St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Sunday of the Last Judgement

The Sunday of the Last Judgement is also called “Meatfare Sunday”. Today is the last day for eating meat until Pascha. Eggs and dairy products are permitted every day during the coming week. This helps us prepare for the more intense fasting of Great Lent, which begins 8 days after Meatfare.

In today’s Gospel reading, we hear “I was in prison and you came to Me.” We encourage you to visit our prison ministry page. Read the letters the prisoners have sent us, and please consider a donation. Even small donations are helpful.

From a homily for Meatfare Sunday (in 2016) by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Eastern American Diocese (ROCOR):

In the New Testament, the Lord gave us His commandments: to love God with all our heart, to not steal, to not kill, to honor father and mother, to lead a life in the Church. But the Lord indicates and calls for all of us to be righteous, or blessed: “Come, ye blessed of my Father” (Matthew 25:34). What does it mean to be blessed? It does not mean to be rich, or comely, or intelligent. The Lord clearly and simply tells us in today’s Gospel reading that we must have compassion, empathy, and mercy in all things. This is what He says to the righteous, the blessed: “For I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and wrongfully condemned, and ye came unto me and prayed for me.” Thus the Lord shows us that the blessed are those people who love their brother and love those who hate them. In our day, very often compassion, and empathy, and love are lacking. All around us is lawlessness, and misunderstanding and hatred reign. We have a great gift—the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, by which the Lord has blessed us. And we must stand on this blessed path of righteousness, and then it will depend on us how we attain to God and to the Heavenly Kingdom; it will depend on us not to leave the path…

One can observe all of the fasts, all of the rules, not miss a single church service, and yet if he has no compassionate love for his neighbor, then all the rest is in vain, because our heart has turned to stone…But if we will lead a pious life full of compassion and empathy, then we are already on the right path&hellipWe often judge or even spread rumors about people, instead of looking on, or else at least saying, “Hello,” or “Greetings with the feast,” “How are you doing?” Even these simple words can bring a person to salvation. Let us consider this, brothers and sisters, and may the Lord God help us.