March 28, 2021
Oh, my God, my God, why did you abandon me?
Christ Jesus, being of divine condition… stripped himself of himself by taking the status of slave. obedient to death, and a death of the cross.
“Truly this man was the Son of God.”
Reading of the Prophet Isaiah 50, 4-7
The Lord God has given me a disciple tongue;
to know how to say a word of encouragement to the despondent.
Every morning he wises my ear, so that he may listen like the disciples.
The Lord God opened my ear; I couldn’t resist or back off.
I offered my back to those who beat me, the cheeks to those who tabled my beard;
I didn’t hide my face in the face of outrage and salivation.
The Lord God helps me, so I did not feel the outrages;
that’s why I hardened my face like flint, knowing that I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Psalm 21, 8-9. 17-18a. 19-20. 23-24
R/. Oh, my God, my God, why did you abandon me?
When they see me, they make fun of me, they make visas, they wigg down their heads:
“He went to the Lord, to keep him safe; that frees him if he loves him so much.” R/.
I’m cornered by a pack of mastiffs, i’m close to a band of evildoers;
my hands and feet are drilled, I can count my bones. R/.
They hand out my clothes, they’re throwing my robe out.
But thou, Lord, do not stay away; my strength, come running to help me. R/.
I will tell your fame to my brothers, in the middle of the assembly I will praise you.
“Those who fear the Lord, raise him up; Jacob’s lineage, glorify him;
take it, israel’s lineage.” R/.
Reading St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 2, 6-11
Christ Jesus, being of divine condition, did not avidly retain being equal to God; on the contrary, he stripped himself of himself by taking the status of slave, made like men.
And so, recognized as a man by his presence, he humbled himself,
made obedient to death, and a death of the cross.
That is why God exalted him above all and gave him the Name-over-all-name; so that in the name of Jesus every knee bends in heaven, on earth, in the abyss, and every tongue proclaims: Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father.
Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 14, 1–15, 47
As soon as it was done in the daytime, the high priests with the elders, the scribes and the Sanedrín in full, held a meeting. They took Jesus tied up and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate asked him:
S. “Are you the king of the Jews?”
C. He replied:
+ “You say it”.
C. And the high priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again:
S. “Don’t you answer anything? Look at how many things they accuse you of.”
C. Jesus no longer answered; so Pilate was missed. A prisoner used to be released for the party, whoever was asked.
A certain Barabbas was in jail, with the rebels who had committed a murder in the revolt. The crowd that had gathered began to ask him what was customary.
Pilate asked them:
S. “Do you want me to let go of the king of the Jews?”
C. For he knew that the high priests had given it to him out of envy.
But the high priests relieved the people to ask for the freedom of Barabbas.
Pilate took the floor again and asked them:
S. “What do I do with the one you call king of the Jews?”
C. They shouted again:
S. “Cross it”.
C. Pilate told them:
S. “Well, what wrong has he done?”
C. They shouted louder:
S. “Cross it”.
C. And Pilate, wanting to please the people, let go of Barabbas; and Jesus, after whipping him, gave him up to be crucified.
C. The soldiers took him inside the palace—to the pretory—and summoned the entire company. They dressed him in purple, put a crown of thorns on him, which they had braided, and began to greet him:
S. “Hail, king of the Jews!”
C. They hit his head with a rod, spat at him; and, bending their knees, prostred before him.
After the taunt, they took away his purple and put his clothes on. And they take him out to crucify him.
C. Passed one returning from the field, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufo; and force him to carry the cross.
And they lead Jesus to Golgotha (which means place of “the Skull”),
And they offered him wine with myrrh; but he didn’t accept it. They crucify him and hand out his clothes, throwing them out, to see what each one was wearing.
It was the tertiary hour when he was crucified. On the sign of the indictment was written: “The King of the Jews.” Two bandits were crucified with him, one to his right and one to his left.
Those who passed insulted him, wiggling his head and saying:
S. “You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
C. Similarly, the high priests also commented among themselves, mocking:
S. “Others have saved and you cannot save yourself. May the Messiah, the king of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see him and believe him.”
C. He was also insulted by the other crucified ones.
When the sixth hour arrived, the whole region was left in darkness until Nona hour. And at nona hour, Jesus cried in a powerful voice:
+ “Eloí Eloí, lemá sabaqtaní?”.
+ “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”).
C. Some of those present, upon hearing it, said:
S. “Look, call Elijah.”
C. And one ran and, soaking a sponge in vinegar, held it to a cane, and gave him a drink saying:
S. “Leave, see if Elijah comes down.”
C. And Jesus, giving a loud cry, expired.
The veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
The centurion, who was opposite, seeing how it had expired, said:
S. “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
With the celebration of Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday we enter Holy Week, holy days in which we will celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord, his Passover, a founding event of our faith in Christ who died and risen for us and for our salvation. For all Christians these are days of silence and prayer, of contemplation of the mystery of the Father’s extreme love for each of us, manifested in Christ’s free and voluntary offering of one’s own life. To look to Christ, to listen to Christ, to accompany Christ, to let us question Christ, to identify with Christ. are guidelines that can help us live more intensely at the Lord’s Passover.
We know well that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, triumphant and at the same time humble, mounted on a blur, with songs of joy surrounded by simple and poor people, will give way in a few days to a diametrically opposite situation with the rejection of the multitude and his condemnation to death; and death of the cross, the most ignominious and horrible death of those times. Death that will be overcome and overcome with the resurrection on Easter morning. The joyful cry of “hosanna to the Son of David” will be replaced by the insulting vituperio of the “crucipher him”, full of hatred and vengeance, to become soon after the radiant cry of the Easter “hallelujah”, a manifestation of jubilation of those who saw him risen. Three expressions that summarize three consecutive moments and, perhaps also, three distinct and distant attitudes in understanding and approaching Jesus of that time and our present.
Jesus was aware of his nature and mission, that is, who He was and why He had come into the world. He knew that he was the Son of God whom the Father dearly loved and gave up to the world that the world might be saved by Him. His mission at all times focused on fulfilling the will of the Father supported by the power of the Spirit. Still, he had to learn by suffering to obey and accept the divine plan of his sacrificial offering. He presented himself as the expected Messiah, but not in the way they expected it. The chants of the Servant of Yahweh, which we find in the book of the prophet Isaiah, and which the liturgy offers us these days, portray his mesianic identity. suffering servant, rejected, mocked, sacrificed, insulted, silenced, victimized… with whom we can identify so many times and so many times. It was certainly not Jesus the triumphant and overflowing Messiah, liberating the yoke of the Romans, that the Jews desired and expected. His saving mission was to be much deeper, more encompassing, and universal. Particularly significant is, in this sense, the reading of the fourth canticle offered by the liturgy of Good Friday, a living portrait of Christ in his passion and death. Let us look at it in silence, as if we were hidden in the gloom of those scenes, without losing sight of it, attentive to every word and movement. With his passion and death, Christ offered us and continues to offer us the most authentic and valuable human lesson about how we are to live the life of every day as a pleasing offering to God. No one in the history of mankind has spoken so clearly and so deep in one’s flesh about the essence of the human being since offering himself.
But such an offering was not and is not easy at all, but quite the opposite. We might come to think that Christ felt anguish and inner emptiness in the face of the Father’s abandonment. Psalm 21, pronounced by Jesus himself from the cross before he dies, seems to suggest it. However, it does not seem that Christ died desperately but quite the opposite, trusting in the Father as he had always done. Psalm 21 concludes with verses in which the Psalmist expresses his absolute confidence in God. It was the psalm that any pious Jew uttered at difficult times, especially before he died. But Jesus did feel the anguish and pain of suffering, and perhaps also the distance of God, though not his abandonment, the gulf between human finitude and God’s infinity, between the temporal and the eternal, between nothingness and the whole, between total failure and hidden fruitfulness that only in God and from God germinates.
When we take the gospel and our identification with Christ seriously, we will also come to feel the vertigo and anguish that Christ himself felt before the Cross, sooner or later, in one way or another. It is part of the sowing so that the seed of the Kingdom germinates and bears fruit. It is an obvious sign of apparent failure and our inability to understand God’s plans. Only by trusting and waiting for Him will we ever feel disappointed. For He walks on our sore feet, suffers in our shattered hearts, weeps with our tears, and bleeds from our wounds.
He is the crucified Son of God before whom the Roman centurion, or any man or woman with a clean heart and goodwill, feels challenged. He is still alive and present in every human being violent, crushed, run over, deprived of liberty. His Cross is the cross of so many who do not know him but who represent him with their broken, failed, immolated, forgotten lives. It is the same Christ of Calvary who still needs Cyrenes willing to share their suffering and pain. It is the same Christ as in the poor, in the sick, in the migrant, in the disinherded, in the deprived of freedom, in all that marked by his Cross, he expects a friendly hand and a close shoulder willing to share weight and fatigue.
Let us feel blissful when their marks mark us, when their sores hurt us, when their face identifies us; let us be courageous when we are offered the opportunity to share their Cross in the suffering brothers and sisters in any way or place.
Like this: I need you flesh and blood.
You are glimpsed by the soul in the cyclone of stars, tumult, and symphony of heaven;
and, behind the arcane of life, pierces chaos and sojudes time,
and find with you, Father of Causes, Motor first.
But the cold was disturbing in the chasms, and in the days of God the vertigo is amen.
And a living fire needs the soul and a handle!
Man you wanted to make me, not naked immateriality of thought.
I am a diminutive incarnation; art, glow that takes shape:
the word is the flesh of the idea: Incarnation is the whole universe!
And he who put this law in our nothing made flesh his verb!
So: tangible, human, fraternal.
Anoint your feet, you seek my way, to feel your hands in my blind eyes,
sink me, like John, into your lap, and, -Judas without treason — give you my kiss.
Meat I am, and I love you with meat.
Charity that you came to my destitution, how well you know how to speak in my dialect!
So, suffering, body, friend, how I understand you!
Sweet madness of mercy: the two of flesh and blood!
You move me, sir.
It doesn’t move me, my God, to love you
the sky you have promised me;
nor does hell move me so feared
to stop offending you.
You move me, Lord; move me to see you
nailed to that cross and snouted;
Move me to see your body so wounded;
move your affronts and your death.
Move me, at last, your love, and in such a way,
that, even if there was no heaven, I loved you,
and, even if there was no hell, I feared you.
You don’t have to give me because he loves you,
Well, even if what I hope I didn’t expect,
The same thing I love you I’d love you.
(Hymns of the liturgy of the hours)