Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Psalm for April 1, 2012, Palm Sunday


Psalm 22:  8-9,  17-18,  19-20,  23-24

David writes this psalm almost as though
it were planned to be part of the Passion of Christ.
It is as though David knew what was coming
when Christ was crucified.
Its theme is that the sufferings
of the righteous man
will restore life to humanity.
The Psalm also becomes the prayer of Christ
at the time of his crucifixion
and speaks of the suffering that our Savior
experienced on our behalf.

People are the same today
as they were back then,
when Jesus was being led to the cross.
We scoff at him; we mock him;
we wag our heads; and hurl insults at him.

Because he becomes contemptible in our eyes.  
He reminds us that we are a sinful people;
he convicts us; he catches us in the lie;
he embarrasses us; he exposes us;
he accuses us of being hypocrites.  

He holds us to a higher standard;
he speaks directly to God;
he claims to be God's Son;
and we reject him for this; and mock him.  
We do not move to assist him;
let God rescue him –
“He relied on the Lord – let him deliver him;
 let him rescue him, if he loves him.”

These are the same words used by those
who conspired against Jesus
when he was dying on the cross.  
They did not realize that the suffering and death
of an innocent servant
would restore life for sinful man.  
The words they spoke
were to be fulfilled,
not by Jesus coming down from the cross,
but by sinful humanity like us
being delivered, forgiven, and lifted up.  

The psalm describes the Passion of Christ,
and we know that what seemed like
a moment of weakness for Christ
became a source of strength
for the rest of us.  
God reverses this righteous man’s condition –
“But you, O Lord, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.”

Hope returns, the righteous man is delivered,
And he celebrates his deliverance--
“I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him ....”

Because Jesus humbled himself
and accepted death on the cross,
“God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him
the name that is above every name.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The psalmist speaks of those who scoff at him and mock him.  

 In what way can you identify with those who scoff at our Savior 
 and mock him with parted lips?  

2.  The Response is, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"   

Why do you think our Lord would have uttered these words 
at the time of his Passion?  What had changed for God's son?  
Had God changed?


  1. 1. We can sin by our silence as well as being vocal, or taking action that is bad for ourselves and bad for the community.

    2. The pain Jesus suffered was so intense and horrific, that even the Son of God pleaded to the Father to have it stop, but in the end He simply accepted it.

  2. 1. What a surprise to know that David prophesied in Psalm 22! It was as if David knew that Our Lord was coming to suffer on the cross on behalf of us. I can identity with those who mocked our Lord because I am a sinner having a sinful human nature within me (unforgiving, unloving, unkind, critical, and prideful and so on). Even though I didn't directly scoff at him and mock him with parted lips, I know my sinful behavior was leading him to his crucifixion. How many times did I crucify him? I am counting---if I do wrong in a contemptible way to those who Jesus loves, then by my wrongdoing I do crucify him. And I crucify him whenever I commit sins against him by disobeying his words without any repentance. He is the only one who set us free. Praise the Lord !

    2. Whenever I hear his response, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" it makes me puzzled why He uttered these words on the cross. I came to realize Jesus had both a divine and human nature. At the time of his sufferings He was human
    like us. He cried out for his Heavenly Father, not out of his doubt in Him. But it was his urgent call asking Him to give our Lord the strength to carry out and to fulfill his mission
    for the Salvation of human beings. He suffered through his Passion which was God's will. Through his suffering and death, He delivered us from condemnation to lift us up to eternal life. In the end He won the victory over death. How grateful we are for what Jesus has done for us. Thanks to be God !