The Perspective of Justice

Abandonment and Salvation

Jesus came triumphantly into Jerusalem, but he knew what faced him. The death would be terrible, and the suffering that would accompany it would be excruciating.

Worst of all would be the pain of abandonment. Jesus would die abandoned by everyone. His friends and disciples would run away and leave him alone.

From among his very best friends, one would turn him over to the authorities and another would deny knowing him. Jesus’ experience of abandonment even seemed to extend to his Father: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

In dying his lonely death on the cross, Jesus brought salvation to all those who are abandoned by others: the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the lonely elderly, those suffering from communicable diseases, the hungry, political prisoners, prostitutes, those on death row.

Jesus died and rose that they might be liberated from their abandonment.

“Your attitude must be Christ’s,” we are told by St. Paul. We must empty ourselves and take the form of slaves on behalf of those who are abandoned by the world.

The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were nonmembers of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say that they simply do not count as human beings.

U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 1986: 77

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson