Meditations on the way to Palm Sunday
Jesus’ experience of abandonment is human experience. Yet, within the passion narrative of Jesus’ suffering and death, there is a fundamental distinction between abandonment by humans – Judas, Peter, and Pilate – and by God.
People, flawed creatures that we are, fail. Whether akin to Judas’ mercenary betrayal, Peter’s cowardly denial, or Pilate’s hypocritical dismissal. It’s never good, whether happening to us or by us.
Nevertheless, more devastating are those moments when God fails. Whether it be a divine, transcendent Other or whatever we worship or value – whether philosophy, principle, or practice – that gives meaning to our lives. For this is the experience of crucifixion, with its attendant suffering and the absence of sense or solution. One prays it doesn’t happen often. For it’s the sort of thing from which recovery doesn’t soon come, if at all.
Jesus, crucified, cried, “My God…”
I wonder. What did Jesus think…feel when he heard the nothingness of silence? Scripture gives no clue, saying only that Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.
Perhaps this is a lesson of Jesus’ cry. A lesson of the cross. A lesson of any crucifixion. To yield to the experience. To surrender in the fight to find sense amid nonsense. Metaphorically, but no less truly, to breathe one’s last. Only then can a resurrection, if there is to be a resurrection, come.
© 2023 PRA
Illustration: Christ dies on the Cross (1627), Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664)
 Matthew 27.50