Kiev, February 25, 2020
At the Last Judgment, the Lord will not ask us if we have fasted and prayed, but if we have committed self-sacrificing good deeds, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine preached on the Sunday of the Judgment in the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev Caves Lavra.
And a person cannot do such good deeds if he does not prepare himself, the Ukrainian primate preached, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
It is not coincidence that the Church presents us with the reading on the Last Judgment (Mt. 25:31-46) on the threshold of Lent, because, according to Met. Onuphry, by fasting and prayer, “a person becomes filled with the good grace of the Holy Spirit and becomes capable of doing good.”
Thus, fasting and prayer are not ends in and of themselves, but means to an end.
“In life, everyone lives differently: One tries to do good, to forgive, to love, and another is idle, doing whatever he wants. But the end will be the same for everyone—it will come during the Second Coming of the Savior, during the Dread Judgment,” His Beatitude preached.
As the Gospel reading for the day shows, the Lord will not ask at the Last Judgment if we have fasted or prayed, but if we have worked good deeds, Met. Onuphry noted.
“The fact is that a person cannot do sacrificial good if he does not prepare himself,” the primate added. “Through fasting and prayer, a person makes himself good, that is, fills the soul with the good grace of the Good God. Therefore, if a person does this, he becomes able to do sacrificial good—he does good and does not expect anything in return.”
As His Beatitude emphasized, we should cleanse ourselves of sin and evil deeds by fasting and prayer, “thus making ourselves good” and “capable of doing sacrificial good.”
“May the Lord help us, dear brothers and sisters, so that during Holy Lent, we might all would labor, pray, fast and make ourselves good as we are able, that we might be able to do good to our neighbors and be worthy to hear the Lord’s voice: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Mt. 25:34), His Beatitude wished at the end of his sermon.