Tuesday at Matins:
From the Commentary on Isaias by St Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop & Doctor
“In the last days the mountain of the Lord will stand out clearly and the house of the Lord will be on top of the mountain. It will be raised high above the hills, and all nations will stream toward it.” This prophecy came true for the benefit of the whole human race in the last days, that is to say, in the final age of this world, when the Word of God, his only Son, appeared, born of a woman. Then, as Scripture says, he presented to himself the Church, the spiritual Judea or Jerusalem, as a pure virgin without stain or wrinkle or any other imperfection, holy and unblemished. All nations will stream toward it and many peoples will come and say: “Let us go up to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his way and we will walk in it.” There is no need of a lengthy argument to prove that, through faith, all nations have been brought together into the Church. The fact speaks for itself. This great multitude of peoples was called together not by instruction in the law, nor by the holy prophets, but by the secret working of God’s grace enlightening their minds and making them long for Christ to save them.
First they climb the mountain and then they seek to have the word of God preached to them. They promise to walk in the way the Lord, which is that of the Gospel, the entry to which is through the purification accomplished by faith. For those seeking to learn the way of the Lord must first renounce their past errors. We cannot long for something better until we reject what we held before. Who was their spiritual guide who brought them to a knowledge of the truth and persuaded them to regard as ridiculous their old way of thinking and to adopt a new one? Who but God? It was he who illumined their minds and hearts and led them both to say and to believe that “the law will go forth from Sion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
The blessed prophet announced that the time was determined for the calling and the conversion of the Gentiles. This would take place, he said, when the God of the whole world, the universal King and Lord, judges all the nations and establishes justice among them. Previously, injustice was rampant as the nations plundered one another and practised every kind of cruelty and excess. But when such things are done away with, justice will be given us by God. When Christ, who is peace, rules the nations all discord, strife, contention, and every kind of oppression will be banished, together with the injuries that give rise to war and the terrors that follow in its wake. The will of him who said, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”, will be victorious.