Speaking to the Soul – April 7

Kissing and the cross

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. St Matthew 26 : 75

We kiss only those we love. A sign of intimacy, friendship, trust, love, and, sometimes, desire. To be betrayed by a kiss is the ultimate act of treachery undermining the kiss’s meaning.

Many of us know what it is to be betrayed by a kiss. Relationships can end unexpectedly, hurtfully, and angrily. We may find that kisses were given without meaning, real love, or commitment. There again, we may be the one who betrayed a lover. We may have kissed treacherously, desiring more than was legitimate, taking what we ought not to have taken.

Today we reflect on betrayal and kissing; the intimacy of treachery and the bonds of love nurtured in Eucharist. Jesus, knowing that Judas would betray him, that Peter would deny him, and that the disciples would desert him, still shared in the intimacy of the Eucharist with them. He offered not just the simple things of bread and wine but his own self as food, sustenance, symbol, sign and sacrament. Broken bread and broken relationships find a place at the Lord’s table. Wine, like love, is poured out and offered as a way to wholeness.

When Judas betrayed Jesus he was still named as “friend”. Even in the moment of betrayal there was forgiveness on offer. Too late did Judas come to repent of what he’d done and, in the horror and guilt of the moment, he despaired believing that his kiss betrayed him forever. If only he’d dared hope; if only he’d remembered Jesus’ teaching.

In our loving and believing, our kissing and worshipping, and in our sharing and arguing we can choose either to betray or to commit. When we’ve made the wrong choice we can, like Judas, despair or, like Peter, turn back to Christ.


let my kisses be loving,
my loving be loyal,
and my loyalty be holy.