The Sunday of the Last Judgment gives the 3rd piece of important information to us in our preparation for Great Lent. We have learned that to be saved one must not judge others, and feel the weight of personal sins and ask God for mercy. We have seen the process of repentance, from the onset of sin, its destructive affects, self-realization of sin, and the importance process to "arise and go" to our Father, and the critical detail, without which we would never complete our repentance and be saved – our Father will go to us, as we are trying to change, and comfort us and empower us to complete the good work we have started. Today’s Gospel about the last judgment shows the end result of true repentance, and also the "flip side" – the outcome for those who do not repent. It is a frightening spectacle, and not a pleasant one to meditate upon, but absolute necessary for us to remember. Lets us talk about how Jesus Christ came the first time, how His second coming will be, and what we must do to hear the blessed words: " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".
Perhaps one of the best remembered scriptures among those who do not fast and do not read the scripture much is the well known phrase of Saint Paul: “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” We look at the context of this true statement, and its application to our day. The entire passage is about sensitivity to our brother’s weakness, and how the phrase “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ” is quite similar to the one in today’ Gospel: ” ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” We also discuss why we fast – it is a natural requirement of our human nature, and is an easy and readily available way to train ourselves in self-control. Without self-control, we cannot make any progress in the spiritual life.
A short homily given after Vespers and before matins on the Eve of the Sunday of the Last Judgment. The services contain much dogmatic content, but also teach us *how* to pray – what our attitude should be. The Sunday of the Last Judgment has many prayers (in the first person!) which mention the terrifying judgments and our terrible sinfulness, and they always end with hope in God’s mercy. We must learn to pray in this way – to consider ourselves the worst of sinners and in the same breath, the same thought, having great confidence in God’s mercy. Several examples for the services for tonight are discussed.
he account of the last judgment in the Gospel of Matthew has a lot of repetition in it. In scripture, when things are repeated, they are important. Both the righteous and the unrighteous heard the same list of good works (fed the hungry, visited the sick and those in prison, etc), and their reactions were externally similar – they wondered when the events the Lord describes occurred. The righteous “forgot” about their good works because their works were because of their consuming love for God and neighbor. Let us look carefully at the list of works the Lord describes and understand their exact meaning, and the meaning of the responses of the righteous and unrighteous. The main criterion for the judgment will be whether we have fulfilled the two greatest commandments.
Why is this scripture read today, two Sundays before Great Lent begins? What is its meaning? What are the two critical characteristics of those who will be saved? How are we to understand the things the righteous did and the unrighteous did not do, and their identical answers to the Lord? What must we do?