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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Seven last words

Word Four – Abandonment


“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?." Matthew 27:46

It seems odd that on this Laetare Sunday – a day of joy – our reflection is on the cry of Jesus expressing his feeling of being abandoned by his Father. All through his ministry, Jesus was dependent on the power of God as he cures the sick, frees the mentally ill, brings hope to those in despair and even new life to the dead. Now hanging on the cross Jesus cries out not because of the physical pain but because he feels abandoned in his hour of need.

 

How often have we heard ‘offer it up’ when we experience pain, or loss or disease? ‘Be like Jesus’ – he suffered for you so just ‘suck it up.’  For some reason we conveniently forget that Jesus cried out in despair from the cross. Thereby making it okay to express one’s feelings especially the unacceptable ones like despair, anger, frustration and even losing one’s faith in God.

 

So, does God want us to suffer just for the sake of suffering? Many years ago, Harold Kushner in his book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People’ helped us struggle with that question by reflecting on the meaning of suffering in our lives. We continue to struggle to make sense of life as an individual and as part of humanity. u/w

 

“Where is our God in suffering? We Christians do not have a fully satisfying explanation for why the world contains so much suffering. But we have something better: we have the power to deal with the suffering. We know where our God is during suffering. Our God is with us: with the Jewish boy on the gallows, with Ivan Ilyich in sickness, with Job in adversity, with Paul in weakness and persecution, with Jesus in crucifixion—with us in all the senseless accidents and ruptured relationships and interior brokenness of our lives.” Richard Hauser, SJ, Finding God in Troubled Times


Reflection

The Psalm Project - My God, My God, Why (Psalm 22)


J.S. Bach - St. John Passion - The Crucifixion



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