Fifth Station of the Cross: The cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
– Jesus, Luke 17:33

Jesus needed help carrying the cross. Simon of Cyrene (a city in northern Africa) helped Jesus get to where he was being forced and needed to go. In a very real way, this is the role of the church. We are the hands, arms, heart, face, legs and feet of Jesus. Are we headed in the right direction? Are we each headed in different directions?

Are we headed toward selflessness, self-sacrifice, and loving forgiveness? Are we headed away from control, anxiety, and fear? Are we headed toward relationship, transcendent peace, and surpassing joy? Are we helping or hindering Jesus?

It can feel odd and maybe even wrong for some to think of Jesus as needing anything, especially help. But considering that the people ushering Jesus to his crucifixion probably weren’t concerned with his welfare, it sounds like he wouldn’t have made it there without the help of someone. This is an important lesson for us to mull over. Jesus needed help to carry out God’s will. He was more concerned with fulfilling God’s will than being independent enough to do it on his own.

How are we at accepting, and even seeking, help? How are we at recognizing and accepting our need for help?

Once we sit with our need for help and our inherent interdependence, humility begins seeping into our psyche. It helps open our eyes to the significance of others and our significance to them. It aids our being realigned to Christ’s needs rather than our preferences and opinions and expectations.

Actually helping Jesus has far less to do with strategy, knowledge, or excellence and a great deal more to do with realizing our own need for help and opening ourselves up to receiving it from the Spirit and others. 

Christ Jesus, grant us to be one just as You are in God and God is in You. May we also be in You, that we should come to complete unity. Then the world will know that You were sent and that God has loved us even as He has loved You.” (John 17)