Episode 357 Psalm 22

Psalm 22

1  For the leader; according to “The deer of the dawn.” A psalm of David.
2  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?
3  My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.
4  Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.
5  In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.
6  To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
7  But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
8  All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:
9  “You relied on the LORD–let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you.”
10 Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother’s breast.
11 Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.
12 Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.
13 Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.
14 They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.
15 Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.
16 As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.
17 Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet.
18 That I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;
19 They divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.
20 But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.
21 Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.
22 Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.
23 Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:
24 “You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!
25 For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.
26 I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.
27 The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!”
28 All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.
29 For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.
30 All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.
31 And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.
32 The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may prPreparing for Holy Week

Let’s think about this Psalm which is appropriate for the Lenten season:

On the Cross, in death, Christ found strength to invoke one final part of prophesy in Psalms 22.
Those who were there at Calvary would know exactly what He referred to. Christ was referring to
the Hebrew Scriptures which foretold Christ’s coming and Passion.

It was an implicit excoriation of the members of the Sanhedrin who would have been present at Calvary.
Remember they would have made certain the deed had been carried out, much like they were when they were
in Pilate’s yard cheering the crowd to ‘crucify him’.

Any well-studied Jewish scholar would have been acutely familiar with this particular Scripture and
the event it foretold; therefore a quick mental comparison of the sight beheld and that which was detailed in the Psalm would likely
have given such an observer pause concerning the identity of The Man on the cross before him.

Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. But in the redeeming love that always united him
to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the
cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son
but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.–Catechism of the Catholic Church, 603

In Hebrew/Aramaic (in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Christ appears to “mix” the two languages when speaking the few words that he does
from the cross), the meaning of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is actually: “My God, my God, why have you left me to the fury of my enemies?”
Although this sounds like despair, it’s not. You have to read the entire Psalm to understand why Christ quoted it.

First, it “stirred up” the minds of the Sanhedrin so that they would have immediately paused and thought hard about what they had done to Christ in calling for his death.
Second, although this was a prayer coming from the human soul of Christ, the words were actually expressing confidence in God.

Keep in mind the “good thief/bad thief”. The “bad thief” said what we mortals would likely have said or had
in mind: “Good grief-if you are God, help yourself and us-get us down!” But Christ never waivers from his confidence of God.
Christ DID have the power to remove himself from suffering at any time and call down legions of angels to comfort Him.
But even at the height of his incredible pain, he chose to remain and still give praise to God AND promise Dismas that that he would be
in paradis (Purgatory) upon their death. Jesus, as THE Christ completed His and His Father’s sacrifice
with His last words to Dismas, His Mother, John and lastly to His Father: “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.


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