Simon of Cyrene is, we are told, ‘coming in from the fields’, when he comes across the crowd taking Jesus to Calvary.
We don’t know what his plans were for the day:
why was he returning at that time of day?
what was he wanting to do?
And, quite unexpectedly, he finds himself thrown into events that he doesn’t choose.
Probably this carrying the cross had a great impact on Simon.
We are told in Mark’s Gospel that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus, so presumably he and his family later became known to the disciples of Jesus and maybe became followers themselves.
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus bring about our salvation by helping him carry his cross. Jesus needs us to help him carry his Cross, to help bear the crosses of those suffering in our world.
Nothing more is know about Simon other than he helped Jesus to carry the cross, and was subsequently known by the disciples of Jesus, as were two of his sons.
Come to me, all you who labour and are over-burdened, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
Mark 15: New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
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. 22
Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23
And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24
And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them,
casting lots to decide what each should take.
Thought for the Day
Tolerance is a much lauded virtue but it can mean keeping our distance, “you do what you want as long as you let me do what I want”. But the Greek origin of the word is much stronger – it means to bear – not in the sense of put up with but, rather, to carry. To tolerate another person means to carry that person.
Today, and in your life more generally, you might find yourself in circumstances that you would not have chosen – how can you help Jesus carry his Cross in the people and in the events you meet?
Ask God to give you that grace of helping Jesus carry his Cross, in “tolerating”, in carrying others.
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