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Sunday of the Last Judgment

Holy Scripture

Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 6:14-21

Commentary from Holy Tradition

“And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.” —The Nicene Creed

“When we talk of the Day of Judgment, we add the epithet ‘Final,’ or ‘Last,’ because god’s judgment is happening even now.” —St. Augustine, The City of God

“Christian love is sometimes the opposite of ‘social activism’ with which one so often identifies Christianity today. To a ‘social activist’ the object of love is not ‘person’ but man, an abstract unit of a not less abstract ‘humanity.’” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

“The parable of the Last Judgment is about Christian love. Not all of us are called to work for ‘humanity,’ yet each one of us has received the gift and the grace of Christ’s love. We know that all men ultimately need this personal love...We also know that men are in prison and are sick and thirsty and hungry because that personal love has been denied them... Each one of us has been made responsible for a tiny part of the Kingdom of God, made responsible by that very gift of Christ’s love. Thus, on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, on whether we have loved or refused to love, shall we be judged.” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

“The Apostle also prophetically mourned over us and said: ‘There is none that does good, there is not so much as one’...” —St Maximos the Confessor

“The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love... To forgive is to reject the hopeless ‘dead-ends’ of human relations and to refer them to Christ. Forgiveness is truly a ‘breakthrough’ of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world.” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent


  1. Why are the people before the Judgment Seat of Christ aptly described as “sheep and goats”?
  2. How is the fact that we are even now being judged indicative of the Church’s teaching regarding repentance and deification?
  3. What is the difference between ‘social activism’ and the kind of ministry which Fr. Alexander describes above?
  4. What do these commentaries add to our understanding of what Christ’s judgment is and what it is not?
  5. Why do forgiveness, love, and fasting go hand-in-hand? 6. Why is humility the starting place of forgiveness and reconciliation?


  • We must ask ourselves if we are guilty of replacing personal love for individuals whom God brings into our lives (even in passing, even those difficult to love) with an impersonal desire to ‘care for humanity’ by assuaging our guilt through ‘good works’?
  • What do I need to do to prepare myself for Christ’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment? How do I need to be repenting and living right now in preparation for that Day?
  • Whom do I need to forgive? Of whom do I need to ask forgiveness?