Men, think you don’t need help? Jesus showed otherwise on Calvary

| Jeff Reither | July 21, 2016 | 1 Comment

In January, I was on a men’s retreat in the Boundary Waters and had to leave early for a family emergency. My 6-year-old son Isaiah, who had a congenital heart defect and other serious health issues, was admitted to the hospital for his 50th — and last — time. He died the following Friday while holding my hand.

During Isaiah’s fragile life, men were Christ to me. They would visit the hospital often, prayed for my family, took me out to dinner, mowed my lawn, watched my kids, fixed my vehicles and provided much needed financial support. For my son’s funeral, they read the readings, ushered and served the meal following the burial. They never ran and hid. They were men of courage and valor.

Most men would act in the same manner as the men in my life. We want to help those in need; it is instinctual. If something, or someone, is broken, we have a desire to help fix it.

But what about when we are broken? Do we turn to our fellow men and seek their love and support, or do we withdraw from those whom God has placed in our lives to help?

Jesus showed us how to be men. He showed us with his words. He showed us with his prayer life. And he showed us when he humbled himself to be helped by another man. In the Gospels, Jesus was struggling to carry his cross. He fell. He got up and fell again. In his immense suffering, he reached out to console the weeping women.

Jesus is God. He could have done anything. He didn’t need help. He could have walked the journey to Calvary carrying the cross on his shoulders and never once winced in pain. But Jesus didn’t choose to do it this way. He chose to do it in a way where he could feel the physical pain being administered to him that holy day.

He chose to do it in a way we could relate.

Example of humility

Because of the struggle of carrying the cross and the physical toll it took on him, Jesus allowed a man to help him and showed us men a great example of humility. Simon of Cyrene entered into the passion of Christ like no other man. Not only did he see the effects of his sins, but he also physically felt the weight of those sins.

Simon may have been an unwilling participant, but Christ knew it would cause Simon to have a conversion of heart, which allowed him to grow deeper in love with the Lord.

Accepting another’s generosity is often a harder task than giving generously. It is easier to be Christ to others than it is to allow others to be Christ to us. When we deny the help of others, we deny them the chance to be Christ, and we deny ourselves the chance to grow in humility.

I am blessed to have good men in my life. These men are faithful. They love the Lord, love their spouses and love their children. These men were Christ to me during Isaiah’s short life. They have rejoiced with me during moments of celebration and have cried with me during the most difficult time of my life.

As men, we must allow other men to be Christ to us. This is much more difficult than it sounds. When we allow others to be Christ to us, we both grow in love for the Lord. We are called to humble ourselves — like Christ did on that dark, glorious day — and allow God to work not only in our own heart, but also in the hearts of the men who are helping us.

Reither is a parishioner of St. Anne in Hamel and a member of the Catholic Watchmen.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen