Catholic Q&A

When I read the Gospels, I learned that Jesus cried aloud on the cross saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If Jesus is the Son of God, then why did he cry aloud in that pitiful manner?

This question has been repeated over and over again since ancient times. Even in the ‘Break and Subdue’ guide of the Soka Gakkai, as a rationale for pointing out the mistakes in Christianity, it is stated, ‘did not Jesus himself admit his defeat?’ Yet, the fact is not just for those inimical to Christianity, even for Christians themselves this passage proved excessively depressing and painful, and it was problematic even during the days when the Gospels were written. Hence, while the Gospels of Mark and Matthew do include these words, yet in the Gospel of Luke, who attempts to portray the gentle figure of Jesus, and John, who seeks to describe the stately death of the Son of God, they have been replaced by other words. That is the reason why we may assert that the suffering of Jesus on the cross and his forlorn death, are facts of history.

In actual fact however these constitute the opening words of Psalm 22 in the old Testament of the Bible. The Jews memorized most of the Psalms and chanted them frequently in the course of their prayers.

There are numerous categories of psalms. Some offer praise to God in times of joy, while others express sorrow in moments of darkness and despair. Jesus also appears to have intoned the psalms in his daily prayers.

Psalm 22 is a prayer of a believer who calls upon God in moments of suffering. While lamenting over the adversity that rests on them all, the believers nevertheless recall the guidance of God, that has been provided to them so far. “You brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.” And the believers have faith that God will continue to be zealous with regard to them. “He has not ignored or belittled the sufferings of the needy.” I feel I can understand the heart of Jesus, who called upon his father from the depth of his sufferings.

Christians know from their faith in the “Resurrection” that God never rejected Jesus. Rather, he was with Jesus, and suffered from the death of Jesus as though it were his own. Furthermore, God has accepted the sufferings, griefs, and loneliness of all mankind, through this suffering of Jesus as a medium. Hence, there is no more death by abandonment for those who are united to Jesus. Christians thus believe that even death cannot keep us away from God, and destroy the meaning of our lives.

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