The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Without any fear of public opinion, Veronica rushes out from the crowd and presses her veil to the bleeding, sweaty and filthy face of Jesus. She can’t do much, but she offers what little help she can.  What will people think of her as she breaks rank to tend to this lawbreaker, to someone living on the fringe of society, to this convicted felon? She rejected the standards of society because she saw dignity in the face of this condemned man for whom she did not know.

What would we do for a loved one?  Would we run into a burning building? Would we dive into turgid flood waters? Would we ignore hospital visitation rules? Would we fly across the country at a moments notice? Would we stand between them and a vicious animal? Would we break the ranks of a barricade as Veronica did? We would do anything for someone we love, just as Veronica did for Jesus?

Sometimes we fail to notice the needs around us. Sometimes our own family members crave our attention, and we don’t even seem to notice. Sometimes a co-worker, friend, or family member could use help or understanding, but we don’t reach out to help lest we be criticized, or fear that they’ll demand more of us than we’d like to give.

When my mother was dying from emphysema I took two months off to take care of her.  During the final two weeks of her life she was in a morphine induced sleep. I never left her side. I propped her pillows, rolled her over, gave her sponge baths, brushed her hair, I sang and read to her. I even slept on the floor beside her bed each night. It was both the most difficult and beautiful event of my life and I would do it all over again.

The name “Veronica” comes from two Latin words, “true” and “image.” After Veronica wiped the face of Jesus, her veil was in imprinted with an image of Jesus’ face.  I have photographs and memories of my mother imprinted in my mind and heart so that I can remember her.  I am now more inclined to be patient, forgiving and understanding to strangers because of the gift of love I experienced while caring for my mother.  May we see the face of Christ on every person we meet, to love and serve them all the days of our lives.

O God, help us see the needs of others as being as important as our own needs. Remind us to go out of our way to be helpful, even if we’re not asked. Help us to not be concerned about what others may think of us as we take the road less traveled, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Finding leads to losing
losing let’s you find
living leads to dying
but life leaves death behind
-Ken  Medema.

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