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Were You There: Being Simon

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Editor’s note: DCSC member Chase Medelberg reflects on the Fifth Station of the Cross, and how we—like Simon of Cyrene—should be open to those times that we find ourselves called upon to help others carry their crosses.

When we pray and participate in the Stations of the Cross during Lent, we get to experience the journey that Jesus faced leading up to his ultimate sacrifice and death on the cross. It is a wonderful, powerful, yet sorrowful and difficult thing to witness, as evidenced by how hard it is to watch movies like “The Passion of the Christ.”

My time on mission and experiences in life have made me resonate with Simon of Cyrene in the Fifth Station of the Cross. The man who was involved in one of the most powerful scenes in the entire Bible is mentioned one brief time. No fame, no glory—just one quick mention of someone who was a pivotal player in the Passion narrative.

I identify with Simon because I feel as if there are many times when I am just trying to mind my own business, but I find myself called to help someone. I can sometimes feel frustrated at the interruption if someone needs my help and I am working on something else, just as Simon felt some resentment towards what he had to do. There are times when help is needed but it is not convenient; still, I make sure I drop what I am doing and help out.

Sometimes at my service site at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, I am struck by the injustice of our students’ situations, one which should not exist in the first place.

Simon was there for Jesus, but unfortunately, I have not been able to play the role of Simon and bear other people’s crosses in every situation. The hardest part of the year of service is seeing the struggle some students go through and not being able to fix it. Something as simple as my students having to wake up at 4:45am, so they can start their two hour commute, so they can get to school or work on time. I would give anything to be able to solve my students’ problems whether at school or at home, but sometimes it is just not possible.

It is in those moments I have found I have to rely on God the most. Without trusting that God has a plan, I think I would sink into despair almost immediately. By trusting in God’s plan, I am able to accompany the students as they carry their crosses and offer assistance in whatever ways that I can.

Our ultimate goal should be to get ourselves and others to heaven. Without Simon, who knows if Jesus would have been able to make it to Calvary and fulfill his mission. As I prepare for Lent, I want to be more like Simon and help others reach their goals and the ultimate goal of getting to know and love Jesus Christ.

Reflection Question: how can you act as a Simon for someone today and help them towards their goal?

During his year with DC Service Corps, Chase serves with the Corporate Work Study Program at Don Bosco Christo Rey High School where he helps enable under-resourced high school students to succeed in the professional workplace while preparing them for college. Chase’s passion for education and his call to service came while studying Political Science at Baylor University in Texas.