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常年期第十五主日 2018年07月15日


常年期第十五主日

輕身上路

讀經一:(亞7:12-15):亞毛斯先知被放逐
讀經二:(弗1:3-14):基督為萬物的元首
福 音:(谷6:7-13):派遣十二宗徒出外傳教
中國文化:上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭。 好雨知時節,當春乃發生;隨風潛入夜,潤物細無聲。

耶穌召集那十二人,派遣他們兩個兩個出去,並賜給他們制服邪魔的權力,囑咐他們在路上只可帶手杖,此外什麼也不要帶:不要帶食物,不要帶行囊,腰袋裡也不要帶錢;但要穿上鞋,又不可穿兩件衣服。
(谷6:7-9)

在這段經文中,有一個很有趣的小插曲,就是馬爾谷的記載,和瑪竇、路加所記載的,有一點小小的差異。

馬爾谷說的是:「除了一根棍杖外」,什麼也不要帶。瑪竇和路加卻說,連棍杖都不要帶(瑪10:10; 路9:3)。

究竟耶穌原來的話是怎樣的呢?是要他們帶棍杖?還是不要他們帶棍杖?

有一位聖經學者認為,馬爾谷是伯多祿的徒弟,而伯多祿按當時的風俗,應是經常帶有棍杖的,他甚至在講道時也會手持棍杖。而手持棍杖的伯多祿,卻毫不猶豫地複述耶穌的話說:「也不要帶棍杖!」

馬爾谷在聽道時,也同時在看著講道的人。等到他後來要把所聽到的道理記下來時,他明明記得自己的老師伯多祿是常常帶著棍杖的,所以就把那句「也不要帶棍杖」的話,改為:「除了一根棍杖外」,什麼都不要帶了。

這雖是一個無關宏旨的註釋,但也可以從中看出,宗徒們無論是在聽耶穌的道理,或在複述耶穌的道理時,他們要吸取的是道理的含義、精神和教訓,而不是道理的表面字眼。斤斤計較於文字的表面意思,從來都不是天主教釋經的傳統。

聖經的真實無誤不在於它的咬文嚼字,而在於它的「中心訊息」,或者「核心思想」,那是天主要透過文字告訴我們的人生真理。

聖經要告訴我們的,不是科學上的真理,也不是歷史、地理、哲學、文學上的真理;它講的是人生的真理,尤其是人生的終極真理。例如:人生的意義;生從何來,死後何往;我們應如何看人生、看宇宙;我們應如何面對人生的挑戰等等。

所以,今日經文的訊息絕對不是「棍杖」的問題,而是在傳福音時,傳福音者應有的「態度」和心理狀態的問題。

伯多祿就知道耶穌不是在說棍杖,所以他可以手拿著棍杖而說:「也不要帶棍杖」;而馬爾谷亦可以在聽到伯多祿說「也不要帶棍杖」時,卻記錄了:「除了一根棍杖外」,什麼也不要帶!

「什麼也不要帶」的中心訊息是:耶穌要求傳福音者不要依靠外力,尤其不要依靠外在的勢力或壓力,唯一要依靠的是天主,和依靠福音本身的生命力。

換句話說,傳福音者要輕身上路;教會也要輕身上路。我們不必靠粉或其他救濟品,不必靠學校、墳地,也不必靠任何的身分和特權去傳福音。

傳福音者要做的,是忠實的說出和活出天主的話,並要在適當的時候說適當的話;那麼,天主的話本身就會在世界上、在人心中產生驚人的效果,結出豐碩的果實。

譬如雨和雪從天降下,不再返回原處,只有灌溉田地,使之生長萌芽……同樣,從我口中發出的言語,不能空空地回到我這裡來;反之,它必實行我的旨意,完成我派遣它的使命。」(依55:10-11)

一句簡單的話,若說得適當,有如在銀盤中,放上金蘋果。」(箴25:11)

我們要信賴福音本身的力量。連在我們自己讀聖經時,也應該持有這種態度。就是說,我們要天天讀經、不斷讀經、一生讀經,但要以欣賞的心情去讀經,而不必太刻意去研究它、或完全明白它。如果我們持之以恆,聖經的話語自會在我們心中不知不覺地扎根、生長,使我們的生命產生徹底的變化。

老子說:「上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭。」(老子8)天主聖言的力量也好像水,它滋養萬物而不與萬物相爭,它絕不強迫。但在它的滋潤下,萬物都一定會欣欣向榮。這也是杜甫在《春夜喜雨》一詩中所說的境界:「好雨知時節,當春乃發生;隨風潛入夜,潤物細無聲。

傳福音者只要誠心活出天主的話、說出天主的話,它自會進入人心、改變人心、滋潤萬物、聖化世界。

 

常年期第十五主日

轻身上路

读经一:(亚7:12-15):亚毛斯先知被放逐
读经二:(弗1:3-14):基督为万物的元首
福 音:(谷6:7-13):派遣十二宗徒出外传教
中国文化:上善若水,水善利万物而不争。好雨知時节,当春乃发生;随风潜入夜,润物细无声。

耶稣召集那十二人,派遣他们两個两個出去,并赐给他们制服邪魔的权力,嘱咐他们在路上只可带手杖,此外什么也不要带:不要带食物,不要带行囊,腰袋里也不要带钱;但要穿上鞋,又不可穿两件衣服。
(谷6:7-9)

在这段经文中,有一個很有趣的小插曲,就是马尔谷的记载,和玛窦、路加所记载的,有一点小小的差异。

马尔谷说的是:「除了一根棍杖外」,什么也不要带。玛窦和路加却说,连棍杖都不要带(玛10:10; 路9:3)。

究竟耶稣原来的话是怎样的呢?是要他们带棍杖?还是不要他们带棍杖?

有一位圣经学者认为,马尔谷是伯多禄的徒弟,而伯多禄按当時的风俗,应是经常带有棍杖的,他甚至在讲道時也会手持棍杖。而手持棍杖的伯多禄,却毫不犹豫地复述耶稣的话说:「也不要带棍杖!」

马尔谷在听道時,也同時在看著讲道的人。等到他后来要把所听到的道理记下来時,他明明记得自己的老师伯多禄是常常带著棍杖的,所以就把那句「也不要带棍杖」的话,改为:「除了一根棍杖外」,什么都不要带了。

这虽是一個无关宏旨的注释,但也可以从中看出,宗徒们无论是在听耶稣的道理,或在复述耶稣的道理時,他们要吸取的是道理的含义、精神和教训,而不是道理的表面字眼。斤斤计较於文字的表面意思,从来都不是天主教释经的传统。

圣经的真实无误不在於它的咬文嚼字,而在於它的「中心讯息」,或者「核心思想」,那是天主要透過文字告诉我们的人生真理。

圣经要告诉我们的,不是科学上的真理,也不是历史、地理、哲学、文学上的真理;它讲的是人生的真理,尤其是人生的终极真理。例如:人生的意义;生从何来,死后何往;我们应如何看人生、看宇宙;我们应如何面对人生的挑战等等。

所以,今日经文的讯息绝对不是「棍杖」的問题,而是在传福音時,传福音者应有的「态度」和心理状态的問题。

伯多禄就知道耶稣不是在说棍杖,所以他可以手拿著棍杖而说:「也不要带棍杖」;而马尔谷亦可以在听到伯多禄说「也不要带棍杖」時,却记录了:「除了一根棍杖外」,什么也不要带!

「什么也不要带」的中心讯息是:耶稣要求传福音者不要依靠外力,尤其不要依靠外在的势力或压力,唯一要依靠的是天主,和依靠福音本身的生命力。

换句话说,传福音者要轻身上路;教会也要轻身上路。我们不必靠粉或其他救济品,不必靠学校、坟地,也不必靠任何的身分和特权去传福音。

传福音者要做的,是忠实的说出和活出天主的话,并要在適当的時候说適当的话;那么,天主的话本身就会在世界上、在人心中產生惊人的效果,结出丰硕的果实。

譬如雨和雪从天降下,不再返回原处,只有灌溉田地,使之生长萌芽……同样,从我口中发出的言语,不能空空地回到我这里来;反之,它必实行我的旨意,完成我派遣它的使命。」(依55:10-11)

一句简单的话,若说得適当,有如在银盤中,放上金蘋果。」(箴25:11)

我们要信赖福音本身的力量。连在我们自己读圣经時,也应該持有这种态度。就是说,我们要天天读经、不断读经、一生读经,但要以欣赏的心情去读经,而不必太刻意去研究它、或完全明白它。如果我们持之以恒,圣经的话语自会在我们心中不知不觉地扎根、生长,使我们的生命產生彻底的变化。

老子说:「上善若水,水善利万物而不争。」(老子8)天主圣言的力量也好像水,它滋养万物而不与万物相争,它绝不强迫。但在它的滋润下,万物都一定会欣欣向荣。这也是杜甫在《春夜喜雨》 一诗中所说的境界:「好雨知時节,当春乃发生;随风潜入夜,润物细无声。

传福音者只要诚心活出天主的话、说出天主的话,它自会进入人心、改变人心、滋润万物、圣化世界。

 

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Travel Lightly

First Reading ( Amos 7:12-15 ): The prophet Amos was banished
Second Reading (Eph 1:3-14 ) : Christ is the Head of all creation
Gospel ( Mk 6:7-13) : Sending forth the twelve apostles to preach
Chinese Classics:
-“The best of humanity is like water, which benefits all things, and does not contend with them.”(1)
-“Good rain knows the seasons, in spring it comes; it comes quietly into the night with the wind, moistening living things carefully without a sound.”(2)

“He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. ( Mk 6:7-9)

There is an interesting phrase in today's Gospel from Mark, slightly different from the accounts of Matthew and Luke. Mark says, “take nothing for their journey except a staff” whereas Matthew and Luke both say, no staff ( Mt 10:10; Lk 9:3 )
What did Jesus actually say, ‘take a staff’ or ‘don't take a staff’?

One Scripture scholar tell us that Mark was a disciple of Peter who followed the custom of the time and always carried a staff, holding it even when he was preaching. So while repeating Jesus' words, ‘do not take a staff,’ at the same time he held on to his staff! While Mark listened to the Word he was also watching the speaker. Later, when he began to record all that he had heard, he remembered clearly that his master Peter always had carried a staff, so he altered Jesus' words, ‘take no staff’ to read, ‘except for a staff take nothing with you.’

Although this is a minor point, from it we can note that when the apostles listened to Jesus and then preached about his actions and words, they were trying to understand the meaning, the spirit and the teaching, and not just the words only. Meticulously searching for the exact words of Scripture has never been a tradition in the Catholic Church.

The truth, credibility and reliability of Scripture does not come from the external meaning of the words themselves, but from the ‘core of the message’ or the ‘central concepts’, that is, how God reveals truths for our lives through the written word.

The Bible does not reveal truths about science, history, geography, philosophy, literature. What it talks about are truths that relate to life, especially the ultimate truths of life. For example, the meaning of life, from where does life come, where do we go after death; how do we view life and the universe, how do we face life's challenges, and so on. Hence the message in today's reading definitely is not about ‘the staff’. It is about the preacher's attitude and mindset when preaching the good news.

Peter realized Jesus was not talking mainly about the staff, and so he could carry a staff at the same time as he quoted Jesus' words not to carry it, and Mark in writing the story did not hesitate to say ‘except for the staff, carry nothing else!’ The central message in Jesus' words, ‘carry nothing with you’ is this: the preacher of the good news should not rely on temporal authority, worldly power or any external pressure, but rely only on God and on the strength that comes from the living Gospel itself.

In other words, the preacher must travel lightly; and the Church must do likewise. So when we preach the gospel, we do not wish to depend on ‘flour’ or other welfare goods, nor on school, cemetery, or a person's special position or privilege. What preachers must do is speak in truth the Word of God and live it, then choose the appropriate words and time. Then the Word of God itself will produce astounding fruit throughout the world and in the hearts of people, and reap an abundant harvest.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout. so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” ( Is 55:10-11 )

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Prov 25:11 )

We must depend on the power of the Gospel itself. Even when we read the Scriptures by ourselves, we should have this kind of attitude. That is, we should read Scripture daily, continuously, throughout our entire lives, not as an academic exercise or even to understand each single word, but with a deep appreciation. If we persevere in this, the words of Scripture will take root in our hearts and grow without our even realizing it, and eventually our lives will change radically.

Lao Zi in Dao De Jing, Chapter 8 said, “The best of humanity is like water, which benefits all things, and does not contend with them. ”(1) The power of the Word of God is like water. It moistens all living things and does not compete with them. Neither does it use force. Under its nourishment, all things prosper and thrive. This is the stage in Du Fu's poem, Spring Rain in the Happy Night, “Good rain knows the seasons, in spring it comes; it comes quietly into the night with the wind, moistening living things carefully without a sound.”(2)

Preachers of the Good News must live and speak God's Word with sincerity. Then of itself the Word will enter peoples' hearts and change them. And so the Word will nourish all of creation and sanctify the world.

(1)上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭。
(2)好雨知時節,當春乃發生;隨風潛入夜,潤物細無聲。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017