they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian,
who was coming in from the country;
and after laying the cross on him,
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all that burdens us. According to a new poll from the American Psychological Association, a large majority of Americans are reporting high stress levels due to financial concerns, inflation, the COVID-pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Each of the items listed are reasonable reasons to stress. The question becomes how do we handle it?
As a faith based people, we respond by living in community and helping others. Like Simon the Cyrenian, who in this week’s Gospel was made to carry the cross to assist Jesus, we too help carry the crosses of those around us. As the Business Manager at St. Isidore I have the absolute privilege of seeing everyone’s generosity first hand. I am moved by the gifts of time, talent and treasure that pour into the church to enable its mission. On a weekly basis, our Baby Pantry and Food Pantry are stocked with donations intended to help those who are struggling. The Christmas and Lenten Giving Tree drives help hundreds of people. And our most recent Catholic Relief Services collection, which is earmarked for the people of Ukraine, totaled more than $15,000!
As Christians, specifically Catholics, we should not look, act or live like others in our society. It is easy to live insulated lives, not caring about others, simply focused on our own survival. True joy comes when we look out for others, when we embrace our call to discipleship by caring for and loving others. We each have amazing gifts given by the Lord above. The question for this week becomes, how can I use those gifts to help others bear their crosses?