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Good Friday

"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Psalm 22:2

I was confused by this passage during the early years of my faith journey.


I recall someone telling me it was actually a cry of thanksgiving and that Jesus recited only the first line. All first-century Jews would have recognized His reference, even if this 21st-century Christians had to be taught.


Without malice or sarcasm, Jesus was declaring to every person His lineage, His essence. He chose not to preach but to teach from the cross.


He knew His disciples, His mother, and all the converts to come would know the Psalm and understand the lesson.


I will do me well to spend time praying with the entire Psalm, verses 1-32, this Easter season. The words will help me recognize how life is always a reminder of death and how death is the promise of life through Christ.


Psalm 22 (See the New American Bible translation for footnotes and New Testament references)

For the leader; according to “The deer of the dawn.” A psalm of David.

I

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.

In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm, not a man, scorned by men, despised by the people.

All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

“He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him; if he loves him, let him rescue him.”

For you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother’s breasts.

Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since my mother bore me you are my God.

Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.


II

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

Like water my life drains away; all my bones are disjointed.

My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me.

They have pierced my hands and my feet.

I can count all my bones.

They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the grip of the dog.

Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.


III

Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the assembly I will praise you:

“You who fear the LORD, give praise!

All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise.

May your hearts enjoy life forever!”


IV

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of nations will bow low before him.

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; all who have gone down into the dust

will kneel in homage.

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.


I took the photo of the crucifix inside the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Fatima, Portugal.

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