The Sunday of the Last Judgment or Meatfare Sunday is the third Sunday using the Lenten Triodion, the liturgical book used in the services of Great Lent. It is the Sunday after the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and Sunday before Forgiveness Sunday. This is the third week of the pre-Lenten start of the Easter cycle of worship in the Orthodox Church.
This Sunday is called Meatfare Sunday since it is traditionally the last day before Easter for eating meat. Orthodox Christians observe a fast from meat all week, but still eat dairy products and eggs till the start of Great Lent.
The Gospel reading this Sunday remembers Christ’s parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). This adds to the previous pre-Lent Sundays and teaches that it is not enough to see Jesus, to see ourselves as we are, and to come home to God as his prodigal sons. The Church teaches that, in addition, one must also be God’s sons by following Christ, his only-begotten divine Son, and by seeing Christ in everyone and by serving Christ through them.
Salvation and final judgment will depend upon deeds, not merely on intentions or even on the mercies of God apart from personal cooperation and obedience. All piety and prayer is ultimately directed towards the goal of serving Christ through his people.
From the reading, the faithful hear:
[F]or I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and in prison and you visited me. …. For truly I say to you, if you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Matthew 25 ).
Fr. Alexander Schmemann on the Last Judgment
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 — the recognition in them of their unique soul in which the beauty of the whole creation is reflected in a unique way.
We also know that men are in prison and are sick and thirsty and hungry because that personal love has been denied them. And, finally, we know that however narrow and limited the framework of our personal existence, 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. For “inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me…”
Lenten Service Books
Salutation and Akathist (Friday evening services)
The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos in a new translation by Father Seraphim Dedes, presented in Greek and English on opposite pages. Text is metered.
Order your copy through the Holy Cross Bookstore either online or call (800) 245-0599. We will have a few extra copies at Church for visitors.
Holy Week (Palm Sunday Evening through Agape Service)
This year we will be using the Holy Week Service Book of the Antiochian Archdiocese during Holy Week. If you would like one for private use please order it from Ancient Faith Publishing. The price is $35.00.
Includes the three Bridegroom services, the three Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts; the service of Holy Unction; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy and 12 Passion Gospels of Holy Thursday; the Royal Hours, Vespers, and Lamentations of Holy Friday; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning; Great and Holy Pascha; and the Agape Vespers of Sunday afternoon.
Presanctified Liturgy (Wednesday Evenings)
There are many copies of Presanctified Liturgies all essentially the same except for the English translations and a few moveable hymns. Almost any book will do. For services we will be using the version supplied weekly on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.
Two suggestions are:
- Ninth Hour and Typica / The Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts of St. Gregory the Dialogist for Wednesdays of Great Lent. This version is more difficult to follow but a good edition. Order from Antiochian Village Bookstore. Price: $12
- The Lenten Liturgies. The translation is a bit wooden but services are very easy to follow. Order from Holy Cross book store. Price: $22.
Or you can print out the version weekly at home and bring it with you.
Lenten Service Schedule
The Lenten Service Schedule is available on the website.
Bible Study Continues Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 7pm
Choir practice resumes shortly.
Youth Bible Study Continues on Wednesday March 9 at 6pm
We meet at Tony’s Off Third Restaurant in downtown Naples (get map).
The greatness of a man consists of humility, for in proportion as a man descends to humility, he becomes exalted to greatness.
— The Paradise of the Holy Fathers Vol.2
A man becomes spiritual insofar as he lives a spiritual life. He begins to see God in all things, to see His power and might in every manifestation. Always and everywhere he sees himself abiding in God and dependent on God for all things. But insofar as a man lives a bodily life, so much he does he do bodily things; He doesn’t see God in anything, even in the the most wondrous manifestations of His Divine power. In all things he sees body, material, everywhere and always – “God is not before his eyes.” (Ps. 35:2)
—St. John of Kronstadt
Want to receive Orthodox Quote of the Day in your email? Sign up here.
Remember in Your Prayers
Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.
How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.
For Sunday of the Last Judgment
The Lord is my strength and my praise.
The Lord chastising hath chastised me, but He hath not delivered me over to death.
The Reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. (8:8-9:2)
Brethren, food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care, lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you—a man of knowledge—at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
For Sunday of the Last Judgment
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (25:31-46)
The Lord said, “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left.
Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for 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.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Then He will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”