He Trusts in God
We are celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection. Yet, as I spend this time in isolation, I find myself drawn back to words that were spoken of Jesus during His Passion: “He trusts in God” (Matt 27:43). These words were intended to be a mockery of Jesus as He hung bleeding, naked, gasping for air and dying on the cross. “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Could it be that the Father had stopped desiring Jesus, had stopped loving Jesus? Is that why He was suffering? Of course not. Did the Father still desire Jesus in His anguish and pain? Was Jesus still desirable to the Father, when on the cross, His weakness was put on full display? Of course He was. And Jesus knew it.
“He trusts in God.” These words characterize the unchanging disposition of Jesus’ heart, the heart of the Son before His Father, and they were no less true when all was stripped away from Him and the only thing registering was pain: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual pain. Jesus’ trust in the Father, His certainty that the Father was good, that His plan was good, that the Father loved Him and would never stop loving Him, never wavered. Jesus knew that the Father’s hands were a good place, the best place, indeed the only place He wanted to be. And so, in deeper suffering than any man will ever know, Jesus was able to cry aloud, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46)! “The Lord goes forth like a might man…he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes” (Is 42:13). The suffering Son Who was might in trust went forth, surrendering Himself into the hands of His Father and opening for us the way.
This time in isolation is a difficult experience for me: an experience of my poverty. I feel helpless over the feelings of anxiety that come. There is no switch I can flick to turn them off. I am often tempted to impatience, fear, agitation and restlessness. It is then I must choose to remember those words, “He trusts in God.” I look at Jesus suffering on the cross and I know I am not alone. Jesus is with me. He sees, He understands, He experiences my suffering with me. When I am feeling miserable I am tempted to wonder, “Does the Father still love me? Can He still possibly desire me when I am in this state?” With Jesus I receive the Father’s answer: “Yes. I am always loving you. I never stop loving you, and my plans for you are good.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote in Jesus of Nazareth that “[s]cripture is full of potential for the future, a potential that can only be opened up when someone ‘lives through’ and ‘suffers through’ the sacred text” (p. 78). Whatever our suffering, whatever the surrender we need to make, with Jesus may we be given the grace to cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
Sr. Philomena, CFR