Suy Niệm – Chúa Nhật 4 Mùa Chay – March 31 – Năm C

Joseph
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Suy niệm: Chúa xác quyết: Chúa được sai đến không vì người lành, nhưng vì người tội lỗi, lỡ bước, lầm đường, không tìm ra lối thoát. Chúa đến để soi đường chỉ lối, làm việc lạ lùng đ họ tin. Trong dụ ngôn người con hoang đàng, lòng khoan dung tha thứ của người cha khi đứa con hư biết hối cải, quay trở về, dù lỗi anh thật lớn lao, dù bị người anh c phiền trách, ghen tị..

Cầu nguyện: Lạy Chúa, chúng con là kẻ có tội, làm nhiều điều bất hiếu, làm nhiều điều có hại cho tha nhân. Chúng con bất xứng đón nhận hồng ân thứ tha. Nhưng chúng con tin, Chúa là Cha từ bi nhân hậu, không chấp nhất lỗi lầm chúng con, nhưng luôn rộng lòng bao dung, tha thứ. Xin cho chúng con vng tin vào Chúa, can đm chạy lại với Chúa để cầu xin tha thứ và được sống lại trong ân sng Chúa. Xin Chúa nhận lời chúng con.

CHÚA NHẬT 4 Mùa Chay – Năm C

Bài Ðọc I: Gs 5, 9a. 10-12   “Dân Chúa tiến vào đất Chúa hứa và mừng Lễ Vượt Qua”.

Trích sách Giosuê.

Trong những ngày ấy, Chúa phán cùng Giosuê rằng: “Hôm nay, Ta đã cất sự dơ nhớp của Ai-cập khỏi các ngươi!” Con cái Israel tạm trú tại Galgali và mừng Lễ Vượt Qua vào ban chiều ngày mười bốn trong tháng, trên cánh đồng Giêricô. Ngày hôm sau Lễ Vượt Qua, họ ăn các thức ăn địa phương, bánh không men và lúa mạch gặt năm ấy. Từ khi họ ăn các thức ăn địa phương, thì không có manna nữa. Và con cái Israel không còn ăn manna nữa, nhưng họ ăn thổ sản năm đó của xứ Canaan.   Ðó là lời Chúa. 

 

Ðáp Ca: Tv 33, 2-3. 4-5. 6-7

Ðáp: Các bạn hãy nếm thử và hãy nhìn coi, cho biết Chúa thiện hảo nhường bao (c. 9a).

Xướng: 1) Tôi chúc tụng Chúa trong mọi lúc, miệng tôi hằng liên lỉ ngợi khen Người. Trong Chúa linh hồn tôi hãnh diện, bạn nghèo hãy nghe và hãy mừng vui. – Ðáp.

2) Các bạn hãy cùng tôi ca ngợi Chúa, cùng nhau ta hãy tán tạ danh Người. Tôi cầu khẩn Chúa, Chúa đã nhậm lời, và Người đã cứu tôi khỏi mọi điều lo sợ. – Ðáp.

3) Hãy nhìn về Chúa để các bạn vui tươi, và các bạn khỏi hổ ngươi bẽ mặt. Kìa người đau khổ cầu cứu và Chúa đã nghe, và Người đã cứu họ khỏi mọi điều tai nạn. – Ðáp. 

 

Bài Ðọc II: 2 Cr 5, 17-21    “Thiên Chúa đã nhờ Ðức Kitô giao hoà chúng ta với mình”.

Trích thư thứ hai của Thánh Phaolô Tông đồ gửi tín hữu Côrintô.

Anh em thân mến, nếu ai ở trong Ðức Kitô, thì người đó sẽ là một thụ tạo mới, những gì là cũ đã qua đi: này đây tất cả mọi sự đã trở thành mới. Vì mọi sự bởi Thiên Chúa, Ðấng đã nhờ Ðức Kitô giao hoà chúng ta với mình, và trao phó cho chúng tôi chức vụ giao hoà. Thật vậy, Thiên Chúa là Ðấng giao hoà thế gian với chính mình Người trong Ðức Kitô, nên không kể chi đến tội lỗi của loài người, và đặt lên môi miệng chúng tôi lời giao hoà. Nên chúng tôi là sứ giả thay mặt Ðức Kitô, như chính Chúa dùng chúng tôi mà khuyên bảo. Vì Ðức Kitô, chúng tôi van nài anh em hãy giao hoà với Thiên Chúa. Ðấng không hề biết tội, thì Thiên Chúa làm nên thân tội vì chúng ta, để trong Ngài, chúng ta trở nên sự công chính của Thiên Chúa.    Ðó là lời Chúa. 

 

Câu Xướng Trước Phúc Âm: Lc 15, 18

Tôi muốn ra đi trở về với cha tôi và thưa người rằng: Thưa cha, con đã lỗi phạm đến trời và đến cha. 

 

Phúc Âm: Lc 15, 1-3. 11-32    “Em con đã chết nay sống lại”.

Tin Mừng Chúa Giêsu Kitô theo Thánh Luca.

Khi ấy, những người thu thuế và những kẻ tội lỗi đến gần Chúa Giêsu để nghe Người giảng; thấy vậy, những người biệt phái và luật sĩ lẩm bẩm rằng: “Ông này đón tiếp những kẻ tội lỗi và cùng ngồi ăn uống với chúng”. Bấy giờ Người phán bảo họ dụ ngôn này: “Người kia có hai con trai. Ðứa em thưa với cha rằng: “Thưa cha, xin cha cho con phần gia tài thuộc về con”. Người cha liền chia gia tài cho các con. Ít ngày sau, người em thu nhặt tất cả của mình, trẩy đi miền xa và ở đó ăn chơi xa xỉ phung phí hết tiền của. Khi nó tiêu hết tiền của thì vừa gặp nạn đói lớn trong miền đó, và nó bắt đầu cảm thấy túng thiếu. Nó vào giúp việc cho một người trong miền, người này sai nó ra đồng chăn heo. Nó muốn ăn những đồ cặn bã heo ăn cho đầy bụng, nhưng cũng không ai cho. Bấy giờ nó hồi tâm lại và tự nhủ: “Biết bao người làm công ở nhà cha tôi được ăn uống dư dật, còn tôi, tôi ở đây phải chết đói. Tôi muốn ra đi trở về với cha tôi và thưa người rằng: “Thưa cha, con đã lỗi phạm đến trời và đến cha, con không đáng được gọi là con cha nữa, xin cha đối xử với con như một người làm công của cha”. Vậy nó ra đi và trở về với cha nó. Khi nó còn ở đàng xa, cha nó chợt trông thấy, liền động lòng thương; ông chạy ra ôm choàng lấy cổ nó và hôn nó hồi lâu… Người con trai lúc đó thưa rằng: “Thưa cha, con đã lỗi phạm đến trời và đến cha, con không đáng được gọi là con cha nữa”. Nhưng người cha bảo đầy tớ: “Mau mang áo đẹp nhất ra đây và mặc cho cậu, hãy đeo nhẫn vào ngón tay cậu, và xỏ giầy vào chân cậu. Hãy bắt con bê béo làm thịt để chúng ta ăn mừng: vì con ta đây đã chết, nay sống lại, đã mất, nay lại tìm thấy”. Và người ta bắt đầu ăn uống linh đình.

“Người con cả đang ở ngoài đồng. Khi về gần đến nhà, nghe tiếng đàn hát và nhảy múa, anh gọi một tên đầy tớ để hỏi xem có chuyện gì. Tên đầy tớ nói: “Ðó là em cậu đã trở về, và cha cậu đã giết bê béo, vì thấy cậu ấy về mạnh khoẻ”. Anh liền nổi giận và quyết định không vào nhà. Cha anh ra xin anh vào. Nhưng anh trả lời: “Cha coi, đã bao năm con hầu hạ cha, không hề trái lệnh cha một điều nào, mà không bao giờ cha cho riêng con một con bê nhỏ để ăn mừng với chúng bạn. Còn thằng con của cha kia, sau khi phung phí hết tài sản của cha với bọn đàng điếm, nay trở về thì cha lại sai làm thịt bê béo ăn mừng nó”. Nhưng người cha bảo: “Hỡi con, con luôn ở với cha, và mọi sự của cha đều là của con. Nhưng phải ăn tiệc và vui mừng, vì em con đã chết nay sống lại, đã mất nay lại tìm thấy”.  Ðó là lời Chúa. 

Gospel  Lk 15,1-3.11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

 

Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (March 31): “I will go home to my father

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-3,11-32   (alternate reading for Year A: John 9:1-41)

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable:
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in  loose living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced  him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. 27 And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I  might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ 31 And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” Old Testament

Reading: Joshua 5:9-12

9 And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day. 10 While the people of Israel were encamped in Gilgal they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of  Jericho. 11 And on the morrow after the passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased on the morrow, when they ate of the produce of the land; and the people of Israel had manna no more, but ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Meditation: What’s worst than being separated from your home, loved ones, and friends? The pain of separation can only be surpassed by the joy of the homecoming and reunion. When God commanded his people to celebrate the Passover annually, he wanted them to never forget what he did for them when he freed them from oppression and slavery in the land of Egypt and brought them back to their promised homeland which he gave as a sign of his immense love and favor. At the end of their wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, Joshua, the successor to Moses, led the people in celebrating the Passover meal after they had safely passed over the River Jordan to their promised homeland (Joshua 5:9-12).

Our true homeland with God
This crossing over from a land of slavery and oppression to a land of promise and freedom is a sign that foreshadows the true freedom and homecoming which the Lord Jesus has won for us in his kingdom. Through his victory on the cross the Lord Jesus has delivered us from the dominion of sin and darkness and transferred us to his kingdom of light, truth, and forgiveness (Colossians 1:13-14). God offers this freedom to all who believe in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not desire the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:23). That is why he sent us his only-begotten Son to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death and to restore us to everlasting peace, joy, and abundant life with our Father in heaven.

The merciful Father who welcome home his lost son
Jesus illustrates this passover from slavery to sin and condemnation to freedom and new life in Christ with the longest parable recorded in the Gospels (Luke 15:11-32). What is the main point of Jesus’ story about two ungrateful sons and their extravagant loving father? Is it the contrast between a grudging obedient son and a rebellious son who had wished his father was dead? Or the warm reception given to a spendthrift son and the cold reception given by the eldest son?

Jesus does contrast the eldest son’s cold and aloof reception for his errant brother with the father’s warm embrace and lavish homecoming party for his repentant son. While the errant son had wasted his father’s money, his father, nonetheless, maintained unbroken love for his son. The son, while he was away, learned a lot about himself. And he realized that his father had given him love which he had not returned. He had yet to learn about the depth of his father’s love for him.

His deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed on the husks of pigs and his reflection on all he had lost, led to his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father. While he hoped for reconciliation with his father, he could not have imagined a full restoration of relationship. The father did not need to speak words of forgiveness to his son; his actions spoke more loudly and clearly! The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet symbolize the new life – pure, worthy, and joyful – of every person who returns to God.

Forgiven and restored to new life 
The prodigal could not return to the garden of innocence, but he was welcomed and reinstated as a son who had been missed much and greatly loved by his father. The errant son’s dramatic change from grief and guilt to forgiveness and restoration express in picture-language the resurrection from the dead which Jesus makes possible to everyone who believes in him, a rebirth to new life from death.

The parable also contrasts mercy and its opposite – unforgiveness. The father who had been wronged, was forgiving. But the eldest son, who had not been wronged, was unforgiving. His unforgiveness turns into spiteful pride and contempt for his brother. And his resentment leads to his isolation and estrangement from the community of forgiven sinners.

God’s mercy and kindness knows no bounds
In this parable Jesus gives a vivid picture of God and what God is like. God is truly kinder than any of us. He does not lose hope or give up when we stray from him. He is always on the lookout for those who have a change of heart and want to return. He rejoices in finding the lost and in welcoming them home. Do you know the joy of repentance and the restoration of relationship as a son or daughter of your heavenly Father?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as you are merciful.”

Psalm 34:2-8
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Father redeems his son with a kiss, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)

“‘He fell on his neck and kissed him.’ This is how the father judges and corrects his wayward son and gives him not beatings but kisses. The power of love overlooked the transgressions. The father redeemed the sins of his son by his kiss, and covered them by his embrace, in order not to expose the crimes or humiliate the son. The father so healed the son’s wounds as not to leave a scar or blemish upon him. ‘Blessed are they,’ says Scripture ‘whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered’ (Romans 4:7).” (excerpt from SERMON 3)

 

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