‘Popule meus, quid fecit tibi? aut in quo contristavi te? responde mihi.’ Agios athanatos, eleison, imas. Sanctus et immortalis, miserere nobis.
(Trans: ‘My people, what have I done to you? how have I offended you? answer me.’ Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.) From the Improperia (Reproaches) for Good Friday by Tomás Luís de Victoria (1548-1611), Rome 1585.
How have we offended God? When have we not listened to Him, or answered His call? Can our humble praise suffice in light of our sins? It God’s property to always have mercy. But in this week, especially, we are reminded that our sins do have consequences. When we shout ‘Crucify him!’ during the Passion readings this week, it is we, ourselves, who are contributing to the suffering of Jesus and His Father. The end of the week brings redemption for our sins, in glorious triumph; but we need to recall and atone for our sins if we want to be in a right frame of mind for the splendour of Easter.
Most times when we pray, we wonder if God listens. We may have burning desires or desperate pleadings. Our lives may not be full of happiness, or we may be in emotional distress. We sometimes forget God does hear all of our prayers. This week, we should ask ourselves if we listen in the same way to what God asks of us.