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The Last Judgment

by Saju Varghese, New Delhi, India

The Last Judgment is the third Sunday of a three-week period prior to the commencement of Great Lent. On this day, focus is placed on the future judgment of all persons who will stand before the throne of God when Christ returns in His glory.

The commemoration for this Sunday is taken from the parable of Jesus Christ concerning his Second Coming and the Last Judgment of all, both the living and the dead. In Matthew 25:31-46, Christ speaks about what will happen at this specific point in time when He will “come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him” (v. 31).

At His coming, “He will sit on the throne of His glory,” and all of the nations will be gathered before Him. He will separate them “as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (v. 32). The sheep will be placed on His right hand, and the goats on the left.

Jesus concludes His words on the Last Judgment by stating that those on the left “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (v. 46).

No one is so patient and so merciful as God, but even He does not forgive those who do not repent. The God of love is also a God of righteousness, and when Christ comes again in glory, He will come as our Judge. This is the message of Lent to each of us: turn back while there is still time, repent before the End comes.

Lent - the Great Fast is a preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior, for the eternal Passover in the Age to Come, a theme that is also the focus of the first three days of Holy Week. But the judgment is not only in the future. Here and now, each day and each hour, in hardening our hearts toward others and in failing to respond to the opportunities we are given of helping them, we are already passing judgment on ourselves.

When Christ comes to judge us, what will be the criterion of His judgment? The parable of the Last Judgment answers: love—not a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous “poor,” but concrete and personal love for the human person—the specific persons that we encounter each day in our lives.

Christian love is the “possible impossibility” to see Christ in another person. The parable of the Last Judgment is about Christian love. Not all of us are called to work for “humanity,” yet each one of us has received the gift and the grace of Christ’s love. We know that all persons ultimately need this personal love—the recognition in them of their unique soul in which the beauty of the whole creation is reflected in a unique way. We also know that people are in prison and are sick and thirsty and hungry because that personal love has been denied them. And, finally, we know that however narrow and limited the framework of our personal existence, each one of us has been made responsible for a tiny part of the Kingdom of God. We are made responsible by that very gift of Christ’s love. Thus we shall we be judged based on our performance on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, and whether we have loved or refused to love, .

So, my dear friends, during this great lent period – this is the right time to review or go back your past life and see it carefully to re-arrange for your future – the last judgment.

See Also:

Lent Resources Home

The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian
Why does this short and simple prayer occupy such an important position in the entire lenten worship? Because it enumerates all the "negative" and "positive" elements of repentance and constitutes a "check list" for our individual lenten effort. This effort is aimed first at our liberation from some fundamental spiritual diseases which shape our life and make it virtually impossible for us even to start turning ourselves to God.

The Great Lent- An Opportunity for Us to Cleanse Our Mind, Body and Soul
While confessing, repenting and seeking forgiveness, we too should prepare ourselves to forgive others. In that way, let us get rid of all the ill-feelings from our mind and purify it, so that the heavenly peace can enter our hearts and stimulate us, to lead a true Christian life.

True Nature of Fasting
The primary aim of fasting is to make us conscious of our dependence upon God. It is to lead us to a sense of inward brokenness and contrition; to bring to us to the point where we appreciate the full force of Christ's statement, `Without Me you can do nothing.' 

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