Suy Niệm – Chúa Nhật 2 Mùa Chay – February 28 – Năm B

Giuse
by

Suy Niệm:   Sự kiện biến hình xảy ra khoảng một tuần sau khi Ðức Giêsu báo trước cuộc thương khó và cái chết của Ngài, nhằm củng cố niềm tin nơi các môn đệ để các ông có thể can đảm theo Chúa trên con đường khổ giá. Sự hiện diện của hai nhân vật trong Cựu Ước: Môisê và Êlia để khẳng định việc Ðức Giêsu chịu khổ nạn và đi vào vinh quang nằm trong chương trình cứu độ của Thiên Chúa mà Thánh Kinh đã loan báo.

Cầu Nguyện:  Lạy Chúa Giêsu, xưa Chúa đã tỏ vinh quang của Chúa để tăng sức cho các môn đệ. Xin Chúa củng cố niềm tin cho chúng con, để khi gặp gian nan, thử thách, chúng con không ngã lòng thất vọng nhưng sẵn sàng đón nhận và can đảm dấn thân theo Chúa. Amen.

Chúa Nhật 2 – MÙA CHAY  –  Năm B

 

BÀI  ÐỌC I: St 22, 1-2. 9a. 10-13. 15-18

“Của hiến tế của Abraham Tổ phụ chúng ta”.

Trích sách Sáng Thế.

Trong những ngày ấy, Chúa thử Abraham và nói với ông rằng: “Abraham, Abraham!” Ông đáp lại: “Dạ, con đây”. Chúa nói: “Ngươi hãy đem Isaac, đứa con một yêu dấu của ngươi, và đi đến đất Moria, ở đó ngươi sẽ dâng nó làm của lễ toàn thiêu trên núi Ta sẽ chỉ cho ngươi”.

Khi hai người đến nơi Chúa đã chỉ, Abraham làm một bàn thờ và chất củi lên, rồi trói Isaac lại, đặt lên bàn thờ trên đống củi. Abraham giơ tay lấy dao để sát tế con mình. Bấy giờ thiên thần Chúa từ trời gọi ông rằng: “Abraham, Abraham!” Ông thưa lại: “Dạ, con đây”. Người nói: “Ðừng giết con trẻ và đừng động đến nó, vì giờ đây ta biết ngươi kính sợ Chúa, đến nỗi không từ chối dâng đứa con duy nhất cho Ta”. Abraham ngước mắt lên, thấy sau lưng mình có con cừu đực đang mắc sừng trong bụi cây, Abraham liền bắt nó và tế lễ thay cho con mình. Thiên thần Chúa gọi Abraham lần thứ hai và nói rằng: “Chúa phán: Ta thề rằng: vì ngươi đã làm điều đó, ngươi không từ chối dâng đứa con duy nhất của ngươi cho Ta, nên Ta chúc phúc cho ngươi, Ta cho ngươi sinh sản con cái đông đúc như sao trên trời, như cát bãi biển; miêu duệ ngươi sẽ chiếm cửa thành của quân địch, và mọi dân tộc trên mặt đất sẽ được chúc phúc nơi miêu duệ ngươi, vì ngươi đã vâng lời Ta”.

Ðó là lời Chúa.

ÐÁP CA: Tv 115, 10 và 15. 16-17. 18-19

Ðáp: Tôi sẽ tiến đi trước thiên nhan Chúa trong miền đất của nhân sinh (Tv 114, 9).

Xướng: 1) Tôi đã tin cậy ngay cả trong lúc tôi nói: “Tấm thân tôi trăm phần khổ cực!” Trước mặt Chúa thật là quý hoá cái chết của những bậc thánh nhân Ngài. – Ðáp.

2) Ôi lạy Chúa, con là tôi tớ Chúa, con là tôi tớ Ngài, con trai của nữ tỳ Ngài, Ngài đã bẻ gãy xiềng xích cho con. Con sẽ hiến dâng Chúa lời ca ngợi làm sinh lễ, và con sẽ kêu cầu danh Chúa. – Ðáp.

3) Tôi sẽ giữ trọn lời khấn xin cùng Chúa, trước mặt toàn thể dân Ngài, trong nơi hành lang nhà Chúa, ở giữa lòng ngươi, Giê-rusalem hỡi! – Ðáp.

BÀI ÐỌC II: Rm 8, 31b-34

“Thiên Chúa không dung tha chính Con mình”.

Trích thư Thánh Phaolô Tông đồ gửi tín hữu Rôma.

Anh em thân mến, nếu Thiên Chúa ủng hộ chúng ta, thì ai có thể chống lại chúng ta? Người không dung tha chính Con mình, nhưng lại phó thác Con vì tất cả chúng ta, há Người lại chẳng ban cho chúng ta mọi sự cùng với Con của Người sao? Ai sẽ tố cáo những kẻ Chúa chọn? (Chẳng lẽ là) chính Chúa, Ðấng làm cho nên công chính? Ai sẽ kết án? (Chẳng lẽ là) Ðức Giêsu Kitô, Ðấng đã chết và hơn nữa đã sống lại, đang ngự bên hữu Thiên Chúa, cũng đang biện hộ cho chúng ta?

Ðó là lời Chúa.

Câu Xướng Trước Phúc Âm: Mt 17, 5

Từ trong đám mây sáng chói, có tiếng Chúa Cha phán rằng: “Ðây là Con Ta yêu dấu, các ngươi hãy nghe lời Người”.

PHÚC ÂM: Mc 9, 1-9

“Ðây là Con Ta rất yêu dấu”.

Tin Mừng Chúa Giêsu Kitô theo Thánh Marcô.

Khi ấy, Chúa Giêsu đưa Phêrô, Giacôbê, và Gioan đi riêng với Người lên núi cao, và Người biến hình trước mặt các ông, và áo Người trở nên chói lọi, trắng tinh như tuyết, không thợ giặt nào trên trần gian có thể giặt trắng đến thế. Rồi Êlia và Môsê hiện ra và đàm đạo với Chúa Giêsu. Bấy giờ Phêrô lên tiếng thưa Chúa Giêsu rằng: “Lạy Thầy, chúng con được ở đây thì tốt lắm. Chúng con xin làm ba lều, một cho Thầy, một cho Môsê, và một cho Êlia”. Phêrô không rõ mình nói gì, vì các ông đều hoảng sợ. Lúc đó có một đám mây bao phủ các Ngài, và từ đám mây có tiếng phán rằng: “Ðây là Con Ta rất yêu dấu, các ngươi hãy nghe lời Người”. Bỗng nhìn chung quanh, các ông không còn thấy ai khác, chỉ còn một mình Chúa Giêsu với các ông. Và trong lúc từ trên núi đi xuống, Chúa Giêsu ra lệnh cho các ông đừng thuật lại cho ai những điều vừa xem thấy, trước khi Con Người từ cõi chết sống lại. Các ông tuân lời căn dặn đó, nhưng vẫn tự hỏi nhau: “Từ trong cõi chết sống lại nghĩa là gì?”

Ðó là lời Chúa.

 

Gospel  Mk 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

 Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (February 28): Can you drink Christ’s cup?
Gospel Reading:  Matthew 20:17-28  

17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, 19 and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” 20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over  them. 26 It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; 28 even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 18:18-20

18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words.” 19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to my plea. 20 Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.

Meditation: Who or what takes first place in your life? You and what you want to do with your life or God and what he desires for you? When personal goals and ambitions are at odds with God’s will, whose will prevails? The prophet Jeremiah spoke a word that was at odds with what the people wanted. The word which Jeremiah spoke was not his personal opinion but the divinely inspired word which God commanded him to speak. Jeremiah met stiff opposition and even threats to his life for speaking God’s word. Jeremiah pleaded with God when others plotted to not only silence him but to destroy him as well. Jesus also met stiff opposition from those who opposed his authority to speak and act in God’s name. Jesus prophesied that he would be rejected by the religious authorities in Jerusalem and be condemned to death by crucifixion – the most painful and humiliating death the Romans had devised for enemies who opposed their authority.

Jesus called himself the “Son of Man” (Matthew 20:17) – a prophetic title for the Messiah which came from the Book of Daniel. Daniel was given a prophetic vision of a “Son of Man” who is given great authority and power to rule over the earth on behalf of God. But if Jesus is the Messiah and “Son of Man” prophesied by Daniel, why must he be rejected and killed? Did not God promise that his Anointed One would deliver his people from their oppression and establish a kingdom of peace and justice? The prophet Isaiah had foretold that it was God’s will that the “Suffering Servant” who is “God’s Chosen One” (Isaiah 42:1) must first make atonement for sins through his suffering and death (Isaiah 53:5-12) and then be raised to establish justice on the earth (Isaiah 42:4). Jesus paid the price for our redemption with his own blood. Jesus’ life did not end with death on the cross – he triumphed over the grave when he rose victorious on the third day. If we want to share in the Lord’s victory over sin and death then we will need to follow his way of the cross by renouncing my will for his will, and my way for his way of self-sacrificing love and holiness.

Seeking privilege and power 
Right after Jesus had prophesied his impending death on the cross, the mother of James and John brought her sons before Jesus privately for a special request. She asked on their behalf for Jesus to grant them a special status among the disciples, namely to be placed in the highest position of privilege and power. Rulers placed their second-in-command at their right and left side. James and John were asking Jesus to place them above their fellow disciples.

Don’t we often do the same? We want to get ahead and get the best position where we can be served first. Jesus responds by telling James and John that they do not understand what they are really asking for. The only way one can advance in God’s kingdom is by submitting one’s whole life in faith and obedience to God. Jesus surrendered his will to the will of his Father – he willingly chose the Father’s path to glory – a path that would lead to suffering and death, redemption and new life.

When the other ten disciples heard what James and John had done, they were very resentful and angry. How unfair for James and John to seek first place for themselves. Jesus called the twelve together and showed them the true and rightful purpose for seeking power and position – to serve the good of others with love and righteousness. Authority without love, a love that is oriented towards the good of others, easily becomes self-serving and brutish.

Jesus does the unthinkable – he reverses the order and values of the world’s way of thinking. If you want to be great then become a servant for others. If you want to be first, then became a slave rather than a master. How shocking and contradictory these words must have rang in the disciples ears and in our own ears as well! Power and position are tools that can be used to serve and advance one’s own interests or to serve the interests of others. In the ancient world servants and slaves had no personal choice – they were compelled to serve the interests of their masters and do whatever they were commanded.

Freedom and servanthood 
The model of servanthood which Jesus presents to his disciples is based on personal choice and freedom – the decision to put others first in my care and concern and the freedom to serve them with love and compassion rather than with fear or desire for reward. That is why the Apostle Paul summed up Jesus’ teaching on freedom and love with the exhortation, “For freedom Christ has set us free… only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [for indulging in sinful and selfish desires], but through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:1,13). Jesus, the Lord and Master, sets himself as the example. He told his disciples that he “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). True servanthood is neither demeaning nor oppressive because its motivating force is love rather than pride or fear.

The Lord Jesus summed up his mission by telling his disciples that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The shedding of his blood on the cross was the payment for our sins – a ransom that sets us free from slavery to wrong and hurtful desires and addictions. Jesus laid down his life for us. This death to self is the key that sets us free to offer our lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and love for the Lord and for the people he calls us to serve.

Can you drink my cup? 
The Lord Jesus asks each of us the same question he asked of James and John,  “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink”? The cup he had in mind was a cup of sacrificial service and death to self – even death on a cross. What kind of cup might the Lord Jesus have in mind for each one of us who are his followers? For some disciples such a cup will entail physical suffering and the painful struggle of martyrdom – the readiness to die for one’s faith in Christ. But for many followers of Jesus Christ, it entails the long routine of the Christian life, with all its daily sacrifices, disappointments, set-backs, struggles, and temptations. A disciple must be ready to lay down his or her life in martyrdom for Christ and be ready to lay it down each and every day in the little and big sacrifices required as well.

An early church father summed up Jesus’ teaching with the expression “to serve is to reign with Christ”. We share in God’s reign by laying down our lives in humble service of one another as Jesus did for our sake. Are you ready to lay down your life and to serve others as Jesus did?

“Lord Jesus, make me a servant of love for your kingdom, that I may seek to serve rather than be served. Inflame my heart with your love that I may give generously and serve others joyfully for your sake.”

Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16

5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD, I say, ‘You are my God.’
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!

A Daily Quote for Lent: Do you wish to be great? by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

“Do you wish to be great? Then begin from what is slightest. Do you plan to construct a high and mighty building? Then think first about the foundation of humility. When people plan to erect a lofty and large building, they make the foundations all the deeper. But those who lay the foundation are forced to descend into the depths.” (excerpt from Sermon 69, 2)

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *