Sunday of the Last Judgment

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christ is among us! [He is and ever shall be!]

I would like to thank all parishioners, visitors, travelers, and friends for joining us.

Today is the Sunday of the Last Judgment. It is the Sunday that, once a year, we should contemplate our last judgment. Although, we ought to pray and meditate on our last judgment every day.

Indeed the Gospel reading from Matthew informs us that our individual judgment will be based on more than our faith – certainly on more than how much we tell ourselves that we believe in God – but our deeds. Whatever we do to others, we do also to God.

So our last judgment will be based on what is done outwardly – beyond ourselves – to others and God. The spiritual life, at it’s highest level, is about giving your life away.

If we are focused on our interior emotions, passions, and sentimentalism – our focus on self – we lose, and risk conviction and condemnation. When we focus inwardly solely based on our human nature and reason, we are in effect defining God. We are defining how God will judge us.

Imagine, in the scenario that I have just presented to you, we are placing self above God. We are God’s god.

St. Matthew is telling us not to focus inwardly – not to define God, not to judge or be a judge – but how to act beyond self.

This is why Jesus tells those listening to Him “Truly, I say to you” . . . if you see someone in pain, “hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to” . . . “you did it not to [God].” “And you “will go away into eternal punishment . . . but the righteous, [those who do the deeds who live their life for other, will receive] eternal life” in the light of God.

As we go through the upcoming Lenten season, do not focus on yourself, your sentiments, your self-created idolatry, and your self-created eschatology – focus on your neighbor and how much you can love them.

If you can live outwardly, then fear not the last judgment, because you will be the people of Pascha!

Additional Note.

“In Christianity, however, eschatology plays such an essential role that, without the eschatological dimension, Christianity loses its meaning. Eschatology permeates the entire life of the Church: its services, sacraments and rites, its theological and moral doctrine, its asceticism and mysticism. The entire history of the Church is filled with eschatological expectations, beginning with the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and continuing until the present day. Indeed, it is because the resurrection has taken place – because we live in the time of the resurrection – that eschatology is so fundamental to the Church.”

“As Fr Georges Florovsky notes, the Western liberal theological tradition beginning with the Age of Enlightenment ignored eschatology; to many, it seemed to be a remnant of the long-forgotten past. But modern theological thought – both Catholic and Protestant – has once again discovered eschatology, returning to the realisation that all dogmas of faith are directly related to it.”

“As for Orthodox theology, it never lost its eschatological dimension. . . its patristic foundations.”