By Bailey Walter
Director of human resources, Diocese of St. Cloud
When I set out to write this reflection with the title in mind, I wanted to write a reflection on friendship. How easy would that be? I have experiences of amazing friends who have offered me support and hospitality. The image of Simon carrying Jesus’ cross on this most treacherous journey strikes me as a perfect image of this friendship. Then I read the Scripture and I did a small amount of research. And, as often is the case in my prayer and reflection, my own assumptions and wants for a leisurely life of faith were confronted and challenged.
Simon was a passerby. He was not a member of Jesus’ community, he was not a close friend, not a disciple, and he was compelled by others to help Jesus carry this cross. No longer was this story about the people in my community, who help out of a deep sense of love and commitment. Instead of a path and journey that were easy, I was met with a new face of Christ.
This passage challenges me to see Christ in my neighbor, even when my neighbor is a stranger from another land who has been treated poorly, whose voice has not been heard, and who has been mocked and stripped of her or his possessions and dignity. Am I ready to enter into a discipleship that calls me to such difficult things?
This Lent, Christ, help me to see you in all those I encounter, and may I have the strength to both help them with their crosses and accept help in return.