常年期第六主日 2018年02月11日


常年期第六主日

石破天驚的一聲「我願意」

讀經一:(肋13:1-2,45-46):對痳瘋病人的處理
讀經二:(格前10:31-11:1):信友行事不要使人跌倒
福 音:(谷1:40-45):治好癩病人
中國文化: 惻隱之心,人皆有之。 晉惠帝:何不食肉糜? 讀萬卷書,不如行萬里路。

一個痳瘋病人來到耶穌面前跪下,求他說:「只要你願意,就能潔淨我。」耶穌動了憐憫之心,伸手摸他說:「我願意,你潔淨吧!」痳瘋病立刻消失,他就潔淨了。
(谷1:40-42)

「只要你願意,就能潔淨我。」「我願意,你潔淨吧!」這是一段多麼簡單、感人的對話。但一個活生生的奇蹟,就這樣在一聲懇求,和一聲願意的交互共鳴中產生了。

「朋友,可以幫幫忙嗎?」「噢,我可為你作什麼?」這就是我們生活中「我願意」的例子。有時,一些生命中的奇蹟,也就在這樣的一聲「我願意」中產生了。父母就是這樣愛孩子的;朋友和朋友也是這樣彼此相待的。這種「我願意」的心,曾撫平了多少創傷,治療了多少痛楚,消解了多少仇怨!

耶穌今天也就是在這麼的一聲「我願意」中,治好了一個痳瘋病人,一個在當時的社會裡,無論是身世、遭遇或處境,都是十分可憐的人。為明白痳瘋病是甚麼一回事,讓我們先讀一讀今天的第一篇讀經《肋未紀》:

如果一個人皮膚上出現腫瘤、潰爛或斑點等痳瘋病癥,就該帶他去見亞郎司祭,或到他任何一個做司祭的兒子那裡。凡是痳瘋病人,都必須穿撕破的衣服,披頭散髮,遮住口唇,大聲叫:「不潔!不潔!」在患痳瘋病期間,常是不潔的。他既是不潔,就應該獨自居住在營外。(肋13:1-2,45-46)

痳瘋病人在當時的猶太人社會中,確實是十分可憐的。他們被排除在健康人的社會之外,不能走進人群,更不能和正常人一起生活。他們被社會遺棄,是真真正正的「邊緣人」。他們甚至要身上帶著一個鈴,高叫「不潔!不潔!」讓其他健康的人不致接近他們,免得因為接觸到他們而蒙上不潔。

今天就有這樣的一個痳瘋病人來到耶穌面前,誠懇地跪下,求耶穌治好他。他對耶穌的能力一點都不懷疑,他知道,只要耶穌願意,就能治好他。

事實是,耶穌不單有能力,而且願意,因為他看到這個痳瘋人的苦難、聽到他的哀求,「他動了憐憫的心」。

孟子說:「惻隱之心,人皆有之。」何況這個耶穌是人中之人,是有情有心、大慈大悲的人?

文革是中國歷史上的大災難,但文革時要求知識分子上山下鄉、接近群眾,這種精神卻是頗有道理的。我們有時沒有同情,因為我們沒有看到、沒有聽到、沒有接觸到。有些知識分子、有錢階級,確是住在「象牙塔」之中,不明蒼生困厄,不懂人間苦難。

從前晉惠帝聽說有饑民沒飯吃,他反問:「何不食肉糜?」沒有飯吃,吃肉粥不更好嗎?這是一個最典型的、不知人間疾苦的昏君。
現代有一種使人醒覺,幫助人去了解別人,對他人的遭遇較易「感同身受」的訓練方法,叫「生活體驗」,英文叫Exposure,有些人甚至加上Immersion這個字,變成Exposure-immersion,即是不單親身「體驗」,還要「浸」在裡面,徹底地品嚐個中的情況和滋味。具體實行起來,就是去細心的觀察、專心的聆聽別人的一切,甚至和別人一起生活一段時間。

據說菲律賓曾有一位有心改革社區的修女,她到了那個地區以後,甚麼都不作,只是默默地和當地人一起生活。兩年後,才開始她那改革社區的宏圖。

讀萬卷書,不如行萬里路」,這不單是指知識而言,也是培養我們成為一個對物有情、對人有心的好方法。耶穌對這個痳瘋病人有心、有情,所以便說出了一聲:「我願意」,這是一聲充滿了救恩味道、洋溢著救恩甘霖的「我願意」。

隨著這聲「我願意」,耶穌「伸手摸他」。這一撫摸,本來招致的應是「不潔」,因為誰摸了不潔的人,本身就會蒙不潔。但耶穌的這個愛的撫摸,帶來的卻是痊愈和救恩??身心的潔淨和康復。

南美洲主教團曾議決了要「優先選擇窮人」(Preferential option for the poor),這個精神應是從耶穌而來的。耶穌的心專注在這個可憐、貧苦者的身上,甚至忘記了自身的安危。

我們也願意向這個耶穌說一聲:「主,如果你願意,就能潔淨我」嗎?

 

常年期第六主日

石破天惊的一声「我願意」

读经一:(肋13:1-2,45-46):对麻疯病人的处理
读经二:(格前10:31-11:1):信友行事不要使人跌倒
福 音:(谷1:40-45):治好癞病人
中国文化: 恻隐之心,人皆有之。晋惠帝:何不食肉糜? 读万卷书,不如行万里路。

一個麻疯病人来到耶稣面前跪下,求他说:「只要你願意,就能洁净我。」耶稣动了怜悯之心,伸手摸他说:「我願意,你洁净吧!」麻疯病立刻消失,他就洁净了。
(谷1:40-42)

「只要你願意,就能洁净我。」「我願意,你洁净吧!」这是一段多么简单、感人的对话。但一個活生生的奇迹,就这样在一声恳求,和一声願意的交互共鸣中產生了。

「朋友,可以帮帮忙吗?」「噢,我可为你作什么?」这就是我们生活中「我願意」的例子。有時,一些生命中的奇迹,也就在这样的一声「我願意」中產生了。父母就是这样爱孩子的;朋友和朋友也是这样彼此相待的。这种「我願意」的心,曾抚平了多少创伤,治疗了多少痛楚,消解了多少仇怨!

耶稣今天也就是在这么的一声「我願意」中,治好了一個麻疯病人,一個在当時的社会里,无论是身世、遭遇或处境,都是十分可怜的人。为明白麻疯病是甚么一回事,让我们先读一读今天的第一篇读经《肋未纪》 :

如果一個人皮肤上出现肿瘤、溃烂或斑点等麻疯病症,就該带他去见亚郎司祭,或到他任何一個做司祭的儿子那里。凡是麻疯病人,都必须穿撕破的衣服,披头散发,遮住口唇,大声叫:「不洁!不洁!」在患麻疯病期间,常是不洁的。他既是不洁,就应該独自居住在營外。(肋13:1-2,45-46)

麻疯病人在当時的犹太人社会中,确实是十分可怜的。他们被排除在健康人的社会之外,不能走进人群,更不能和正常人一起生活。他们被社会遗弃,是真真正正的「边缘人」。他们甚至要身上带著一個铃,高叫「不洁!不洁!」让其他健康的人不致接近他们,免得因为接触到他们而蒙上不洁。

今天就有这样的一個麻疯病人来到耶稣面前,诚恳地跪下,求耶稣治好他。他对耶稣的能力一点都不怀疑,他知道,只要耶稣願意,就能治好他。

事实是,耶稣不单有能力,而且願意,因为他看到这個麻疯人的苦难、听到他的哀求,「他动了怜悯的心」。

孟子说:「恻隐之心,人皆有之。」何况这個耶稣是人中之人,是有情有心、大慈大悲的人?

文革是中国历史上的大灾难,但文革時要求知识分子上山下乡、接近群众,这种精神却是颇有道理的。我们有時没有同情,因为我们没有看到、没有听到、没有接触到。有些知识分子、有钱阶级,确是住在「象牙塔」之中,不明苍生困厄,不懂人间苦难。

从前晋惠帝听说有饥民没饭吃,他反問:「何不食肉糜?」没有饭吃,吃肉粥不更好吗?这是一個最典型的、不知人间疾苦的昏君。
现代有一种使人醒觉,帮助人去了解别人,对他人的遭遇较易「感同身受」的训练方法,叫「生活体验」,英文叫Exposure,有些人甚至加上Immersion这個字,变成Exposure-immersion,即是不单亲身「体验」,还要「浸」在里面,彻底地品尝個中的情况和滋味。具体实行起来,就是去细心的观察、专心的聆听别人的一切,甚至和别人一起生活一段時间。

据说菲律宾曾有一位有心改革社区的修女,她到了那個地区以后,甚么都不作,只是默默地和当地人一起生活。两年后,才開始她那改革社区的宏图。

读万卷书,不如行万里路」,这不单是指知识而言,也是培养我们成为一個对物有情、对人有心的好方法。耶稣对这個麻疯病人有心、有情,所以便说出了一声:「我願意」,这是一声充满了救恩味道、洋溢著救恩甘霖的「我願意」。

随著这声「我願意」,耶稣「伸手摸他」。这一抚摸,本来招致的应是「不洁」,因为谁摸了不洁的人,本身就会蒙不洁。但耶稣的这個爱的抚摸,带来的却是痊愈和救恩??身心的洁净和康复。

南美洲主教团曾议决了要「优先选择穷人」(Preferential option for the poor),这個精神应是从耶稣而来的。耶稣的心专注在这個可怜、贫苦者的身上,甚至忘记了自身的安危。

我们也願意向这個耶稣说一声:「主,如果你願意,就能洁净我」吗?

 

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

An Earth-shattering and ‘Heaven- Battering’ Utterance: “I Will”

First Reading (Lev 13:1-2,45-46) : The treatment of a leper
Second Reading: (1Cor 10:31-11:1) : Christians' behavior should not cause others to fall
Gospel (Mk 1:40-45) : Jesus heals a leper
Chinese Classics:
- “The feeling of commiseration is essential to human beings.”(1)
- “Emperor Chun Wai said, ‘Why not eat meat and congee?”(2)
- “Reading a million volumes of books is not as good as traveling a million miles”(3)

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (Mk 1:40-42)

‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ How simple and touching is this conversation. Yet a vivid miracle had already taken place at the exchange of a request and an act of will, and a common understanding of intent.

‘Friend, can I help you?’ ‘What can I do for you?’ These are examples of ‘I will do’ in our own lives. Sometimes, miracles in our lives come about from such simply voiced ‘I will do.’. Parents love their children this way, friends treat each other thus. That simple heartfelt ‘I will do’ has healed so many wounds, eased so much pain, dissolved so much hatred!

In today's Gospel, Jesus' ‘I do!’ cured a leper – a person who in the society of those days, no matter what his status or state in life, was the most pitiful of people. To understand better the situation of lepers then let us study today's first reading from the book of Leviticus: “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of his body, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.” ( Lev 13:1-2,45-46 )

Lepers in the Jewish society of the time were indeed pitiful. They were expelled from healthy persons' society, could not be part of the masses, could not live with the rest of the populace. They were abandoned by society, truly “marginalized people”. They even had to hang a bell around their neck and call out constantly, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ so healthy people would not come close and perhaps become infected.

So today we see a leper coming forward to Jesus, kneeling down and earnestly begging Jesus to heal him. He had not the least doubt of Jesus' power to heal. He knew that if Jesus willed it, he would be healed. In reality Jesus not only had the power, he also had the will, because he saw the suffering of the leper and heard his plea. ‘His merciful heart was moved with pity.

Mencius said, “The feeling of commiseration is essential to people.”(1) (The Works of Mencius, Book 2, Kung Sun Chow, Part I, Chap. 6). How much more so Jesus, the most perfect human being, whose heart was filled with such great compassion and mercy.

The Cultural Revolution was a great disaster in Chinese history. However, the rationale for asking intellectuals to go to the mountains and countryside to be closer to ordinary people was a correct one. Sometimes, we do not have sympathy because we have neither seen nor heard, nor been in touch with the person or situation. Some intellectuals or wealthy persons live in ‘ivory towers’ with little or no understanding of the difficulties or sufferings of ordinary people.

Once there was an Emperor in Jun dynasty who heard that the starving people had “no rice” to eat. He asked, “Why don't they eat meat congee? He thought if they had no rice, wasn't it better to eat congee with meat flavoring? This is a classic example of a stupid emperor who knew nothing about the sufferings of his own people.

Today there is a training programme to help people learn how to develop greater empathy and understanding for other people. Its purpose is to raise awareness through life experience. It is called ‘Exposure’ or ‘Exposure-immersion’, that is, not only experiencing, but really immersing oneself deeply, ‘tasting’ a situation, actually living in the new, unknown circumstances, really hearing the other, trying to see life as another sees it, even perhaps living with those people for a period of time. The story is told of a Filipino nun who wanted to change society. After she arrived in the area, she did nothing except live quietly with the people there. After two years she began to carry out her blueprint to change society.

“Reading a million volumes of books is not as good as traveling a million miles.”(3) This sentiment is not only confined to knowledge. It applies also to developing sympathetic feelings for all created things and finding effective ways of showing kindness to others. Jesus felt sympathy and compassion for the leper. That was why he said, “I will.” Those two words “I will” were full of God’s saving grace and were as sweet as light showers.

After this I do choose’, Jesus ‘stretched out his hand and touched him’. This touch should have rendered Jesus ‘unclean’ as that is what was said, that the one who touched an unclean person would be rendered unclean himself. But Jesus' touch of love brought only healing and salvation, both body and mind fully cleansed and restored to health.

The South American Bishops' Conference voted for the ‘Preferential option for the poor’. This spirit must have come directly from Jesus. Here we see Jesus' attention so fixed on the piteous, poor suffering person before him that he even forgot his own security and danger.

Are we also willing to say to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’?


(1)惻隱之心,人皆有之。
(2)晉惠帝:何不食肉糜?
(3)讀萬卷書,不如行萬里路。

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017