“[Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources” (Luke 8:1-3)
There are many women in the crowd. Kindness inspires one of them to come and wipe my face. This makes me think of so many other encounters. One was just a week ago. I went to dinner in Bethany, as the guest of my friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Mary anointed my feet with perfume made of pure nard. I said, to her surprise, that she should keep it for my burial.
I can also remember sitting beside the well in Sychar. I was tired and thirsty. A Samaritan woman then came by, carrying a water jar. I asked her for water. I spoke to her about water which springs up to eternal life. She seemed to be waiting for this gift, to open her heart. She wanted to tell me everything about herself. I saw her, in amazement, delving into her conscience. And she returned home speaking of me and saying: “Could he be the Messiah?”.
Lord Jesus, we pray that we may recognise Your face in those around us, especially those who have need of our attention and help. Sometimes an open eye or ear is attention enough. May Your face, stained by blood and sweated, inspire us to love for our neighbours.