Monday, March 14, 2016

Psalm for Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016


“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. In fact the psalm 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 

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 words of the psalm 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 today's second 
reading that Christ takes the form of a slave, 
obedient even to death for our sake. 
(Philippians 2:7-8)
Isaiah in today's first reading speaks
about the Messiah long before his birth and 
predicts that he will be beaten, and his beard 
will be plucked. (Isaiah 50:4-7)
But the servant does not rebel (as Isaiah tells us).
He knows that he will not be put to shame.

God the Father 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 sinful humanity.

Ultimately God reverses this righteous man’s 
condition.  As our psalmist says, “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.”

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. When Jesus said to the Father……”My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?…..that’s the human side of Jesus crying out to the Father. Both know what has to happen. Both know the sacrifice expected of Jesus. And both know it’s all part of the plan….it has to happen.

    A few years ago, when I was in a lot of physical pain, I foolishly used the same words when my pain was so insignificant compared to the torture and death of Jesus, that I am now embarrassed. As we get closer to the Passion of Good Friday, let us not forget what Christ went through for us.

  2. Rudy H5:57 PM

    The Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, testifies in this psalm, clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. We have a sorrowful complaint of God's withdrawings. This may be applied to any child of God, pressed down, overwhelmed with grief and terror.

    To cry out, My God, Why am I sick? Why am I poor? Why am I alone? Why am I unhappy? ..... But, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" is the language of a heart binding up its happiness in God's favor. This must be applied to Christ. In the first words of this complaint, he poured out his soul before God when he was upon the cross. Being truly man, Christ felt a natural unwillingness to pass through such great sorrows, yet his zeal and love prevailed.

    Christ declared the holiness of God, his heavenly Father, in his sharpest sufferings; Here is a complaint of the contempt and reproach of men. The Savior here spoke of the state to which he was reduced. The history of Christ's sufferings, and of his birth, explains this prophecy.

  3. It is amazing to know that psalmist David's petition to God in his suffering was just like the cry-out of Jesus' Christ at the time of his crucifixion. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" I could feel his suffering that he experienced on the cross on our behalf.

    As Jesus mentioned, "God always abides in me and I abide in Him." His spirit was closely connected to God. He was in God's presence. That's why He could endure all the suffering and insults upon him.

    But all of sudden Jesus felt as if his spirit was disconnected to God. The Father seemed to be far off. Jesus blacked out because of a momentary human weakness, and his suffering was immense. There was a moment of darkness between Father and Son. God let his son suffer for the sake of our Redemption. Christ had to be obedient even to death. That was Christ 's victory over death.

    Even though I know the truth that "Jesus is Messiah, our Savior," and that he suffered for our sins, and yet I have been shy to proclaim his name to my neighbors. I did not trust him completely. In this way I mocked him many, many times. I did not slap his face physically but I insulted him verbally. Now I realize that I made him suffer greatly, but the suffering and death of Christ restores life for sinful men like me.