Sixth Station of the Cross: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
– Jesus, Luke 17.33
In medieval times it became a popular belief that a woman named Veronica fought her way through crowds to Jesus to wipe the blood from his face. Whether it is true or not, just like the parables that Jesus told, there is a meaningful message behind the story. And as Christians, it’s important that we don’t choke out Truth by obsessing over fact.
For instance, the story of evolution doesn’t somehow make the Truth in our creation story irrelevant. Genesis (and all Scripture) reveals a Reality to our hearts and was never meant to merely be a scientific argument. “For the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. A man looks at the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 12.7) So, Scripture and the traditions handed down to us should be searched for a Truth that speaks to and of the heart of matters, which informs the meaning of facts. It’s why Jesus almost always spoke in made-up parables.
Applying this method of thought to the Stations of the Cross and placing myself at the scene of Jesus’ walk to the crucifixion, in the midst of all the anger, confusion, self-righteous indignation, and the humility of Christ, it’s difficult to imagine what role I’d be playing. Would I just be an observer? Would I be a persecutor? Would I be lamenting and grieving with the group primarily consisting of women? I guess, if I’m honest, sometimes it just comes down to what day of the week it is.
This story of Veronica wiping the blood from Jesus’ face is meaningful to me because, in the midst of the crowds and everything happening, she was concerned with the face of Christ. Am I concerned with the face of Jesus amid the busyness of my day and circumstances?
Are we concerned with the face of Jesus in our lives above the busyness and clamoring of the crowd? If we are, we will instinctively push through circumstances toward Christ and loving, compassionate, selfless action. It is dramatically counter-cultural, and a reality within our grasp when we concern ourselves with Christ above all else.
“Christ Jesus, grant me the eyes and heart to see you through all things and in all things.” (Colossians 3)