The Day of Judgment

Sunday is the Sunday of the Last Judgment. I struggle to help my people (and myself) keep the sense of Fear of God and the “fearsome Day of Judgment,” while not subscribing to the Medieval European mythologies (Danté, for example) and Scholastic understanding of judgment. Our culture sees judgment as a determination of guilt or innocence. The reality is that there is no determination. The whole world is already determined to be in sin, and already saved and forgiven by Christ’s death and resurrection. The final judgment is a revelation of what we have loved: darkness or light. If we have loved the darkness, it is because our deeds are evil and we do not want to come to the light so that our deeds will be revealed. Those who love the light, come to the light, confessing their sins, and their deeds are revealed as having been worked in God. (See John chapter three). St. Gregory Palamas says that the Matt. 25 passage on the sheep and the goats refers only to acts of mercy (instead of all the other virtues) because love (shown in acts of love) is the crown of all virtues, the roof on the temple of God. The foundation is Jesus Christ, the walls are the virtues (patience, self control, gentleness, meekness, etc.). Without the foundation, there could be no walls. Without the walls, there could be no roof. And without a roof, the foundation and walls are useless. Christ died in vain if I do not build on him a life of virtue and crown that life with love, love shown in acts of mercy, acts of love of neighbor. So the judgment of the walls and the foundation is the roof. I have a professional roofer in my church, and when we look at old buildings together, he can tell a lot about the condition of the walls and even the foundation just by looking at the roof. It is amazing, but he knows what he is looking for. So on the Last Day, God will just have to look at our “roof” and everything will be revealed. What we have loved (and do love) will be revealed by how we have loved the “least of these.” May God have mercy on us on that fearsome Day.

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