Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Veronica does not appear in the Gospels. Her name is not mentioned, even though the names of other women who accompanied Jesus do appear.
It is possible, therefore, that the name refers more to what the woman did. In fact, according to tradition, on the road to Calvary a woman pushed her way through the soldiers escorting Jesus and with a veil wiped the sweat and blood from the Lord’s face. That face remained imprinted on the veil, a faithful reflection, a “true icon”. This would be the reason for the name Veronica.
If this is so, the name which evokes the memory of what this woman did carries with it the deepest truth about her.

One day, Jesus drew the criticism of onlookers when he defended a sinful woman who had poured perfumed oil on his feet and dried them with her hair. To those who objected, he replied: “Why do you trouble this woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me . . . In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial” (Mt 26:10, 12). These words could likewise be applied to Veronica.
Thus we see the profound eloquence of this event.
The Redeemer of the world presents Veronica with an authentic image of his face. The veil upon which the face of Christ remains imprinted becomes a message for us.
In a certain sense it says: This is how every act of goodness, every gesture of true love towards one’s neighbour, strengthens the likeness of the Redeemer of the world in the one who acts that way.
Acts of love do not pass away. Every act of goodness, of understanding, of service leaves on people’s hearts an indelible imprint and makes us ever more like the One who “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7).
This is what shapes our identity and gives us our true name.


Lord Jesus Christ,
you accepted a woman’s
selfless gesture of love,
and in exchange ordained
that future generations should remember her
by the name of your face.
Grant that our works
and the works of all who will come after us
will make us like unto you
and will leave in the world the reflection
of your infinite love.
To you, O Jesus, splendour of the Father’s glory,
be praise and glory for ever.

R. Amen.


Our Father . . .

Stabat Mater:

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s untold pain?