+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Ninth Meditation Of The Kiss Of Judas
GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 31 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 15. The Arrest of Christ (Kiss Of Judas)
And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast.Mt.xxvi.
The great name of an Apostle were with Judas was honored, is now turned into the name of a traitor, and so this name, Judas, which amongst the ancient Israelites was most honorable, is become through detestation of that sin most ignominious amongst Christians. This is the fruit of sin, that good men avoid all conversation with the wicked.
Consider the careful diligence of this traitor, who lest he should not have his money, taught them the way how to apprehend him, and also how to keep him, and so a master of virtue, he became a master of iniquity: He was before sent, for the conversion of people, now he teacheth others to destroy the Author of life. Thou dost learn hereby the quality of sin, which resteth not in this, to make a man a sinner, but proceedeth further, to make him also a teacher of wickedness. Pray thou unto God that he never suffer thee to be drawn from him, lest thou fall into sin like Judas.
And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi. And he kissed him. Mt.xxvi.
Here admire the goodness of Christ, who admitted him to kiss him, whom he knew to be a traitor. Neither do thou flatter thy self, if thou best called into Religion, or by Gods permission exalted to divine mysteries, Ecclesiastical offices, or Holy functions & dignities; because Christ doth suffer thee, as he suffered the kiss of Judas. It seemeth that the Apostles used to kiss Christ, when they came from any strange place: For otherwise Judas would not have dared to do it, & Christ objected unto the Pharisee, saying (thou hast not given me a kiss.) Here thou mayest learn the facility of Christ in admitting sinners, and his great desire to be with the sons of men. Come therefore with great confidence, for he will never reject thee, who admitted a traitor.
Secondly do all things sincerely, for he betray Christ with a kiss, which under pretence of holiness deceiveth his neighbors; and he which receiveth the body of our Lord in the Eucharist, with an unclean heart, is guilty of the body & blood of our Lord, which he putteth into the fowl sink of his naughty conscience.
And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss? Lk.xxii.
Mark every word, (friend) First hitherto thou hast been a friend: Secondly thou commest in the habit of a Friend, offering a kiss, a token of love: Thirdly I do not hate thee, but offer thee reconciliation, & am ready to shed my blood & to offer my death also for thy sake, which I must now suffer, if thou thy self wilt. I desire not hat thou shouldest deliver me out of the hands of these Jews for I am born to that end to suffer death, but that thou shouldest repent thee, of this thy great sin, & return into grace and favor.
(Wherefore art thou come.) First I am not ignorant with what mind thou art come hither, I have searched already into the bottom of thy heart: return again therefore unto thy self for I thy Judge am not ignorant of thy fraud. Thou wretch, whiter art thou fallen? Late an Apostle now a traitor; of late a principal pillar of the Church, no chiefest amongst Thieves: Behold thine own baseness, & now at least repent thee of thy fault.
(Judas) If thou likest not thy name of a friend, because thou wilt not be a friend, yet hear me calling thee in my accustom manner. Secondly remember thy ancient parents, Judas the Patriarch, and Judas Machabeus, from whose manners thou doest degenerate.
(The Son of man) him who is admirably the son of man, begotten in heaven by his only Father, & born in earth by his only mother, who did never any evil unto thee, but laboured three & thirty whole years for thy sake, & is now ready to die for thee: what cause have I given thee, that thou shouldest betray me an innocent?
(with a kiss) thou doest abuse the sign of peace, & turn it to a mark of treason; as Joab in times past kissing Amasa, killed him. Thou knowest, that nothing is more dear to me, then to be joined in firm love thee, & doest thou convert this conjunction of love to my death.
(dost thou betray) doest thou give me to them, that hate me deadly, which will do me all manner of hurt, & which will never be satisfied with my miseries?
Admire in all these things the benignity of Christ & imitate it: suffer with thy Lord, who suffered so many indignities by his servant, on whom he had bestowed so many benefits , and never hurt him in any thing; & considering what, & how effectually he spake for the conversion of wicked traitor, thou mayest be assured he will never forsake thee, if thou commest unto him with a contrite heart.
Pray therefore to Christ, that he will remain thy friend, and give thee grace to suffer all injuries patiently, and to love them, that offer any unto thee.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616