Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Psalm for Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014
Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 (Read)
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
David writes this psalm almost as though these
verses are to be part of the Passion of Christ.
The psalm even 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.
Why? Because He became sin; He took our sins upon himself and become 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.
The truth hurts! We who are mired in the pit take a
perverse delight in seeing our Lord suffer for our sake.
Christ holds us to a higher standard; He remains above sin;
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.
As our psalmist says, “He relied on the Lord – let God deliver him;
let God 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 along with God's Son.
We are reminded by St Paul in today's 2nd reading (Philippians 2)
that Christ takes the form of a slave, obedient even to death for
our sake. And the prophet Isaiah in our 1st reading (Isaiah 50)
speaks about the Messiah long before His birth and predicts that
He will be beaten and His beard will be plucked. But, as Isaiah
tells us, the suffering servant does not rebel. He knows that He will
not be put to shame. The Father is not far off, even when Jesus
lies hanging on the cross.
We know that what seemed like a moment of weakness for Christ
became a source of strength for the rest of us. As our psalmist says,
“You Lord do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.”
Discussion Questions for Reflection
1. Our psalmist says, "All who see me scoff at me." Are you one
of those who mocked Christ? Can you identify with those who wagged
their heads and shouted "Let God deliver him; let God rescue him." Explain.
2. The verses of the Psalm are a plea to the Lord, "Be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me." Give an example of a time when you have
called out to God to hurry and rescue you.