V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we
From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 53:2-3
He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised and we esteemed him not.
When Veronica wiped the face of Jesus with a cloth, that face must certainly not have been attractive, it was a disfigured face. And yet that face could not leave one indifferent, it was disturbing. It might provoke mockery and contempt, but also compassion, and even love, a desire to offer assistance. Veronica is the symbol of these emotions.
However disfigured, the face of Jesus nonetheless remains the face of the Son of God. It is a face marred by us, by the endless accumulation of human malice. But it is also a face marred for us, a face which expresses the loving sacrifice of Jesus and mirrors the infinite mercy of God the Father.
In the suffering face of Jesus we also see another accumulation: that of human suffering. And so Veronica’s gesture of pity becomes a challenge to us, an urgent summons. It becomes a gentle but insistent demand not to turn away but to look with our own eyes at those who suffer, whether close at hand or far away. And not merely to look, but also to help. Tonight’s Way of the Cross will not be fruitless, if it leads us to practical acts of love and active solidarity.
Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
Quis non posset contristari,
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