I was recently reading the list of the Doctors of the Church who were born in the 4th century. They included the great Church Fathers that shaped the Church and shaped the faith that we believe in today – St Augustine, St Jerome, St Ambrose, St John Chrysostom, St Basil the Great, St Gregory of Nazianzus. To this list, we add the saint we celebrate today – St Cyril of Alexandria. Cyril became Bishop of Alexandria, one of the great centers of learning in the ancient world. He was involved in fighting many of the heresies in the Early Church. One of those heresies was Nestorianism; part of the teaching of that heresy was that Mary was not the Mother of God, because Jesus was fully divine and not human. Pope Celestine appointed Cyril to preside at the Council of Ephesus in 431, which declared Mary to be the God-bearer – the theotokos. Cyril was considered to be one of the greatest theological minds in the early 5th century. He spent the latter part of his life writing treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation and that helped prevent Nestorianism and Pelagianism from taking long-term deep root in the Christianity.
In our Gospel today, we hear Jesus tell us that many call him Lord, but that does not mean that we are truly doing the work of the Father and that we will enter God’s heavenly kingdom. Cyril and many of the Early Church Fathers are great examples do us. We are not all called to be Bishops and Theologians, but we are called to do the Father’s word in his kingdom here on earth. Especially in the ways that our faith is under attack in the modern world today, we can all think of a lot of ways we can be witnesses to the Gospel.