James Tissot, A Holy Woman Wipes Jesus’s Face
Fact or fable? Does it matter to me today? I confess not.
Tissot reminds me this Holy Maundy Thursday to help others in their time of desperate need.
We belong to one another. One grand universal family who one day will meet this Jesus in
his eternal home. I simply can’t wait.
Maundy Thursday 2016
Today we reflect on so many aspects of Jesus’s journey towards the agony of the Cross: The Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s arrest, Peter’s denial, the flogging of Jesus, Jesus before Pilate and Herod. Agony. Sheer agony.
Most devotions lead you to this place: Luke 22:1-71.
As I read and reread this passage, filled with everything Jesus did for me and for you, I am deeply moved.
Today, I remember a story from my childhood that rests sweetly with me today.
One Woman’s Merciful Act
My First Holy Communion with Sister John Maureen.
I remember the story and the activity so clearly.
Her name was Veronica. A holy woman who wiped the face of Jesus as he walked the Via Dolorosa.
I never questioned the validity, only listened with little six-year old ears and a highly sensitive spirit.
Somehow, someway, we took a square piece of muslin cloth, I believe, and etched or drew or painted the face of Christ on it. I believe we may have been reenacting Veronica’s gesture of wiping the sweated brow of Jesus.
We then held it up, quite possibly as it is being held in Hans Memling’s painting (c. 1470), and recited something. I can’t remember the details, only the ethereal visage of the face of Christ. And, the tender story of a woman who cared deeply about a man’s suffering.
What do you believe?
Late last week, I shared a story about a challenging conversation I had during an interview.
I was asked, “What do you believe? What is your theology?”
I had shared about my faith journey and so it was an honest question.
He continued, “Catholic? Charismatic? Reformed?”
I froze, again.
Spare the details. They are not important. My answer, at that time, not important.
After days and days of wrestling with his question, I’ve concluded: Yes. Yes. Yes.
I am who I am because of the faith tradition I was raised in (Catholic), the faith tradition I chose in college (Charismatic), and the faith tradition my husband and I have chosen (Presbyterian). Each tradition layering highly significant truth and meaning to who I am right now.
I’m not done wrestling, but I do know this.
I love Jesus.
I am who I am because of the sacrifice he made for me on the Cross.
He made that sacrifice for you, too.
And for that, I give thanks.