“They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian.”

Being Palm Sunday, in anticipation of the Easter Triduum coming starting Thursday, the Church presents to us a Passion narrative of Jesus.  This year it comes from Mark (14:1-15:47).  Covering the entirety of chapters fourteen and fifteen, we start with the continued plotting of the chief priests and scribes, and continue with the woman who anoints Jesus, Judas visiting the chief priests, the Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, Judas betrayal, Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin eventually found guilty and condemned, Peter’s threefold denial, Pilate’s interrogation, the condemnation of the crowd, the scourging, the Way of the Cross (with Simon of Cyrene’s help), the Crucifixion (while insults hurled at Him), the death of Jesus (with the subsequent act of faith of the centurion), and finally Joseph of Arimathea’s asking for Jesus’ body and entombing it.  It is wonderful to hear the entire story of Holy Thursday and Good Friday in one sitting.  There is much to contemplate here, but let us focus on the words at top.  Since the Romans had to “press” Simon into service, it is clear that it is not something he wanted to do.  Not being from Jerusalem, he may not even have known who Jesus was.  Yet there he was, helping Jesus.  May it be that we never feel “pressed” into, or try to avoid entirely, service for the Lord, but rather that we take on not just willingly but joyfully whatever He has in mind for us, no matter the cost, time, frustration, difficulty, or suffering it may involve.  While Simon was ultimately helping Jesus to His death, may we be bringing others to life that the Lord won for us by His death and resurrection.  Like Simon, let us be instruments of the Father’s will.  We adore you O Christ and we praise you because by Your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

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