When Judas led the mob to Jesus, he betrayed Him with a kiss:
Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. -Mark 14:43-46, NAB
A kiss is a sign of the love and respect that we have for someone. Whether it is a spouse, child, family member, or close friend, few things show our love for someone better than a kiss. It was by no accident, then, that Judas chose to betray Jesus with a kiss.
There are many theories of why Judas betrayed Jesus, but we will never really know for sure. It could have been greed, anger, or disappointment that Jesus was not leading the revolt that he had hoped for. Regardless of Judas’ motives, none could justify what he had done.
Are we like Judas? Do we profess our love for Christ but then betray Him? Sadly, yes. We often speak of our love for Christ yet betray Him with our actions. We claim that we love Him each week at Mass, but do our actions outside of the parish reflect that?
Judas is the ultimate symbol of a hypocrite and betrayer. He is infamous for his actions. We have made a villain of Judas, but are we any better? Every time we sin, we betray Jesus. Every time we choose our own will over God’s, we show our hypocrisy.
Recognizing our sinfulness does not mean that we should stop trying. We may fail to live up to our words, but we should always strive to do better. That is what repentance is all about. A repentant heart acknowledges mistakes and makes an effort to do better. Even if we fail again, we never stop trying.
When Judas sinned against Jesus, he gave up and hung himself (Matthew 27:3-5). When Peter and the other Apostles failed Christ, they overcame their sinfulness and led the early Church. We, too, have the same choice. We can either give up on life or pick ourselves up, turn our lives around, and do our best not to sin again.
What will you do? Will you let your past sins weigh you down, or will you decide to receive God’s grace and start your life anew again? Choose wisely; this may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.