How Will We Be Judged?


As you can imagine, I get involved in many conversations relating to religion, life, and death.  More often than not the conversation turns to how we will be judged in the end.  The final Sunday of preparation before the start of Great Lent focuses on this topic of the last judgment.  Not to scare us or anything of the kind but to make us think about how we are living our lives.

For the last few weeks in the Orthodox Church, we have been preparing for the season of Great Lent with themes such as humility, repentance, and forgiveness.  All of these themes should be remembered all during the year but most especially during the time of Great Lent.

The story comes to us from the Gospel of St. Matthew the twenty-fifth chapter and is the most direct that Jesus has ever talked to his followers.  He tells them that the time is near, and when the “Son of Man” returns He will sit on a throne and will separate all of humanity as a shepherd would separate the sheep and the goats.  The sheep at the right hand and the goats at the left hand. To those on his right He will say to them, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Jesus then goes on to give us the criteria for which we will be judged by the following words, “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

The righteous ones, those on the left, will respond and ask when did we see you like this?  They are thinking that He is speaking in the present tense and about Himself.  His response is clear, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” We will not be judged by how we treat Jesus but how we treat each other.  In the end, the essence of the spiritual life is Love your neighbor!

We show love to our neighbor not only in the big things but the small things.  How many times have we walked past someone and not uttered a word or even given a smile?  Most of the time we walk around with our heads turned toward the ground, so lost in our own world, that we walk past hundreds of people who long for a smile or a kind word for another human being, and it costs us nothing.

I am often asked why we focus so much on this theme of the end of our lives.  Well, we spend so little time on our souls, and that needs to be a priority.  We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on diets and gym memberships to get our outward body in shape and to keep it that way.  We run, walk, diet, paint our nails, get our hair done, spend hours concerned about what we are going to wear, but when it comes to the care of our souls we are quick to dismiss it and not necessary.

The care of the souls is most important aspect of our lives!  In the end it will not matter if we are wearing the latest fashion or have our hair just right, what will matter is how we treated each other.  There is so much hate in this world, this world of absolute darkness, which it has become acceptable.  Each one of us can enact change in this world, the world right around us, but following the words of Scripture.  We need to forgive, we need to be humble in our dealings with others, and we need to love everyone, even if they are trying to kill us.  This is not easy but is essential to our spiritual lives and the health of our bodies.

We are approaching the holiest season of the Church year culminating with the great celebration of Pascha (Easter).  This is a time of preparation, a time of slowing down and reflecting on our lives where we have been and where we are going.  Make the most of these approaching days to work on your spiritual life.  If you need some guidance, reach out, and I will try and guide you.  Find a Church community where you feel at home and welcome, we cannot do this alone.

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