February 27, 2022

First Homily on Meatfare Sunday and the Last Judgment (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Then he will also say to those on the left side: Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire" (Matt. 25:41).

This is what Jesus Christ at His Last Judgment will say to the people standing on the left hand: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not receive Me; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me." Then they will answer Him: "Lord! When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and not serve you?" Then He will say to them in answer: "Truly I say to you, because you did not do this to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." This is what Jesus Christ will say, and they will go into eternal torment (see Matt. 25:41-46).

Christian Listeners! Will people really go into eternal torment just for these sins, that they won’t feed the hungry, they won’t give water to the thirsty, they won’t take a stranger into the house, they won’t clothe the naked, they won’t visit the sick and those in prison? There are many other sins, and grave, great sins? Why doesn't Jesus Christ remind sinners of these sins? There is no need to mention and speak of grave and great sins: they condemn sinners to eternal torment even without pronouncing the sentence of the Judge. Great and grave sinners at the Last Judgment will stand unanswered, they themselves, without saying a word, will go into eternal fire; they will have nothing to say in their apology, they will have nothing to justify themselves with.

And therefore the sentence of Jesus Christ, which He will pronounce at the Last Judgment, has the following meaning: you sinners did not want to fulfill My commandments; you acted according to your will, but did not obey Me; you only lived for yourself, but did nothing for Me; you did not even want to do such an easy thing for Me; you did not feed the hungry for Me, you did not give drink to the thirsty, you did not take a stranger into the house, you did not clothe the naked, you did not visit the sick and in prison, you did not want to do the easiest thing; it means that you have no mercy for people at all, therefore you also have no mercy from Me: Depart from Me, you cursed, into eternal fire. I am merciful, but only to those who themselves are merciful to others.

So, Christian listeners, what should we sinners do now, how can we be saved in our sins from the eternal torment that awaits sinners after death? Let us quickly take up the deeds of philanthropy, let us do more acts of mercy to our neighbors, and God will show us His mercy, that is, give us time to repent of our sins, give us the means to make amends for our crimes and, thus, forgive all sins and crimes and no longer remember them at His Last Judgment.

But let us not forget, listeners, that God forgives sins here on earth, and therefore we will give alms not so that God will forgive us our sins at the Last Judgment, but so that we can be forgiven here. At the Last Judgment He will not remember our sins if we repent of them here, if we receive forgiveness here. Then He will remember only our alms that we will do, then He will tell us: you were merciful, and for this I will show you mercy - come and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven prepared for you.

But if we don’t want to repent of sins here, if we don’t receive forgiveness for them, we will appear at the Last Judgment with sins, then we will no longer have any mercy, the Lord will already reward us for our sins. He will not even remember if we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, or do other works of charity. I repeat again: the Lord at the Last Judgment remembers almsgiving and for it shows mercy only to those sinners who repented here and received forgiveness of their sins. So, listeners, try to make the Lord remember our alms at the Last Judgment, but be afraid, be afraid that He will not remember your sins then, and He will certainly remember everything if we forget to repent of them. Amen.