And bearing the cross for himself, He went forth to the place called the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha (John 19:17)
As we continue our Lenten journey in this Holy Week, we are reminded of the meaning of the Passion of Christ – the humiliation of the King of kings, to awaken in us the need for true conversion, not just for the sake of my soul but also of many who may be lost because “there is not one to pray and make sacrifice for them”.
Our Lord Jesus, on the way to Golgotha endured as much suffering as was possible. He had no intension of alleviating His suffering in any way, not even by the consolation of the presence of His Mother. He has endured the scourging, the crowing with thorns, the humiliation before Pilate and He has carried the Cross-half way to Calvary. Our Blessed Mother came through another gate, walking as fast as She could to have a glimpse of Her son on this excruciating journey to Golgotha. She saw Him for the first time as He turned a corner and fell. She was only a few feet away. It is impossible to imagine the agony that pierced Her Heart as She saw Her Son disfigured by the scourging, the crown of thorns, by the blood, and the Cross crushing Him into the dirt and filth of the road. But this meeting of Our Blessed Mother with Jesus brought a very radical change in the passion: first we observe the soldiers suddenly lift the cross from His shoulders and laid it upon Simon of Cyrene, then Veronica comes to wipe His face, and then a whole group of women weeping for Him.
As vivid as this recount of the Passion is, the question to bear in mind in these last days of the lent (and in fact beyond) is: how am I going to stand beside Mary in the way of Christ’s Passion in our time, as He drags the Cross through the passion of sin in every part of the world, most especially in my own country, in my own city, even in my neighborhood? Can I see the bleeding face of Christ in someone whom I know does not attend the Sacrament or an unbeliever requiring the Gospel message? Will I be the Veronica with the towel of grace to help the soul? Will I see the passion of Christ in the blasphemies that I hear during my daily work, the offenses against Christ all around me? By living out the gospel message to their fullest, myself, I know I will obtain an increase of grace on the world. And I can go out and get others to do the same. And together, we will be the Veronicas, the Simons, the women weeping on the way, and we will obtain from Christ the words that make us realize that we weep not just for suffering man, but for the sins which cause this suffering.