While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.’ At once he came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?’ At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.(Matthew 26.47-56)
Anne Frank and her family were hiding in the sealed off rooms in the office building that was prepared for them by their friends. For four years they were there, supplied with all they needed to survive on. Then on 4 August 1944 members of the Nazi Security Service and Dutch policemen arrived, broke their way in and arrested them. Someone had betrayed them. They were taken off to a concentration camp and killed. There has been a great deal of speculation about who the betrayer was – but it remains unsolved.
But Jesus knew his betrayer and the disciples looked on in horror as Judas walked out of the crowd and kissed Jesus and the soldiers descended on him. A kiss. It was the worst thing he could have done. A kiss.
There is a beautiful statue of Our Lady and the child Jesus in the chapel of the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage. The statue was carved by Mother Maribel CSMV and shows the Holy Mother gently kissing the forehead of her child. It is a beautiful kiss of love – so different from this kiss of betrayal that Judas now inflicts on Jesus. The sign of love, the sign of devotion is scorned as the kiss becomes the sign, subverts the sign. But nothing will be as it seems this evening, for the forces of darkness are at work.
look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.