The cross has become such a burden for Jesus that he’s barely able to continue to Golgotha. The soldiers grow impatient.
Realizing that their repeated beatings are doing no good in pushing him to get going, the soldiers pull a man from the crowd. They force him to help Jesus with the cross.
Simon likely had no idea of the privilege he’d just been given.
If he was like most of the rest of the crowd, he’d assumed that Jesus was just another criminal on his way to crucifixion. How could he possibly have known that it was the Savior of the world beneath that cross?
I think about this often when I pray the Stations of the Cross.
If I had lived at that time, if I had been standing along Calvary, would I have known who Jesus really was? I’m not so sure. For that reason, I’m grateful to live in this time and place and to have been gifted with my Catholic faith.
I was told Jesus is the Crucified One and I believed.
God made it simple for me.
But there are other people who are carrying crosses in the present time. They are representations of our Lord carrying his own cross and oftentimes, I don’t recognize them. Or, I do recognize them and I make excuses not to help them.
There are no soldiers to pull me from the crowd and force me to help. The onus is on me whether to help the Christ in my fellow man or turn my back on him. Then I miss the privilege of helping someone else carry his or her cross for the sake of the Savior of the world who carried his cross for my sake.
So, today as I pray the Fifth Station – Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross – I’ll be asking myself, “Whose Simon of Cyrene are you?”
Whose Simon of Cyrene are you?