常年期第廿一主日 2018年08月26日


年期第廿一主日

絕不放棄

讀經一:(蘇24:1-2,15-17,18):以民決志事奉天主
讀經二:(弗5:21-32):夫妻應效法基督對教會的愛
福 音:(若6:60-69):門徒不接受生命之糧的言論
中國文化: 亦余心之所善兮,雖九死其猶未悔。 歲寒,然後知松柏之後凋也。 荷盡已無擎雨蓋,菊殘猶有傲霜枝。

耶穌的門徒中有許多人聽了他講的話(生命之糧的言論),便說:「這些話太生硬,誰能聽得入耳呢?」……從此,他的門徒中有許多人離開了他,不再與他同行。於是耶穌對那十二人說:「難道你們也願意離去嗎?」西滿伯多祿回答說:「主啊!唯獨你有永生的話,我們還投奔誰呢?我們信,而且確實知道你是天主的聖者。」
(若6:61-69)

信仰和生活是不能分開的;有堅強性格的人,也容易在這堅強之上,建構起堅強的信仰。

我在公教報九七年七月六日的「大澳永助鑽禧證道詞」中指出,我個人的天主教信仰,包括我對梵二信仰的熱衷,正是植根在我的大澳童年生活經驗之上的。

我並不主張盲婚啞嫁。但那些有「嫁雞隨雞」的執著的人(包括男人和女人),才會有對婚姻不可拆散的堅持,並願意接受耶穌的話:「因此,人要離開父母,與妻子結合,二人成為一體。」(弗5:31)

古經的盧德能夠對婆婆說得出這些話:「你到哪裡去,我也到那裡去;你住在哪裡,我也住在那裡;你的民族,就是我的民族;你的天主,就是我的天主;你死在哪裡,我也死在那裡、埋在那裡。」(盧1:16-17)所以她能一生忠於天主,並有幸成了默西亞的先祖。

猶太人對信仰是十分、十分執著的,保祿就是其中的一位表表者。他有堅持消滅基督徒的信念,也就有至死為保護基督信仰而獻身的偉大行為。

做人要有所為,亦要有所守;要培養干雲的豪氣,要學習矢志不渝--尤其是在重要的事情上。

不少人有這樣的想法:我不是英雄、不是聖人,我只是平平凡凡的普通人而已。上述的話離我太遠了。

但我要問的是:為什麼我們不可能是英雄?為什麼我們不願意做聖人?我們不可以在平凡中活得不平凡嗎?為什麼耶穌要求我們必須是「成全的,如同你們的天父是成全的一樣」?(瑪5:48)難道耶穌也是個講空言的人嗎?難道他的話就沒有人可以實踐出來嗎?

其實,有理想、有信念,敢於執著、專注和堅持到底,活得堅強、活出豪氣,原本便是所有信徒和每一個信徒的應有之義。我們絕對可以在平凡中活得不平凡!

信仰是一種選擇,一種絕對的、自由的、不可追悔的、負責任的選擇。它包含對上主的完全投順和獻身,對他投以完全的信任,一種超越理性、不須證據和保證的全然信任。

這也就是屈原所說的:「亦余心之所善兮,雖九死其猶未悔。」(離騷)

今天讀經一的若蘇厄對全體人民說:「如果你們不樂意事奉上主,今天就選擇你們所願意事奉的神吧……。至於我和我的家族,我們要事奉上主。」(蘇24:15)

這也是我們的選擇,我們還將堅持這種選擇。借用婚姻的誓詞是:「無論環境順逆、疾病健康」,我們將永遠選擇上主、追隨上主。

伯多祿的信仰便是這樣的。他和其他門徒最初可能只是因為感情衝動而相信,或者因為見到耶穌顯的奇蹟,或者因為佩服耶穌的為人,或者被他的說話所吸引。更或者,當時信耶穌是一種「潮流」!

但考驗來了。不單群眾對耶穌失望,連不少其他門徒對耶穌所說的生命之糧言論的評價也是:「這話生硬,誰能聽得下去呢?

聖經繼續說:「從此,他的門徒中有許多人退去了,不再同他往來。」但伯多祿還是說:「主啊!唯獨你有永生的話,我們還投奔誰呢?」他留下來了,和他一起的十二人也一起留了下來。

孔子說:「歲寒,然後知松柏之後凋也。」蘇軾在《贈劉景文》一詩中也說:「荷盡已無擎雨蓋,菊殘猶有傲霜枝。」伯多祿的信仰,正是這種「後凋松」、「傲霜枝」的信仰,一種在冰霜雨雪的侵凌中,仍能屹立不倒、傲然面對一切人生挑戰的信仰。

 

 

年期第廿一主日

绝不放弃

读经一:(苏24:1-2,15-17,18):以民决志事奉天主
读经二:(弗5:21-32):夫妻应效法基督对教会的爱
福 音:(若6:60-69):门徒不接受生命之粮的言论
中国文化: 亦余心之所善兮,虽九死其犹未悔。岁寒,然后知松柏之后凋也。荷尽已无擎雨盖,菊残犹有傲霜枝。

耶稣的门徒中有许多人听了他讲的话(生命之粮的言论),便说:「这些话太生硬,谁能听得入耳呢?」……从此,他的门徒中有许多人離開了他,不再与他同行。於是耶稣对那十二人说:「难道你们也願意離去吗?」西满伯多禄回答说:「主啊!唯独你有永生的话,我们还投奔谁呢?我们信,而且确实知道你是天主的圣者。」
(若6:61-69)

信仰和生活是不能分開的;有坚强性格的人,也容易在这坚强之上,建构起坚强的信仰。

我在公教报九七年七月六日的「大澳永助钻禧证道词」中指出,我個人的天主教信仰,包括我对梵二信仰的热衷,正是植根在我的大澳童年生活经验之上的。

我并不主张盲婚哑嫁。但那些有「嫁鸡随鸡」的执著的人(包括男人和女人),才会有对婚姻不可拆散的坚持,并願意接受耶稣的话:「因此,人要離開父母,与妻子结合,二人成为一体。」(弗5:31)

古经的卢德能够对婆婆说得出这些话:「你到哪里去,我也到那里去;你住在哪里,我也住在那里;你的民族,就是我的民族;你的天主,就是我的天主;你死在哪里,我也死在那里、埋在那里。」(卢1:16-17)所以她能一生忠於天主,并有幸成了默西亚的先祖。

犹太人对信仰是十分、十分执著的,保禄就是其中的一位表表者。他有坚持消灭基督徒的信念,也就有至死为保护基督信仰而献身的伟大行为。

做人要有所为,亦要有所守;要培养干云的豪气,要学习矢志不渝--尤其是在重要的事情上。

不少人有这样的想法:我不是英雄、不是圣人,我只是平平凡凡的普通人而已。上述的话離我太遠了。

但我要問的是:为什么我们不可能是英雄?为什么我们不願意做圣人?我们不可以在平凡中活得不平凡吗?为什么耶稣要求我们必须是「成全的,如同你们的天父是成全的一样」?(玛5:48)难道耶稣也是個讲空言的人吗?难道他的话就没有人可以实踐出来吗?

其实,有理想、有信念,敢於执著、专注和坚持到底,活得坚强、活出豪气,原本便是所有信徒和每一個信徒的应有之义。我们绝对可以在平凡中活得不平凡!

信仰是一种选择,一种绝对的、自由的、不可追悔的、负責任的选择。它包含对上主的完全投顺和献身,对他投以完全的信任,一种超越理性、不须证据和保证的全然信任。

这也就是屈原所说的:「亦余心之所善兮,虽九死其犹未悔。」(離骚)

今天读经一的若苏厄对全体人民说:「如果你们不乐意事奉上主,今天就选择你们所願意事奉的神吧……。至於我和我的家族,我们要事奉上主。」(苏24:15)

这也是我们的选择,我们还将坚持这种选择。借用婚姻的誓词是:「无论环境顺逆、疾病健康」,我们将永遠选择上主、追随上主。

伯多禄的信仰便是这样的。他和其他门徒最初可能只是因为感情冲动而相信,或者因为见到耶稣显的奇迹,或者因为佩服耶稣的为人,或者被他的说话所吸引。更或者,当時信耶稣是一种「潮流」!

但考验来了。不单群众对耶稣失望,连不少其他门徒对耶稣所说的生命之粮言论的评价也是:「这话生硬,谁能听得下去呢?

圣经继续说:「从此,他的门徒中有许多人退去了,不再同他往来。」但伯多禄还是说:「主啊!唯独你有永生的话,我们还投奔谁呢?」他留下来了,和他一起的十二人也一起留了下来。

孔子说:「岁寒,然后知松柏之后凋也。」苏轼在《赠刘景文》 一诗中也说:「荷尽已无擎雨盖,菊残犹有傲霜枝。」伯多禄的信仰,正是这种「后凋松」、「傲霜枝」的信仰,一种在冰霜雨雪的侵凌中,仍能屹立不倒、傲然面对一切人生挑战的信仰。

 

 

TWENTY- FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Never Give Up

First Reading (Josh 24: 1-2, 15-17,18): The Israelites determined to serve God
Second Reading (Eph 5: 21-32): Husbands and wives should imitate Christ's love for the Church
Gospel (Jn 6: 60-69): Disciples reject teaching on the ‘Bread of Life’
Chinese Classics:
-“If this is what I love and believe, even to die nine times I will not regret.”(1)
-“When the season becomes cold, then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves.”(2)
-“The lotus dies and so does its extended rain shield. The chrysanthemum withers but still its frost-covered stem proudly stands.”(3)

When many of his disciples heard it (the words about the bread of life) they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6: 60 – 69)

Faith and life cannot be separated. People with strong characters can easily build up firm faith. In the ‘witness’ at the diamond jubilee celebration of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor at Tai O (see Kung Kao Po, 6 July, 1997) I pointed out that my own Catholic faith, including my zeal for the faith in Vatican II, is rooted firmly in my childhood experience of life in Tai O.

I do not advocate pre-arranged marriages. But those who do (‘marry a chicken, follow the chicken’), both men and women, usually hold to the indissolubility of marriage and are willing to accept Jesus’ words, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Eph 5: 21-32)

In the Old Testament Ruth was able to say to her mother-in-law, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die – there will I be buried. (Ruth 1:16-17) Therefore she could remain loyal to God throughout her life, and was deemed worthy to become the ancestress of the Messiah.

The Jews are extremely persistent in their faith, Paul is an example of this. He firmly believed he should annihilate the Christians, but afterwards just as firmly protected the Christian faith with his very life. We must live with a purpose and with principles; we must cultivate a noble, heroic spirit and show consistency and steadfastness, especially in important issues.

Some people think in this way: ‘I am neither a hero nor a saint. I'm just a very, very ordinary person.’ My own thinking is quite different. I ask rather, ‘Why can't we be heroes? Why don't we want to be saints? Can we not live our ordinary lives in an extraordinary manner? Why did Jesus demand that we must “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect?” (Mt 5:48) Can it be that Jesus is a person who speaks empty words? Can it be that no one is able to put his words into practice?

Actually, each one of us and all the faithful should strive to be persons of integrity who have ideals and convictions, are courageous and committed and able to persevere to the end. We certainly can live out our ordinary lives in an extraordinary way!

Faith is an option, an absolute, free, responsible and irretrievable choice. It includes total commitment and submission to the Lord and a supernatural trust which requires no proof or guarantee. This is what Qu Yuan said in Li Sao, “If this is what I love or believe, even to die nine times I will not regret.”(1)

In today's first Reading, Joshua said to all the people, “If you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15) This is also our choice and we steadfastly adhere to it. We can use the words of the marriage vows: ‘for better or for worse, in sickness or in health’ we will choose and follow the Lord for all eternity.

Peter's faith was like that. Perhaps at first he and the other disciples believed because they were moved emotionally, or they saw Jesus' miracles, or they admired his personality or were drawn to his teaching. Or even because it was the fashion, the thing to do at the moment. But then the test came. Not only the crowds lost confidence in Jesus, even many of his followers were unable to accept his words on the ‘bread of life.’ They said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?

The Gospel continues, “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” But Peter said, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” He remained and so did all of the Twelve.

Confucius said, “When the season becomes cold, then we know how the pine and the cypress are the last to lose their leaves.” (Confucian Analects, Book IX Tsz Han, Chap 27) (2). In ‘A Poem for Liu Jing Wen’ Su Shi wrote, ‘The lotus dies and so does its extended rain shield. The chrysanthemum withers but its frost-covered stem still proudly stands.”(3) Peter's faith was like the pine and cypress which were ‘the last to lose their leaves,’ or the chrysanthemum which had withered but still ‘its frost-covered stem proudly stands.’ Even amid the attacks of ice and frost, rain and snow, such faith stands immovable, proudly facing all the challenges of life.

(1)亦余心之所善兮,雖九死其猶未悔。
(2)歲寒,然後知松柏之後凋也。
(3)荷盡已無擎雨蓋,菊殘猶有傲霜枝。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017