By John Sanidopoulos
Of what benefit to Judas was his receiving Holy Communion from the hands of the Lord Himself? He was a sinner before and he remained a sinner. He was unclean and a slave to his passions before and he remained unclean and a slave to his passions. He was greedy and a lover of gain before and he remained greedy and a lover of gain. He was wretched before and he remained wretched.
Of what benefit to Judas was his receiving Holy Communion from the hands of the Lord Himself? Did not Satan possess his soul after he received the Holy Gifts? Did he not then go on to betray the Lord for thirty pieces of silver? Did he not then fall into a despair that tore his soul and caused him to commit a gruesome suicide?
What we learn is that there is absolutely no benefit in receiving Holy Communion from the hands of the Lord Himself. If we wish to receive benefits from Holy Communion, then we must prepare for our reception with a humble and contrite spirit. You can't be a nominal Christian and possess a truly humble and contrite spirit, praying with a groaning heart: "My God have mercy upon me the sinner, I have sinned before heaven and before You. I ask with the thief on the cross, remember me when You enter into Your Kingdom." Prayers like these are life-changing, or at least should be if prayed from the heart, and they show a willingness to be crucified with Christ to the world and sin so that we may receive newness of life through His Spirit. Only this spirit of repentance can benefit us when we receive Holy Communion, and help prevent us from receiving the same fate as Judas.