常年期第十九主日 2018年08月12日


常年期第十九主日

千里馬與千里糧

讀經一:(列上19:4-8):厄里亞靠著天主的食物,直往曷勒布山去
讀經二:(弗4:30-5:2):應避惡行愛德
福 音:(若6:41-51):耶穌是生命之糧
中國文化: 哀莫大於心死。 五十而知天命。 山窮水盡疑無路,柳暗花明又一村。 是馬也,雖有千里之能,食不飽、力不足,才美不外見,安求其能千里也!

上主的使者第二次又來拍醒厄里亞說:「起來吃吧!因為你還要走一段很遠的路。」他就起來,吃了喝了,賴那食物的力量,走了四十天四十夜。
(列上19:7-8)

厄里亞在經歷了重重的人生波折後,感到十分疲倦,他於是向天主求死說:「上主啊!我已經受夠了!現在就收去我的性命吧!」(列上19:4)

上主的先知求死,可能嗎?一個有深沉信仰的人,也會有失望的時候嗎?他們不是堅信,他們的天主是全能大力的上主,可以救他們脫離一切厄困的嗎?千里馬也有倒下來、走不動的時候嗎?

厄里亞不久前,曾在和巴耳先知的決鬥中,打 了一場漂亮的仗,大獲全勝。因為他曾成功地呼求上主,降火去焚燒和悅納他獻上的牛犢。

他還成功地為當地經歷了三年的旱災,而求得蒼天沛降甘霖,以「上主的先知只剩下我一個人」(列上18:22)的孤單,而戰勝、誅滅了巴耳的四百五十個先知。

他曾經感受過勝利的歡愉,也確實有過和上主交往的豐富經驗。他曾在百姓前昂然矗立,高舉雙手向上主祈禱,而又竟然獲得應允;在萬眾的歡呼聲中,這雖是天主的榮耀,但又怎能說不是一位蒙主特選者的殊榮呢?

不過,這一切並未能使他免於遭受迫害的厄運,也沒有使他擺脫不受失望之苦。他竟然要求上主讓他死去!因為膜拜巴耳神的王后依則貝耳決意殺害他,他終於也要無奈地開始他的流亡生活。

中國有所謂「哀莫大於心死」的成語。其實,聖經和教會裡的不少大聖大賢,在他們一生的崎嶇旅程中,也曾有過不少「心死」的時候。

連孔子這樣豁達的人,也有五十而知天命的體會和無奈。他一生坎坷的經歷,使他徹悟到才不可終恃,力也不可終恃的真理,也知道人生確有許多限制。我們生存和活動的空間,原來是極之有限的,這就是「天命」;天命就是限制。

我們不是也曾見過有些心理學家,他們在幫助了許多人從自殺邊緣回頭後,自己卻免不了最終踏上自殺之路嗎?

我們有時也會看到某些社會上的風雲人物,背後原來有個破碎的家、有一段無以為繼的婚姻、有一群教而不善的子女。

我們不是也試過在病中連走一步路也覺得很困難嗎?不是也試過在牙痛到極點時,竟然也曾想到以一死去求解脫嗎?

如果連先知,這些「天主的人」,也有想到求死的時候,我們又是什麼呢?即使我們正處在痛不欲生的邊緣、對生命感到無比的厭倦,那又算什麼呢?

但一切都因上主而有了轉機。這就是「山窮水盡疑無路,柳暗花明又一村。

你還要走一段很遠的路」,你不能以死去解決問題。所以「你要吃」!吃什麼?吃上主給的食物。就靠這食物,厄里亞走了四十天、四十夜!

我就是生命之糧」,耶穌說:「你們的祖先在曠野中吃過瑪納,仍然死去」,他們走不了多遠。「然而,這是從天上降下來的食糧,為使吃了的人不會死去。」(若6:48-50)

這食糧是什麼呢?「我就是從天上降下來的生命之糧,誰若吃了這食糧,必要活到永遠。」(若6:51)

這食糧會幫助我們走,一生的走;走到人生的盡頭,走到地老天荒,走到生命的無窮深處。

天主所創造的我們,每一個人和所有的人都是千里馬;因為全能、全善的天主,絕不會在世間創造廢物!我們可以走,走千里。

然而,「是馬也,雖有千里之能,食不飽、力不足,才美不外見,安求其能千里也!」(韓愈)沒有千里之糧,又怎麼可以走千里之遙呢?

我們為什麼不多吃這「生命之糧」,好使我們能日行千里,能夠一口氣地走他個「四十日、四十夜」,一直走到永生的彼岸呢?

 

常年期第十九主日

千里马与千里粮

读经一:(列上19:4-8):厄里亚靠著天主的食物,直往曷勒布山去
读经二:(弗4:30-5:2):应避恶行爱德
福 音:(若6:41-51):耶稣是生命之粮
中国文化: 哀莫大於心死。五十而知天命。山穷水尽疑无路,柳暗花明又一村。是马也,虽有千里之能,食不饱、力不足,才美不外见,安求其能千里也!

上主的使者第二次又来拍醒厄里亚说:「起来吃吧!因为你还要走一段很遠的路。」他就起来,吃了喝了,赖那食物的力量,走了四十天四十夜。
(列上19:7-8)

厄里亚在经历了重重的人生波折后,感到十分疲倦,他於是向天主求死说:「上主啊!我已经受够了!现在就收去我的性命吧!」(列上19:4)

上主的先知求死,可能吗?一個有深沉信仰的人,也会有失望的時候吗?他们不是坚信,他们的天主是全能大力的上主,可以救他们脱離一切厄困的吗?千里马也有倒下来、走不动的時候吗?

厄里亚不久前,曾在和巴耳先知的决斗中,打 了一场漂亮的仗,大获全胜。因为他曾成功地呼求上主,降火去焚烧和悦纳他献上的牛犊。

他还成功地为当地经历了三年的旱灾,而求得苍天沛降甘霖,以「上主的先知只剩下我一個人」(列上18:22)的孤单,而战胜、诛灭了巴耳的四百五十個先知。

他曾经感受過胜利的欢愉,也确实有過和上主交往的丰富经验。他曾在百姓前昂然矗立,高举双手向上主祈祷,而又竟然获得应允;在万众的欢呼声中,这虽是天主的荣耀,但又怎能说不是一位蒙主特选者的殊荣呢?

不過,这一切并未能使他免於遭受迫害的厄运,也没有使他摆脱不受失望之苦。他竟然要求上主让他死去!因为膜拜巴耳神的王后依则贝耳决意杀害他,他终於也要无奈地開始他的流亡生活。

中国有所谓「哀莫大於心死」的成语。其实,圣经和教会里的不少大圣大贤,在他们一生的崎嶇旅程中,也曾有過不少「心死」的時候。

连孔子这样豁达的人,也有五十而知天命的体会和无奈。他一生坎坷的经历,使他彻悟到才不可终恃,力也不可终恃的真理,也知道人生确有许多限制。我们生存和活动的空间,原来是极之有限的,这就是「天命」;天命就是限制。

我们不是也曾见過有些心理学家,他们在帮助了许多人从自杀边缘回头后,自己却免不了最终踏上自杀之路吗?

我们有時也会看到某些社会上的风云人物,背后原来有個破碎的家、有一段无以为继的婚姻、有一群教而不善的子女。

我们不是也试過在病中连走一步路也觉得很困难吗?不是也试過在牙痛到极点時,竟然也曾想到以一死去求解脱吗?

如果连先知,这些「天主的人」,也有想到求死的時候,我们又是什么呢?即使我们正处在痛不欲生的边缘、对生命感到无比的厌倦,那又算什么呢?

但一切都因上主而有了转机。这就是「山穷水尽疑无路,柳暗花明又一村。

你还要走一段很遠的路」,你不能以死去解决問题。所以「你要吃」!吃什么?吃上主给的食物。就靠这食物,厄里亚走了四十天、四十夜!

我就是生命之粮」,耶稣说:「你们的祖先在旷野中吃過玛纳,仍然死去」,他们走不了多遠。「然而,这是从天上降下来的食粮,为使吃了的人不会死去。」(若6:48-50)

这食粮是什么呢?「我就是从天上降下来的生命之粮,谁若吃了这食粮,必要活到永遠。」(若6:51)

这食粮会帮助我们走,一生的走;走到人生的尽头,走到地老天荒,走到生命的无穷深处。

天主所创造的我们,每一個人和所有的人都是千里马;因为全能、全善的天主,绝不会在世间创造废物!我们可以走,走千里。

然而,「是马也,虽有千里之能,食不饱、力不足,才美不外见,安求其能千里也!」(韩愈)没有千里之粮,又怎么可以走千里之遥呢?

我们为什么不多吃这「生命之粮」,好使我们能日行千里,能够一口气地走他個「四十日、四十夜」,一直走到永生的彼岸呢?

 

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Good Thoroughbred Horse and Sufficient Supplies


1st Reading (1 Kings 19:4-8): Elijah relied on God's ‘food’ and walked directly to Mt Horeb
2nd Reading (Ephesians 4:30-5:2): We should avoid evil and practice love
Gospel Reading (John 6:41-51): Jesus is the Living Bread
Chinese Classics:
-“No sorrow is greater than the death of the heart”(1)
-“Only at fifty do I understand the limitations of life”(2)
-“Where hills and streams come to a dead end and no pathway seems to lie ahead, past dark willows and blooming flowers lies another village.”(3)
-“Even if a horse has the ability to run a thousand miles a day, without sufficient food it would not have enough energy, its ability and beauty cannot be seen from the outside, let alone expect it to run a thousand miles!”(4)

“The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up and ate and drank then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights.” (1 Kings19:4)

Elijah had been through many vicissitudes of life and was totally worn out. He begged God to let him die, saying, “It is enough; now O Lord, take away my life.” (1 Kings 19:4) Is it possible that even God's prophet would ask for death? Can someone with such strong faith be so near despair? Did he not believe that God was an almighty Lord who could save him from all misfortune? Is there a time when even a thoroughbred horse can run no longer?

Shortly before this time Elijah had gained a magnificent victory over the prophets of Baal. He had called upon God to send down fire to consume the sacrificial bull. God answered his prayer and also his prayer to send rain to nourish the earth after a devastating drought of three years. He also had put to the sword all 450 prophets of Baal. Nevertheless he cried out, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord.” (1 Kings 18:22)

He had tasted the joy of success and had the rich experience of communing directly with God. Before all the people, he had raised his hands in prayer and obtained God's promises. Though surely he had given glory to God, who could deny that some glory also resounded to him as one of God's chosen ones?

But none of this helped him avoid the wrath of Queen Jezebel who worshipped Baal and sought to kill him. He thought he would become a fugitive for life. He came near to despair and so he asked God to allow him to die.

There is a Chinese proverb, “No sorrow is greater than the death of the heart.”(1) Actually many of the saints and heroes of Scripture and the Church, in times of great difficulty, also have experienced this feeling of “death of the heart.” .

Even such a broad-minded person as Confucius had this experience of helplessness. He said, “only at fifty do I understand the limitations of life.” (2) Having lived a life of hardship, he thoroughly understood how true it is that “we cannot hold on to our ability to the end of our life, and neither can we hold on to our strength.” Confucius understood too that there are many limitations in life. Our lives and activities, the space in which we move, all have their limitations. This is ‘fate’ and fate by its very essence limits life.

Haven't we sometimes seen psychologists who have saved many people from committing suicide, eventually committing suicide themselves? At times we may have seen famous people in society who behind the public adulation and glamour, have broken families, incompatible marriages, uncontrollable delinquent children. Perhaps we have experienced how difficult it is to walk even one step when we are seriously ill. Or when in great pain, for example from an abscessed tooth, wish we could die to avoid further discomfort. If even prophets, ‘God's chosen ones,’ can desire death, how about ourselves? When we feel we have reached the limit of our endurance so that we are weary of life itself, what does it all matter?

But with God, there is always hope of change. This is what is meant by “where hills and streams come to a dead end and no pathway seems to lie ahead, past dark willows and blooming flowers lies another village.” (Lu You, ‘A Visit to a Village West of the Mountain)(3)

Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you…” Death is not the solution to your problems. So ‘You must eat!’ Eat what? You must eat the food God gives you. Relying on that food, Elijah was able to walk forty days and forty nights!

I am the bread of life”, Jesus said. “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, but they died. They could not go very far. But “this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” (Jn 6: 48-50).

What is this bread? “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”(Jn 6:51) This is the food that will help us travel along life’s journey, through all of life's struggles, all our tribulations, unto the very end.

All of us are created by God, each of us and all men and women are like thoroughbred horses, for the all-good and almighty God does not create useless creatures! We can walk, we can run, even a thousand miles. But without sufficient food, how can we run that far? It is as Han Yu said, “Even if a horse has the ability to run a thousand miles a day, without sufficient food it would not have enough energy. Its ability and beauty cannot be seen from the outside, let alone can we expect it to run a thousand miles!”(4)

Why do we not more often eat of this ‘Bread of Life’ so we can walk ‘the thousand miles’, and in one breath ‘walk for forty days and forty nights,’ until we reach the eternal shore?

 

(1)哀莫大於心死。
(2)五十而知天命。
(3)山窮水盡疑無路,柳暗花明又一村。
(4)是馬也,雖有千里之能,食不飽、力不足,才美不外見,安求其能千里也!

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017