Monday, March 1, 2010

The Way of the Cross - 6th Station

Veronica Wipes The Face Of Jesus

Psalm 31:16
Let your face shine on your servant, save me in your faithful love.

2Cor 4:6
It is God who said, ‘let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone into our hearts to enlighten them with the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.

Tradition tells us of an episode in which a woman steps out of the crowd, perhaps in a calm moment amid the storm of abuse and insults, which rain upon Jesus. Tradition calls her Bernice. And she is known to us a Veronica – a name deriving from the Latin for True and the Greek for Image.

John Paul II tells us in Novo Millennio Ineunte that ‘In order to bring man back to the Father’s face, Jesus not only had to take on the face of man, but he had to burden himself with the face of sin.”

Blood, sweat, spittle and dirt cover the Saviour’s face. The human countenance of the Almighty God, so longed for by the Patriarch’s and Prophets who sought his face, that face which must have radiated such majesty, such beauty, such tenderness, is by now disfigured grotesquely and veiled by the effects of sin. Those who lined the streets of Jerusalem not a week beforehand to catch a glimpse of the famous prophet and healer, the wonderworker from Galilee, those same people would not recognise this man now, nor would they wish to look upon that face, so disfigured did he look. Perhaps, this woman was there on Palm Sunday and had caught a glimpse of him. Now she steps forward, and in a simple gesture she looks beyond the appearance and seeks to get to the reality. “I long to see your face.” And tradition tells us that her reward for the compassion she showed to the Lord in his Passion is that he imprinted his image on her cloth. And in a similar way, the Lord will also imprint his image on the souls of those who meditate on and participate in his Passion.

Lord help us to look beyond appearances to the reality. When something looks all wrong, help us to see that you are present in that too; somewhere to be found by those with the patience, faith and desire to see your hand at work in all things, even the worst of things. For though all things are not necessarily willed by you, all things are permitted by you and will ultimately serve your purposes. Father, give us the faith to give thanks to you in all things, seeing in these the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. (Cf. 1 Thess 5:18)

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