My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? – Psalm 22:1
This verse is the start of a powerful and prophetic Psalm. It is well known because these are words spoken by Christ on the Cross. It is easy to misinterpret their meaning that God is absent for no reason. It is impossible to explain completely why Christ said these words, because our Church regards the Lord’s death on the Cross a great mystery. We will, however, attempt to receive an insight into this mystery.
In the days of Christ, when a Rabbi quoted the first verse of a Psalm, it was understood that he was alluding to the whole Psalm. If we read this Psalm it is clear that Jesus Christ implies that He is the righteous man reciting Psalm 22.
We can be enlightened into the meaning of this verse by studying the word ‘abandon’, which in Hebrew (‘azav’) is only used in one other place in the Scriptures. This is Genesis 2:24 – “That is why a man abandons his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. This means that a man shall abandon or separate from his parents in order to cling, attach and join with his wife.
Christ is abandoned because He is the Bridegroom and we are His sinful Bride. Jesus Christ, at the time of His Crucifixion, was completely alone; abandoned by God His Father, abandoned by his beloved disciples, abandoned by the Jews, abandoned by the Romans, even by the Angels – everything and everyone, and becomes one flesh with us, His sinful bride. He dies so that she may live and so that the Bridegroom’s Father may become our Father.