O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Last Judgement, Eternal Damnation, and You

In the Byzantine Rite, today is the third of four Pre-Lenten Sundays: the Sunday of Meatfare, the last day to eat meat before Pascha. It is also called the Sunday of the Last Judgement after today's Gospel. It is good to have the image of the Last Judgement going into Great Lent. It reminds us that we will each die one day and the only things we will take with us are the merits of our good works and the blame for our bad works. Today's Gospel (Mt 25:31-46) sums that up exactly. If it wasn't for final judgement, we wouldn't ever need repentance in our lives since everyone would get to Heaven. But since things don't work that way in real life, we need to repent and constantly prepare for our final judgement since we know not the day nor the hour. If we do not not repent and we remain in our sins, then God will not force Himself on us. God forces His love on no one. If we die in our sins, then we will remain in our death and sin for all eternity and will burn in Hell. Ignoring Hell because it's an "unpleasant thought" doesn't make it go away. Confession makes it go away-which leads us into next Sunday: the Sunday of Forgiveness.