Mark 15: 21
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.
Some Background to the Scripture
Simon may have been coming to Jerusalem for the Passover and there is no evidence here that he knew Jesus. Mark’s readers in Rome though, obviously knew of his sons, and it may be that Simon is mentioned here as a witness to the crucifixion. It suggests that this act of carrying Jesus’ cross changed Simon’s life.
Roman soldiers had the right to force subjects to perform tasks for them, and Simon is forced to carry the cross-bar (the upright was already set in position).
“God is love”. His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.
[ Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 26 May 2013 ]
How has my presence with others helped them today?
Lord Jesus, help me to be a companion to those who are carrying crosses in their life.
One way to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us is through getting involved in the work of St Vincent de Paul. The St Vinnies website describes the range of what they do and also suggests how people might help.