Meatfare Sunday, The Last Judgment, 2012
Last week, through the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Holy Church showed God's mercy in the loving reception of the repentant sinner.
This Sunday, for the only time in the year, the Holy Church reminds us that the Lord is not just merciful, but also a fair judge, how he rewards each according to his deeds.
We humans have a sense of justice, truth, and good, but we are never free from sins: we are jealous and greedy, we slander and blame others, we hate; and because of this all sorts of injustice in relationships happens between people. For the regulation of civil life there exist various courts: county, state, and federal. But however fair a human court might be, the loosing side is never happy.
But at God's court, the Last Judgment—when it comes—there will be no acquittals, because our accuser will be our own Conscience. It's a voice that seems to say, “you've done wrong.”
Our conscience is our spiritual eye. Conscience is given us for spiritual guidance. When we behave poorly, especially sinfully, conscience reminds us of this. Consciences is a part of us but also something outside of us, through Conscience our Guardian Angel tries to protect us from bad deeds. And if we don't listen to the voice of our conscience, then we have no excuse. The Holy Scriptures use the terms “conscience of sins,” “an evil conscience,” and “a conscience seared with hot iron.”
But a conscience can be rectified with God's help through repentance and good deeds.
In life, good and evil are mixed up together and it can be hard to decide what is right, what is good. Moral concepts do not have clear boundaries because people are free, although not free from sin.
In life, the righteous and sinners have equal chances: the rain and the harvest are for everyone. That is to say, sinners cannot complain that the righteous lead a righteous life because God favors them, as in Calvin's teaching, according to which God predestines some to heaven, others to hell. The Lord warns us to be watchful, “Beware, therefore, my soul, lest thou fall into slumber and be left outside, knocking, as were the five virgins; but wakefully watch, that thou mayest come to meet Christ with good oil, and He shall bestow upon thee the divine chamber of His glory.” (Midnight Office) At the Last Judgment, mercy will be highly significant: For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy (James 2: 13).
The Lord did not say when the Last Judgment would come, but death for each of us is the threshold of that Judgment.
Therefore we will live by listening to the voice of our conscience, subjecting ourselves to the strict judgment of our conscience, so that at the time of the Last Judgment our conscience will not be our accuser but rather a witness to our faith in the Savior when we hear the call of the Lord as described in the Gospels: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34).