Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Listen to this scripture passage & reflection, and pray along with us…
We adore You, O Christ, and bless You… 
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world. 

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Mark 15: 21

In this verse, we are presented with the appearance of someone named Simon of Cyrene, who is forced by the Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry the cross. We do not know the full story of Simon, but just from the brief words about him there are several powerful messages for us today. Three things in particular stand out as significant to me in this passage.

One, just like Simon, there are a lot of things that happen in our lives that are unexpected. Simon was on his way somewhere else and suddenly finds himself in the middle of carrying the Cross of Jesus. Sometimes in life we proceed down one path, but God leads us down another, sometimes in an unexpected direction. Do we accept God’s path, or resist for our own direction?

Two, we know from history that someone who is being led to crucifixion typically carries only the horizontal beam, not the full cross. I think that is a good reminder in our daily lives that God only gives us the burden to carry that He knows we can handle. He never gives us the full weight of the cross to carry. Just like with Simon, Jesus is always by our side ready to help if we are open to His presence.

Three, Mark specifically mentions Simon as the father of Alexander and Rufus. It is interesting that Mark would know this detail of a random stranger on his way to somewhere else. I think by adding the words “the father of Alexander and Rufus” it shows that Simon was someone special, that he was not just an unknown passer-by but known by some in the crowd. I think no matter how anonymous and unimportant we may feel in the world, we all have that same importance and special meaning in the eyes of God.

grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be to the Father...

Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites heaven and earth, and reconciles all people to you.  May we who have faithfully reflected on the mysteries of Your passion follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  

Lord Jesus Christ... crucified... have mercy on us.  

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

By Peter Grable