On the Second Sunday of the Triodion, the Church commemorates “Judgment Sunday” during which we hear the Last Judgment as found in Matthew 25.31-46. We all know the story, “I was hungry and you fed me….” But do we know WHY the Church offers us THIS story on THIS particular Sunday?
Many people believe that God is going to judge using a scale with “sins” on one side, and “good deeds” on the other. So long as the “good deeds” outweigh the “sins”, many believe, we will be saved. THIS IS FALSE, and is based upon an incorrect interpretation of the story. First, we must realize that Jesus Christ is not just telling us a story. He begins with the words, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory…”indicating that these are events THAT WILL take place, and we should be fully aware of them.
Second, and the main point of Judgment Sunday, is that God will judge every person based upon how much they love the Lord. If we love the Lord enough to “see Him” in the poor and destitute, we will be saved. Christ identifies Himself with the poor and destitute. In the Gospel, we understand that “the sheep” (those who were saved) expressed their love for God in how they treated the lowest of society. It would be easy to love God, but because they could love others who were outcasts, they inherited the Kingdom of God.
As we draw closer to the Great Fast, the Church is urging us to search deep within our hearts. Do we love God enough to love the homeless strangers in prison? Great Lent isn’t “just about” fasting. It is about purifying our hearts, using the spiritual tools of the Church, so that we “see Him” in all people. THEN, and ONLY THEN will we inherit the Kingdom of God.