July 20, 2016

The Gift of a Moist Towelette to a Dying Man

I was looking through my D.C. pics and came again to the wall-hanging of St. Veronica receiving the image of Christ.

Whatever the historicity, it occurs to me how incredibly disproportionate and thus God-like, the response. She wipes the face of Jesus on the road to Calvary, a tiny, almost infinitesimal relief given the suffering he was enduring. It's not as though Jesus had merely mowed the lawn on a hot summer day and someone offered him a moist towelette and a lemonade. He was in extremis.

But I was touched by how he offered something of himself far greater than what she gave him, a "souvenir" par excellence, and something supernatural.  We give the natural and he gives the supernatural.

I thought about how I always mistake Jesus as expecting incredible things when, perhaps this day, he asks only that I smile at a stranger. Or refuse a haughty moment, a look of lust. He can multiply the loaves and fishes and can multiply the smallest actions. Thank God.


    In a weak person, power becomes cruelty;
    a sense of inferiority
    is carried to the level of brutishness.
    God has no sense of inferiority.
    God is sovereign.
    God can do all,
    and so he judges even his felons,
    even his sinners,
    with kindness and mercy.
    But this just and merciful God also sanctions,
    because his mercy is not weakness.
       –Archbishop Oscar Romero

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