Preparing for Great Lent–Meatfare Sunday

Today the Byzantine Catholic Church observes the last day for eating meat and meat products til Pascha –this is Meatfare Sunday. It is also called Last Judgement Sunday because of the proclamation of the Gospel of Matthew’s 25th Chapter (vv. 31-46).

Eggs and dairy products are permitted for the coming week. This limited fasting prepares us gradually for the more intense fasting of Great Lent.

The aim of our fasting is meant to free us from bondage of sin and death, from the self-centeredness that causes human misery and keeps us from serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in “the least of these.”

“As Father Alexander Schmemann reminds us in his book GREAT LENT (Ch. 1:4), sin is the absence of love, it is separation and isolation. When Christ comes to judge the world, His criterion for judgment will be love. Christian love entails seeing Christ in other people, our family, our friends, and everyone else we may encounter in our lives. We shall be judged on whether we have loved, or not loved, our neighbor. We show Christian love when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick or in prison. If we did such things for the least of Christ’s brethren, then we also did them for Christ (Mt. 25:40). If we did not do such things for the least of the brethren, neither did we do them for Christ (Mt. 25:45).”