“My God, My God! Why have you abandoned me?” These are haunting words in our readings of this Palm Sunday. There is so much depth on so many levels that is conveyed by these very words and yet trying to unpack them using words feels inadequate to the experience it is trying to describe. To be sure, it is important (and we don’t do this often enough) to let words such as these settle into and penetrate the depths of our minds and hearts and souls before hastily trying to come up with an explanation that rationalizes everything. That these words come from the lips of Jesus no less and are found alongside the events of his Passion and Death which are proclaimed to us in dramatic fashion this weekend, reveals a great vulnerability on Jesus’ part. It is a reminder for us once again, that there is no part of our human experience that is outside of God’s experience, even in those moments of intense suffering, of abandonment, of descending into the depths of hell. If because of some terrible circumstances or situation in your life you’ve ever felt this way or even felt this way about God in the midst of such, even that experience is not foreign to God. Jesus took all of these things into himself. The comforting paradox offered to us through the cross is that God is now closer to us than ever before and has literally walked with us in all things and brings his redeeming love there.
It is worth noting that these words which Jesus speaks from the cross, are the very ones used in our Psalm response. Jesus is not just saying these words, as it were, he is in fact praying from the cross, this Psalm: Psalm 22. It indeed begins with “My God, My God! Why have you abandoned me?” It happens to describe his situation pretty well: “All who see me mock me… my life drains away… so wasted are my hands and feet I can count all my bones… for my clothing they cast lots.” But also, worth mentioning here, is that this Psalm ends on a note of hope. Referencing salvation history and all that God has done for the people of Israel, there is great trust still in the person speaking and praying this Psalm that despite the abandonment one is experiencing right now, that this is far from the whole story; indeed, that this moment is subsumed into an attitude of trust: “But you Lord do not stay far off… deliver me… then I will proclaim your name to the assembly… For God did not turn away from me but heard me when I cried out… The generations to come will be told of the Lord that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.” This is the prayer of Jesus! The events of this Holy Week are meant to inspire in us that same trust, that in spite of the grave realities that surround the human condition, of all the sin, suffering, and death we experience in this lifetime which God experiences with us, the triumph of the resurrection offers hope to us all.
Come celebrate this hope together with us this Holy Week:
Palm Sunday – Blessing of Palms and Palm Sunday Masses 4pm, 5:30pm, 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 6pm
Holy Thursday – Morning Prayer (Chapel) 9am, 7pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper, (Church) 8pm – 11pm Adoration (Chapel)
Good Friday – Morning Prayer (Chapel) 9am, 12noon Stations of the Cross (Church), 3pm Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, 7pm Seven Last Words of Christ (Church)
Holy Saturday – Morning Prayer (Chapel) 9am, Blessing of Baskets (Chapel) 12noon, Vigil Mass 8:15pm (Church)
Easter Sunday – Masses 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am (Church)… Masses in the Chapel need a reservation for 9:30am, 11:30am…