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Pantocrator

The Gospel reading for this Sunday can be found hereThe second reading is from St Paul’s epistle to the Colossians:

Colossians 1:15-20

St Athanasius tells us that although He is the Word, he is not to be compared with human words which are composed of changing syllables, for he is unchanging, the eternal image of the Father. Men, who are composed of parts, who are made out of nothing, speak in a composite and divisible fashion. But God possesses true existence and is not composite; hence His Word also has true existence and is not made of different parts or syllables. He is the one and only-begotten God, who proceeds in his goodness form the Father and from a good fountain and orders all things and binds them together.

St Gregory of Nazianzus tells us that Je is called ‘the image’ because he is of one substance with the Father; He stems from the Father, but the Father, being Father, does not stem from Him – it is in the nature of an image to copy the original and be names after it. But there is more to it than this, because in the ordinary way of things a copy is a motionless thing. Here we have the living image of a living being, indistinguishable from the original.

St Cyril of Alexandria reminds us that the Son remained the Word of God, though he became man, being the Father in form according to his his spiritual image.

St Athanasius teaches us that He is called ‘firstborn’ not because he was from the Father, but because in Him the creation came to be; and as before the Creation He was the Son, through whom was the Creation, so also before he was called the firstborn of the whole Creation, the Word Himself was with God and the Word was God. (St John 1:1). Had the Word be a creature, He would have been called the firstborn of other creatures – not of Creation itself.

St Cyril of Jerusalem teaches us that Christ is the Maker of all things, at the bidding of the Father, and not only of what we see, but of what we cannot see.

Reflecting on the economy of salvation, Theodoret of Cyr reminds us that Christ is head of the church and firstborn from the dead through his humanity. He fills His Church with divine gifts, and by God’s Grace His Church is joined with Him in all things.

St Basil tells us that the true peace is from above. Yet as long as we were bound to the flesh, we were yoked to many things which troubled us. Seek then, after peace, a released from the troubles of this world. Possess a clam mind, a tranquil and unconfused state of soul, which is neither agitated by the passions nor drawn aside by false doctrines that challenge by their persuasiveness to an assent, in order then that you should attain that peace of God which is past all understanding. He who seeks after Christ seeks peace, because in Christ alone in peace to be found.

The Lord endured all for us making peace through the blood of the Cross. We were, St Cyril of Jerusalem writes, enemies of Gd through sin, and one of two things was necessary: either that God in his wisdom and justice should destroy all mankind, or that he should, in in loving kindness, remit the penalty. So, in his wisdom he preserved the truth of his sentence, and so Christ took our sins in his body on the tree, that we, being dead through sin might through his death die to sin, and through his resurrection rise to new life in him. In Him we are redeemed and restored to new life.

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