常年期第十七主日 2018年07月29日


常年期第十七主日

萬眾歸一

讀經一:(列下4:42-44):增餅奇跡
讀經二:(弗4:1-6):應保持教會的合一
福 音:(若6:1-15):增餅奇蹟
中國文化: 大同篇:大道之行也,天下為公。選賢與能,講信修睦。

身體只有一個,聖神也只有一個,正如你們蒙受召叫是為了同一個希望一樣。只有一個主,一個信仰,一個洗禮;只有一個天主,他是眾人之父。他超越一切,貫通一切,且在一切之內。」
(弗4:4-6)

在聖經中,很少有像上述的經文,有那麼多的「一」字連在一起,可見保祿很重視合一的問題。

中國人嚮往大同,相信整個世界都是為所有人和每一個人而存在的。所以總是夢想著有那麼的一個國度、一種境界,那裡人人可以人盡其才、事事可以物盡其用。並希望無論是男女老少,健康的、病弱的,都得到適當的愛護和照顧,直至養生送死都無所憾。那裡沒有陰謀詭計,沒有鼠魔竊賊,真是一個路不拾遺、夜不閉戶的世外桃源。

用《大同篇》原來的說話就是:

大道之行也,天下為公。選賢與能,講信修睦。故人不獨親其親,不獨子其子。使老有所終,壯有所用,幼有所長,矜寡孤獨廢疾者皆有所養。男有分,女有歸。貨,惡其棄於地也,不必藏於己;力,惡其不出於身也,不必為己。是故謀閉而不興,盜竊亂賊而不作。故外戶而不閉。是謂大同。

但大同的基礎是什麼呢?天下諸色人等彼此之間的差異是那麼的多,智愚賢不肖之間的分別又是那麼的大,這個大同夢又怎麼可以夢境成真呢?

保祿提出了一個堅定而永久的答案:天主;只有在天主內,世界大同才有可能。

人間存在著分裂,那是鐵一般的事實,就連在基督的教會內,也免不了時有分裂的悲劇。教區與教區之間、修會與修會之間、善會與善會之間、神職人員與神職人員之間、教友與教友之間……,誰知道究竟存在著多少的競爭、猜疑、不睦、勾心鬥角?

為了錢、為了權、為了名譽、為了面子、為了爭取教友、為了意識形態的差異,甚至為了信仰上大多數人都自以為是的「正統性」,多少教會內的好朋友會因此而反目?

我就曾經聽過一位基督新教的教牧,因為在某個中國的問題上,和另一位教牧鬧翻了,而從最好的朋友,變成了陌路人。他曾經為此而感慨萬端地說:「原來所謂在基督內的兄弟情,竟然是這樣的脆弱!」

保祿一定也看過,甚至親身經驗過這種脆弱的兄弟關係,所以他才說:「我這在主內為囚犯的懇求你們,行動務要與你們所受的寵召相稱,凡事要謙遜、溫和、忍耐,在愛德中彼此擔待,盡力以和平的聯繫,保持心神的合一。」(弗4:1-3)

有基督徒的名,就要有基督徒的實,「行動務要與我們所受的寵召相稱」。而基督徒最重要的任務,就是為教會、為世界謀求合一。
合一絕對不易達到,但基督徒一定要為此而努力,為此而作見證。條件就是必須要有內心的謙虛,有愛德的修養,尤其要「彼此擔待」,並要努力去為合一創造條件。

保祿在這裡沒有提出方法,但他突出了六大合一的理由:因為我們只有一個身體、一個聖神、一個希望、一個主、一個信德、一個洗禮。

世界上有什麼東西比這六大點更大、更重要的呢?是禮儀之爭嗎?是六四之恨嗎?是不同的意識型態嗎?是不同的階級、國籍、文化嗎?是開放或保守思潮的差異嗎?是民主、自由、人權、公義的定義和內容嗎?

如果我們相信天主是眾人之父,是我們所有人的父親,為什麼我們竟不以兄弟姊妹之情,彼此相待呢?如果天主超越一切、貫通一切、且在一切之內,為什麼我們卻看不到在別人身上的天主呢?為什麼我們不相信,別人也跟我們一樣,都是滿懷善意的?為什麼我們不可以在天主內化解一切?為什麼我們不可以讓我們的矛盾,在天主內成為我們每人的挑戰,好讓我們大家都能互相學習、彼此改變、互相豐富呢?

世界大同、萬眾歸一,這是基督徒的堅持,也是中國人的夢想。讓我們為此而祈禱,也為此而努力!

 

常年期第十七主日

万众归一

读经一:(列下4:42-44):增饼奇迹
读经二:(弗4:1-6):应保持教会的合一
福 音:(若6:1-15):增饼奇迹
中国文化: 大同篇:大道之行也,天下为公。选贤与能,讲信修睦。

身体只有一個,圣神也只有一個,正如你们蒙受召叫是为了同一個希望一样。只有一個主,一個信仰,一個洗礼;只有一個天主,他是众人之父。他超越一切,贯通一切,且在一切之内。」
(弗4:4-6)

在圣经中,很少有像上述的经文,有那么多的「一」字连在一起,可见保禄很重视合一的問题。

中国人向往大同,相信整個世界都是为所有人和每一個人而存在的。所以总是梦想著有那么的一個国度、一种境界,那里人人可以人尽其才、事事可以物尽其用。并希望无论是男女老少,健康的、病弱的,都得到適当的爱护和照顾,直至养生送死都无所憾。那里没有阴谋诡计,没有鼠魔窃贼,真是一個路不拾遗、夜不闭户的世外桃源。

用《大同篇》 原来的说话就是:

大道之行也,天下为公。选贤与能,讲信修睦。故人不独亲其亲,不独子其子。使老有所终,壮有所用,幼有所长,矜寡孤独废疾者皆有所养。男有分,女有归。货,恶其弃於地也,不必藏於己;力,恶其不出於身也,不必为己。是故谋闭而不兴,盗窃亂贼而不作。故外户而不闭。是谓大同。

但大同的基础是什么呢?天下诸色人等彼此之间的差异是那么的多,智愚贤不肖之间的分别又是那么的大,这個大同梦又怎么可以梦境成真呢?

保禄提出了一個坚定而永久的答案:天主;只有在天主内,世界大同才有可能。

人间存在著分裂,那是铁一般的事实,就连在基督的教会内,也免不了時有分裂的悲剧。教区与教区之间、修会与修会之间、善会与善会之间、神职人员与神职人员之间、教友与教友之间……,谁知道究竟存在著多少的竞争、猜疑、不睦、勾心斗角?

为了钱、为了权、为了名誉、为了面子、为了争取教友、为了意识形态的差异,甚至为了信仰上大多数人都自以为是的「正统性」,多少教会内的好朋友会因此而反目?

我就曾经听過一位基督新教的教牧,因为在某個中国的問题上,和另一位教牧闹翻了,而从最好的朋友,变成了陌路人。他曾经为此而感慨万端地说:「原来所谓在基督内的兄弟情,竟然是这样的脆弱!」

保禄一定也看過,甚至亲身经验過这种脆弱的兄弟关系,所以他才说:「我这在主内为囚犯的恳求你们,行动务要与你们所受的宠召相称,凡事要谦逊、温和、忍耐,在爱德中彼此担待,尽力以和平的联系,保持心神的合一。」(弗4:1-3)

有基督徒的名,就要有基督徒的实,「行动务要与我们所受的宠召相称」。而基督徒最重要的任务,就是为教会、为世界谋求合一。
合一绝对不易达到,但基督徒一定要为此而努力,为此而作见证。条件就是必须要有内心的谦虚,有爱德的修养,尤其要「彼此担待」,并要努力去为合一创造条件。

保禄在这里没有提出方法,但他突出了六大合一的理由:因为我们只有一個身体、一個圣神、一個希望、一個主、一個信德、一個洗礼。

世界上有什么东西比这六大点更大、更重要的呢?是礼仪之争吗?是六四之恨吗?是不同的意识型态吗?是不同的阶级、国籍、文化吗?是開放或保守思潮的差异吗?是民主、自由、人权、公义的定义和内容吗?

如果我们相信天主是众人之父,是我们所有人的父亲,为什么我们竟不以兄弟姊妹之情,彼此相待呢?如果天主超越一切、贯通一切、且在一切之内,为什么我们却看不到在别人身上的天主呢?为什么我们不相信,别人也跟我们一样,都是满怀善意的?为什么我们不可以在天主内化解一切?为什么我们不可以让我们的矛盾,在天主内成为我们每人的挑战,好让我们大家都能互相学习、彼此改变、互相丰富呢?

世界大同、万众归一,这是基督徒的坚持,也是中国人的梦想。让我们为此而祈祷,也为此而努力!

 

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

ALL UNITED IN ONE

1st Reading (2 Kings 4:42-44): Elisha feeds one hundred men
2nd Reading (Ephesians 4:1-6): We should maintain the Church's unity
Gospel Reading (John 6:1-15): The Multiplication of the Loaves
Chinese Classics:
- “From the Book of Rites: “When the Great Virtue and Justice prevail, all the earth will belong to all the people. Rulers are selected according to wisdom and ability. Mutual trust is promoted and good neighborliness is cultivated.” (1)

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all. He is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:4-6)

Scripture seldom mentions the word “oneness” in one passage as frequently as in this passage. We can see that Paul was very concerned with the issue of unity.

Chinese people have long promoted one world where there is a place for everyone and for each person. They dream of a world of one country and race, where everyone can contribute his or her talents in their fullness, and where all resources are fully utilized. They hope that all people, whether man or woman, old or young, sick or healthy, can receive the love and care they need throughout their entire lives. There would be no deceit or treason, theft or robbery. It would truly be a world of security and perfection.

This is the original quotation from the chapter “ Utopia” from “The Book of Rites” by Confucius:

-“When the Great Virtue and Justice prevail, all the earth will belong to all the people. Rules are selected according to their wisdom and ability. Mutual trust is promoted and good neighborliness is cultivated. People do not regard parents only as their own parents, nor treat children only as their own children. Provision is secured for the aged until death, employment is available for the able-bodied, and means of growing into maturity for the young. Helpless widows and widowers, orphans and the lonely, the sick and the disabled, are well cared for. Men have their respective occupations and women their homes. People do not like to see wealth lying idle, yet they do not keep it for their own gratification. They despise indolence, yet they do not use their energies for their own benefit. In this way, selfish scheming is repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless people no longer exist. And there is no need for people to shut their outer doors. This is called Universal Brotherhood (Utopia).”

What is the foundation for “Universal Brotherhood”? When there are such vast differences among people in outlook, in morality, how can such a dream come true?

Paul proposed a firm and permanent answer: God; only through God can this ‘universal brother/sisterhood’ become reality.

Without a doubt there are great divisions among human beings. Even within Christ's Church there are unavoidable tragic divisions. How much suspicion, competition, backbiting, deliberate harm to others, are present among dioceses, religious communities, parish organizations, among clergy, among the laity? How many good friends within the Church have turned against each other because of money, power, fame, face, competition for membership, differing ideologies, or holding stubbornly to what one considers a more ‘orthodox’ interpretation of a tenet of faith.?

I once heard of the pastor in a Christian denomination who turned against another minister over differences of opinion on some situation in China. From being best friends the two became like total strangers. The minister felt it deeply, saying, “How can it be that brotherhood in Christ can be so fragile!”

Paul certainly saw and experienced personally this kind of fragile brother/sister relationship, so said, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4: 1-3) If we call ourselves Christian, then we must act like Christians, “leading a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called.” The most important responsibility of Christians, then, is to work for unity in the Church and in the world.

Certainly, unity is not easily achieved, but Christians must work hard for it and bear witness to it. One requirement is that we must have hearts that are humble and full of love, “bear with one another”, and try to create an environment that fosters all that is required for unity. Paul did not offer solutions, but he cited six reasons for unity: ‘Because we are one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith and one baptism.’

Is there anything in the world more important than these six points? Arguments over liturgy? Disagreements over the ‘ June Forth ( Tiananmen Square) Incident’? Differences of opinion? Differences in class, nation, culture? Conservative vs. liberal outlook? Or democracy, freedom, human rights, the meaning and content of justice?

If we believe God is the Father of all people, the Father of all of us, why cannot we treat each other like brothers and sisters? If God is above all else, understanding all things and in the midst of all creation, why can we not see God in other people? Why can we not trust that other people have the same good intentions as we do? Why can't we let our dislikes dissolve into God? Why can't we, under God, allow our contradictions to become instead challenges so that we can learn from each other, transform each other and be mutually enriched?

‘Universal Brother/sisterhood’, ‘All United in One’, are ideals Christians support and Chinese people dream about. Let us pray and work together to attain them!

(1)大同篇:大道之行也,天下為公。
(2)選賢與能,講信修睦。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017