Implications of Holy Communion

“The precious and most holy Body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ is given unto me, the unworthy priest (N) for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting.” (Prayer during Divine Liturgy)

Note the passive voice [is given to N] deacon, laity, and to himself, because all comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, as in some of the back walls of churches where it is Christ Himself communing the apostles. This format is expressed in all sacraments. For example, in the prayers of forgiveness and absolution of holy Confession, it is not the priest but Christ through the hands and voice of the priest who forgives sins.

“Of Your Mystical Supper…” Mystical, meaning the mystery of how transcending time and space we are transported not so much to the original Last Supper (many western Christians feel it to be only in memory of the Meal) but forward and into the Kingdom of heaven. Christ spent so much of His effort on earth announcing the Kingdom, expressing what it is and the requirements for entry, the conditions and obligations incumbent upon all who are called, so that they might be elected. From the Cherubic hymn where we “lay aside all earthly care” to the command to “Lift up your hearts,” to the fellowship of love for one another the way the Three Persons of Trinity love – all that is understood by Holy Communion. Yes, indeed with Christ in His Body and Blood – but in Him and through Him all who share His Being, those in heaven and those on earth. Far from a one-on-one relationship. Sobornost is the common expression that explains and defines what the meaning of Eucharist is.

For I will not speak of Your mystery to Your enemies, neither will I give You a kiss like Judas.

It means first of all that there are enemies of Christ, and we dare not be naïve, like so many who seem to feel that we only have to love the world and the world will respond with love. Read John: “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him Who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also…. [John 15:18-28]

But like the thief will I confess You.

Compare the chosen apostle Judas Iscariot with the Good Thief. One was selected among the seventy disciples of 5,000 who heard Jesus on the Mount, so there had to be something positive about his nature. The other is the thief who had spent his entire life stealing, robbing, cheating and perhaps much worse. On the cross he did not plead for sympathy, beg to be excused because of a bad home life, missing or uncaring parents, a society that did not provide for his welfare; but called out to the third man on a cross, “We are getting what we deserve, but not this man.”

We understand how precious is fellowship with Christ in the Church and how easy it is to sin, each sin being against the Lord Jesus, just as wicked as the kiss of Judas because it takes liberties with the compassion of Christ and ignores the high cost of membership in the Church.