MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME
The events of Palm Sunday are a preparation for the week of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
The liturgical readings present the suffering Messiah to us. They refer first of all to his sufferings and his humiliation. The Church proclaims the Gospel of the Lord’s passion according to one of the Synoptics; the Apostle Paul, instead, in his Letter to the Philippians, offers us a marvelous synthesis of the mystery of Christ, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (2:6-11).
This hymn of inestimable theological value presents a complete synthesis of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Good Friday to the Sunday of the Resurrection. These words from the Letter to the Philippians, will accompany us throughout the Holy Triduum.
St Paul's text contains the announcement of the resurrection and glory, but the Liturgy of the Word for Palm Sunday concentrates primarily on the passion. Both the first reading and the responsorial psalm speak of it. In the 1st Reading from Isaiah, which is part of the so-called “songs of the Servant of Yahweh”, the moment of his scourging and his crowning with thorns are sketched out; in the psalm the painful agony of Christ on the cross is described with impressive realism: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22 :2). The long Gospel enables us to be eyewitnesses of Christ’s passion and death, revealing his love “unto the very end”.
These words, the most disturbing, the most moving, uttered from the cross at the time of his agony, today resound in loud, obvious antithesis to that “Hosanna”, which also re-echoes during the procession with palms. We carry palm branches as a tribute of waving joy, before Christ, victorious over death; also as a symbol of our wavering fickleness, betraying Christ unto His Death.
Jesus is our "example;" let us never lose sight of the eternal joy of "sharing in His Resurrection," when with Him we now "suffer on a cross".