The Way to the Cross: Day 35 of Lent
21 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.
also Matthew 27:32
27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
SIMON. Mark would not have mentioned Alexander and Rufus unless their names meant something to his readers -who traditionally were primarily the Christians in Rome. And Paul, writing to Roman Christians, sends greetings to “Rufus, an outstanding follower of the Lord, and to his mother, whom I call mother too.” This may well be the same Rufus. Both Paul and Mark could well be writing of Simon’s family. It can only be conjecture but it may well be that, being forced to share that burden, when he was probably on his way to the Temple, had a profound effect on Simon and his family.
Slowly through the narrow streets, you climb the long, slow hill of your love,
weakened by that flogging, staggering with the weight of that heavy beam, and on your strong shoulders all the burden of the world.
Simon, coming into the city, is horrified at the scene and looks with pity at your stumbling, Lord.
He must have been afraid
when they grabbed him from the crowd and made him carry your cross.
We know little else about him, Lord.
When you reached the hill, did he stay to watch or slip trembling away as soon as he could?
Did this unexpected path change his life’s direction?
Did he see you crucified and hear your prayer; and did he (and his family) come to faith?
We pray for all who carry heavy burdens or share another’s;
for those who stumble under what they have to bear, or find it hard to keep going…
and we pray help for them.
Give us the grace to bear one another’s burdens; and if our life takes an unexpected turn, help us to keep on following you.