The Last Judgment
- The Last Judgment
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 our Lord 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. Such 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: lovenot a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous poor, but concrete and personal love for the human personthe 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 Christs love. We know that all persons ultimately need this personal lovethe 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, made responsible by that very gift of Christs love. Thus, on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, on whether we have loved or refused to love, shall we be judged.
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.
Saju C Varghese
St. Peters Cathedral,New Delhi