常年期第十四主日 2018年07月08日


年期第十四主日

生命的刺

讀經一:(則2:2-5):厄則克耳先知被派往叛逆子民中去
讀經二:(格後12:7-10):對軟弱的誇耀
福 音:(谷6:1-6):耶穌本鄉的人不信他
中國文化: 知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。
下學而上達。 生於憂患、死於安樂。
不經一番寒徹骨,那得梅花撲鼻香?

有一根刺加在我身上,就是撒旦的使者來攻擊我,免得我抬高自己。為了這事,我曾三次祈求主替我拔除這根刺,但是主對我說:「我的恩寵為你足夠了,因為我的德能在人的軟弱中正顯得完美。」……因此,我為了基督的緣故,樂於忍受各種軟弱、凌辱、艱難、迫害和困苦,因為我軟弱的時候,正是我剛強的時候。
(格後12:7-10)

保祿在生命中有一根刺,我們每人都有一根刺,甚至是一些刺、一綑刺、一堆刺。

人生不如意事,十常八九。這不是痛苦者對生命無可奈何的阿Q精神,為的只是在絕望中安慰自己。這是生命的現實,不管我們願不願意承認。

雖然保祿所說的「刺」可能是另有所指,不過無論如何,這該是他生命中一些難以面對的困難、一些改不了的毛病,甚或是一些難以挑起的重擔。

因為難於面對,因為很難挑起,所以保祿才「三次求主使它遠離」,免他受這「刺」之苦,就像耶穌在山園中也曾多次求天父免他喝那苦杯一樣。(參看瑪26:36-46)

但上主的答覆出人意表:「有我的恩寵為你夠了,因為我的德能在人的軟弱中纔全顯出來。

天主的答覆,不是要免除人的苦,拔去人心中、身上或生命中的刺,而是給人以豐富的恩寵、更豐富的恩寵,幫助人去面對生命之刺:勇敢而快樂地面對這根刺。

上主所賜恩寵的結果,是保祿得到極大的支持、鼓勵和安慰,他甚至可以在其中經驗到苦中之樂:「所以我甘心情願誇耀我的軟弱……。我為基督的緣故,喜歡在軟弱中,在凌辱中,在艱難中,在迫害中,在困苦中。

保祿是甘心情願去面對他生命之刺的,他不是被迫無奈的接受。他並不屈從,他確實「喜歡」。

孔子認為無論是讀書,求學問,或學做人,都要達到喜歡和快樂的境界。他說:「知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。」(論語:雍也6:20)

孔子的所謂「下學而上達」,是指在人生的各種歷鍊中,能每經過一個難關,就上昇到人生的另一個新境界。上述的知、好、樂三種境界,就是由知到好,由好到樂;即由認識到喜歡,由喜歡到感覺快樂。亦即是說,要做到在實踐起來或生活起來的時候,時常都感到快樂。人生,就是要活得痛快、活得快樂。

孟子也說:「生於憂患、死於安樂」(告子下),其實,連信仰也是在憂患中成長起來的。我們要在生命的「邊際境遇」中,在我們不能掌握自己,在感到完全無助的時候,才能更易接觸到天主。

聖經中有些話,例如我們最熟悉的聖詠廿三首:「縱使我走過陰森的幽谷,我不怕凶險,因你與我同住。」(詠23:4)這句話在光天化日之下,在教堂的燈燭輝煌之中,在我們生命十分安全而又毫無挑戰的情況裡,又如何可以對我們產生作用呢?我們又如何可以明白它的深意?如何能有切身的感受呢?

保祿由於已經為基督而經歷了無數的困難,並且就在這些困難中經驗到天主的臨在、天主的恩寵、天主的德能,所以他在格林多後書十一章中,對自己一生坎坷的遭遇,才能像如數家珍地娓娓道出:「論勞碌,我更多;論監禁,更頻繁;論拷打,過了量;冒死亡,是常事……又多次行路,遭遇江河的危險、盜賊的危險、由同族來的危險、由外邦人來的危險、城中的危險、曠野裡的危險……勞碌辛苦,屢不得眠;忍飢受渴,屢不得食;忍受寒冷,赤身裸體。除了其餘的事以外,還有我每日的繁務,對眾教會的掛慮。誰軟弱,我不軟弱呢?誰跌倒,我不心焦呢?」(格後11:23-29)這是一位大宗徒的遭遇,也是任何一位有理想者的遭遇。

不經一番寒徹骨,那得梅花撲鼻香?

保祿聖德的芬芳,正是源自他在生命中,曾經有過「寒徹骨」的、刻骨銘心的悲慘遭遇;而他在基督內,卻都一一踰越和戰勝了。

 

年期第十四主日

生命的刺

读经一:(则2:2-5):厄则克耳先知被派往叛逆子民中去
读经二:(格后12:7-10):对软弱的夸耀
福 音:(谷6:1-6):耶稣本乡的人不信他
中国文化: 知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如乐之者。
下学而上达。生於忧患、死於安乐。
不经一番寒彻骨,那得梅花扑鼻香?

有一根刺加在我身上,就是撒旦的使者来攻击我,免得我抬高自己。为了这事,我曾三次祈求主替我拔除这根刺,但是主对我说:「我的恩宠为你足够了,因为我的德能在人的软弱中正显得完美。」……因此,我为了基督的缘故,乐於忍受各种软弱、凌辱、艰难、迫害和困苦,因为我软弱的時候,正是我刚强的時候。
(格后12:7-10)

保禄在生命中有一根刺,我们每人都有一根刺,甚至是一些刺、一綑刺、一堆刺。

人生不如意事,十常八九。这不是痛苦者对生命无可奈何的阿Q精神,为的只是在绝望中安慰自己。这是生命的现实,不管我们願不願意承认。

虽然保禄所说的「刺」可能是另有所指,不過无论如何,这該是他生命中一些难以面对的困难、一些改不了的毛病,甚或是一些难以挑起的重担。

因为难於面对,因为很难挑起,所以保禄才「三次求主使它遠離」,免他受这「刺」之苦,就像耶稣在山园中也曾多次求天父免他喝那苦杯一样。(参看玛26:36-46)

但上主的答覆出人意表:「有我的恩宠为你够了,因为我的德能在人的软弱中才全显出来。

天主的答覆,不是要免除人的苦,拔去人心中、身上或生命中的刺,而是给人以丰富的恩宠、更丰富的恩宠,帮助人去面对生命之刺:勇敢而快乐地面对这根刺。

上主所赐恩宠的结果,是保禄得到极大的支持、鼓励和安慰,他甚至可以在其中经验到苦中之乐:「所以我甘心情願夸耀我的软弱……。我为基督的缘故,喜欢在软弱中,在凌辱中,在艰难中,在迫害中,在困苦中。

保禄是甘心情願去面对他生命之刺的,他不是被迫无奈的接受。他并不屈从,他确实「喜欢」。

孔子认为无论是读书,求学問,或学做人,都要达到喜欢和快乐的境界。他说:「知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如乐之者。」(论语:雍也6:20)

孔子的所谓「下学而上达」,是指在人生的各种历炼中,能每经過一個难关,就上升到人生的另一個新境界。上述的知、好、乐三种境界,就是由知到好,由好到乐;即由认识到喜欢,由喜欢到感觉快乐。亦即是说,要做到在实踐起来或生活起来的時候,時常都感到快乐。人生,就是要活得痛快、活得快乐。

孟子也说:「生於忧患、死於安乐」(告子下),其实,连信仰也是在忧患中成长起来的。我们要在生命的「边际境遇」中,在我们不能掌握自己,在感到完全无助的時候,才能更易接触到天主。

圣经中有些话,例如我们最熟悉的圣咏廿三首:「纵使我走過阴森的幽谷,我不怕凶险,因你与我同住。」(咏23:4)这句话在光天化日之下,在教堂的灯烛辉煌之中,在我们生命十分安全而又毫无挑战的情况里,又如何可以对我们產生作用呢?我们又如何可以明白它的深意?如何能有切身的感受呢?

保禄由於已经为基督而经历了无数的困难,并且就在这些困难中经验到天主的临在、天主的恩宠、天主的德能,所以他在格林多后书十一章中,对自己一生坎坷的遭遇,才能像如数家珍地娓娓道出:「论劳碌,我更多;论监禁,更频繁;论拷打,過了量;冒死亡,是常事……又多次行路,遭遇江河的危险、盗贼的危险、由同族来的危险、由外邦人来的危险、城中的危险、旷野里的危险……劳碌辛苦,屡不得眠;忍饥受渴,屡不得食;忍受寒冷,赤身裸体。除了其余的事以外,还有我每日的繁务,对众教会的掛虑。谁软弱,我不软弱呢?谁跌倒,我不心焦呢?」(格后11:23-29)这是一位大宗徒的遭遇,也是任何一位有理想者的遭遇。

不经一番寒彻骨,那得梅花扑鼻香?

保禄圣德的芬芳,正是源自他在生命中,曾经有過「寒彻骨」的、刻骨铭心的悲惨遭遇;而他在基督内,却都一一逾越和战胜了。

 

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

The Thorns in Life

First Reading (Ezek 2:2-5): The Prophet Ezekiel was sent to the rebellious people
Second Reading (2 Cor12: 7-10): Boasting in our weakness
Gospel (Mk 6: 1-6): Jesus rejected by his own townspeople
Chinese Classics:
-“They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.”(1)
-"To learn at the bottom, to reach the higher level of life.”(2)
-“It is sorrow and calamity that make us live with liveliness, and it is ease and pleasure that lead us to ‘die’ gradually!”(3)
-“Not having experienced coldness in the bones, how will the plum flowers have a sweet fragrance? ”(4)

A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:7-10 )

Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Each of us have such ‘thorns’, perhaps many, even a great many, thorns! Life can be very difficult or discouraging, or at least unsatisfactory. It doesn't mean we have a negative attitude towards life, but rather amid the disappointments we try to console ourselves. This is the reality of life, whether we wish it or not.

Although the thorn that Paul mentioned may refer to something else, no matter what it referred to, it was some difficulty which presented him with a challenge throughout his life, a problem that could not be solved or a fault unable to change, or a burden at times almost too difficult to bear.

Because it was so hard to face, a burden so difficult to carry, Paul says that “three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me,” that he would not have to bear this cross, similar to Jesus during the Agony in the Garden when he repeatedly prayed to his Father to remove from him the bitter cup. (cf. Mt 26: 36-46) The Lord answered in a manner perhaps incomprehensible to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

God's response was not that God would lessen or remove the suffering, the ‘thorn’ of one's life, but rather that God would grant each of us more and more grace, sufficient for us to face life's ‘thorns’: courageously and happily bearing the suffering. The result was that Paul received from God abundant support, consolation and encouragement. And from this experience Paul could be happy in the midst of suffering: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ” Paul willingly faced the ‘thorns’ in his life, - he was not forced to succumb, but he truly was ‘content’ to submit.

Confucius thought that whether to study, pursue knowledge or learn to be a full human person, we should arrive at a stage of joy and happiness. In Yong Ye, 6:20 , he said, “They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it. ”(1)

When Confucius said, “To learn at the bottom, to reach the higher level of life”(2), he meant that in life there are different kinds of trials and each time we experience a difficulty, we can rise to a new level of life. Three stages are mentioned above, knowing, loving and delighting, and we move from knowing to loving, from loving to delighting. That is, we understand so we are happy and then we feel joyful. In other words, if we carry this out in practice throughout life we will always be content, even in the midst of suffering.

Meng Zi said in Gao Zi, “It is sorrow and calamity that make us live with liveliness.; and it is ease and pleasure that let us ‘die’ gradually!”(3) Actually faith also grows in sorrow and calamity. When we are ‘at the ultimate’ of life and cannot control ourselves and feel completely helpless, then we can more easily come into contact with God.

There are Scripture passages too, as the familiar Psalm 23, that may be helpful: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff, they comfort me.” (v. 4) On a bright sunny day, or when bright lights illumine a church service, or when life feels secure with no challenges, these words may have little meaning. In these circumstances, how can we understand their deep meaning ? Or feel their reality in our life?

Because Paul already had endured much suffering for the sake of Christ, and in the midst of his suffering had experienced God's presence, grace and power, he could look back on his life with peace and understanding. “I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death.. on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not indignant?” (2 Cor, 11:23-29) This was the experience of a great Apostle, and also can be the experience of anyone with ideals.

“Not having experienced coldness in the bones, how will the plum flowers have a sweet fragrance? ”(4)

The fragrance of Paul's virtue overflowed into his entire life. He had experienced ‘coldness in the bones,’ great sorrow and suffering in his life, and so in Christ he was able to overcome to the end.

(1)知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。
(2)下學而上達。
(3) 生於憂患、死於安樂。
(4)不經一番寒徹骨,那得梅花撲鼻香?

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017