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Homily for 2/11/07 - Great Judgement

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  • Fr David Moser
    How shall it be in that hour and fearful day, when the Judge shall sit on His dread throne! The books shall be opened and men’s actions shall be examined,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 18, 2007
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      How shall it be in that hour and fearful day, when the Judge shall sit
      on His dread throne! The books shall be opened and men’s actions shall
      be examined, and the secrets of darkness shall be made public. Angels
      shall hasten to and fro, gathering all the nations. Come ye and hearken,
      kings and princes, slaves and free, sinners and righteous, rich and
      poor: for the Judge comes to pass sentence on the whole inhabited earth.
      And who shall bear to stand before His face in the presence of the
      angels, as they call us to account for our actions and our thoughts,
      whether by night or by day? How shall it be then in that hour

      But before the end is here, make haste, make haste, my soul, and cry: 'O
      God who only art compassionate, turn me back and save me!'

      Thus did we hear last night at the vigil service. Today, as we approach
      Great Lent, we recall the Great and Final Judgment when we shall stand
      before God and He will call us to account for our actions, even our very
      thoughts. There is not one of us who is without sin – how then can we
      stand before the Holy God and hope to be found righteous? Our only hope
      is that God will act towards us not out of justice and purity, but
      rather out of compassion and mercy.

      How will it be to stand before God? What will He say to us, how will we
      respond? The Gospel today gives us a description of this judgment.
      Consider what it is God is looking for us in this judgment – “Come, ye
      blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
      foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I
      was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
      Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
      prison, and ye came unto me.” All of these things are acts of love and
      compassion towards others. When we stand before Him in judgment, God
      looks only for this one thing – the active presence of love in each
      person. God, Who is Himself Love and Who is All-Merciful, seeks to find
      a reflection of Himself in us. He is our Creator and He made us so that
      we might become like Him. As our Creator and Fashioner, when He examines
      us to see whether or not we have fulfilled our purpose, He looks to see
      if indeed we have become like Him, even in a small way.

      The key then to standing before God in the Great Judgment and hearing
      the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into
      the rest of the Master.” is to bear the likeness of the Master. We are
      called not just to act as though we loved others, but to actually love
      them; to have love resident in our soul as a part of our being. There
      were those, in the Gospel, who stood before God, trusting in their works
      without considering the state of the heart. They had acted in ways that
      they thought were loving, but they did not harbor the true love of God
      in the heart. Although they gave food to the hungry, drink to the
      thirsty and clothing to the naked – still in the heart there was no love
      but rather judgment. These actions were not born out of love for others,
      but rather out of a desire to appear better than others; that is these
      so called “good deeds” were born out of judgment and served only to
      build up the self and pride in the heart.

      God is not so much looking for “good deeds” as He is looking for the
      quality of the heart. He is looking in the mirror that He made to see
      whether or not there is a reflection in it. If He sees Himself, even a
      little bit, in us then He will cherish us and bring us into His presence
      so that He might polish and perfect that reflection.

      As the Gospel also tells us, “Greater love hath no man than this than he
      lay down his life for another” Here is the prescription for nurturing
      the love that is the reflection of God in our hearts – to love so much
      that we lay down our own life. In the epistle, we heard the Apostle
      admonishing his flock for they became so wrapped up in their own
      “freedom” that they had begun to offend even their own brethren. What
      the Apostle tells them is that “when ye sin so against the brethren, and
      wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat
      make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth,
      lest I make my brother to offend.” See how it is? To give up our life
      for our brother means that we will forgo even those things in which we
      find harmless so that others are not harmed by our actions. We “lay down
      our lives” for others, we deny ourselves, set aside our “rights”, give
      up any privileges that we might think we have, all so that someone else
      might not stumble. By denying our own selfishness, by setting aside the
      consideration of ourselves so that we might build up someone else – this
      is what it means to “lay down your life” and to acquire this kind of
      love in your heart.

      Today as we recall the Great and Final Judgment remember especially that
      God is compassionate and merciful and that our hope is not in our own
      righteousness which is but a filthy rag before God, but rather we hope
      in His compassion, in His mercy, in His love. The Gospel reminds us
      elsewhere that with the judgment that we judge, so also will we be
      judged. Clearly we wish to be judged by God not with the judgment of
      justice, but rather the judgment of compassion and love. Therefore we
      must be compassionate and loving towards others, not condemning, but
      reaching out with mercy and forgiving. Lay down your life for your
      brother, deny yourself so that you might become a help and support to
      those around you rather than a stumbling block. Next Sunday we are
      called not only to think about forgiveness, but also to forgive. Don’t
      wait until then, but begin right at this moment to deny yourself, to
      forgive others, to act towards them with compassion and self sacrificing
      love. In this way, the love of God will be planted in your heart and
      when you stand before the dread Judgment Seat of Christ, He will peer
      into your soul and see there His love reflected back at Him and so will
      say to you, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
      for you from the foundation of the world.”

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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