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St. Cyril of Alexandria on Lent 3 – Luke 11:14-28

by pastorjuhl ~ March 22nd, 2011

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water.

That this similitude is directed against the Jews Matthew has already told us where He says: So shall it be also to this wicked generation. For while they were in servitude in Egypt, living after the manners and customs of the Egyptians, and abounding in every impurity, the unclean spirit began to dwell in them. Afterwards, by the mercy of God they were delivered through Moses, and had the Law as their guide and teacher, and through this they were led to the knowledge of the True God, and the impure and evil spirit was cast out from them. Then sacrificing a lamb, the figure of Christ, and being sprinkled with its blood, they escaped the Destroying Angel. But because they refused to believe in Christ, and turned from their Redeemer, the spirit of evil has again possessed them, and has enslaved them more cruelly than before. For he found their heart empty, and void of all concern for the things of God, and wholly taken up with the flesh, and so he took up his abode in them. For just as the Holy Spirit, when He finds the heart of man free of all uncleanness, enters in and abides there, and there takes up His rest, so the unclean spirit takes up his abode in the souls of the wicked. For they are, as I say, empty of all virtue. and in this way it comes to pass that the last state of Israel is worse than the first. For, as the Savior’s Disciple says: It had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than after they have known it, to turn back from the holy commandment which was delivered to them. For that of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit: and the sow that has washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:21-22).

And from what they afterwards dared to do, it is plain to see that they have swallowed their vomit, and turned again to wallow in their ancient mire, and relapsed into the errors of Egypt. For the evil spirit has again entered them, and their last state has become worse than their first; in accordance with the words of our Savior, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 89f.

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