Luke 23:26-31 What is the interpretation?


*26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” *

Please, Catholic responses only. Thank You.

Who was Simon?

When is the time that Jesus speaks? Is it the destruction of Jerusalem?

What is the tree?

Thank you in advance for your insights.


Simon was an innocent bystander the Romsns made carry the cross for Jesus.

Jesus speaks of the end of days. When man has turned from God and the world is destroyed.

The tree is Christ and the revelation of God.

He is saying,look at how they treat God and behave when I am here, I just performed miracles, healed them, taught them. The gospel is clear and “green”.

He is saying how much worse it will be once he is gone. People won’t believe.


We are told nothing else about this Simon. It was certainly remarkable that he, of all people, chose or was chosen to help carry the Cross.

Yes, Jesus is certainly speaking of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem.

Haydock Commentary:

In the green wood: by which are signified persons of virtue and sanctity; as by the dry wood, the wicked, who bring forth no fruit, and who, like dry wood, are fit to be cast into the fire. (Witham) — If they be thus cruel with me, how will they treat you!


Funny you should mention that passage! As I listened to it at mass last weekend, I really pondered it anew.

I think it’s generally agreed that Jesus was talking about the upcoming fall of Jerusalem and the terrible suffering that was coming upon her people. And perhaps in a larger sense, it describes all calamities where people watch their loved ones suffer terribly.

But I “heard” it in a different way, a different layer.

Today, we hear people calling abortion “sacred,” “a blessing.” (‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’)

Today, the call to make assisted suicide and euthanasia legal is gaining voices. ("Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”)

Jesus tells us to weep over this. And wow, I sure do.


Strange he would say things like have the hills and mountains fall on us, I recall when the end times come, he says people will be running for the shelter of mountains, hiding themselves in the caves, from the destruction that comes.

Although I thought at one point, God encourages people to take shelter in mountains/ caves, that one verse, where he tells them when they see such and such happening, that is when they should head for the mountains…?

Is it possible if the caves are deep enough, people can be spared from the end times destruction?


I really appreciate the answers so far. Keep your interpretations coming. Perhaps we can converge on to what this means for us this holy week.

I have an open mind. Just trying to listen to the word.

Peace to you all.


Hi Frankenfurter.

Mark tells us that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, apparently individuals known to his audience but not to Matthew or Luke (since they leave this detail out). If he was from Cyrene, and Mark was writing to a non-Jewish audience, probably one some distance from Judea (Rome?), it could be that Simon’s sons were active in this community.

It could very well be that Jesus means the destruction of Jerusalem, as this passage parallels much of what we read in Luke 21, especially: " Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!" (Luke 21:17) The reference to mountains and falling is again, probably a reference to Jerusalem, which was built on a mountain, is also alluded to by Jesus in Mark 11:23: “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”

Perhaps what he means by the tree is the season or times. If, at a relative time of peace, innocent men like Jesus are brutally executed by the Romans, what more will happen to innocent people (of Jerusalem) when there is war and a siege on the city!


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