“…O Son of God, receive me today as a partaker of Your mystical supper. For I will not speak of the mystery (τὸ μυστήριον) to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss, as did Judas. But like the thief, I confess to You: Remember me, Lord, in Your Kingdom…” (Prayer Before Communion, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

So who are the Lord’s “enemies”? For one thing, they are those who have repeatedly and explicitly refused to accept Him, like the scribes and Pharisees in the Gospels, with whom Judas, nonetheless, “spoke” of The Mystery, i.e., of our Incarnate Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (cf. “…great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” 1 Tim 3: 16). We don’t always know, before we try speaking with certain people about Christ, that they are His “enemies,” but once we do know, we are commanded to stop that conversation and cast its “dust” off our shoes (Mt 10: 14), so as not to throw our pearls to pigs (Mt 7: 6). All this doesn’t sound very “PC,” I know. But God truly “loves” His enemies and does good for them, as He teaches us to do (Mt 5: 43-45), so we can relax on that account.

And here’s the other thing about God’s “enemies,” which may also calm our “PC”-sensitivities: At times we, His followers, fall into that category, of “enemies.” As I do, when I slip into self-reliance and the resulting self-centered fears, trying to carry my whole world and its problems on my own shoulders, as if God didn’t exist. Judas slipped into this, when he took all the problems he had with the Lord, (like the money-thing, Jn 12: 5), into his own hands, and sneaked away to the Lord’s “enemies” to solve these problems. (And yes, it’s “sneaked” and not “snook,” I pedantically stand by that. ☺) He thus became the Lord’s “enemy,” but even more tragically, his own. I say, “even more tragically,” because the Lord would have forgiven Judas, had Judas come to Him, whereas Judas, on his own, was incapable of forgiving himself.

So let me come humbly, that is to say, honestly, before The Mystery, as I am, with all my problems and issues, confessing “like the thief” to my forgiving Lord: “Remember me, Lord, in Your kingdom!”

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