Tuesday, March 28, 2017


On Friday evening I participated (in a small way) in the performance of Haydn's Seven Last Words of Christ at my home parish, Old Saint Patrick's here in Chicago. I was asked to give a two minute personal reflection on "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The Haymarket quartet, a newly formed string quartet here in the city, performed the work. David Moss, viola, is a member of our parish and plays regularly at Sunday Mass. This was my view.

I wanted to share my reflection with you.

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

For over two millennia, through the works of poets, authors, scripture scholars, and theologians, we have been drawn into the mystery of the incarnation. Simply put, God became human and dwelt among us.

Too often we candy-coat the incarnation by focusing on the fleshly existence of Jesus of Nazareth; he caught colds just like we do; he got sunburns just like we do; he got stomach aches just like we do.

The words from Psalm 22, uttered by Jesus as he hung upon the cross, however, for me at least, are at the heart of what God-becoming-human—the incarnation—is truly all about. For here, from the cross in his last moments of earthly life, Jesus joins the throng of humans who came before him and who would come after him as he utters the single most powerful word in his cry, a word that originates in the deepest recesses of our hearts: “Why?” In that utterance, he becomes as human as any human can become; he enters the everlasting why.

My God, my God, why did my youngest sister Joanne’s multiple sclerosis have to lead to such an early and untimely death? My God, my God, why are innocent children dying in the Syrian conflict every day? My God, my God, why have you forsaken us, your beloved children? Why?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Margaret Barry said...

Absolutely beautiful reflection,Jerry - poignant and full of truth and longing.