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MEDITATIONS BY HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II

THE FIFTH STATION

Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross.

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R.
Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

From the Gospel according to Mark. 15:21-22

They compelled a passer-by,
Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his Cross.
And they brought him to the place called Golgotha,
which means the place of the skull.

 

MEDITATION

Simon of Cyrene, called upon to carry the Cross (cf. Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26), doubtless had no wish to do so. He was forced to. He walked beside Christ, bearing the same burden. When the condemned man's shoulders became too weak, he lent him his. He was very close to Jesus, closer than Mary, closer than John who - though he too was a man - was not called upon to help. They called on him, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as we learn from the Gospel of Mark (Mk 15:21). They summoned him, they compelled him.
How long did he continue to resent being forced into this? How long did he continue to walk beside this condemned man, all the while making it clear that he had nothing in common with him, nothing to do with his crime, nothing to do with his punishment? How long did he go on like that, torn within himself, a barrier of indifference standing between him and the Man who was suffering? "I was naked, I was thirsty, I was in prison" (cf. Mt 25:35-36), I carried the Cross. "Did you carry it with me?" "Did you really carry it with me to the very end?"
We do not know. Saint Mark simply records the names of the Cyrenian's sons, and tradition has it that they were members of the Christian community close to Saint Peter (cf. Rom 16:13).

ACCLAMATION

Christ, Good Samaritan,
neighbour to the poor, the sick, the lowly.
R.
Christe, eleison.

Christ, Servant of the Eternal Father, you consider done to you
every act of love towards the exile, the outcast, the stranger.

R. Christe, eleison

All:

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplico?

 

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