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Sermon on "Meatfare" Sunday
by His Eminence Sotirios, Metropolitan of Pisidia and Exarch of Side and Attaleia.
Sermon delivered on the 11th of February, 2018
( Reference to Matth. 25:31-46 )
Our Lord Jesus Christ, with today's Gospel passage, reveals what will happen during His glorious Second Coming. The fact that Jesus Christ will come again is also mentioned in the Symbol of Faith: “I believe in one God, the Father...and in one Lord, Jesus Christ... He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
This time, however, Jesus Christ will not come as a humble man, as before, but as a God-man with all His majesty! He will sit on his glorious divine Throne. It will be surrounded by the Holy Angels and Archangels. All the people who have ever lived on the earth will be triumphantly brought before Him. This is all revealed to us by the Bible (see Matthew 24: 29-31 and 42-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Peter 4: 5-6)
We Orthodox believers are privileged, because Our Lord tells us what will happen, so that from now on we can prepare for this great event! Think about how fortunate we would be, like a student who knows which topics will be on the University entrance exam. The student would read them until he learned them perfectly to succeed in being admitted to the University. So we too are “lucky” in that from now on we know what the main issue is for the “General Examinations” for the Last Judgement. And this matter, as the Lord has pointed out, is our relationship with other people.
What are the feelings we have in our hearts for others? What have we done for our hungry and thirsty neighbors? For those who are cold, why did they not have proper clothes, shoes and a house to stay in? For the sick man who had no one to take care of him? For the prisoner who has no one to visit him and give him some comfort and courage in his difficult situation? For the stranger, who has been forced to spend time in our country and has no one to help them. This is what the Lord told us, to illustrate how to prepare for His Second Coming.
As we see, the Lord does not refer to the avoidance of hostile actions towards our fellow human beings such as hatred, injustice, lies, slander, accusations and the like. These are obviously not a part of being a member of the Holy Church. It is not enough for a Christian to just avoid the negatives. We must process to the positive worlds of love and support that we have noted above.
The following fact is also impressive. When Jesus was asked in Jerusalem, "What is the most important of all the commandments of God?" He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart ..." and second "love your neighbor" (Mark 12: 30-31). But for the Last Judgement, the first command is not emphasized, but the second, which is the practical love of man. How is this happening? Saint John the Theologian gives us the answer: "If someone says I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, how can he love God, whom he has not seen? "( 1sts John 4,20). Therefore, by highlighting the practical love of our fellow human beings as the main criterion in the Last Judgement, the Lord believes that it extends automatically to God Himself. Besides, Our Lord Himself clarified: "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me "(Matthew 25:40).
My dear brothers and sisters, it is obvious from what we have said that in order to be able to hear during the Last Judgement the words of the Lord: ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (verse 34), it is necessary that love towards our fellow human beings is practiced in all that we do. In this way, the path towards God is opened. May this be our goal every day.
Article published in English on: 11-02-2018.
Last update: 11-02-2018.