Kiss of Betrayal

There are holy kisses of Godly affection and there are unholy kisses. Christ would experience the unholy kiss of Judas, His friend turned betrayer. The Lord’s hour had come as foretold. The kiss of mockery and betrayal marked the descent of an hour of darkness. The devil entered the Apostle Judas as Jesus indicated at the Last Supper, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me (Matt 26:23).” Satan would have his hour but Christ has His Eternal Day.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss,” wrote Saint Paul to the Romans (Rom. 16:16), Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:20) and the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:26). Saint Peter wrote, “Greet one another with a kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14). A holy kiss expresses the affection of God’s love that has been poured into our hearts. In many cultures people greet one other with a kiss on each cheek. The holy kiss is a warm way of greeting one another with chaste affection for the family of Christ.
We can imagine that Jesus Christ cherished the tender kisses of love from His holy Mother Mary in His childhood years in Nazareth. Surely The Virgin Mary blessed Jesus with kisses on His holy face, chosen hands and feet like most mothers of children do. In Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem most likely the Lord received with joy the welcoming greeting of a holy kiss between friends and family. His Apostles took care to instruct the Church to greet one another with a holy kiss of love. Is this a reflection of what they learned from their Master who is Incarnate Love and with whom they enjoyed such a deep friendship?
The betrayal kiss of Judas took place on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus underwent unprecedented mortal agony. Christ suffered to the point of sweating blood—a medical condition called Hematidrosis. This is a very rare but real medical condition wherein a person’s sweat will contain blood. The most intense human pain causes this condition.
The word Gethsemane originates from a Hebrew expression Gat Shemen meaning olive press. Today the Church of All Nations stands near the foot of the Mount of Olives in Gethsemane. The Church is built over the Rock upon which Jesus agonized and prayed the night before His crucifixion. Adjacent to the Church of All Nations is the Garden of Gethsemane that still has eight ancient, gnarled olive trees. It is an evocative site for prayerful reflection and considered to be one of the most sacred places in the Church’s tradition. Matthew records, “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, as he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray’ (Matt. 26:36).”
A year ago I made a two-week private retreat to the Holy Land with a handful of people. Our priest leader scheduled us to have consecutive nightly private Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of All Nations. The central area of the Church features the Rock upon which Jesus agonized. Due to construction, Adoration was set up on a side altar to the left of the Rock. The Monstrance was placed in front of a huge, magnificent tile mosaic donated by the people of Ireland. The Kiss of Judas is exquisitely portrayed in the mosaic bringing the scripture scene to life.
During our evenings of hour long silent Adoration, I pondered Judas’ kiss of betrayal considering how Jesus experienced the hour that set into motion His passion and death. I pondered the Lord’s suffering over the kiss of a friend who sold Him for silver coins. Like the crucifixion, the betrayal of Judas was to fulfill the scriptures but it still caused unspeakable sting to the tender Sacred Heart of Jesus.
As I pondered the various forms of human betrayal I considered Christ’s pain that foreshadowed the suffering of every one who has been wounded by betrayal. How many covenants of marriage have been broken by kisses of infidelity? How many wonderful friendships break apart due to betrayal in some form? How many parents have betrayed their unborn child at an abortion mill? The lustful kisses of too many unholy liaisons betray human dignity and God’s law of love.
Sometimes in cases of deliverance and possession, priests and their teams encounter the spirit of Judas oppressing or possessing victims to lead them to betray Jesus and His Church. Temptations to betray Christ are many and varied. Through the ages too often His own disciples are the ones who kiss Him on the cheek and subsequently sell Him out for less than then thirty pieces of silver.
That night in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus felt the cold mockery of Judas’ kiss on His Holy Face, did His agony increase at the thought of all the kisses of betrayal that His Bride the Church would also endure throughout history? Did He compare the perfect fidelity of His holy parents, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, to the infidelity of His apostle whom He loved?
Perhaps the following poem captures some of Christ’s interior sentiments as He prayed in Gethsemane that night before His impending crucifixion. Let us draw close to Jesus as we enter the gate of the Mount of Olives.
O Desolate Garden

O night of agony

Drowning in sorrow

Piercing terror

O weight of the world

Sin so deadly

Humanity so fleeting

Death so promising

O tortuous sacrifice

O silent suffering

Darkness enveloping

Chill penetrating bones

Heart abandoned

Body trembling

Bloody sweat dripping

Father, take this cup from me

Not mine, but your will be done

O sin of all ages

Crushing weight upon me

Winds whisper torture

Death unlike any other

Surrender my soul, surrender

O Father, the hour has come

Glorify me that I glorify you

Eternal life purchased

Blood ransom paid

Receive my offering

Open the gate of life

Love’s agony

Man’s debt paid

O how I love

Alone I am

Drink the cup

Empty the chalice

Baptism of blood

Victory of love

Fiat, Abba!
Lord Jesus, please forgive us the times we betrayed Your friendship and love. Remember us Jesus when we venerate Your Cross with a kiss of love on Good Friday. Graciously bless us with Your divine kiss of healing mercy.
By Kathleen Beckman

Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S. is President and Co-Founder of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests (, a global apostolate of prayer and catechesis for the holiness of priests through spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. An international Catholic evangelist, author, radio host, Ignatian certified retreat director, she assists priests in the Church’s ministry of healing, deliverance and exorcism. She also serves in Pope Leo XIII Institute, Magnificat, and Radio Maria. Often featured on Catholic TV and radio such as EWTN, the Catholic Channel, and Ave Maria, she hosts the weekly program, “Eucharist, Mercy & Saints” which airs internationally on Radio Maria. She and her husband are business owners and have two grown sons. Sophia Institute Press published her two latest books: Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization (‘14) and God’s Healing Mercy: Finding Your Path to Forgiveness, Peace & Joy (‘15). Her reversion to the faith in 1991 came through the Eucharist and Mary. In her words, “The Eucharist is the heart of my life”. More at


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