Elí Elí. Lemà sebachtaní.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says only one thing from the Cross as He is dying: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These are powerful words. Jesus had suffered the loss of his own loved ones, the disciples who had fled. But the Father still remained for him. Now, in the pain of his suffering, for the first time he calls him by the generic name “God” not “Father, Abba.” And “in a loud voice” he asks the excruciating question “why?” “Why did you too abandon me?”. These words are in fact those of Psalm 22 which is the psalm for mass today. How can a psalm simultaneously express fear and fearlessness, doubt and conviction, God’s terrifying absence and God’s consoling presence? When Jesus asks the Psalmist’s question, the tensions between human suffering and divine salvation, between the absence and presence of God, between lament and praise indicate the mystery of the cross. And in the midst of our suffering, when we pray both in this painful and hopeful manner, God prays the psalm with us.
One of the greatest stresses in life is more than suffering — it’s suffering alone. It’s estrangement… estrangement from our Maker and our people. Sometimes what we need is more than good answers in the midst of suffering — what we need is good people to walk through the suffering with us.
There are so many problems that we collectively, can work together to effect real change. , and still, ultimately, as all our hearts are breaking, we still dare to hold on and hope. And Jesus, who Love Himself, always comes to suffer with us. As Jesus’ people, we can walk through the suffering with each other. When we need to see God’s hand, let’s look at the hands all around us.