Sadness enveloped Simon. Jesus stood off to the side with bowed head praying silently to His Father. They had reached Calvary.
Just a short while before, the Roman soldiers picked Simon out of the crowd, shouting to him, “Pick up that cross! Now!” His friend told him not to get involved. However, when Simon looked at Jesus, he felt tremendous love and sorrow for Him. He could see Jesus’ indescribable pain as blood dripped profusely all over His flesh. As their eyes met, Simon saw love radiate from Jesus’ eyes such as he had never seen before.
Simon reached down and picked up the cross. He thought to himself, what wood was used to make this cross? It is unbelievably heavy! Simon straightened up and with a tremendous sigh, heaved the cross onto his shoulder. He had heard about this teacher from Nazareth. People followed Him everywhere – from town to town and village to village. The soldiers grabbed Jesus and pushed Him forward as the blood dripped from the crown of thorns on His sacred Head. His breathing was labored; the pain from the scourging caused unbearable torments throughout His body.
Jesus turned and walked towards the hill where His crucifixion would take place; Simon walked behind Him. Three times he witnessed Jesus fall and each time he thought this pure and gentle man would never get up. Simon wondered, “Where does He get His energy? Why does He keep going? Why doesn’t He give up right here?” As they walked the dirty, dusty road, Simon would never forget the moment when Jesus met His mother, Mary. He could see the pain in Mary’s eyes. The look that passed between Mother and Son was full of love and understanding. Mary wiped away some of the blood from Jesus’ cheek before gently giving Him a kiss on His forehead. He looked at her with tenderness and slowly moved on.
As Simon continued following Jesus, he noticed curious onlookers on the edge of the crowd. For the most part, however, overwhelming grief surrounded them on both sides of the narrow street. Both men and women from nearby villages wept uncontrollably.
When they reached the top of Calvary, Simon laid the cross on the ground and sadly looked at Jesus. Tears flowed down his cheeks. “Thank you, Simon,” Jesus said. “Remember, I will be with you always. One day, I will lead you to My Father’s kingdom.” Then Jesus turned towards the guards. Simon drifted to the back of the crowd that had gathered around the cross. His grief was almost unbearable as he watched the cruelty with which the guards threw Jesus down onto the cross. The cries of the women around him tore at his heart. He fell to his knees, buried his head in his hands and prayed. Jesus had done nothing wrong. Why were they crucifying Him?
We all face hardships and difficulties; at times, the trials we endure become too much for us to handle alone. Like Simon, we must help one another carry our crosses. We must look upon one another with love, understanding and acceptance. Jesus walks our journey of life by our side – every step of the way. Let us follow His beautiful example of love.