Suy Niệm – CN 1 Mùa Vọng – Nov. 27 – Năm A

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THÁI ĐỘ KHÔN NGOAN: SẴN SÀNG    “Anh em hãy sẵn sàng, vì chính giờ phút anh em không ngờ, thì Con Người sẽ đến.” (Mt 24,44)

Suy niệm: Cách đây 15 thế kỷ, các Ki-tô hữu Pháp đã bắt đầu chuẩn bị cho lễ Giáng Sinh từ ngày 11/11, lễ thánh giám mục Mác-ti-nô. Chuẩn bị không phải bằng việc mua sắm, nhưng là ăn chay ba ngày mỗi tuần. Một thế kỷ sau, các Ki-tô hữu tiến thêm một bước nữa: ăn chay hằng ngày từ ngày 11 tháng 11 cho đến lễ Giáng Sinh (theo cha Joe Robinson). Có thể ngày nay ít ai ăn chay trong mùa Vọng, nhưng tâm tình sẵn sàng đón lễ Giáng Sinh, cũng như đón Chúa đến trong cuộc đời mình bằng việc chuyên chăm cầu nguyện, xa tránh tội lỗi, tỉnh thức trước những cám dỗ chè chén say sưa, ham mê việc đời… vẫn là thái độ khôn ngoan và đẹp lòng Chúa hơn cả. Sự chuẩn bị chu đáo, chuẩn bị từ xa cho thấy tâm hồn sẵn sàng. Ông bà ta vẫn nói “đời đâu học được chữ ngờ!” huống hồ giờ Chúa đến. Sẵn sàng không bao giờ là hành vi thừa thãi, nhất là trong bối cảnh xã hội có quá nhiều biến động khôn lường như xã hội hôm nay.

Mời Bạn: “Thức đêm mới biết đêm dài.” Đêm dài làm ta chểnh mảng, buông xuôi, mất cảnh giác, để rồi khi “nước đến chân mới nhảy” e rằng không kịp. Vì thế, nhờ Lời Chúa đầu mùa Vọng nhắc nhở, ta bắt đầu một năm phụng vụ mới, và chuẩn bị những gì  cần thiết để mừng lễ Giáng Sinh.

Sống Lời Chúa: Nghiền ngẫm câu lời Chúa: “Ngày hôm nay, nghe tiếng Chúa, anh em chớ cứng lòng, nhưng hãy tin” (Tv 94).

Cầu nguyện: Lạy Chúa, ước chi mùa Vọng này là cơ hội giúp con mở lòng mình ra đón nhận tình yêu cứu độ của Chúa. Amen.

 

CHÚA NHẬT I MÙA VỌNG – NĂM  A

BÀI ĐỌC I: Is 2, 1-5

“Thiên Chúa quy tụ các dân tộc trong nước Người, để hưởng bình an đời đời”.
Trích sách Tiên tri Isaia.

Điềm Isaia con trai của Amos đã thấy về Giuđa và Giêru-salem. Điềm sẽ xảy ra trong những ngày sau hết, là núi của nhà Chúa được xây đắp trên đỉnh các núi, và núi ấy sẽ cao hơn các đồi, và các dân nước sẽ đổ về đó.

Nhiều dân tộc sẽ đến và nói rằng: “Hãy đến, chúng ta hãy lên núi Chúa và lên nhà †Thiên Chúa‡ của Giacóp. Người sẽ dạy chúng ta đường lối của Người, và chúng ta sẽ đi theo ý định của Người”; vì luật pháp sẽ ban ra từ Sion, và lời Chúa sẽ phát ra từ Giêrusalem.

Người sẽ xét xử các dân ngoại và khiển trách nhiều dân tộc. Họ sẽ lấy gươm mà rèn nên lưỡi cày, lấy giáo rèn nên lưỡi liềm. Nước này không còn tuốt gươm ra đánh nước kia nữa; người ta cũng sẽ không còn thao luyện để chiến đấu nữa. Hỡi nhà Giacóp, hãy đến, và chúng ta hãy bước đi trong ánh sáng của Chúa .Đó là lời Chúa.

 

ĐÁP CA: Tv 121, 1-2. 3-4a. 4b-5. 6-7. 8-9

Đáp:        Tôi vui mừng khi người ta nói với tôi: “Chúng ta sẽ tiến vào nhà Chúa”(c. 1).

1) Tôi vui mừng khi người ta nói với tôi: “Chúng ta sẽ tiến vào nhà Chúa”. Hỡi Giêrusalem, chân chúng tôi đang đứng nơi cửa thành rồi.   – Đáp.

2) Giêrusalem được kiến thiết như thành trì, được cấu tạo kiên cố trong toàn thể. Nơi đây các bộ lạc, các bộ lạc của Chúa tiến lên. – Đáp.
3) Theo luật pháp của Israel, để ngợi khen danh Chúa. Tại đây đã đặt ngai toà thẩm phán, ngai toà của nhà Đavít.   – Đáp.
4) Hãy nguyện cầu cho Giêrusalem được thanh bình, nguyện cho những kẻ yêu mến ngươi được an ninh. Nguyện cho trong thành luỹ được bình an, và trong các lâu đài của ngươi yên ổn.   – Đáp.
5) Vì anh em và bằng hữu của tôi, tôi nguyện chúc: bình an cho ngươi! Vì nhà Chúa là Thiên Chúa chúng ta, tôi khẩn cầu cho ngươi những điều thiện hảo.   – Đáp.
BÀI ĐỌC II:  Rm 13, 11-14

“Phần rỗi chúng ta gần đến”.

Trích thư Thánh Phaolô Tông đồ gửi tín hữu Rôma.

Anh em thân mến, biết rằng thời này là lúc chúng ta phải thức dậy. Vì giờ đây, phần rỗi chúng ta gần đến, hơn lúc chúng ta mới tin đạo. Đêm sắp tàn, ngày gần đến. Chúng ta hãy từ bỏ những hành vi ám muội và mang khí giới ánh sáng. Chúng ta hãy đi đứng đàng hoàng như giữa ban ngày, không ăn uống say sưa, không chơi bời dâm đãng, không tranh chấp ganh tị. Nhưng hãy mặc lấy Chúa Giêsu Kitô, và chớ lo lắng thoả mãn những dục vọng xác thịt.  Đó là lời Chúa.

 

ALLELUIA:  Tv 84, 8

Alleluia, alleluia! – Lạy Chúa, xin tỏ lòng từ bi Chúa cho chúng con, và ban ơn cứu rỗi cho chúng con. – Alleluia.

 

PHÚC ÂM:  Mt 24, 37-44

“Hãy tỉnh thức để sẵn sàng”.
Tin Mừng Chúa Giêsu Kitô theo Thánh Matthêu.

Khi ấy, Chúa Giêsu phán cùng các môn đệ rằng: “Trong thời ông Noe xảy ra thế nào, thì lúc Con Người đến cũng như vậy. Cũng như trong những ngày trước đại hồng thuỷ, người ta ăn uống, dựng vợ gả chồng, mãi đến chính ngày ông Noe vào tàu mà người ta cũng không ngờ, thình lình đại hồng thuỷ đến và cuốn đi tất cả, thì khi Con Người đến, cũng sẽ xảy ra như vậy. Khi ấy sẽ có hai người đàn ông đang ở ngoài đồng, một người được tiếp nhận, một người bị bỏ rơi. Và có hai người đàn bà đang xay bột, một người được tiếp nhận, còn người kia bị bỏ rơi. Vậy hãy tỉnh thức, vì không biết giờ nào Chúa các con sẽ đến.

“Nhưng các con phải biết điều này, là nếu chủ nhà biết giờ nào kẻ trộm đến, hẳn ông ta sẽ canh phòng, không để cho đào ngạch khoét vách nhà mình. Vậy các con cũng phải sẵn sàng, vì lúc các con không ngờ, Con Người sẽ đến”. Đó là lời Chúa.

 

Gospel Mt 24,37-44

 Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (November 27): Watch and be ready – the day of the Lord’s coming draws near
Gospel Reading:  Matthew 24:37-44

37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

1 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Meditation:Why did Jesus compare “the coming of the Son of Man” with the “days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37)? Scripture describes both events as a day of judgment and the separation of the just from the unjust. It is a time when the Lord of heaven and earth gathers to himself those who are his own. Separation is an inevitable consequence of the fundamental choices people have made – whether for God or against God. The fundamental choices we make can either lead us towards God and his will for us or they can lead us in a direction that is opposed to God or contrary to his wisdom and plan for our lives and well-being.

The days of Noah
The Book of Genesis describes why God chose to separate Noah and his family who were faithful to God from those who had utterly rejected God and corrupted the earth with violence and evil:

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), “with corruption and violence spreading everywhere” (Genesis 6:11-12).

Why did so many perish when the day of judgment came? They were caught completely unaware and unprepared for the disaster that swept them away. The Lord Jesus warned his disciples and he issues the same warning to us today – be alert and be prepared to meet the Lord today and every day – and when he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

The ark of refuge
Just as God provided a safe haven and place of refuge for Noah and his family in the ark which spared them from destruction (Genesis 7), the Lord provides for us today a place of refuge in the ark of his people – the body of Christ – who listen to his word and obey his voice. God made a covenant of peace with Noah and his descendants (Genesis 9:8-17). Noah’s ark was a prophetic sign and beacon of hope which prefigured the new covenant of everlasting peace which the Lord Jesus would accomplish through his atoning death on the cross, resurrection, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit on his disciples.

Jesus came to fulfill all the promises of God, including the covenant of peace which God made with Noah. Jesus’ first coming was a rescue mission to set us free from sin and condemnation and to give us new life in his Holy Spirit. Jesus died for our sins, rose to everlasting life, and is now seated in glory at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He now reigns over the heavens and the earth as the exalted Lord of creation. The Lord Jesus promised that he would return again in glory to complete the work of redemption which he began at his first coming.

Our merciful Savior is also our Judge and Vindicator
God fulfills all his promises to us in Jesus, our merciful Savior, who will come again as our Judge and Vindicator. Jesus told his disciples that the Father has given him all authority to execute judgments on the earth “because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27). The “Son of man” is a Messianic title for God’s anointed one who will overthrow God’s enemies and establish an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace. The “Son of man” is described in the Book of Daniel as the one who is given supreme authority to judge and execute justice on the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus came the first time to lay down his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. He promises to return again at the “end of the age” to complete the work of restoration and final judgment. While we do not know the time of his return, we will not mistake it when it happens. It will be apparent to all, both to the followers of the Lord Jesus and to every inhabitant on the earth as well.

One is taken away and the other is left
How are we to live our lives now in light of Jesus’ promise to return again as our Lord and Judge on the final day of judgment? Jesus gives two striking images to illustrate the urgency of the need to not be caught off guard and unprepared when we are suddenly summoned to appear before the Lord on the day of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41). The first image Jesus used is a description of two men working together in the field – very likely close family members or close co-workers. One is suddenly taken away and the other is left. The image of two women who are working closely together repeats the theme of the sudden rupture and separation

Hilary of Poitiers (315-367) an early church father, Scripture scholar and writer, explains the meaning of this short parable.

“Christ shows that a judgment is coming, since between two people in a field, one is taken up and one left behind. Between two grinding at the mill, one is chosen and one rejected. Between two lying in bed, one departs and one remains. This teaching means that the separation of the faithful from the unfaithful will consist in one being accepted and the other abandoned. For, like the prophet says, when the wrath of God rises, the saints will be hidden in God’s chambers but the faithless will be left exposed to celestial fire. The two in the field therefore represent the faithful and the unfaithful, both of whom will be surprised by the day of the Lord in the midst of the world, in the course of their life’s work. They will be separated, one taken and the other left. It will be the same for the two grinding at the mill, which represents the work of the law. For only some of the Jews, like Elijah, believed through the apostles that they must be justified by faith. One group will be taken up through the faith that produces good works, and the other group will be abandoned in the fruitless works of the law, grinding in vain at a mill that will never produce heavenly food. (commentary ON MATTHEW 26.5)

What is striking about Jesus’ parable is the sudden and unexpected turn of events – a summons to appear before the Judge to hear his verdict on the day of reckoning when he acts to separate the just from the unjust.  All who had faith in Jesus Christ receive the just reward of everlasting joy and friendship in his kingdom of righteousness and peace.
The thief in the night
Jesus’ second story of the thief in the night (Matthew 24:43-44) brings home the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who do not keep a watchful eye and guard against the thief who would try to break in and steal. Satan tries to rob us of our faith in Jesus Christ and the treasure of the kingdom which Christ has won for us.

Advent people – watching with expectant faith and yearning for Christ’s coming
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Day when the Lord would judge between the nations and establish peace over the earth. In that day the righteous – all peoples who believed in him and who listened to his teaching and instruction – would come to his holy mountain and house to worship him and dwell with him in everlasting peace (Isaiah 2:3-5). The Advent season reminds us that we are living in the time between the first coming and second coming of the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus calls us to be alert and watchful for his coming. He comes to us each and every day and he knocks on the door of our heart and home. Do you listen for his voice and welcome him into your life? Let his word in the Scriptures and the work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you draw you to a deeper faith, hope, and yearning for his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Those who wait upon the Lord today and listen to his word will not be disappointed. The Lord will come and bring you to his banquet table to feast with him.

“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory and praise. Keep me ever watchful for the coming of your kingdom today and every day of my life.”

Psalm 122:1-9
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem, built as a city which is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they prosper who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers!”
8 For my brethren and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Finding the pearl of great price, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

“All who listen to the depths of the gospel and live it so completely that none of it remains veiled from them care very little about whether the end of the world will come suddenly and all at once or gradually and little by little. Instead, they bear in mind only that each individual’s end or death will arrive on a day and hour unknown to him and that upon each one of us ‘the day of the Lord will come like a thief’ (1 Thessalonians 5:2). It is important therefore to be vigilant, whether in the evening (that is, in one’s youth) or in the middle of the night (that is, at human life’s darkest hour) or when the cock crows (at full maturity) or in the morning (when one is well advanced in old age).
“When God the Word comes and brings an end to the progress of this life, he will gather up the one who gave ‘no sleep to his eyes nor slumber to his eyelids’ (Psalm 132:4) and kept the commandment of the One who said, ‘Be vigilant at all times’ (Luke 21:36). …But I know another kind of end for the righteous person who is able to say along with the apostle, ‘Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world’ (Galatians 6:14). In a certain sense, the end of the world has already come for the person to whom the world is crucified. And to one who is dead to worldly things the day of the Lord has already arrived, for the Son of man comes to the soul of the one who no longer lives for sin or for the world.” (excerpt Commentary on Matthew 56)

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