Today: December 14 2018
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Without eternity, a person disappears in everyday life

Without eternity, a person disappears in everyday life

Tags: Religion, Christianity

Talking a week about the Last Judgment


In today's Gospel of the Last Judgment, God reveals to us how He will come with glory, to judge the world, to restore everything in its true position, and tells us that the criterion on the Court will be the love that we showed to our brothers. The Lord described to us this terrible picture of His last Judgment.

He speaks these themes figuratively, because nothing in this world can be likened to those future events. When He says, for example, that he sits on the throne of glory [1], it does not mean that there will be a certain throne - the wooden or the golden one upon which He will sit; there will also be no left and right sides, so that God will put some on the right side, and others - on the left. However, in this way, Christ reveals to us the picture of future events, as far as possible for our human abilities.

In the Gospel He says that when He comes that day and sits on the throne of glory, he will gather people before Him, as the shepherd knows his flock and separates the sheep on the right side, and the goats on the left. Sheep are not evil, innocent and, so to speak, more noble than goats who are considered disobedient and violent and do not really obey. In the same way, God separates people and puts some on the right, and others - to the left of Himself.

The Lord says in one way: "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" [2]. Why?

"Because," says the Lord, "I was a stranger, and you accepted me, was poor, and you helped me, was naked, and you dressed me, was in prison, and you visited me, was sick, and you took care of me Me, - and the like.

Of course, people will ask:

"But when we saw you hungry, thirsty, in prison, a stranger and did everything you say?"

He will turn to sinners, to those on the left, and they will ask the same question:

- But when we, Lord, saw You starving and did not give you food when you saw a stranger and did not bring You into the house? - etc.

Christ speaks very serious words, which are the key that reveals to us the essence of the Gospel reading. He says to people:

"The moment you did this to your brethren, you did it to Me."

In other words, "from the moment you learned to see Me in the person of another person, everything you do for him applies to Me, Christ - the center of love for the struggling person."

Christ concludes with the words: "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" [3]. The history of mankind ends with the entry of the righteous into the eternal Kingdom of God and the entry of people - who, unfortunately, are far from God, into eternal estrangement and estrangement from God's love.

Today's Gospel text is, in essence, a very joyful, but very serious gospel, although it seems very strict. Why is it joyful? Because our Lord assures us that all the present has an end. Today Christ assures us that the image of this world is transitory, that everything passes, nothing remains, everything will pass away, and whatever happens in this world, the Lord will come to judge and appreciate it.

This means that the wisdom and vigilance of each person is how he can draw on the present's benefit in the eternal Kingdom of God. As a person, each of us can benefit from what he has now: joy or sorrow, happiness or unhappiness, whether young or old, rich or poor, whatever that person has.

Christ will have the last word in the history of the world. When the Lord comes in glory, He will reward everyone in justice and put everything in their real places.

If we take away from our life its continuation in the Kingdom of God, then this world really is a theater of the absurd.

Often people ask themselves, and rightfully: "But why so much injustice in the world? Why do young people leave this world, why do small children die of hunger, diseases, abandoned, why? "And everything looks as if the righteous, and the truth, remain in an embarrassed situation. We all often happen in such a situation, when we feel that justice seems to have forgotten about us. And indeed it is. It is proved that the world is like what is happening in it. If we take away from our life its continuation in the Kingdom of God, then this world really is a theater of the absurd: we have an absurd world, the main feature of which is injustice.

Then you really feel that you are really choking, and you want to make a grand riot and destroy this world. Why? Because the injustice that you have before your eyes, otherwise you can not understand and explain. How do you explain the injustice to such a person who is offended, who starves, suffers, dies, gets sick, loses loved ones, how will you explain to this person what happens if you take away from him the consciousness and sense of the eternal Kingdom of God? It's really impossible.

Without eternity a person literally suffocates in his daily routine. Christ, however, assures us today that the present life has a continuation, and this is such a continuation that the present, as the fathers say, will be as non-existent. It does not seem to exist. St. John Chrysostom says: "Do not be surprised by the present, for the life of this world is a theater, our life is a theater; the performance ended - everything ended. And do not get carried away by what you see, but look outward to find reality. "

St. Basil the Great also takes the magnificent word to the Christians: "Hear, for you are a traveler, not an inhabitant, you go, and do not live in this world, you are on the road, so do not be deceived to sit somewhere and say:" A It's good here, I'll stay here! "Then you'll look like," he says, "to the one who sits on a ship to get to a certain country, but is forgotten, he likes the ship, and he builds himself a house on the ship." But you'll get off of him at some point, you will not stay there. We must prepare, because this is only the moment of our life, and it is not long.

We do not expect Christ to punish the unjust, no.

This is truly a joyful message of today's evangelical text - what we are talking about in the Symbolism of Faith: "The resurrection of the dead." The verb "tea" means: I wait with a strong desire of the hour in which the Lord will come, and justice will come for us. We do not expect Christ to punish the unjust, no, that would be a huge mistake. We are expecting Him, but not for He to punish someone, but for our truth to come in this world.

The real untruth is not committed when we act unfairly with others, but when we act unjustly towards ourselves and are deprived of the grace of God. When we are deprived of grace, then indeed we are doing unfair to ourselves. Therefore, Christ is our truth, He will grant us His truth and His presence.

Therefore, the Lord today crosses out the present, reveals the veil and shows us the reality of our hypostasis and our flesh, so that nothing of the present will break us and sink in depression and despair, because we rely on the Kingdom of God, hope for eternity, know that the present is not everything: there is still a continuation in the Kingdom of God.

Another aspect. A person, seeing the present gospel text, may think that the Lord is talking about a kind of social system that cares for the poor, hungry, prisoners and sick people. Of course, the Gospel also has social consequences, since the affairs of a Christian are, first of all, the works of love. However, Christ indicates the sign separating worldly love from His love, and says that "because you did this to one of my brothers, you did it to me" [4]. He sets Himself instead of every man who stands before us, who is our brother.

One elder-abba says: "Blessed is the man who looks at all people, like God. Did you see your brother - you saw the Lord your God, in the person of your brother you saw God Himself. " Because a person who loves God, in his purity, actually sees another person not in his passions, but how God created him, he looks at the outside, but sees the beauty created in the image of God, he loves a person and sees how beautiful he is and significant.

Let us remind you something that we understand the enormous importance that the Church attaches to the presence of man. We see this in its entire approach to every person, but especially in the Scriptures. When God created man, it is said that He saw Adam and said, "Now, Adam has become like one of Us" [5]. God seemed to praise Himself and admire His creation, for He saw His image in man.

As you know (after all, most of you are parents), when you have a child, it looks like you, and you rejoice at it. You look at this child and say: "He looks like me, he has my features; as I myself, and my mother and father - we are good, happy, we are good people. " Now, the parent sees that the child has these traits, and he is happy because he sees himself in the child. The child is the image of his parent. Just as, looking at His image, on the beauty of God in man, God rejoiced to Him and said: "Now, Adam has become like one of Us."

Even in philosophy, our ancient ancestors talked about what a significant and beautiful creature - a man, when he really is a man. That is, when it has that beauty with which God created it, it is exceptionally good, beautiful, beautiful. Why? Because he possesses the total beauty of the image of God. But he has something else. The second thing God gave him is the possibility of God-likeness. Therefore, Christ tells us that we are like God: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, and merciful, just as your Father is merciful" [6].

When a person really takes advantage of the image of God, will work and become like God, then he becomes the same as God - that is, he looks at people like the Good God to His children, making no distinctions and showing no pettiness and bias . God loves everyone alike, for God there is no difference in His love for people. And we make distinctions: we love God one little, the other more, one in part, the other wholly. Being perfect, God, however, loves us all equally, because He is our Father. So God's man loves everyone equally.

This brings us to the criterion that Christ declares today, so as not to leave us in a quandary and that we do not guess: "When I die, will I be with God? And where will I be after death? What will happen to me at the judgment of God? "To remove these pseudo-dilemmas and pseudo-justifications, He reveals to us the criterion and brings to the court simple questions. He says the following: "Look, do not worry, if you are lovingly dealing with every person and in every person you see Me, then this is your salvation." To show that love for a brother is the result of loving God.

You can not say that you love God, if you do not love your brother. You can not say that you are God's man, if you can not communicate with another person. Communicate does not mean to throw him a piece of bread or give away his surplus and still make himself an advertisement, they say, "I give alms, I give money." God does not want that. God is moving in His way, He wants us to have His features. Of course, today people need bread, food and money and so on, but above all a person needs love, which is not something abstract, but a lively feeling that a person carries in him.

If we ask what a person is, we can give one simple definition. Scripture tells us clearly: "God is love" [7]. And what is a person? If he is the image of God, then we can say that man is love!

I will give you a simple example. Unfortunately, today you all know about the most terrible scourge among young people - drugs. Unfortunately, every day we are confronted with young people who have got into this whirlpool of drugs, and we come in terrible perplexity, because you see a person in front of you, for which you can not take up any part. Like smoke - can you catch smoke? You try to grab it, but nothing remains in your hand. It seems that it has a contour, but you can not catch it.

When you deal with young people who abandoned everything in their life and do not care about them at all, even their own lives, such a person is not afraid of death, because his life is worse than death, then you think: what should I say to this person? What should he promise? How is it to be moved? After all, absolutely nothing interests him. He is like an anorexic patient: although he brings the best food to him, he looks at her with disgust. He does not want to see her in front of you, you make him eat, but he does not want to. Indeed, this is something terrible.

I confess, at first, when I started studying with these young people, many times I was in this bewilderment: what will I tell them? When they do not care: no money, no fame, no work, no life, no parents - absolutely nothing. What can I tell him? However, from my small experience, I saw the following: what really can resurrect a dead person is love. Therefore St. John Chrysostom says: "Love is the source of fire and life." Love pours life into another person. Love your brother from the heart, really, without expecting anything from him, without seeking anything like God loves you. And God does not come to condemn you or even tell you anything, but only to revive you and to warm you up with His love.

Today the world needs this love. We show love to our brother, healthy love, which can be expressed in something tangible, but even if we have nothing to give him, it is enough to love him correctly and truly. Today, many people have everything, but there is nobody to love them, they themselves do not love anyone and are buried in matter, wealth, but at the same time unhappy. Because the essence of life is missing, its real meaning is absent.

Whoever he is, whatever race or faith he may be, for the Church he is the image of God. He is a man for whom Christ died.

Consequently, the Church performs a social work, it even performs a matter of national importance and has to do with the problems of this world. The church is the place that the Gospel reveals to us today, the place where our brother is Christ, our smaller brother is one who carries within him the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if we are children of the Church and we love Christ, we can not help but love our brother: whoever he is, whatever race or faith he is, for the Church he is the image of God. He is the man for whom Christ died, the man whom God created and brought into this world.

Therefore, we should neither ask ourselves nor say: "How does the Church teach about such a topic and what does the Church say on ethnic issues?" The church through the Gospel has spoken for 2000 years, it did not expect the emergence of either the UN or other institutions of human justice . The Church always preaches the love of God in the world, as well as the fact that the solution of human problems is God Himself and the Kingdom of God: they are the answer to everything that a person suffers in his daily life.

Therefore, brethren, when we look at the Kingdom of God, we experience great joy, because the sufferings of this life are facilitated; when we look at Christ, we see all our brothers. And when we look at a person, every person, see our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we love as Christians, we do not just believe in Him, but love Him and expect the hour in which we will meet Him. First - in the person of our brothers, and then, on the last day - in His eternal Kingdom.

I pray that we all have this great Christ's grace in our hearts and that the Lord will grant us great joy and strength to enter this great and blessed period of Lent, that we should be brave fighters against passions and sin that dwells in us, and that the resurrection of our Lord gave joy and light to the whole world!

[1] Mt. 25: 31.

[2] Art. 34.

[3] Art. 46.

[4] Wed Mt. 25: 40.

[5] Life. 3: 22.

[6] Mt. 5: 48; Lk. 6: 36.

[7] 1 Ying. 4: 8, 16.

The Metropolitan of Limassol, Athanasius. Has translated from the Bulgarian Stanka Kosova
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