常年期第十一主日 2018年06月17日


常年期第十一主日

只待新雷第一聲

讀經一:(則17:22-24):論默西亞的預言
讀經二:(格後5:6-10):或生或死為討主的歡心
福 音:(谷4:26-34):種子自長的比喻;芥子的比喻
中國文化: 立地以上承天,承天道以隆人。 慎終追遠,民德歸厚。
造物無言卻有情,每於寒盡覺春生;千紅萬紫安排著,只待新雷第一聲。 為善如春園之草,不見其生,日有所長;為惡如磨刀之石,不見其損,日有所消。

「天主的國好像一個人把種子撒在地裡,不論晝夜,當他醒著或睡覺的時候,那種子發芽生長……。天主的國也好像一粒芥子,撒在地裡的時候,比地上的一切種子都小,但是,種下之後,生長起來,卻比一切的灌木都大:長出粗大的枝條,甚至可供天上的飛鳥在它的葉蔭下棲身。」
(谷4:26-32)

天主教有兩個元素:超性的、本性的,天上的、地下的。

梵蒂岡第二屆大公會議的《教會憲章》這樣說:「教會是有形可見的而又是精神的團體;是人間的教會,而又是富有天上神恩的教會;包括著人為的與神為的成分。」(教會憲章8)

天上的、地下的,人為的、神為的,這就是我們的教會。強調了任何一端而忽略另一端,都不是正確的教會觀。

西方的宗教觀似乎十分強調宗教的神性和超越性;而中國的宗教觀則偏向它的人性和落實性。唐君毅先生認為中國的宗教是「立地以上承天,承天道以隆人」,即從天人的合一,神人的合作,而達致「贊天地之化育」。我們要立定腳跟做人,牢牢把生命扎根在大地之上,然後仰體天心,去按天道辦事,按上天的旨意去做有益於世道人心的事。

孔子叫人「慎終追遠」,確很宗教化,但目的卻是為了「民德歸厚」,十分的社會化和生活化!在孔子、中國知識分子和許多中國人的心目中,宗教原是為生活而存在的。「慎終追遠」,最終其實就是為了「民德歸厚」,為了使民風和民俗趨於純樸、敦厚!

我有一次參加亞洲主教團會議,在閉幕感恩祭中,那位主禮的主教公開的問:「如果梅瑟不答應天主的邀請,會不會有出谷紀?如果童貞女瑪利亞不回應天主的召叫,天主聖子會不會降生成人?」

當時大家的答案都是否定的:「不會」。

我們當然可以說:人答應不答應都不要緊,天主自有辦法。梅瑟不答應,可以找亨利;猶太人的瑪利亞不答應,不可以去找中國人的娟娟或芳芳嗎?

對了,天主自有辦法,有他上智的安排;但他一定要想辦法去讓人回應他。天主很少單獨行事。

但無論如何,天主的計劃是一定要實現的,天主的國一定要降到人間。這是我們最基本的信念。

儘管人間的一切,總是不如意事十常八九,但我們對天主、對天主聖意的實現,還是有十足和全部的信心。

天國的來臨,只是時間上的問題。它的實現是必然的,儘管十分緩慢。它必會如種子的靜靜生長,生長於我們的不知不覺之中;它亦必會如芥菜種子一樣,長起來比其它樹都大。我想起了一副對聯:
為善如春園之草,不見其生,日有所長;
為惡如磨刀之石,不見其損,日有所消。


天主的國要成長,天主的話也必要在人的心中開花結果。或許我們的經驗是剛剛相反:邪惡囂張,災難遍地,人心不古,環境惡劣……。但對天國的信心,卻可使我們「即使」在這種惡劣的情況中,仍然保有堅強的信念,仍能不懈地奮鬥。因為天國終將來臨,天主一定會大獲全勝。

但我們一定要與天主合作,和他一起去共同建設這個天國:贊天地之化育

種子的生長,本身也要陽光、空氣、水分、肥料。當然還要有適當的土壤和合宜的氣候。

我記起了張維屏的一首詩:「造物無言卻有情,每於寒盡覺春生;千紅萬紫安排著,只待新雷第一聲。

新雷第一聲,將會喚醒萬物,讓這個沉睡的世界,換上萬紫千紅的新裝。這是我們的期待,也是天主的期待。

我們的期待是盡人力而聽天命;天主的期待是他已做足了一切,只待我們去回應。

在天人合一下,在信徒和天主衷誠的合作下,天國一定要來臨,天主一定會為王於世,而一切都必將按天主原先的計劃而圓滿地實現。

願你的旨意奉行在人間,如同在天上。」這是基督的祈禱,也是我們的願望。

 

常年期第十一主日

只待新雷第一声

读经一:(则17:22-24):论默西亚的预言
读经二:(格后5:6-10):或生或死为讨主的欢心
福 音:(谷4:26-34):种子自长的比喻;芥子的比喻
中国文化: 立地以上承天,承天道以隆人。慎终追遠,民德归厚。
造物无言却有情,每於寒尽觉春生;千红万紫安排著,只待新雷第一声。为善如春园之草,不见其生,日有所长;为恶如磨刀之石,不见其损,日有所消。

「天主的国好像一個人把种子撒在地里,不论昼夜,当他醒著或睡觉的時候,那种子发芽生长……。天主的国也好像一粒芥子,撒在地里的時候,比地上的一切种子都小,但是,种下之后,生长起来,却比一切的灌木都大:长出粗大的枝条,甚至可供天上的飞鸟在它的叶荫下栖身。」
(谷4:26-32)

天主教有两個元素:超性的、本性的,天上的、地下的。

梵蒂冈第二届大公会议的《教会宪章》 这样说:「教会是有形可见的而又是精神的团体;是人间的教会,而又是富有天上神恩的教会;包括著人为的与神为的成分。」(教会宪章8)

天上的、地下的,人为的、神为的,这就是我们的教会。强调了任何一端而忽略另一端,都不是正确的教会观。

西方的宗教观似乎十分强调宗教的神性和超越性;而中国的宗教观则偏向它的人性和落实性。唐君毅先生认为中国的宗教是「立地以上承天,承天道以隆人」,即从天人的合一,神人的合作,而达致「赞天地之化育」。我们要立定脚跟做人,牢牢把生命扎根在大地之上,然后仰体天心,去按天道办事,按上天的旨意去做有益於世道人心的事。

孔子叫人「慎终追遠」,确很宗教化,但目的却是为了「民德归厚」,十分的社会化和生活化!在孔子、中国知识分子和许多中国人的心目中,宗教原是为生活而存在的。「慎终追遠」,最终其实就是为了「民德归厚」,为了使民风和民俗趋於纯朴、敦厚!

我有一次参加亚洲主教团会议,在闭幕感恩祭中,那位主礼的主教公開的問:「如果梅瑟不答应天主的邀请,会不会有出谷纪?如果童贞女玛利亚不回应天主的召叫,天主圣子会不会降生成人?」

当時大家的答案都是否定的:「不会」。

我们当然可以说:人答应不答应都不要紧,天主自有办法。梅瑟不答应,可以找亨利;犹太人的玛利亚不答应,不可以去找中国人的娟娟或芳芳吗?

对了,天主自有办法,有他上智的安排;但他一定要想办法去让人回应他。天主很少单独行事。

但无论如何,天主的计劃是一定要实现的,天主的国一定要降到人间。这是我们最基本的信念。

尽管人间的一切,总是不如意事十常八九,但我们对天主、对天主圣意的实现,还是有十足和全部的信心。

天国的来临,只是時间上的問题。它的实现是必然的,尽管十分缓慢。它必会如种子的静静生长,生长於我们的不知不觉之中;它亦必会如芥菜种子一样,长起来比其它树都大。我想起了一副对联:
为善如春园之草,不见其生,日有所长;
为恶如磨刀之石,不见其损,日有所消。


天主的国要成长,天主的话也必要在人的心中開花结果。或许我们的经验是刚刚相反:邪恶嚣张,灾难遍地,人心不古,环境恶劣……。但对天国的信心,却可使我们「即使」在这种恶劣的情况中,仍然保有坚强的信念,仍能不懈地奋斗。因为天国终将来临,天主一定会大获全胜。

但我们一定要与天主合作,和他一起去共同建设这個天国:赞天地之化育

种子的生长,本身也要阳光、空气、水分、肥料。当然还要有適当的土壤和合宜的气候。

我记起了张维屏的一首诗:「造物无言却有情,每於寒尽觉春生;千红万紫安排著,只待新雷第一声。

新雷第一声,将会唤醒万物,让这個沉睡的世界,换上万紫千红的新装。这是我们的期待,也是天主的期待。

我们的期待是尽人力而听天命;天主的期待是他已做足了一切,只待我们去回应。

在天人合一下,在信徒和天主衷诚的合作下,天国一定要来临,天主一定会为王於世,而一切都必将按天主原先的计劃而圆满地实现。

願你的旨意奉行在人间,如同在天上。」这是基督的祈祷,也是我们的願望。

 

 

ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Waiting for the First Sound of the New Thunder

First Reading ( Ezek 17:22-24 ) : Prophesies about the Messiah
Second Reading (2 Cor 5:6-10 ) : Whether alive or dead, we aim to please the Lord
Gospel (Mk 4:26-34 ) :Two parables: the mustard seed and the seed that grows alone
Chinese Classics:
- “Standing on earth and following the will of the Heaven above. Following the H will of heaven so as to bring good to humankind.”(1)
- “Take good care in making funeral arrangements for one's parents and to offer sacrifices to remote ancestors; People's character returned to simplicity.”(2)
- “Though creatures do not speak, they have feelings, at the end of every winter, spring is felt; A thousand and million shades of red and purple are arranged, just waiting for the first sound of the new thunder.”(3)
- “Kind acts are like the grass in a spring garden, we don't see its growth, but we see it becoming bigger every day; evil deeds are like the stone for sharpening knives, we don't see the damage, but we see it diminishing every day.”(4)

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade. ( Mk 4:26-32 )

Our religion emphasizes two elements: the supernatural and natural, heaven and earth. Vatican Council II's “Constitution on the Church” states, “The Church is a visible assembly and a spiritual community. These are not two realities; they form one interlocked reality comprised of a divine and human element., an earthly church and a church enriched with heavenly things.” (#8) This is our Church, made up of earthly and heavenly, human and divine, elements. Focusing on one element to the neglect of another, will not give us a correct viewpoint.

The Western world's view of religion strongly emphasizes the divine and supernatural elements; the Chinese view tends more to the human and concrete elements. Tong Kwan Ngai saw Chinese religion as “Standing on earth and following the will of the heavens above. Following the will of heaven so as to bring good to humankind.” The unity between heaven and humanity and the co-operation between God and human beings “nurtures growth and change of living things on earth”. We must stand up on our two feet, commit ourselves to this world and anchor our lives firmly on this earth. Then we can raise our hearts to heaven, follow heaven's direction and, according to its will, do good deeds for humankind.

Confucius asked people to “Take good care in making funeral arrangements for one's parents and offering sacrifices to remote ancestors”. This sounds very religious but the purpose was to help “People’s character return to simplicity.” This was, in fact, very social and very human! In the hearts of Confucius, Chinese intellectuals and many Chinese, religion existed for the sake of life. Ultimately, to “Take good care in making funeral arrangements for one’s parents and to offer sacrifices to remote ancestors” was to help “People's character return to simplicity.” It was done so that the customs and morals of the people would be simple, honest and unspoiled.

Once I attended an FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops) meeting. At the closing liturgy the presiding Bishop asked the assembly, “If Moses had not accepted God's call, would the ‘Exodus’ have occurred? If the Virgin Mary had not accepted God's invitation, would God the Son have become a human being?” Everyone answered ‘no.’ Of course we can say that whether these people would have agreed or not, God would have carried out His plan. Had Moses refused, God could have summoned Henry. Similarly, if Mary, the Jewish maiden, had not answered God's invitation, could God not have approached a young Chinese girl? It is true God could carry out His plan and in His wisdom arrange events otherwise. But God would have found a way to enable people to respond, for God seldom acts alone. No matter how God's plan came to pass, God's kingdom would have been established on the earth. That is one of our fundamental beliefs. Though life includes both fortunate and unfortunate events, yet we continue to have firm faith in God and in the accomplishment of God's will.

God's Kingdom will come, it is just a matter of time. Its realization is inevitable, though it might be very slow. It will grow as silently as the seed, so silently that we are not aware of it. It will grow like the mustard seed which when fully grown becomes bigger than all the other plants. This reminds me of a couplet:
“Kind acts are like the grass in a spring garden, we don't see its growth, but we see it becoming bigger every day;
Evil deeds are like a stone for sharpening knives, we don't see its damage, but we see it diminishing every day.”

The Kingdom will grow and God's word will blossom in our hearts. Perhaps our experience is the opposite – we see rather the spread of evil, disaster all around, human beings' evil intentions, pollution in the environment. But our faith in God's Kingdom helps us to survive these difficulties and persevere.. And when the Kingdom is realized, God will be victorious. We must work together with God to build up the Kingdom towards the fullness of creation and the coming of the Kingdom.

For a seed to grow, it needs sunshine, air, water and fertilizer. And of course it needs good soil and a suitable climate. I remember a poem written by Cheung Wai Ping: “Though the creatures do not speak, they have feelings, At the end of every winter, spring is felt. A thousand and million shades of red and purple are arranged, Just waiting for the first sound of the new thunder.” The first sound of the new thunder will wake up all living creatures. Then the sleeping world will awake and change to new clothes of a thousand and million shades of red and purple. This is what we are waiting for and also what God is waiting for.

Our fervent hope is to try our hardest to obey God's will. God's view is that He has done as much as possible and now waits for our response. If we, the faithful, can really work together with God, the Kingdom of heaven surely will come. God will be King of Kings and God's plan will be accomplished in all its fullness.

“ Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is the prayer of Christ, and it is our heartfelt desire.

(1)立地以上承天,承天道以隆人。
(2)慎終追遠,民德歸厚。
(3)造物無言卻有情,每於寒盡覺春生;千紅萬紫安排著,只待新雷第一聲。
(4)為善如春園之草,不見其生,日有所長;為惡如磨刀之石,不見其損,日有所消。

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017