四旬期第三主日 2018年03月04日


四旬期第三主日

十字架的愚妄

讀經一:(出20:1-17):頒布十誡
讀經二:(格前1:22-25):基督是猶太人的絆腳石,外邦人的愚妄
福 音:(若2:13-25):首次上耶京潔淨聖殿
中國文化: 禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏。 中庸之道。


的確,猶太人要求的是神蹟,希臘人尋求的是智慧,而我們所宣講的,卻是被釘在十字架上的基督。這為猶太人固然是絆腳石,為外邦人是愚妄,可是對那些蒙召的人,基督卻是天主的德能和智慧:因為天主的愚妄總比人明智,天主的懦弱也總比人堅強。(格前1:22-25)

這段經文充滿了兩極化、矛盾、對立的思想。事實上,耶穌本身便是一個矛盾的記號。他在出生後第四十天被獻於聖殿時,西默盎已經預言了:「這孩子已被立定,為使以色列中許多人跌倒和復起,並成為反對的記號。」(路2:34)

連帶地,那些和耶穌最親密的人也要面對相似的命運,一個被矛盾和對立所煎熬的命運。所以西默盎隨即對她的母親說:「至於你,要有一把利劍刺透你的心靈,為叫許多人心中的思念顯露出來。」(路2:35)

因為基督是人們反對的記號,所以十字架也成了一個矛盾的記號。

在我們討論對基督的信仰以前,讓我們也看一看在我們生活中的一些事實:有理想的人是不是會遇到更多的困難?作中流砥柱的人是不是會有更大的危險?在同輩中說出不同的、另類的話,表現出不同的行為,會不會受到自己朋友的排斥?如果一個人在有權勢的人面前說出不中聽的話,是不是會更有可能受到迫害?

基督成了人們反對的記號,因為他與眾不同:他的思想、價值觀念、行為模式,都和當時的人,尤其和當時的權貴們大不相同。

耶穌所宣講的天主,和當時的宗教家所相信的天主不同;耶穌心目中的宗教,不是他們所奉行的宗教;耶穌的倫理、道德標準,也和他們所信守的大大不一樣。

如果生命充滿了矛盾,基督徒就要經常在兩極中學習找到平衡,在矛盾中找到統一;這就是孔子所說的「中庸之道」。「中庸」並不是指站在中間,更不是指不冷不熱;中庸是指恰到好處的平衡,在兩極中找到適當的平衡。

老子也說:「禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏。」老子的意思是,所謂禍和福,都沒有什麼絕對的準繩,二者還有可能互相轉換,在禍中蘊藏著福,在福中潛伏著禍。所謂盛極而衰、否極泰來,就是這個意思,這也是我們在現實的生活中常常見到的現象。

在宗教生活中,更是充滿了這種兩極化的,甚至是互相矛盾的因素:天上和地下,現世和來世,精神和物質,靈魂和肉身,動與靜,在信賴自己和信賴天主之間……。這些都似乎是兩極化的事物,我們都需要在這裡找到平衡。這是我們信仰上的兩條腿,我們必須用這兩條腿走路,要讓這兩條腿均衡地發展,不能一大一細、一粗一幼。

不過,客觀的事實是,在教會的生活實踐中,不同的人對待這兩種元素,總是會有所偏執。有些人是輕今生而重來世、輕物質而重精神。相反地,有些人卻是只信有今生,不信有來世,只強調物質,而把精神擱在一旁。

然而,十字架的矛盾特質卻還不止於此,它比上述的現象要深刻得多。因為這個矛盾就在十字架本身之內;就在十字架中,已包含了矛盾的兩極。十字架本身就是一個至大的矛盾。

當基督徒瞻仰十字架和在它上面的苦像時,他是在耶穌這個已死的人身上「看到」復活??不是死後的復活,而是在死中相信、肯定復活。復活的基督就在十字架的苦像上;看到死去的基督,我們相信他正活在我們中。

將以上的神學化為生活,就是我們要在肯定地下、現世、物質、肉身的同時,亦肯定天上、來世、精神和靈魂的價值。亦在肯定天上、來世、精神、靈魂的同時,肯定地下、現世、物質和肉身的價值。我們要在信賴自己時,信賴天主,也在天主內,信賴自己。更準確一點說,正因為我們肯定天上、來世、精神、靈魂,所以我們比其他人更肯定地下、現世、物質和肉身。

我們在具體生活中活出信仰,在信仰中提昇具體生活。這就是十字架的矛盾。

猶太人追求的是一個戰無不勝的天主;希臘人以為天主是在高超玄妙的哲理中,所以那位被釘在十字架上的,不可能是救主天主。對他們來說,這個在十字架上的基督,簡直是愚妄中的愚妄。

我們相信的,又是一個怎麼樣的基督呢?

 

四旬期第三主日

十字架的愚妄

读经一:(出20:1-17):颁布十诫
读经二:(格前1:22-25):基督是犹太人的绊脚石,外邦人的愚妄
福 音:(若2:13-25):首次上耶京洁净圣殿
中国文化: 祸兮福之所倚,福兮祸之所伏。中庸之道。


的确,犹太人要求的是神迹,希腊人寻求的是智慧,而我们所宣讲的,却是被钉在十字架上的基督。这为犹太人固然是绊脚石,为外邦人是愚妄,可是对那些蒙召的人,基督却是天主的德能和智慧:因为天主的愚妄总比人明智,天主的懦弱也总比人坚强。(格前1:22-25)

这段经文充满了两极化、矛盾、对立的思想。事实上,耶稣本身便是一個矛盾的记号。他在出生后第四十天被献於圣殿時,西默盎已经预言了:「这孩子已被立定,为使以色列中许多人跌倒和复起,并成为反对的记号。」(路2:34)

连带地,那些和耶稣最亲密的人也要面对相似的命运,一個被矛盾和对立所煎熬的命运。所以西默盎随即对她的母亲说:「至於你,要有一把利劍刺透你的心灵,为叫许多人心中的思念显露出来。」(路2:35)

因为基督是人们反对的记号,所以十字架也成了一個矛盾的记号。

在我们讨论对基督的信仰以前,让我们也看一看在我们生活中的一些事实:有理想的人是不是会遇到更多的困难?作中流砥柱的人是不是会有更大的危险?在同辈中说出不同的、另类的话,表现出不同的行为,会不会受到自己朋友的排斥?如果一個人在有权势的人面前说出不中听的话,是不是会更有可能受到迫害?

基督成了人们反对的记号,因为他与众不同:他的思想、价值观念、行为模式,都和当時的人,尤其和当時的权贵们大不相同。

耶稣所宣讲的天主,和当時的宗教家所相信的天主不同;耶稣心目中的宗教,不是他们所奉行的宗教;耶稣的伦理、道德标准,也和他们所信守的大大不一样。

如果生命充满了矛盾,基督徒就要经常在两极中学习找到平衡,在矛盾中找到统一;这就是孔子所说的「中庸之道」。「中庸」并不是指站在中间,更不是指不冷不热;中庸是指恰到好处的平衡,在两极中找到適当的平衡。

老子也说:「祸兮福之所倚,福兮祸之所伏。」老子的意思是,所谓祸和福,都没有什么绝对的准繩,二者还有可能互相转换,在祸中蕴藏著福,在福中潜伏著祸。所谓盛极而衰、否极泰来,就是这個意思,这也是我们在现实的生活中常常见到的现象。

在宗教生活中,更是充满了这种两极化的,甚至是互相矛盾的因素:天上和地下,现世和来世,精神和物质,灵魂和肉身,动与静,在信赖自己和信赖天主之间……。这些都似乎是两极化的事物,我们都需要在这里找到平衡。这是我们信仰上的两条腿,我们必须用这两条腿走路,要让这两条腿均衡地发展,不能一大一细、一粗一幼。

不過,客观的事实是,在教会的生活实踐中,不同的人对待这两种元素,总是会有所偏执。有些人是轻今生而重来世、轻物质而重精神。相反地,有些人却是只信有今生,不信有来世,只强调物质,而把精神搁在一旁。

然而,十字架的矛盾特质却还不止於此,它比上述的现象要深刻得多。因为这個矛盾就在十字架本身之内;就在十字架中,已包含了矛盾的两极。十字架本身就是一個至大的矛盾。

当基督徒瞻仰十字架和在它上面的苦像時,他是在耶稣这個已死的人身上「看到」复活??不是死后的复活,而是在死中相信、肯定复活。复活的基督就在十字架的苦像上;看到死去的基督,我们相信他正活在我们中。

将以上的神学化为生活,就是我们要在肯定地下、现世、物质、肉身的同時,亦肯定天上、来世、精神和灵魂的价值。亦在肯定天上、来世、精神、灵魂的同時,肯定地下、现世、物质和肉身的价值。我们要在信赖自己時,信赖天主,也在天主内,信赖自己。更准确一点说,正因为我们肯定天上、来世、精神、灵魂,所以我们比其他人更肯定地下、现世、物质和肉身。

我们在具体生活中活出信仰,在信仰中提升具体生活。这就是十字架的矛盾。

犹太人追求的是一個战无不胜的天主;希腊人以为天主是在高超玄妙的哲理中,所以那位被钉在十字架上的,不可能是救主天主。对他们来说,这個在十字架上的基督,简直是愚妄中的愚妄。

我们相信的,又是一個怎么样的基督呢?

 

Third Sunday of Lent

The Foolishness of the Cross

First Reading : ( Ex 20:1-17 ) : The Ten Commandments
Second Reading : ( 1 Cor 1:22-25 ) : Jesus is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles
Gospel : ( Jn 2:13-25 ) : Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem
Chinese Classics:
-“Bad fortune promotes the good; good fortune gives rise to the bad”.(1)
-“Way of the Mean” (2)

For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:22-25 )

This verse in the bible is full of contradictions and opposing thoughts. Actually, Jesus himself is a symbol of contradiction. On the 40th day after his birth, when Jesus was presented in the Temple, Simeon uttered this prophecy, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed ” ( Lk 2:34 ) Those closest to Jesus also would face a similar fate, a fate destined for contradiction and opposition. Hence Simeon said to his mother “the inner thoughts of many will be revealed and a sword will pierce your own soul too ”( Lk 2:35 )

Because Christ is a symbol of opposition, so the cross too has become a symbol of contradiction. Before we discuss our faith in Christ, let us look at some realities in our own lives. Do those with ideals encounter more difficulties? Are those who stand up for their own principles in greater danger? Are those who speak and act differently than their peers more likely to be ostracized by them? Is someone who dares to speak out against persons in power be more likely to be condemned?

Christ became a sign of contradiction to people because he was different from others: his thinking, his values, his behavior were different from the people of his time, especially that of the rich and powerful. The God whom Jesus preached was different from the god of other religious groups. The religion Jesus had in mind was not the religion of others of his time: his standard of morality and ethics was different from others also.

If life is so full of contradictions, then Christians often must find a balance between two extremes, and find unity among the contradictions. This is what Confucius referred to as “the Way of the Mean”.(2) “Mean” does not mean to stand in the middle, with an undecided or lukewarm attitude. “Mean” means to find a right balance and achieve equilibrium between two extremes.

Lao Tzu once said, “Bad fortune promotes the good; good fortune gives rise to the bad. (1)” What Lao Tzu meant is that there is no absolute standard for good and bad fortune. It is quite possible that the two are interchangeable. Underlying bad fortune may be something good; within good fortune, there may be something harmful. Everything comes full circle. When people have reached the heights, they may easily fall. We often see this phenomenon in everyday life.

Even more vividly in religious lives, we can see elements of the two extremes and contradictions: heaven and earth, present life and the life to come, spirit and matter, soul and body, active and passive, belief in oneself and belief in God. Sometimes there seem to be elements of two extremes, and we must find a balance. These are the two “legs” of our faith, and we must walk with both legs. We must develop the two legs together, simultaneously balancing them, not one bigger or stronger than the other.

However, the objective fact is that in the actual life of the Church, different people hold different dispositions towards the two elements. For example, some emphasize present life more than future life, others choose the spiritual over the material. Or on the contrary, some people believe in the present life only, and don't believe in any kind of future life. They emphasize material satisfaction only, and neglect the spiritual altogether.

Yet the contradiction of the cross goes much deeper than that. Because the cross bears contradiction within its very self and contains within itself the two extremes. The cross itself is the greatest contradiction. When Christians look upon the cross and the figure of Christ on it, we see right in his dead body the resurrected Christ - not just resurrection after death, but the very affirmation of resurrection in the midst of death. We believe that the Christ who died actually lives now among us.

By living such a theology, we affirm the value of this world, present life, matter, our bodies, and at the same time reaffirm the value of heaven, life after death, spirit and soul. We must rely on ourselves and at the same time trust in God, and in living in God trust ourselves. In other words, because we firmly believe in heaven, life after death, spirit and soul, we, even more than other people, affirm the world, present life, our bodies and material things. We live out our faith in our actual living, and through our faith, elevate our concrete lives. This is the contradiction of the cross.

The Jews looked for a God who always conquered; the Greeks believed God was so high above us that if he died on the cross, he could not be a saving God. To them, the Christ on the cross was the most foolish among the foolish.

What about ourselves? What kind of Christ is the Christ in whom we believe?

(1)禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏。
(2)中庸之道。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017