And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ... But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. (Gospel for April 5, Mt 27:46, 50-51)
Sometimes we can get the idea that Jesus was a “nice guy” and that our purpose as Christians is to be nice people who do nice things and don’t bother with anything unpleasant. Jesus’ heart-rending words from the cross should demolish this misconception. Here the Son of God cries out, quoting Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He gives us permission to make these words our own — in whatever moments of pain, anguish and suffering we experience. You and I are invited to pour our hearts out openly to God in trust and confidence.
This month, as we enter Holy Week and celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord, I challenge you to pray the Stations of the Cross to meditate on Christ’s anguish in his Passion.
Have there been times that God has seemed distant to you? How can you model faith that goes beyond being a “nice guy” to be open to the reality of suffering? In praying the Stations of the Cross, how does the reality that Christ accepted suffering and death help you to share your suffering with him?