Sunday of the Last Judgement

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Christ is in our midst.

Here is the Word of Life- Bulletin.
It contains some theological and spiritual insights regarding the Epistle and Gospel reading for this coming Sunday. Sunday of the Last Judgment Bulletin →

“Open to me the doors of repentance, O Giver of Life; for my soul rises early to pray toward your holy Temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled. But in your compassion, purify me by the loving kindness of your mercy.”

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the dread and final Judgment of God. The Gospel describes for us the criteria by which each of us will be judged. The criteria by which we will be judged is that which we have done to help our fellow man. Specifically, the criteria in the Gospel is feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, being a friend to the stranger, clothing those that are naked and visiting those that are sick or in prison.

This Gospel makes it clear that there is no salvation without helping our fellow man. Many of us would like to ignore the fact that that there will be a final judgment, but this Gospel makes it clear that there will be one.

Many of us would like to believe that all we need to do is believe and we will be saved. This Gospel points out that we must not only have belief, but we must have action or works. As the Holy Apostle James says, “What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? ….Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. …. show me your faith without thy works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18)

“When You, O God, shall come to earth with glory,
All things shall tremble
And the river of fire shall flow before Your judgment seat;
The books shall be opened and the hidden things disclosed!
Then deliver me from the unquenchable fire,
And make me worthy to stand at Your right hand, righteous Judge”!

The Sunday of the Last Judgment or Meatfare Sunday is the third Sunday using the Lenten Triodion, the liturgical book used in the services of Great Lent. It is the Sunday after the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and Sunday before Forgiveness Sunday. This is the third week of the pre-Lenten start of the Easter cycle of worship in the Orthodox Church.

This Sunday is called Meatfare Sunday since it is traditionally the last day before Easter for eating meat. Orthodox Christians observe a fast from meat all week, but still eat dairy products and eggs till the start of Great Lent.

The Gospel reading this Sunday remembers Christ’s parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). This adds to the previous pre-Lent Sundays and teaches that it is not enough to see Jesus, to see ourselves as we are, and to come home to God as his prodigal sons. The Church teaches that, in addition, one must also be God’s sons by following Christ, his only-begotten divine Son, and by seeing Christ in everyone and by serving Christ through them.

Salvation and final judgment will depend upon deeds, not merely on intentions or even on the mercies of God apart from personal cooperation and obedience. All piety and prayer is ultimately directed towards the goal of serving Christ through his people.

From the reading, the faithful hear:
…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and in prison and you visited me.
…For truly I say to you, if you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Matthew 25). Sunday of the Last Judgment Bulletin →

In Christ,
Fr. Julian