The Fifth Station; Simon helps Jesus Carry the Cross, by Mark.

There he was minding his own business as part of a large crowd when the soldiers grabbed Simon and forced him to help the struggling Jesus. Whether Simon was reluctant to help or not isn’t important.  After all who wants to worry about other people’s problems.  We have enough of our own. But there is much we can do to help people who are stumbling under the weight of their own crosses even when it would be easier to look the other way. 

Every day, hundreds of people die of neglect, violence, abuse, hunger and even lack of clean water. When we feed or shelter another person we are doing the same for Christ. When we lift unjust burdens from another person or defend them against prejudice and exploitation, we are lifting the same burdens from Christ’s shoulders. When we change unjust systems, racism, sexism, unfair wages, unfair trade and alienation, we alleviate the suffering of one million Christ’s. When we take a step out of the crowd we stand in the spotlight of someone else’s suffering, we make a difference in another person’s story.  

In Marty Haugen’s song, “We Remember,” verse four starts: “See the face of Christ revealed in every person standing by your side;” and verse one begins, “Here, a million wounded souls are yearning just to touch you and be healed.”  Sharing in another person’s passion (suffering) holds the promise of transformation in our own lives. This single step, this initial attempt to help carry another person’s cross is a ladder to the very heart of God.

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others: that with wisdom, patience and courage, they may minister in His name to the suffering, the friendless and the needy. Help us notice the needs of those around us. Help us do more than just stand there and watch. Help us see the needs of others as opportunities for us to reach out and help as you did. 

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