Simon of Cyrene,
Painting by Egbert Modderman (born 1989),
Painted in 2018,
Oil on canvas
© Courtesy of the artist / Museum of the Bible, Washington DC
The Stations of the Cross - Station 5: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country,
and they forced him to carry the cross.
Reflection on the painting
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
The Gospel of Mark tells us that Simon was from Cyrene, a big city in North Africa that had a large population of Jews during your time, Jesus. Simon probably journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Here he is, in the midst of witnessing your unjust execution.
He has just picked up your cross to help you. I can see him carrying it with generosity of spirit and kindness, but the weight is terrible. His eyes are staring at me: what about your cross, Patrick? Did you pick up yours too? Or are you merely gazing at it, expecting someone else to do the heavy lifting?
I’ll never forget Simon’s eyes: what a piercing look. Unlike Simon, I am not forced to take up the cross of Christ. You, my Jesus, invite me to follow you and you don’t force me to do anything. I am free to join you or not. Yes, I want to fully join you, wholeheartedly, but I am afraid of the crowds… afraid of what they might say if I show too publicly how much I love You...
Our Father, who art in heaven…
Hail Mary, full of grace…
Glory be to the Father and to the Son…
Normal Gospel reading for the day: John 8:31-42
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