Lent Day 13 // Simon Helps Jesus Carry his Cross Part 2

Image by Beautiful Light Photography

Image by Beautiful Light Photography

V. We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. 

R. Because by Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Simon helping Jesus carry his cross is not only mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel, but also in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. It seems that Simon must have been kind of important to have been mentioned by name in three of four accounts of the passion.

Some biblical scholars say that,“his son Rufus may have been a well-known member of the early Roman Church” Romans 16:13 (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible). Perhaps he was familiar with Jesus then?In Luke’s account of Simon helping Jesus we read a line that is not mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. Luke writes, “And as they led him away, they seized one 

Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus” Romans 16:26 This extra line, “to carry it behind Jesus,” is a symbol of faithful discipleship. Earlier in Luke chapter nine there is a similar emphasis on picking up one’s own cross in order to be a follower of Jesus. We read, “And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it" Luke 9:23  Luke 14:27

Spiritually speaking, Simon was a sinner like us all, and therefore not one hundred percent innocent. But from what we gather from the Gospel accounts, it doesn’t really say what he was doing when he got pulled into contact with a convicted criminal. Jesus was the first innocent man accused and condemned and now Simon is sharing in that condemnation. Here we have two innocent men walking together in solidarity. I wonder if they spoke to each other. What words were exchanged- if any? 

Simon had no idea that he would meet his Creator that day. I think it absolutely changed his life. Simon, like Mary, didn’t run away from Jesus on the cross. Maybe he wanted to at the very beginning. I like to think that at first Simon was angry and confused when the Roman soldiers ordered him to carry the cross with Jesus. But as time went on, he had a change of heart. He embraced the cross with its splinters. He was able to share in the pain that Jesus endured willingly. 

Spit was on his face, he was being whipped by the lashes that missed Jesus, he felt the weight of the cross, and he even endured the screaming and hitting. What did Simon do to deserve such treatment? Well, he was walking... 

Do you ever feel like Simon? Like, you somehow happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and everything seems to be going wrong that could be going wrong?

The Why Me Pity Committee starts to whisper in your ear. It's just a downward emotional spiral after that of, “Poor me, boo hoo.” But then once you take a step back from the emotional rollercoaster you realize that the seeming unfairness of the situation was actually a blessing in disguise.

Reflection

We can look at life in one of two ways. We can take our sufferings as a punishment or curse and cry about them or we can view them as grace. St. Therese says,

“All things are grace,” and I agree.

The Holy Spirit reminds me of this daily. Simon being forced to carry the cross behind Jesus was a blessing in disguise. His life was saved because of it. I pray we can love and embrace our crosses with this attitude of gratitude.

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