after the resurrection, but also the passing of those days in peace and joy.
We may also see in the word “life” a reference to the Eucharist, by
means of which Christ implants in believers his own life through their sharing
in his flesh, according to the text: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life. ”
(On John’s Gospel 7: pg 74, 20)
Cyril of Alexandria (d.444)
succeeded his uncle Theophilus as patriarch in 412. Until
428 the pen of this brilliant theologian was employed in
exegesis and polemics against the Arians; after that date
it was devoted almost entirely to refuting the Nestorian
heresy. The teaching of Nestorius was condemned in 431 by
the Council of Ephesus at which Cyril presided, and Mary’s
title, Mother of God, was solemnly recognized. The incarnation
is central to Cyril’s theology. Only if Christ is consubstantial
with the Father and with us can he save us, for the meeting
ground between God and ourselves is the flesh of Christ.
Through our kinship with Christ, the Word made flesh, we
become children of God, and share in the filial relation
of the Son with the Father.
Edith Barnecut, O. S. B. As a consultant for the International Committee for English in the Liturgy, Sr. Edith was responsible for the final version of many of the readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Copyright © 1994, New City Press.
All Rights Reserved.
Journey with the Fathers
Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels - Year C, pp. 54-55.
Edith Barnecut, OSB, ed.
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Art by Martin Erspamer, O.S.B.
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year
(A, B, and C).
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