Monday, April 3, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, April 9, 2017


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 with God’s Son.

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 And the prophet Isaiah in our 
first reading  speaks about the Messiah long before his birth 
and predicts that He will be beaten and His beard will be 
plucked. (Isaiah 50:6)   But the suffering servant does not rebel 
(as Isaiah tells us).  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.

1 comment:

  1. Rudy H12:27 PM

    Disappointment can come at any time. We believed that God was with us. We knew of his love. Yet, amid the trouble that surrounds us, God is silent. We pray and we pray, but no answers come. Darkness surrounds us. Is God going to answer? Will God come through? Has God abandoned us?

    David felt abandoned and forsaken by God. As he looked around, God was no where to be found. He knew that God has answered his ancestors, but he feels so much less than those who went before. Perhaps that is why God is silent. Maybe that is why all those around mock him in his distress.

    We may have times when we know how David felt. Jesus prayed this prayer from the cross when he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46) On the cross Jesus discovered what it felt like to be abandoned.

    There are two responses we can have during these seasons in our life. One is to believe that we have been abandoned by God. We allow our circumstances to dictate our view of God. David did not respond this way. David remembered that God had kept him safe from birth. Even though the bulls surrounded him, he knew he could still turn to God. Instead of believing he was abandoned by God, David abandoned himself to God.

    Jesus facing the horror of the cross also abandoned himself to God. As we read Psalm 22 we may start seeing images of the crucifixion. The scenes David describes are the scenes Jesus experienced. Both David and Jesus prayed this prayer. Both knew what it was like to face difficult circumstances, yet, end at a place of faith.

    Even though we might face difficult times, we do not have to end in hopelessness. When we abandon ourselves to God, we too can find hope in God.