LOCKDOWN LENT 3 STATION 5
THE FIFTH STATION:
SIMON OF CYRENE BEARS THE BURDEN OF THE CROSS ON THE WAY.
“As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus.” (Lk. 23:26)
"They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus." (Mark 15:21)
Simon is pulled from the crowd and enlisted to help Jesus.
Consider the crosses that we carry, and that others are carrying, think about what it means to help another person to carry their cross.
It could be a simple as a smile, a warm "hello", or just a simple wave to a lonely neighbour or someone in isolation..
It could be a “thank you” to the supermarket assistant regulating the queue at the shop door, or to the person at the checkout, carrying their crosses of abuse as people are impatient with waiting.
It could be leaving a thank-you note with the dustbins as the bin men continue their job.
It could be a donation to a food bank,
or a generous listening ear for someone who is in despair.
To pick up the cross of another costs us time, energy, sometimes money.
And it transforms us – somehow our own crosses diminish when we shoulder the burden of another.
Jesus shows us what that looks like,
and Simon shows us how we can step-in to help.
For whom can you be Simon of Cyrene, in this pandemic?
Who needs help to carry their cross?
Pause for a moment of quiet prayer and reflection
You met each other as strangers.
That is to say, you both were strange.
One of you estranged by deed beyond acceptance, the other picked unerring from the concealing crowd.
But both of you were used to bearing burdens, had grown accustomed to the lash upon your back.
Was it strange, to know the greatest tenderness that there could be
would be to lean upon this strange man’s strength.
How often did you ache to lean upon a strong man’s strength and find that all your men relied on you?
Strange, that at the end, such tenderness should come in this strange way, from one a stranger to you. Kathy Galloway
Simon the Cyrene, a stranger in the city, did not know Jesus.
But that did not matter. What matters here is that in this moment of need
Simon was capable of lending his shoulders
to one whose own had given out, of offering his strength
to one who had nothing left,
of taking on himself the cross,
which Jesus could no longer carry.
Lord, help us to grasp opportunities to be a Simon where we are.
In times when we can help,
let us have the generosity to do so.
May we continue the spirit of Simon
through our support of agencies working to alleviate suffering in our world.
May we have the humility to accept the Simons along our road
who reach out to help us in our moments of need.