When Jesus felt he was alone like never before
“At three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice … ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34)
During the Last Supper, you had told your disciples, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32) But now we hear you crying out that your Father has abandoned you.
In Gethsemane, you were very close to walking away from your mission and prayed to your Father for this chalice to pass without you drinking from it. But in the supreme example of obedience, to mend the disobedience of Adam, the first man, you surrendered yourself to the will of your Father: “Not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Yes, we know you learned such prayer from your mother, who said those words first, in the Annunciation: “Fiat.” You even taught us to say that prayer you learned from your mother when you taught us the Our Father. But this time, the prayer was yours. You surrendered yourself to the will of your Father. Yet now, you feel your Father has abandoned you.
How close you truly are to us. You truly became a man like each one of us, except you never sinned. You are so close to us that you feel abandoned by God as we do many times. Pain and affliction make us forget we belong to our Father and make us forget his unconditional love. Often, we feel as if God has hidden his face from us. And your words become ours: “My God, why have you abandoned me?” We fear that feeling of being alone. We tremble just to imagine ourselves sinking in a never-ending vacuum.
Hanging from your cross, you look at the past 33 years. You remember faces, encounters, healings, manifestations of love. You recall everyone you have loved and all those who have loved you in return, despite their shortcomings. You also see around your cross the deep hatred many feel because of your good deeds, your healings and your forgiveness. This contempt is the ultimate fruit of envy. You notice in some of the men staring at you the satisfaction of the one who is fulfilling his desire for revenge.
You know how your words irritated many, for they demanded a life change, and the human heart, wounded by the original sin, refuses to change. You see your apostles hiding in fear and feel sorry for their weakness. You see the desolation around you despite the crowd that acclaimed you as you entered Jerusalem a few days ago. You look at your mother, by herself, and a few other women, present there while risking it all.
You see so many things that you feel profound vertigo in your soul as you wonder:
Does this sacrifice make any sense?
Was it worth loving everyone to the extreme?
Where is everyone I healed?
Where is everyone I formed?
Where is everyone I loved?
Where is everyone when I need them the most?
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
You scream with such a loud voice that it pierces my soul. I would like to tell you, “Jesus, here am I, at the foot of your cross, at your side.” I would like to give you comfort at this hour. But I am unable to even console myself! I am speechless after hearing what you just said.
I have no words as I see you feeling deserted by your Father. I know you are the Son of God and I am sure you know your Father like no one else. I know you are close to your Father like no one else can be. Nonetheless, I pray God to give you comfort and strength. And I pray God to give all of us comfort and strength, every time we say the same words, “My God, why have you abandoned me?”
Be passionate about our faith!
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - April 2019