Pope Francis' Palm Sunday Homily "Christ took this to the cross, taking upon himself the sin of the world." Why? "For Us" FULL TEXT + Video

 Celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord
, 02.04.2023
At 10.00 this morning, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father Francis presided over the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord.
We publish below the homily that Pope Francis pronounced after the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to Matthew:
Homily of the Holy Father
"My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46). It is the invocation that the liturgy made us repeat today in the Responsorial Psalm (cf. Ps 22:2) and it is the only one pronounced on the cross by Jesus in the Gospel that we have heard. They are therefore the words that lead us to the heart of Christ's passion, to the culmination of the sufferings that he suffered to save us. "Why have you forsaken me?".
Jesu s' sufferings were many, and every time we listen to the story of the passion they enter us. They were bodily sufferings: let us think of the slaps, the beatings, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the torture of the cross. There were sufferings of the soul: the betrayal of Judas, the denials of Peter, the religious and civil condemnations, the ridicule of the guards, the insults under the cross, the rejection of many, the failure of everything, the abandonment of the disciples. And yet, in all this pain, one certainty remained for Jesus: the closeness of the Father.

But now the unthinkable happens; before dying he cries out: «My God, my God why have you forsaken me?». The abandonment of Jesus.
Here is the most excruciating suffering, it is the suffering of the spirit: in the most tragic hour Jesus experiences abandonment by God. Never, before then, had he called the Father with the generic name of God. done, the Gospel also reports the phrase in Aramaic: it is the only one, among those spoken by Jesus on the cross, that reaches us in the original language. The real event is the extreme abasement, that is, the abandonment of his Father, the abandonment of God. The Lord comes to suffer for love of us what is difficult for us to even understand. He sees the closed sky, experiences the bitter frontier of living, the shipwreck of existence, the collapse of all certainties: he shouts "the why of the whys". “You, God, why?”.
My God, my God why have you forsaken me? The verb "forsake" in the Bible is strong; it appears in moments of extreme pain: in failed, rejected and betrayed loves; in rejected and aborted children; in situations of repudiation, widowhood and orphanhood; in exhausted marriages, in exclusions that deprive of social ties, in the oppression of injustice and in the solitude of illness: in short, in the most drastic lacerations of ties. There, this word is said: “abandonment”. Christ took this to the cross, taking upon himself the sin of the world. And at the climax he, the only-begotten and beloved Son, experienced the most alien situation to him: abandonment, the distance from God.
And why did he come this far? For us, there is no other answer. For us. Brothers and sisters, today this is not a show. Everyone, listening to the abandonment of Jesus, each of us say to ourselves: for me. This abandonment is the price he paid for me. He was in solidarity with each of us to the extreme, to be with us all the way. He experienced abandonment so as not to leave us hostages of desolation and to stay by our side forever. He did it for me, for you, because when I, you or anyone else sees himself with his back against the wall, lost in a dead end, plunged into the abyss of abandonment, sucked into the vortex of many unanswered "whys" there is hope. Him, for you, for me. It's not the end, because Jesus was there and is now with you: He, who suffered the distance of abandonment to welcome all our distances into his love. So that each of us can say: in my falls - each of us has fallen many times -, in my desolation, when I feel betrayed, or have betrayed others, when I feel rejected or have discarded others, when I feel abandoned or I have abandoned others, we think that He has been abandoned, betrayed, discarded. And there we find Him. When I feel wrong and lost, when I can't take it anymore, He is with me; in my many unanswered whys, He is there.
Thus the Lord saves us, from within our "why". From there it opens up the hope that does not disappoint. On the cross, in fact, while he experiences extreme abandonment, he does not let himself go to despair - this is the limit -, but he prays and entrusts himself. He cries out his "why" with the words of a psalm (22:2) and delivers himself into the hands of the Father, even if he hears it far away (cf. Lk 23:46) or does not hear it because he finds himself abandoned. In abandonment he trusts. In abandonment he continues to love those of him who had left him alone. In abandonment he forgives his crucifiers (v. 34). Here the abyss of our many evils is immersed in a greater love, so that our every separation is transformed into communion.
Brothers and sisters, a love like this, all for us, until the end, the love of Jesus is capable of transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. It is a love of pity, of tenderness, of compassion. God's style is this: closeness, compassion and tenderness. God is like that. Christ forsaken moves us to seek him and to love him in the abandoned. Because in them there are not only those in need, but there is Him, Jesus Forsaken, the One who saved us by descending to the depths of our human condition. He is with each of them, abandoned until their death… I am thinking of that so-called “street” man, a German, who died under the colonnade, alone, abandoned. He is Jesus for each of us. Many need our closeness, many abandoned. I too need Jesus to caress me and draw close to me, and for this I go to find him in the abandoned, the lonely. He wants us to take care of the brothers and sisters who most resemble him, him in the extreme act of pain and loneliness. Today, dear brothers and sisters, there are many "abandoned Christs". There are whole peoples exploited and left to their own devices; there are poor people who live at the crossroads of our streets and whose eyes we don't have the courage to meet; there are migrants who are no longer faces but numbers; there are rejected inmates, people cataloged as a problem. But there are also many invisible, hidden abandoned Christs who are discarded with white gloves: unborn children, elderly people left alone – it could be your father, your mother perhaps, grandfather, grandmother, abandoned in geriatric institutions -, sick people who have not been visited , disabled people ignored, young people who feel a great emptiness inside without anyone really listening to their cry of pain. And they find no other way than suicide. Today's abandoned. Today's Christs.
Jesus forsaken asks us to have eyes and a heart for the abandoned. For us, disciples of the Forsaken, no one can be marginalized, no one can be left to themselves; because, let us remember, rejected and excluded people are living icons of Christ, they remind us of his mad love for him, his abandonment that saves us from all loneliness and desolation. Brothers and sisters, let us ask for this grace today: to know how to love Jesus forsaken and to know how to love Jesus in every abandoned person. We ask for the grace to be able to see, to be able to recognize the Lord who still cries out in them. Let's not allow his voice to get lost in the deafening silence of indifference. We have not been left alone by God; let's take care of those who are left alone. Then, only then, will we make our own the desires and feelings of the One who "emptied himself" for us (Phil 2:7). He totally emptied himself for us.