1633 Waverly Road | Pawleys Island, SC 29585

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Precious Blood

Pawleys Island

Pastor’s Corner

Gospel Reflection for

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

The Actress Who Played Veronica

The Passion is God saying to us: “No matter what you do, I will keep on loving you. I will never let you down.” This was experienced in a powerful way by the actress who played the role of Veronica in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.

She was an Italian actress in her early thirties. Although she had grown up Catholic, she had long ago stopped practicing her faith. At the time when they began filming, she was at a spiritual low point in her life. She explained later that she really wanted to believe in Jesus, but she simply couldn’t.

Her scene in the movie is memorable. Jesus is carrying his cross to Calvary, and he falls for the third or fourth time.  The crowds surge around him, abusing him as he lies on the ground.  The soldiers try to control the crowds.

Gliding through the middle of this confusion is Veronica.  She looks at him with love and devotion. She kneels down beside him and says, “Lord, permit me.”  She takes a white cloth and wipes his blood and sweat-stained face.  Then she offers him a drink. It is a beautiful moment of intimacy in the middle of violent suffering.

It was hard to film that scene.  The churning crowd kept bumping into Veronica and disrupting the moment of intimacy.  So they had to film it over and over again.

That was providential.  After fifteen or twenty times of kneeling before the suffering Christ, looking into his eyes, and calling him Lord, the actress felt something start to melt inside her.  Later, she explained that while she looked into his eyes, she found that she was able to believe. “For a moment,” she said, “I believed!”

That experience lit the flame of hope in her darkened heart.

This is what Christ wants to do in his Passion, to convince us that we can believe in him, that no matter how confusing and difficult and painful life may be, and no matter how many times we may fail or even sin, he is still loving us,  he is trustworthy.

That’s the message of the Passion. And it’s the message that each of us, wounded and sinful as we are, most needs to hear.

We have to learn to trust God more and more in order to be transformed by him into the kind of person we know we should be.

(From ePriest – April 2023)