Easter Week 4: Friday

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:3)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

 “If there were not many mansions in God the Father’s home, he would have said that he was going on before them to prepare beforehand the homes of the saints. But since he already knew that there were many homes already fully prepared and awaiting the arrival of those who love God, he says that he will depart, but not for this purpose. Rather, he leaves in order to secure the way to the mansions above, to prepare a passage of safety for you and to smooth the paths that were formerly impassible. For in times of old, heaven was utterly inaccessible to mortals, and no flesh as yet had ever traveled that pure and all-holy realm of the angels. But Christ was the first who consecrated for us the means of access to himself and granted to flesh a way of entrance into heaven. He did this by presenting himself as an offering to God the Father, the “firstfruits of those who are asleep” and are lying in the tomb, and by presenting himself as the first human being that ever appeared in heaven. For Christ did not ascend on high in order to present himself before the presence of God the Father. He always was and is and will be continually in the Father, in the sight of him who begat him. For he is the one in whom the Father takes delight. Rather, he who of old was the Word with no part or lot in human nature has now ascended in human form so that he may appear in heaven in a strange and unusual manner. And this he has done on our account and for our sakes in order that he, though “found as a man,” may still in his absolute power as Son — while yet in human form — obey the command, “Sit at my right hand,” and in this way transfer the glory of adoption through himself to the entire human race. For because he has appeared in human form, he is still one of us as he sits at the right hand of God the Father, even though he is far above all creation. He is also consubstantial with his Father due to the fact that he has come forth from him as truly God of God and Light of Light. He has presented himself therefore as man to the Father on our behalf so that he may restore us again, as it were, to behold the Father’s face — we who were removed from the Father’s presence by the ancient transgression.

 “I shall not then,” he says, “depart to prepare mansions for you. There are already enough there. There is no need to make new homes for my creation. But I go to prepare a place for you because of the sin that has mastery over you in order that those of you who are on the earth will be able to be mingled with the holy angels. Otherwise, the holy multitude of those above would never mingle with those [below] who were so defiled. But now, when I shall have accomplished the work of uniting the world below with that above—giving you a way of access to the city on high as well — I will return again at the time of regeneration and ‘receive you with myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.’” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 9)

Easter Collect
O God,
Author of our freedom and of our salvation,
listen to the voice of our pleading
and grant that those You have redeemed
by the shedding of Your Son’s Blood
may have life through You
and, under Your protection,
rejoice for ever unharmed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!