Monday, March 18, 2013

Psalm for Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013


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

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

David writes this psalm almost as though
it were planned to be part of the Passion
of Christ.  The psalm also becomes the prayer
of Christ at the time of his crucifixion
and speaks of the suffering that our Savior
experiences 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.

We are reminded by St. Paul in our 2nd reading
that Christ takes the form of a slave, obedient even
to death for our sake.   Isaiah in our 1st reading speaks
about the Messiah long before his birth and predicts
that he will be beaten and his beard will be plucked.
But the servant does not rebel (as Isaiah tells us).
He knows that he will not be put to shame.
The Lord is not far off, even when Jesus lies hanging
on the cross.

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.   Were you part of the crowd of evildoers who closed in on Christ,
 that our psalmist speaks about?   Tell of what part you play even today in mocking Christ.

2.   The psalm asks, 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'
 Do you believe that our Lord was truly abandoned by the Father?


  1. Was the Lord abandoned by the Father at the time of His passion, crucifixion, and death on the cross......I just don't know. I know it was God's plan from the beginning, and the Son knew what was going to happen to Him. In spite of all of our good intentions, none of us could have accepted all that pain to a child of ours. I do know that being the father of four sons and 9 grandchildren.........I could not have allowed it to happen to one of them without trying to do "something to stop it!" The pain to God the Father, would have exceeded the pain and suffering to the Son......unimaginable!

  2. Are you there when you crucify my Lord? Yes, I've been there many, many times, I couldn't count. I did crucify him by my wrong-doings: by being unloving, rejecting, holding grudges, being unforgiving, and my selfishness. Jesus has endured all these as our suffering servant for our Redemption.

    His precious blood had to be shed for our sake, even though He is flawless and unblemished. He underwent human pain and suffering through rejection, abandonment, mocking, hating, betraying, bitterness, and condemnation by us. He endured all this suffering to win our Salvation.

    He went through His Pascal passion out of God's will as well as His love toward us evil-doers. The last minute on the cross He experienced the darkness. God who always abides in Him and gave Him strength and power to endure all the pain seemed to be temporarily out of reach and our Lord lost touch with His Father.
    That was the most painful moment for Him rather than physical suffering. He knew He couldn't do anything alone without His Father.

    Because of His frustration, excruciating pain and being disconnected to God, as a human being He felt as if He was totally abandoned by God. I think God wanted Him to experience that darkness to know what it could be like.

    As for us, without God we'll be lost because He is the source of our life. Jesus felt the loss. So would we. Recalling His words on the cross calling out in His anguish, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me," my heart was aching. Through His painful death He brought us victory. God raised Him up high.