February 19, 2023

Second Homily on Meatfare Sunday and the Last Judgment (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"I was sick and you visited Me" (Matthew 25:36).

At the Last Judgment, our Lord Jesus Christ will say to those standing at His right hand: "Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Who are these fortunate ones whom Jesus Christ will invite with such love to the Kingdom of Heaven? There will be many of them, and among them there will be those who visit the sick. Yes, listeners, because we visit the sick, Jesus Christ will receive us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who exactly will Jesus Christ accept into the Kingdom of Heaven for visiting the sick? For example, confessors and doctors, when they, according to their duty, visit the sick; when doctors visit the sick in order to give them help to recover from bodily illnesses, and confessors - in order to confess them and partake of the Holy Mysteries and, through the healing of the illnesses of the soul, heal a bodily illness or give them parting words of grace into eternal life.

You are neither confessors nor doctors, but the Lord will also accept you into the Kingdom of Heaven for visiting the sick. What kind of visit? There are always cases of making such visits, but at the present time in our city, one might say, there are thousands of them, of these cases, because not only in every house, but at every step, there are patients.

So, you see a sick person who has no one to look after, no one to give benefits, no one to go to the doctor or for medicine, no one to tell the confessor. Take up this matter yourself: follow this patient, help in whatever is needed, go yourself to the doctor, tell the confessor, in general, do everything for the patient that you would do for your closest relative, and you will help the patient, for which Jesus Christ will accept you into the Kingdom of Heaven, for which you will hear from Him at the Last Judgment a joyful greeting for you: "Come, inherit the Kingdom of Heaven."

But you yourself cannot, do not know how, are not able to help the sick. Ask others, convince with words, with a prayer, with a reward, with everything you can, ask them to help the sick - and you will receive a reward for your diligence along with those who visit the sick. This sick person, for whom you asked others, will ask God Himself for you, or he will also ask others to intercede for you mercy from Jesus Christ. However, you will not need other intercessors: Jesus Christ, your Judge, Himself will intercede for you before the Heavenly Father, because you yourself did not leave Him, the sick, in the face of your neighbor, without a visitor.

If, however, by your condition, or by your age, or by your strength, you cannot do anything to the sick, then there is a means for you to earn the merciful greeting of Jesus Christ at the Last Judgment. What is this remedy? Prayer for the sick. Yes, if you can't do anything, pray for the sick, for the suffering; if you can’t walk, then mentally visit hospitals and homes of the sick - mentally send fervent prayer to God so that He will help them recover, and for this prayerful visit to the sick you will hear a gracious greeting from Jesus Christ: "I was sick, and you visited for Me."

But, listeners, if any of us can visit the sick, has the strength to help them, has the means to help them, but does not want to help, then let him be afraid lest he hear from Jesus Christ at the Last Judgment the words: "Depart from Me, accursed one, into eternal fire because you didn’t help the sick person for Me, didn’t take care of his healing, didn’t invite a doctor for him, didn’t tell the confessor and didn’t take any part."

May the Lord Jesus Christ, by His grace, enlighten you, help you to help all those who are sick, and save you yourself from illness by His grace. Amen.

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