Reflection for the Palm Sunday 2021
They led him out to crucify him. They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross.Mark 15, 21
This Lent, the liturgical year invites us to read the Gospel of Mark, who is the most down-to-earth narrator out of the four evangelists, providing us with the greatest number of raw facts, with little interpretation. Mark is also the evangelist who, through the sobriety of his narrative, best allows words to conjure up the scenes within which we move around as discreet spectators.
Among all these images hanging on the connecting thread between the acclamation of the Palm Sunday procession and the celebration of Easter Sunday, from “Hosannah” to “Alleluia”, there is one special image that I would like to contemplate with you today. The image of a man returning from the countryside, a family man called Simon from the African city of Cyrene, requisitioned by the soldiers to carry the cross of Christ. It is therefore under constraint, not out of compassion for an exhausted convict, that the unlucky passer-by “takes on the job”. I can even imagine that on obeying this order, he must have thought: “If only I had chosen another road”.(more…)