Simon of Cyrene showed his strength as he carried the cross of Christ. Embarrassed and humiliated as he was carrying the sign of a criminal. He knew that the crowds he passed would not know he was pressed into service but rather think him a criminal sentenced to death. He endured the insults and blows as he helped another. May we remember that we do not always know another’s story and thus be hesitant to judge their actions. Maybe that person speeding that just cut you off is going to see a dying relative in the hospital rather than trying to irritate you.
The weeping women of Jerusalem showed their strength in following Christ. While it was often the case that professional mourners were hired at funerals, it was also the case that the public mourning of criminals was forbidden. These women whom Christ encountered risk much for their public show of sorrow. Yet they chose to mourn and lament the condemnation of an innocent man. May we, by following their example, stand to weep when injustice is done in our day. May we, by humble supplications and public prayer, mourn the loss of innocents and show our strength, and resolve to change the culture of death.
Veronica came forward to comfort and console Christ in his journey. Wiping His face, she gave Him comfort. Certainly we can see humility in serving and comforting a condemned man; yet, to defy the guards escorting Jesus, to risk punishment for giving comfort to a criminal and in suffering the blows and buffets to move her away showed great strength. May we have the same strength of character as Veronica did when we have to opportunity to comfort a fellow human being.
Great strength does not come from physical prowess, though physical prowess can serve great strength, but comes rather from character and the heart. These receive their impetus from love. Only in great love can you derive great strength. It is unfortunate that today we so often misunderstand the concept of love. Love is not a feeling you have but a decision you make. Christ knew this and it was in love the He carried His cross willingly to Calvary. Married couples who stay together during difficult times do so not because of feelings, but because of a decision to do so. Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Love moves us to have strength in humility and it is here that we can best serve our fellow man. May we approach Good Friday with a renewed zeal to follow the example of self sacrifice Jesus Christ showed us and may we arise on Easter morning filled with the love and mercy of our Glorified Lord. May charity fill our hearts and as we find strength through humility, may we resolve to do many “small things with great love”.