Through Lent with Pope Francis
This is the most searing of all sufferings, the suffering of the spirit. At his most tragic hour, Jesus experiences abandonment by God. Prior to that moment, he had never called the Father by his generic name, “God”.Homily, Palm Sunday 2023
To convey the impact of this, the Gospel also reports his words in Aramaic. These are the only words of Jesus from the cross that have come down to us in the original language. The real event is the extreme abasement, being forsaken by the Father, forsaken by God. We find it hard even to grasp what great suffering he embraced out of love for us. Jesus, in his abandonment, asks us to open our eyes and hearts to all who find themselves abandoned. For us, as disciples of the “forsaken” Lord, no man, woman or child can be regarded as an outcast, no one left to himself or herself. Let us remember that the rejected and the excluded are living icons of Christ: they remind us of his reckless love, his forsakenness that delivers us from every form of loneliness and isolation.
Brothers and sisters, today let us implore this grace: to love Jesus in his abandonment and to love Jesus in the abandoned all around us.
Let us ask for the grace to see and acknowledge the Lord who continues to cry out in them. May we not allow his voice to go unheard amid the deafening silence of indifference. God has not left us alone; let us care, then, for those who feel alone and abandoned.
Then, and only then, will we be of one mind and heart with the one who, for our sake, “emptied himself” (Phil 2:7).
He emptied himself completely for us.
Psalm 22 1-9, 13-15, 17-20, 31-32 NCB
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why have you paid no heed to my call for help,
to my cries of anguish?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I am afforded no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel.
Our ancestors placed their trust in you;
they trusted, and you gave them deliverance.
They cried out to you and were saved,
they trusted in you and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not human,
scorned by people and despised by my kinsmen.
All who see me jeer at me;
they sneer in mockery and toss their heads:
“He relied on the Lord; let the Lord set him free.
Let the Lord deliver him, if he loves him.”
Many bulls are encircling me;
fierce bulls of Bashan are closing in on me.
They open wide their mouths against me
like ravening and roaring lions.
My strength is trickling away like water,
and all my bones are dislocated.
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
They stare at me and gloat;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
But you, O Lord, do not remain aloof from me.
But I will live for the Lord,
and my descendants will serve him.
Future generations will be told about the Lord
so that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn
the deliverance he has accomplished.
Thought for Today
Have there been times when you have felt abandoned?
What helped you recover from your sense of abandonment?
Is there anyone around you who you feel might be feeling abandoned who you could reach out to?
Suffering Servant – Dustin Kensrue