V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
They compelled Simon (cf. Mk 15:21).
The Roman soldiers did this because they feared that in his exhaustion the Condemned Man would not be able to carry the Cross as far as Golgotha. Then they would not be able to carry out the sentence of crucifixion.
They were looking for someone to help carry the Cross.
Their eyes fell on Simon. They compelled him to take the weight upon his shoulders. We can imagine that Simon did not want to do this and objected. Carrying the cross together with a convict could be considered an act offensive to the dignity of a free man.
Although unwilling, Simon took up the Cross to help Jesus.
In a Lenten hymn we hear the words: “Under the weight of the Cross Jesus welcomes the Cyrenean.” These words allow us to discern a total change of perspective: the divine Condemned One is someone who, in a certain sense, “makes a gift” of his Cross.
Was it not he who said: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38)?
Simon receives a gift.
He has become “worthy” of it.