THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: “I glorified Thee on the earth. I finished the work …” (John 17:5).

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


"I glorified Thee on the earth. I finished the work which Thou hast
given Me that I should do" [John 17:4]. "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me
with Thyself, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world came
to be" [John 17:5].

Saint Kyril of Alexandria notes: "Our Lord Jesus Christ thought that He ought to teach His believers, not merely that He is God the Only-begotten, but that He also became Man for us, that He might RECONCILE US TO GOD THE FATHER, AND MOLD US INTO REWNESS OF LIFE; FOR HE PURCHASED HUMANITY WITH HIS OWN BLOOD. IT WAS HE WHO VENTURED HIS LIFE FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD, while, though He was One, He was MORE PRECIOUS THAN ALL OF MANKIND. He says, then, that He glorified the Father upon the earth, for He FINISHED THE WORK WHICH HE GAVE HIM TO DO… He instructs us, then, by what He here says, that each one of us, if he fulfills his allotted task, and follows out to the end what is commanded of God, then in truth does he glorify God by his righteous acts; not indeed as though God had any lack of glory, for the ineffable nature of God is complete, but because such a person causes God’s praise to be sung by those who see his acts and who are profited thereby. Yes, the Savior says, ‘LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MIGHT SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS, AND MIGHT GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHO IS THE HEAVENS" [Matthew 5:16]. For when we are made truly manly, and willing to do good works for God’s sake, we are not winning for our own selves the reputation thereof, but are carrying God’s worship into our actions, to the honor and glory of Him Who rules over all. Christ requests, however, for Himself in return, no foreign or borrowed glory, as we do, but rather than honor and renown which is His own. For we were bound to ask for it and not He. Observe how in and through His own Person, He first renders possible to our nature this boldness of speech. For in Him and through Him, we have been enriched with the ability to fulfill those things essential to our salvation, which are entrusted to us by God. We, also, have the duty of boldly asking for the honor which is due to those who distinguish themselves in God’s service. For of old time, through the sin that reigned in us, and the fall that was in Adam, we both failed in our ability to accomplish any of those things which make for virtue, and also were very far removed from freedom of speech with God.

"And now I come to Thee, and these things I speak in the world, that
they may have My joy made full in them " (John 17:3].

What kind of joy is meant we will proceed to show, putting away from us fear of dispute, because of the obscurity of the expression. The blessed disciples, then, thought indeed that while Christ was present with them in their daily lives, I mean, of course, in the flesh, they could easily rid themselves of every calamity and readily escape danger from the Jews, and that they would remain proof against every assault of their foes; but that when He was separated from them and had gone up to heaven, they would fall easy prey to perils of every sort. and would have to bar the attack of the king of terror himself, as there was no one any longer with them who was strong to save, and who could scare away the temptations that assailed them… It was that the blessed disciples might understand and know well, if htey only slightly considered this saying, that even when He was in the flesh, it was not through the flesh that He was working for their salvation, BUT IN THE OMNIPOTENT GLORY AND MIGHT OF HIS DIVINITY. ‘My absence in the flesh then,’ He says, ‘will do My disicples no harm, while the Divine power of the Ony-begotten can easily keep them safe, even though He be not visibly present in the body.’

"We give this explanation, not as making of no account of the Holy Body of Christ–God forbid! –but because it would be more fitting that the accomplishment of His Logos/Word should be ascribed to the glory of the Divinity. For even the bdoy itself of Christ ws santified by the power of the Logos/Word made one with it; and it is thus endowed with living force in the blessed Eucharist, SO THAT IT IS ABLE TO IMPLANT IN US ITS SANCTIFYIING GRACE.

"…For the Savior, though He be vanieshed into heaven, will yet not be far from those who love Him, but will be with them by the power of His Divinity. In order, then, that they may have ‘My joy made full in them’ (John 17:13), He says, ‘These things I speak in the world’ [John 17:13).  What, them, is this joy which is fulfilled and perfect?  It IS THE KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF THAT CHRIST WAS NOT A MERE MAN AS WE ARE, BUT THAT, BESIDES BEING AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN, HE IS ALSO THE TRUE GOD.  IT IS CLEAR, THEN, AND BEYOND DISPUTE, THAT HE WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM, EVEN THOUGH HE BE NOT PRESENT IN THE BODY.  For this knowledge will involve the perfect fulfilment of our own joy, inasmuch as we have an Ally ever near us, Who is strong enough to rescue us from every evil." [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]

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