“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’). (Mt 27:46)
A human being can’t even come close to understanding the extent of Christ’s suffering on the Cross, nor the enormity of the burden He carries at this moment, bearing the sins of the world. Nonetheless I’m reflecting on this shocking and difficult passage today, just because it happens to be Friday, the day of the crucifixion.
I know that as God, our Lord always maintained His union with the Father. But in Christ’s human nature, which He chose to take on in its entirety, He bears at this moment, during His salvific sufferings, also the entirety of the human tragedy of sin, - and this includes one of the results of sin: the loss of the sense of God’s presence. Jesus, indeed, had not only a human body, enduring the physical tortures of the Cross, but also a human soul. And His soul bears at this moment a sense of utter abandonment.
But what He does in this moment of extreme agony is cry out in the words of a Psalm: “My God, my God, …why have You forsaken me?” (Ps 21/22:1) So, although no human suffering or sorrow ever comes close to what my Lord felt on the Cross, He does show me that no matter what, at any hour of darkness, I am not to cease to cry out in prayer. It is part of the journey of the Cross; a journey that leads to the coming light of the Resurrection.