Luke the Evangelist tells us that “moaning women accompanied Jesus” during His Calvary. These women were Jesus’ followers. Women Jesus had attracted to Himself, His love, and true life, leading them out of sin and slavery to sin and death. Those women loved and followed Jesus. They took care of Him and never left Him till the last moment of His crucifixion. The Fathers of the Church say that those women are “the Christ’s suffering skin,” grieving Christ’s pain, already crucified with Him.
There are women who are crying on the Via Dolorosa, they are among us, they lament a dying life. Our sisters cry and they do so in the silence of their battered bodies, crying out for mercy, crying out the absence of Jesus’ salvation.
Popular piety tells us that during the Calvary a woman took courage and approached Jesus to wipe His face disfigured by pain. Each disfigured face is waiting to be transfigured by love, to find the beauty, the dignity, and the scent of glory, because “every man is God’s living glory” (St. Irenaeus). That man, Jesus, the Son of Man, is “the fairest of the sons of men”: Veronica recognizes Him as the Lord, the beautiful and good Lord, crushed by human suffering.
Veronica teaches us that love does not give up, that love goes beyond appearances, beyond heartless legalism, beyond respectability without intelligence. It goes beyond sin to recognize grace, it goes beyond death to recognize life, it goes beyond indifference to recognize the fraternity.
Tonight, Veronica is a light that lights up like hope along the dark journey of our life. Each of us is Veronica and can pick up the handkerchief, with our heart, and gently, tenderly – like Pope Francis reminds every single day – place it on the faces, the lives, the stories, and the fate of our enslaved sisters. And the miracle is that on this handkerchief we will see the imprinted face of Jesus! He lives in them and is waiting to be recognized in each one of them. One day, the Day of Judgment, He will tell us, calling us by name: “Savior… you did it to me” (cf. Mt 25, 40). Let us take this handkerchief like Veronica, and if there is the face of Jesus imprinted on it, it is a sign that we have not yet wiped his bloody face from the faces of our suffering sisters.
We must start from prayer again, so the Lord will change our hearts, open our eyes and mind, remove the chains from our will, which make us helpless in front of evil. Pray, because in prayer we can find solutions to free the slaves, otherwise it will not be a Jubilee. Jesus cries out: “I came to give deliverance to the captives and freedom to the oppressed.”
These abandoned women cry out for mercy. Their abandoned children cry out for mercy. Their abandoned families cry out for mercy. A cry rises also from the unborn children of these women who will not become mothers because their bodies are offered to generate pleasure, not life.
Feel the voice of God, the jubilee of God that cries of joy for every daughter who “was dead and has come back to life, who was lost and was found.” That is when these women will turn into tears of joy, resurrection, and life that gives life.
Taken from a speech during the “Via Crucis in Support of Crucified Women”