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

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


THAT’S one of the last words of Christ (cfr. Mt 27,46) before he gave up his spirit on the cross. It’s an intriguing statement, considering that Christ is God who can absorb and suffer anything as if in a breeze. Nothing could actually bother or disturb him.

But let’s remember that Christ is also a man. He is God the Son who assumed our human nature precisely to save us. And in saving us, he had to pay for our sins. He bore all our sins and the consequences that go with our sins. He had to do this because he is the very pattern of our humanity. He is also the savior of our humanity that has been damaged by our sin.

And so, his suffering and death are real. They are not just theatrics, something simply staged and contrived. Since Christ is one person with two natures, his suffering and death are not just in his human side. The whole Christ, the whole person of Christ in his divinity and humanity, suffered and died.

If we cannot fully understand that, just leave it at that. It’s a mystery, just as how one person can have two natures is also a mystery. We are not expected to understand this mystery fully. This is where we have to bow down to what our faith tells and accept what it teaches us.

Truth is, that Christ had to voice out that ‘complaint’ to the Father simply points to one clear fact—that all our sins that he bore are no mean or petty thing. They are truly horrible things that would make even the God-made-man express such pain.

And we cannot deny the most serious gravity of our sinfulness. Even the most saintly among us fall into sin, not only from time to time but all the time. And it’s not just small and simple sins, but rather deadly sins.

Our sinfulness has also become habitual. Many are already obsessed and addicted to sin. Besides, our sinfulness is not anymore simply personal. It has become systemic, structural, inculturated. The situation can be so bad that we can even say that the sense of sin is disappearing. No wonder then that Christ who had to bear all our sins could not help but make that filial ‘complaint’ to his Father. “Why have you forsaken me,” he said.

But we should neither forget that after that ‘complaint,’ he simply proceeded to do what was expected of him. He went all the way such that he also said, “It is finished.” (Jn 19,30) He said this when after saying, “I thirst,” he was offered in a most malicious way a sponge of sour wine.

The consideration of these complaining words of Christ should motivate us to be more active in resisting sin and to be more willing and generous in our suffering. We should assume the mind of Christ toward suffering whenever we are made to suffer because of our sin and the sin of the others. That way, we would know that our suffering would have a redemptive value.

It should motivate us also to try our best to clean up our environment and our culture of anything that are already sinful or that can be an occasion of sin.

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