Palm/Passion Sunday – Cycle A
Reflecting on Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
Okay, can we please talk about something? It’s that responsorial psalm today, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? We sing it over and over after the first reading, and then we have to hear it again in the reading of Matthew’s Passion, when Jesus quotes from that very psalm (22) in his last agonizing breaths on the cross.
I hate that. It hurts me every time I hear it, and have to contemplate that Jesus, in his last moments, experienced the betrayal of the Father. But finally, after years of uneasiness with that portrayal of Jesus’ death, I learned something that healed that hurt immediately, and I wished someone had told me decades earlier what I now pass on to you:
In his agony, Jesus the Jew calls out the beginning verse of that well-known psalm of lament: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? There are some women “standing at a distance” who have followed him since he set out from Galilee to Jerusalem. They surely know this psalm, and in synagogue style they respond to his introduction by reciting the rest of it, all 31 verses, including the triumphant end, when the suffering one proclaims that all will proclaim the Lord to generations still to come, his righteousness to a people yet unborn. AMEN.
Jesus the Faithful One knows that he has not been betrayed, that the Father’s great love will be proclaimed to all generations forever. He calls out the first verse Psalm 22 with his last breaths, knowing that “those standing at a distance’—and that’s us, too, isn’t it?―will respond by praying the rest of the psalm for him. Jesus knows how it ends, and how it all will end. Forever and ever. AMEN.
Is there a psalm, a song, a Scripture or a prayer that will be on your lips as you die?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
This is like the point Eileen made last week about Lazarus. When we think God has abandoned us, it’s probably because we’re closed off and not listening.
Don’t we all know how it’s going to end? As long as we are headed in the right direction, we will be with Him forever and ever, amen. Beginning now.
When my dad was in the hospital dying from a battle with cancer, I can remember praying the Lord’s Prayer and the Act of Contrition out loud so that he might hear and pray it in his heart since he was no longer able to speak. Before my mom went for heart surgery which she did not survive, we prayed to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart to hold her heart. Because she had a devotion to angels, we prayed that the angels would surround her during surgery. It seemed so appropriate.
When I die, I just want to be able to say with utmost confidence and love, “Father, catch me. I’m falling into your arms.”
I believe that because Jesus was truly human, he did utter the words of feeling abandoned. I don’t think he said to himself, “Now it’s time for me to repeat the psalm of abandonment because it’s part of the script.” I resonate with his feeling of abandonment not as a theological rejection of God’s providential care (“..even the lilies of the field, birds of the air, etc….)but the sheer impact of suffering on a human being who is truly a human being, and not a God ‘pretending to be a human being.’ – – Cris
I think Cris makes a great point here. Jesus in his humanity suffered the same as we do when things are really painful. I like the point about Jesus not being a God pretending to be a human being. He was both, but perhaps not always simultaneously.
So Many time we seek and do not find. In these challenging times we get lost and caught up in the world and feel God has abondone us. Yet, as time passes, the time slows, and the air clears, we can see Gods hand at work. Yet, only through prayer and God guidance do we find what we ultimately have been needing.
I found these 3 videos. They are worth quite a few tissues. They really bring home who Jesus was as well as his life, passion, death and resurrection
Watch the Lamb is quite graphic.
Jesus the Easter video
Jesus the Easter Sundy video
I was so moved by the portrayal of a very human Jesus who laughed and danced, hugged and held.
“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.”