A Homily on the Last Judgment

Homily on the Last Judgment
Matthew 6:14-21

Our actions have consequences. 

Everything we do affects both ourselves and our environment, to include the people around us.  This is a simple fact of nature: our lives are intertwined with those of our families, our friends, our enemies… indeed with all of creation.  There is no buffer or firewall between us and the rest of the world; there is no such thing as an action that is purely private.  We can segment the world in this manner in our own minds, but that segmentation is an illusion.

The monk who attains holiness in physical isolation on the highest mountain or the most desolate part of desert shares the blessings of love with the entire cosmos.  Similarly, the man who sins in the privacy of his home, hidden from the eyes of everyone else, defiles and curses not just himself, but the entire cosmos.

Which is simply to say that our actions, all of our actions, have consequences. 

Why is this?   Why would a loving God allow this to happen?  Why wouldn’t He protect us from our bad decisions and unhealthy choices?  It is a sign of how irresponsible and childish our culture has become that this is one of the first questions that comes to our minds.  One answer is that He does protect us from the eternal consequences of our bad decisions: through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the Cross, this sins of all those who repent and believe in Him as the Son of God are absolved. 

Another sign of our childishness, our irresponsibility, is that we use that as license (“heaven forbid!” as St. Paul says!) for our own irresponsibility.  “All things are possible for me,” says St. Paul, “but not all things are useful.”  What is useful and good?  Those things that work towards God’s desire.  What is God’s desire? “That all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4)

Our High Calling

God does not desire (adult) children that need to be coddled.  He does not want immature followers that play the part of the victim instead of taking responsibility for the consequences of what they have done.

God created and redeemed us through His Son so that we would become the heirs of His Kingdom.  God created and redeemed us through His Son so that we would become sons and daughters of the Most High.  God created and redeemed us through His Son so that we would rule with Him on His Heavenly Throne and as part of His Divine Council. 

This is a high calling, but this is the calling of all who are made in the Image of God!

He has given us time here, now, in this broken world, so that we can grow into this responsibility.  As He Himself put it;

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”
(St. Luke 16:10-12)

We are called to rule in the heavens with God in glory – and yet we hide from our responsibilities here on earth!

Yes, actions have consequences.  If we neglect our calling here on earth to love God and love our neighbor – to include strangers and adversaries – then we are not fit to be called the sons and daughters of God!  Nor can we simply hide behind the Cross.  Yes, God’s sacrifice is real – and it is of full effect for all those who give their life to Him.  But can we claim to have done this thing if our hearts and our actions have not changed?


We were created and redeemed at great cost and for a great purpose.  We were given great powers, to include the power of consequential action.  Today we remember and celebrate that one day there will be a reckoning; that God will judge whether we have used our power well – or whether we have squandered it and avoided our high calling.  Today we begin again and take our lives seriously, rededicating them to the service of God and our neighbor.  Today we, following St. Paul’s teaching, make sure that the only calculus we use when deciding how to act is how it will affect the faith and salvation of the people in our midst.  Today we move closer to the death and Resurrection of Christ on Holy Pascha – and to our own death and resurrection in Christ.

And today, we do all this in anticipation of receiving the confirmation, blessing, and reward of all those who hear the words; “Well done good and faithful servant… receive now Thy crown.”