The Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. 18th March 2021. Our first reading today from the Book of Exodus we hear of the well-known case when the people of Israel disobeyed the Lord and rebelled against Him at Mount Sinai, not long right after He had rescued them and brought them out of the land of Egypt, destroying the armies of the Pharaoh, took them away from the hands and tyranny of the Egyptians. How did Israel disobey and rebel against the Lord? When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to get the Law of the Lord and the Covenant, and was up there for forty days long, the people grew impatient and lost faith in both God and Moses, and some dissidents in the community seized the chance to try and seduce the people to turn to the pagan idols. When Moses interceded on behalf of the people, he was trying to appease the Lord’s anger over those who had disobeyed and betrayed Him. The Lord could have just annihilated the whole nation and left Moses alone as the only survivor as He said, but He with hold His anger and forgave the people because of Moses and what he pleaded with Him. This is therefore related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today when we heard the Lord speaking to the people who were stubborn and refused to believe in him. This was especially to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who claimed to represent the authentic teachings and the laws of Moses, and yet, they had misinterpreted and misrepresented those laws. They had forgotten the true meaning of the Law of God, which was meant to show the people the way to know and love God. Instead, they used those laws to glorify themselves and for their own benefit, imposing on the people harsh conditions and rules that made it difficult for them to follow the Lord.
That was why the Lord criticised them directly, and spoke clearly that it was Moses himself who would accuse them all before the Lord, as it was Moses who received the true Law and understood its meaning. And when the people, all mankind had sinned against the Lord, it was the Lord Jesus Himself, who like Moses in the past, interceded on behalf of the people. Through His Passion, suffering and death, He shed His Most Precious Blood and offered on our behalf, the worthy sacrifice to atone for our sins.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in our Scripture passages today, all of us are reminded first of all of our sinfulness, all those things that we had done in violation of God’s laws and against His will. But God is ever loving and ever merciful, and He has given us the ultimate gift in Christ, His beloved and only begotten Son, Whom He had sent into this world to be our Saviour.
To all of us who believe in Him, He has promised the assurance of eternal life, andif we accept the forgiveness of God and repent sincerely from our sinful ways, then surely we will be reconciled fully and completely with God.
To be able to do that we need to be inspired by the good examples set by St. Cyril of Jerusalem whom we celebrate today. He faced opposition from both religious and secular powerful individuals influenced by Arian heresy. But this did not stop St. Cyril from committing himself to the efforts of safeguarding the true doctrines of the church. Through his efforts, St. Cyril brought many people back to the faith. His courage and determination, his faith and love for God should
be inspiration to each and every one of us.
I wish you all a blessed day.
Fr. Dominic Mwangi