Tuesday of Holy Week
"Judas, went over to Jésus…, and kissed him".
Saint Maximus of Turin (?-c.420), Bishop
Sermon 36 ; PL 57, 605
"Judas, went over to Jésus…, and kissed him. The rest laid hands on him and arrested him" (Mk 14,45f)
Peace is a gift of Christ's resurrection. On the threshold of death he did not hesitate to give this peace to the disciple who betrayed him; he kissed the traitor just as he kissed his faithful friend. Don't imagine that the kiss our Lord gave to Judas Iscariot was motivated by any other feeling than affection. Christ already knew that Judas would betray him. He knew what this sign of love meant and he did not conceal himself. This indeed is friendship: to him who is to die it does not refuse a last embrace; to its loved ones it does not withhold this last act of gentleness. However, Jesus also hoped that his impulse would confound Judas and, taken aback by his goodness, he would not betray the one he loved, would not deliver up the one he embraced. Thus this kiss was bestowed as a kind of test: if it raised him up then it was a bond of peace between Jesus and his disciple; if Judas betrayed him then this wicked kiss became his own accusation.
Our Lord said: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22,48). Where is the enemy's plot? Where is his deception hidden? Every secret is uncovered. The traitor betrays himself before he betrays his lord. Do you deliver up the Son of Man with a kiss? Do you wound with the seal of love? Do you shed blood with the gesture of affection? Do you carry death with the sign of peace? Tell me, what kind of love is this? You kiss and you threaten? But those kisses with which the servant betrays his Lord, the disciple his master, the chosen one his Creator: those kisses are no kisses but poison.
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