V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.
Yesterday in station four we went over how Mary faithfully stayed with Jesus through his passion. She felt his pain. His passion was her passion. Today we arrive at station five where Simon the Cyrenian helps Jesus carry his cross. In Matthew chapter twenty-seven we read,
“As they were marching out, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it” Matthew 27:32-34
In The Way Of The Cross by Saint Alphonsus Liguori he considers that Jesus was on the point of expiring.The Roman soldiers saw that Jesus was weak, dripping blood and sweat, dehydrated, and in need of help. They didn’t think he would make it to Calvary on his own so they found someone to carry the cross with him. In the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible it says that,
“Roman garrisons [the troops stationed in a fortress or town to defend it] in NT Palestine claimed the right to recruit Jews for temporary service,”
and this is where Simon comes in.
At first glance we don’t get much information about Simon. It doesn’t say anywhere in scripture what he did as a profession, who his friends were, or why exactly he was in Jerusalem during this time. However, when we dig a bit deeper it does say in Mark’s account that he had two sons: one named Alexander and the other Rufus. We also know that Simon was from a town called Cyrene, which today is in modern day Libya, North Africa. In the Catholic Bible Dictionary edited by Dr. Scott Hahn we read that,
“There was a Jewish community at Cyrene from the time of Ptolemy I 1Maccabees 15:23 2Maccabees 2:23 and the Jews of Cyrene had their own synagogue in Jerusalem Acts 6:9 and were present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost” Acts 2:10
Simon was most likely a pilgrim to the Passover in Jerusalem.
After reflecting upon all of this, we begin to see a theme that is happening in Jesus’ passion. He is meeting people along the way and they are are helping him fulfill God’s will for his life. How humble Jesus is. He is God, yet he has us help him make his journey to the cross. Even now, years later, he still wants us to be by his side in these intimate and agonizing last moments of his life.
He humbly asks us to be there to encourage and comfort him when he needs a friend the most- at the moment of death. In divine providence Simon was the one called upon to help Jesus when he was most in need.
Can you relate to this?
Who has God put in your life to help you carry your cross?
I can think of the people who are in my life now who are helping me. The friends, family, and co-workers in your life are not coincidental. Ask God to reveal to you how you are called to be Simon to them and vice versa.
God bless you sister.
Dear Jesus You go to die For very love of me; Let me bear you company; I wish to die with You. -Saint Alphonsus Liguori