四旬期第四主日 2018年03月11日


四旬期第四主日

在光中行走

讀經一:(編下36:14-16,19-23):在義怒下人民被罰,因天主仁慈人民得到解放。
讀經二:(弗2:4-10):人因罪惡而死亡,因恩寵而得救。
福 音:(若3:14-21):履行真理的人跟隨光走
中國文化: 齊景公拒絕屬下向他諂媚逢迎。


「天主這樣愛了世人,竟賜下了他的獨生子,使凡信他的人不致喪亡,反而獲得永生。因為天主派遣聖子到世界來,不是為定世人的罪,而是要世人藉著他而得救。……他們被定罪的原因就是:真光來到世上,世人卻愛黑暗,而不愛光明,因為他們的行為是邪惡的。的確,凡作惡的都憎惡光明,也不接近光明,免得他的惡行暴露出來。然而,履行真理的,卻來接近光明,為了顯出他的行為是在天主內完成的。」(若3:16-21)

基督來到世上,本來是要拯救世界,給人類帶來救恩。可惜的是,人們不僅不接受他,還拒絕了他,把他釘在十字架上。從前的人是這樣對待了基督,今天的人也不例外。

拒絕基督不單指不相信他或不奉他為救主,更重要的是,不管信不信他,都有一些人不願在他真光的光照下,光明磊落地生活、按天主的旨意去生活。因為他們憎惡光明。

在解釋這段聖經前,讓我們先看一個《列子》所說的故事。

齊景公遊牛山時,見到河山那麼美,就傷心痛哭起來,因為他不想死,不想離開這片大好的河山。有兩位大臣史孔和梁丘據也和景公一起哭,還說出一些諂媚逢迎的話:「臣等職位低微,就已經不願死了,何況你貴為一國之君呢!」只有晏子哈哈大笑。

齊景公怪責他,問他笑的原因。晏子說:「如果人能長生不死,那麼今天做齊王的應該還是先王太公、桓公等人,那輪到你來當齊王呢?你連這麼淺顯的道理都不懂,還加上有兩個諂媚的臣子在旁加鹽加醋,不是很好笑嗎?

齊景公聽了覺得很慚愧,於是舉酒自罰,也罰了史孔和梁丘據兩人。

世上有昏庸的君王、長上,也有忙著拍馬屁的臣子、屬下。昏庸的上司也許是出於無知,而生活在無知和「黑暗中」;但拍馬屁的下屬卻多半是認識真理,卻不願或不敢履行真理。用今天若望的話,就是雖然在光中,卻「不愛光明」。

信天主、接受基督,本來是一點都不難的事;人按人的天生和內在的「本性」去生活,便已經是在接受天主、接受基督。一切本來都是那樣的自然。

天主是生命之源,人來自天主,萬物也來自天主。天主在創造人和萬物的時候,已為一切定下了達致圓滿的規律,這些規律就寫在人的本性和物的本性之中。

基督來告訴人的,不外乎也是這些規律,並希望人按這些天主所創造的規律去生活、待人處事、和管理世界。這就是對天主的順服,這也就是讓天主為王於我們的心中,為王於我們的生命和世界中。這就是天國的境界??一個天主為王的境界、他的旨意奉行於人間的境界。

人要認識、明白、接受這些人性和物性的規律,就要在光中去看,在自由中去感受,在沒有偏見和沒有私利的桎梏下去了解和實踐。而基督就是這光。

他啟示、他說明、他告訴我們人生的真理、達致幸福的金科玉律。但假如這些啟示和我們的利益相衝突時,我們便會拒絕去接受這些真理。

所以黑落德不會承認娶自己兄弟的妻子有問題;保祿在歸化前不會認為迫害基督徒有問題;香港民主派不會認為在一國兩制下而支持中國大陸本土的民運有問題;中方不會認為在政改問題上打壓彭定康有問題;袁木不會認為宣佈「六四廣場上沒死一人」有問題;而柴玲也不會認為告訴記者「廣場上死了四千人」有問題。

我們呢?我們在和人吵架時,又肯承認自己有問題嗎?連各種大小宗教在歷史上所犯的路人皆見的過失,不是也有護教學或類似護教學的東西去加以維護和粉飾嗎?

只要我們採取以下的思考模式,就可以使自己在感覺上覺得無問題了:「我雖然也有不對的地方……,但……。」而要使自己覺得別人有問題,同樣也非常簡單:「他雖然也有對的地方……,但……。」

當我們高唱「真光光照著我」這首聖歌時,希望我們能夠認真默想一下歌詞的內容,並勇敢地面對在我們生活中那些客觀真理、全部的真理。

 

四旬期第四主日

在光中行走

读经一:(编下36:14-16,19-23):在义怒下人民被罚,因天主仁慈人民得到解放。
读经二:(弗2:4-10):人因罪恶而死亡,因恩宠而得救。
福 音:(若3:14-21):履行真理的人跟随光走
中国文化: 齐景公拒绝属下向他谄媚逢迎。


「天主这样爱了世人,竟赐下了他的独生子,使凡信他的人不致丧亡,反而获得永生。因为天主派遣圣子到世界来,不是为定世人的罪,而是要世人藉著他而得救。……他们被定罪的原因就是:真光来到世上,世人却爱黑暗,而不爱光明,因为他们的行为是邪恶的。的确,凡作恶的都憎恶光明,也不接近光明,免得他的恶行暴露出来。然而,履行真理的,却来接近光明,为了显出他的行为是在天主内完成的。」(若3:16-21)

基督来到世上,本来是要拯救世界,给人类带来救恩。可惜的是,人们不仅不接受他,还拒绝了他,把他钉在十字架上。从前的人是这样对待了基督,今天的人也不例外。

拒绝基督不单指不相信他或不奉他为救主,更重要的是,不管信不信他,都有一些人不願在他真光的光照下,光明磊落地生活、按天主的旨意去生活。因为他们憎恶光明。

在解释这段圣经前,让我们先看一個《列子》 所说的故事。

齐景公游牛山時,见到河山那么美,就伤心痛哭起来,因为他不想死,不想離開这片大好的河山。有两位大臣史孔和梁丘据也和景公一起哭,还说出一些谄媚逢迎的话:「臣等职位低微,就已经不願死了,何况你贵为一国之君呢!」只有晏子哈哈大笑。

齐景公怪責他,問他笑的原因。晏子说:「如果人能长生不死,那么今天做齐王的应該还是先王太公、桓公等人,那轮到你来当齐王呢?你连这么浅显的道理都不懂,还加上有两個谄媚的臣子在旁加盐加醋,不是很好笑吗?

齐景公听了觉得很惭愧,於是举酒自罚,也罚了史孔和梁丘据两人。

世上有昏庸的君王、长上,也有忙著拍马屁的臣子、属下。昏庸的上司也许是出於无知,而生活在无知和「黑暗中」;但拍马屁的下属却多半是认识真理,却不願或不敢履行真理。用今天若望的话,就是虽然在光中,却「不爱光明」。

信天主、接受基督,本来是一点都不难的事;人按人的天生和内在的「本性」去生活,便已经是在接受天主、接受基督。一切本来都是那样的自然。

天主是生命之源,人来自天主,万物也来自天主。天主在创造人和万物的時候,已为一切定下了达致圆满的规律,这些规律就写在人的本性和物的本性之中。

基督来告诉人的,不外乎也是这些规律,并希望人按这些天主所创造的规律去生活、待人处事、和管理世界。这就是对天主的顺服,这也就是让天主为王於我们的心中,为王於我们的生命和世界中。这就是天国的境界??一個天主为王的境界、他的旨意奉行於人间的境界。

人要认识、明白、接受这些人性和物性的规律,就要在光中去看,在自由中去感受,在没有偏见和没有私利的桎梏下去了解和实踐。而基督就是这光。

他启示、他说明、他告诉我们人生的真理、达致幸福的金科玉律。但假如这些启示和我们的利益相冲突時,我们便会拒绝去接受这些真理。

所以黑落德不会承认娶自己兄弟的妻子有問题;保禄在归化前不会认为迫害基督徒有問题;香港民主派不会认为在一国两制下而支持中国大陆本土的民运有問题;中方不会认为在政改問题上打压彭定康有問题;袁木不会认为宣布「六四广场上没死一人」有問题;而柴玲也不会认为告诉记者「广场上死了四千人」有問题。

我们呢?我们在和人吵架時,又肯承认自己有問题吗?连各种大小宗教在历史上所犯的路人皆见的過失,不是也有护教学或类似护教学的东西去加以维护和粉饰吗?

只要我们采取以下的思考模式,就可以使自己在感觉上觉得无問题了:「我虽然也有不对的地方……,但……。」而要使自己觉得别人有問题,同样也非常简单:「他虽然也有对的地方……,但……。」

当我们高唱「真光光照著我」这首圣歌時,希望我们能够认真默想一下歌词的内容,并勇敢地面对在我们生活中那些客观真理、全部的真理。

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

The One Who Brought Forth Jesus

First Reading: (2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-11,16): God promised David special graces.
Second Reading:(Rom 16:25-27): God’s salvific plan is revealed.
Gospel: (Lk 1:26-38): The Annunciation
Chinese Classics:“To test jade you need to burn it for three whole days;
To distinguish good wood from bad wood, one must wait for seven long years.”(1)

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. (Lk 1:38)

Mary was a humble country girl. The angel Gabriel who had announced John's birth, was sent to Nazareth to announce an even more extraordinary event : the birth of God's Son.

The angel's greeting stunned this humble maiden. “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Lk 1:28)
Probably Mary never before had heard such a respectful courteous and polite greeting. Humble as she was, it was already a gift not to be despised!

Then she heard words even more astonishing : “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:31-33)

Being a virgin, Mary could not understand what the words meant, so she asked innocently, “How can this be, since I am a virgin” (Lk 1:34)

The angel Gabriel knew Mary would not doubt his words nor refuse God's invitation, so he answered her question clearly. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that you will conceive and bear a son. The “WORD becoming FLESH” is a new creation. It is the magnificent work of the Holy Spirit, not done by human effort. This Jesus is “not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:13)

The humble virgin then accepted, “let it be with me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38) This is a statement the Roman Catholic Church traditionally has considered very important. The Latin word “Fiat” is a word almost beyond comprehension - the Son of God became human as a result of this acceptance - fiat.

I would like to ask, “ If Mary hadn't accepted this invitation, would God have become human?” The answer is “No”. But you may say, “If Mary didn't accept, could Rosa accept? Or, if not Rosa, could Fanny or any other accept?”

Right! It doesn't matter whether it is Mary, Rosa, Fanny or any other person. But some one had to accept the invitation. If no one accepted it, God would not have become human. That is God's plan.

This is the role of human beings in God's salvific plan, a role that cannot be replaced.

We are accustomed to placing everything in God's hands, but God puts everything into our hands. God's plan and design is to have us bring up children through their parents, educate students through teachers, spread the good news through faithful Christians and experience God through our relationships with each other. If we do not cooperate with God, God does not act alone.

Therefore besides thanking God we have to thank Mary for her part in God becoming human.

Mary's faith was extraordinary, her dedication of self absolute. She wanted to be God's servant, to serve God her whole life. She was not afraid to offer her all, bear all, sacrifice all.

Her first sacrifice after her acceptance of God's invitation was loss of reputation.

She had said to the angel, “I know not man.” This means that virginity to her was very important. What Joseph her betrothed doubted was her chastity. Joseph was a righteous man. He would not declare her guilty before understanding the truth. The Gospel says Joseph was prepared to “put her away privately.”

For a virgin to face doubts about her chastity was very painful. How could she explain it? Who would believe “it is the work of the Holy Spirit”? Therefore she could only cry out to her Lord, “let it be with me according to your word.

Po Chu-yi in his poem Free Speech wrote that in this world, only time could tell whether something was right or wrong, straight or crooked. His most quoted lines are “To test jade you need to burn it for three whole days; To distinguish between good and rotten wood one must wait seven years.”(2) Put a piece of genuine jade and a piece of stone in the furnace and burn them for three days, and you will be able to tell which is genuine jade and which is stone because the jade will not turn to ashes. Leave two pieces of wood to dry in a dark corner for seven years and you can tell which is good wood and which is bad.

Time would prove everything. Mary's spirit of “let it be with me according to your word” is reflected in her life. She obeyed God in all things, every minute, every hour, not only in the beginning but throughout her entire life. Mary grasped the decisiveness of the annunciation. She was aware that she had pledged to do God's will every moment of her life.

Therefore Mary played a very important role in God's plan of salvation.

(1) 中國文化: 試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期。
(2) 白居易有一首《放言》詩,說明世上許多是非曲直都只可以由時間來證明,其中的名句是:「試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期」

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017