常年期第十八主日 2018年08月05日


常年期第十八主日

真理的立體性

讀經一:(出16:2-4,12-15):天主降下瑪納
讀經二:(弗4:17,20-24):脫去舊人,穿上新人
福 音:(若6:24-35):生命之糧的言論
中國文化: 海納百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,無欲則剛。
天無私覆,地無私載。

真理在耶穌內,如果你們真的聽過他,在他內受過教導,那麼,就該改變你們從前的生活,脫去你們的舊人,即被私慾所迷惑而敗壞的舊人。要更新你們的心思念慮,穿上新人,就是按照天主的肖像所造、具有真實的正義和聖善的新人。
(弗4:21-24)

真理在耶穌內,信耶穌的真理的人,就要改變生活,除舊更新,穿上基督。

我在寫這篇講道詞時,曾參考過一本聖經註釋。該書在註解這段經文時這樣說:「基督的真理是絕對的真理,而並非要與孔夫子的教訓作一比較的所謂真理。」

用「所謂真理」一詞去形容孔子,道盡了大部分基督徒(包括天主教徒和基督新教徒)那種唯我獨尊的真理霸心態。

傳說回教徒在要焚毀亞力山大圖書館內的所有書籍時,所根據的邏輯是:「如果這些書的真理和《可蘭經》相同,就毋需存在;如果它們和《可蘭經》相反,就不該存在。」

在「真理霸」的心態上,所有大宗教、大文化、大民族、大國家,都是難兄難弟!他們都是要主宰世界、獨天下。

有一次,我參加一個「基督教與儒家交談」研討會,會中一位基督教神學家堅持,儒家的真理儘管有其美好和合理的部分,不過仍然是相對的、有限的;只有聖經對人生有終極的關懷,只有聖經有絕對的、全面的、無限的、無誤的真理。

那天午餐時,我剛好坐在一位參加會議的新儒家學者旁,他毫不客氣地對我說:「徐神父,你是天主教的神父,我絕對尊重你們的信仰,和你們對信仰的堅持。但恕我不客氣的說一聲,你們太自我中心、太自以為是了。

你們基督徒創造了一套術語和『思想架構』,在這架構中,你們的信仰思想自然顯得最恰當、最圓滿;而我們的儒家思想相對來說,則顯得有缺憾了。其實,在我們的儒家思想系統中,我們一樣也可以使你們的東西顯得有缺憾,而我們的學說顯得圓滿。」

說了一大堆,看似很囉囌,其實這正是我們在追尋真理時,所必須警惕的一種態度??不要做「真理霸」。

在平面的人生或平面的信仰中,我們很難接觸到全面的真理。真理是立體的,它要在生命的所有層次中??宗教、生活、精神、物質、內心、外表、不同文化、不同傳統……,才易彰顯出來。

基督是真理之源,但教會不是,神學家也不是。聖經有終極的真理,但我們無人能完全明白和掌握這些真理,更未必能完全活出這些真理,成為「新人」。我們享受著豐盛充足的太陽、空氣和大地,但誰又可以完全擁有太陽、空氣和大地?

我們認識天主,甚至「享有」天主,但我們不能「獨霸」天主,更無權把天主視為我們的囊中之物!

永恆的真理是無限的,它不是、也不必和其它的真理對立;相反地,它包容一切真理。在孔子的生活和言論中所流露出的真理,或其它宗教的真理,如果是真理,也是基督真理的一部分,並彰顯著基督的真理。

林則徐說:海納百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,無欲則剛。

基督是真天主又是真人,他胸懷天下、吞吐宇宙。他的真理比天更高,比海更大、更深;基督和基督的真理,都有無限的包容能力,那是我們心胸狹隘的人無法可以想象得出來的。我們千萬不要拿基督去和人對立,也不要使基督的真理和人間的真理對立起來。

天無私覆、地無私載:天主的愛和他的救恩,當然也絕非基督徒的囊中物,我們也不要以為天主只是愛我們,或只把真理啟示給我們。

在基督徒的「除舊人、著新人」的蛻變行動中,我們要學會在生命的各個層次和全部活動中去找尋上主。睜開我們的靈性眼睛,也睜開我們的肉體眼睛,我們要看到,這個上主也在人類找尋神(或追求至善)的努力中。

而在努力找尋神或追求至善的人中,當然也包括我們民族中的先聖先賢如孔子等等在內。

聖經提昇文化,文化印證聖經。無限的真理「降生」了,就成為人間的真理;人間的真理和聖經配合起來,就成為立體的真理。這真理開花結果了,就是更豐盛的生命和更充實的生活,成為新人。這是我們在世上所能找到最接近圓滿的真理。

 

常年期第十八主日

真理的立体性

读经一:(出16:2-4,12-15):天主降下玛纳
读经二:(弗4:17,20-24):脱去旧人,穿上新人
福 音:(若6:24-35):生命之粮的言论
中国文化: 海纳百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,无欲则刚。
天无私覆,地无私载。

真理在耶稣内,如果你们真的听過他,在他内受過教导,那么,就該改变你们从前的生活,脱去你们的旧人,即被私欲所迷惑而败坏的旧人。要更新你们的心思念虑,穿上新人,就是按照天主的肖像所造、具有真实的正义和圣善的新人。
(弗4:21-24)

真理在耶稣内,信耶稣的真理的人,就要改变生活,除旧更新,穿上基督。

我在写这篇讲道词時,曾参考過一本圣经注释。該书在注解这段经文時这样说:「基督的真理是绝对的真理,而并非要与孔夫子的教训作一比较的所谓真理。」

用「所谓真理」一词去形容孔子,道尽了大部分基督徒(包括天主教徒和基督新教徒)那种唯我独尊的真理霸心态。

传说回教徒在要焚毁亚力山大图书馆内的所有书籍時,所根据的逻辑是:「如果这些书的真理和《可蘭经》 相同,就毋需存在;如果它们和《可蘭经》 相反,就不該存在。」

在「真理霸」的心态上,所有大宗教、大文化、大民族、大国家,都是难兄难弟!他们都是要主宰世界、独天下。

有一次,我参加一個「基督教与儒家交谈」研讨会,会中一位基督教神学家坚持,儒家的真理尽管有其美好和合理的部分,不過仍然是相对的、有限的;只有圣经对人生有终极的关怀,只有圣经有绝对的、全面的、无限的、无误的真理。

那天午餐時,我刚好坐在一位参加会议的新儒家学者旁,他毫不客气地对我说:「徐神父,你是天主教的神父,我绝对尊重你们的信仰,和你们对信仰的坚持。但恕我不客气的说一声,你们太自我中心、太自以为是了。

你们基督徒创造了一套术语和『思想架构』,在这架构中,你们的信仰思想自然显得最恰当、最圆满;而我们的儒家思想相对来说,则显得有缺憾了。其实,在我们的儒家思想系统中,我们一样也可以使你们的东西显得有缺憾,而我们的学说显得圆满。」

说了一大堆,看似很罗苏,其实这正是我们在追寻真理時,所必须警惕的一种态度??不要做「真理霸」。

在平面的人生或平面的信仰中,我们很难接触到全面的真理。真理是立体的,它要在生命的所有层次中??宗教、生活、精神、物质、内心、外表、不同文化、不同传统……,才易彰显出来。

基督是真理之源,但教会不是,神学家也不是。圣经有终极的真理,但我们无人能完全明白和掌握这些真理,更未必能完全活出这些真理,成为「新人」。我们享受著丰盛充足的太阳、空气和大地,但谁又可以完全拥有太阳、空气和大地?

我们认识天主,甚至「享有」天主,但我们不能「独霸」天主,更无权把天主视为我们的囊中之物!

永恒的真理是无限的,它不是、也不必和其它的真理对立;相反地,它包容一切真理。在孔子的生活和言论中所流露出的真理,或其它宗教的真理,如果是真理,也是基督真理的一部分,并彰显著基督的真理。

林则徐说:海纳百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,无欲则刚。

基督是真天主又是真人,他胸怀天下、吞吐宇宙。他的真理比天更高,比海更大、更深;基督和基督的真理,都有无限的包容能力,那是我们心胸狭隘的人无法可以想象得出来的。我们千万不要拿基督去和人对立,也不要使基督的真理和人间的真理对立起来。

天无私覆、地无私载:天主的爱和他的救恩,当然也绝非基督徒的囊中物,我们也不要以为天主只是爱我们,或只把真理启示给我们。

在基督徒的「除旧人、著新人」的蜕变行动中,我们要学会在生命的各個层次和全部活动中去找寻上主。睁開我们的灵性眼睛,也睁開我们的肉体眼睛,我们要看到,这個上主也在人类找寻神(或追求至善)的努力中。

而在努力找寻神或追求至善的人中,当然也包括我们民族中的先圣先贤如孔子等等在内。

圣经提升文化,文化印证圣经。无限的真理「降生」了,就成为人间的真理;人间的真理和圣经配合起来,就成为立体的真理。这真理開花结果了,就是更丰盛的生命和更充实的生活,成为新人。这是我们在世上所能找到最接近圆满的真理。

 

EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

The Multi-Dimension Aspects of Truth

1st Reading (Ex 16:2-4, 12-15): God sent manna from heaven
2nd Reading (Eph 4:17, 20-24): Lay aside the old, clothe yourself with new life
Gospel Reading: (Jn 6:24-35): Discourse on the Bread of Life
Chinese Culture:
“- The sea collects hundreds of rivers, its capacity is great; the mountain cliffs stand a thousand feet, without desire one is strong.” (1)
“- The sky is not biased to embrace itself only, the earth is not biased to bear itself only.”(2)


“Surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4: 21-24)

Truth is in Jesus. Believers in Jesus who are seekers of Truth must change their lives, abandon their old ways, renew themselves and put on Christ.

Once when I was preparing a homily about this Scripture passage I looked up some scripture notes. Explaining this passage, the notes said, ‘The truth of Christ is absolute truth. There is no need to compare it with Confucius' teaching about what he calls truth.’ The use of the phrase ‘what he calls truth’ to describe the teachings of Confucius reflects the belief of most Christians, (Catholics and other Christians alike), that only Christians have the ultimate truth.

It was once said that when Muslims were preparing to burn all the books in the great Alexandria Library, their logic was: ‘If the truth contained in these books are the same as those in the ‘Koran’, then there is no need for them; if their contents are contradictory to the ‘Koran’, the books should not exist.’

If we are convinced there is only one ‘ultimate truth’, then members of all the great religions, cultures, tribes and nations can hardly be brothers and sisters! For each one's aim is to intimidate others and rule over all.

I once took part in a forum on “Dialogue between Christianity and Confucianism.” At the forum, a Christian theologian insisted that no matter how attractive and reasonable the truth in Confucianism is, it is relative and limited. Only in the Bible do we find the meaning and goal of human life, and only there do we find absolute, complete, unlimited, unmistakable truth. During lunch I was seated next to a ‘Neo- Confucian scholar. He said to me rather bluntly, ‘Father Tsui, you are a Catholic priest and I fully respect your Christian beliefs and your firm adherence to those beliefs. However, forgive my bluntness, but as Christians, you all are too self-centered and too self-righteous.’

“You Christians have created a language and a ‘conceptual framework’ within which your beliefs are totally correct and complete; in comparison, our Confucian beliefs seem limited. Actually, our system of thought is very orderly; in the same way as yourselves, we too can say that your framework is inadequate and ours is complete.’ The scholar went on for quite a while in a rather rambling way, but actually his point was precisely what we Christians must be aware of – we do not want to be ‘dominators of the truth.’.

In ordinary life or faith, it may be difficult to have a complete view of truth.. Truth is multi-dimensional. It must interact with all levels of life - religion, daily life, spirit, material things, internal and external selves, different cultures and traditions in order to manifest itself.


Christ himself is the source of truth, not the Church or theologians. Scripture does have ultimate truth, but none of us can understand and grasp it fully nor live its truth completely and become new persons. We can all enjoy to the full the sunshine, fresh air and the earth, but who of us can possess them in their entirety? We can acknowledge and even in a sense ‘enjoy’ God, but none of us can ‘monopolize’ God, as if God existed for myself alone!

Eternal truth is limitless. It cannot nor should it be contradictory to other truths. On the contrary, it tolerate and bring all truths into itself. The truths revealed in the life and teachings of Confucius or shown through other religions, if true, are all part of the Christian truth and show forth Christ’s truth.

Lin Ze Xu said: “The sea collects hundreds of rivers, its capacity is great; the mountain cliffs stand a thousand feet, without desire one is strong.”(1)

Christ is true God and also truly human. He embraces within himself the entire heavens and earth. His truth is higher than the heavens, deeper than the sea. Christ and Christ's truth have the power to embrace all else, to a degree far beyond our understanding. We should never place Christ in opposition to human beings, or Christ’s truth in contradiction to the truths discovered by humankind.

“The sky is not biased to embrace itself only, the earth is not biased to bear itself only.”(2) Of course, God's love and saving grace are not reserved for Christians only. We should not think that God only loves us Christians or has revealed God's truth to Christians only.

In Christians' efforts to ‘forsake the old and put on the new’ self, we must look for God in every aspect and activity of our lives. We must seek God with our spiritual as well as bodily eyes. We must become aware that God is in the very midst of human beings' search for God (or for all that is good).

And of course among those who strive to find God or that which is good are our own Chinese seers and philosophers, as Confucius and others.

Scripture elevates culture, and culture testifies to Scripture. Ultimate truth has ‘become incarnate’ and has become truth among us; when human truth converges with Scripture, it becomes truth related to our ordinary lives. Then Truth bears fruit in a fuller and richer life, and we become new people. Then we find that we have come as close as possible to the fullness of Truth!

(1)海納百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,無欲則剛。
(2)天無私覆,地無私載。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017