empathy 003

8. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry his Cross. I am Simon. I was just minding my own business that day. That didn’t stop the soldiers from harassing me, making me carry that awful cross ahead of a condemned man. They would look bad if he died before they could put him to death–officially. I didn’t want to pick up his cross. I had my pride and self-respect. I didn’t want to be associated with a criminal. Yet as I walked that short distance bearing his cross, I realized it was one last act of kindness. I thought I had better things to do. Yet seeing what he had to bear, I felt foolish. I suppose a lot of what I do and care about aren’t really that important. My neighbor’s suffering is a powerful way to open my eyes.

We pray. I see many of my sisters and brothers walk past me each day carrying their crosses. Compared to them, I live in luxury. I often think I have a right to the blessings in my life. Open my eyes, Lord, to the suffering of others. You sometimes ask me to share their burdens, but I refuse for selfish reasons. If I knew it was you, I would gladly do it. Help me to see that it is you in the poor, the lonely, the sick, and the hungry.

Rolo B Castillo © 2014