常年期第廿二主日 2018年09月02日


常年期第廿二主日

神律人律、表裡一致

讀經一:(申4:1-2,6-8):遵守和實行上主的誡命時,顯出人的智慧和見識
讀經二:(雅1:17-18,21-22,27):要把天主之道付諸實行
福 音:(谷7:1-8,14-15,21-23):天主的誡命和人的傳統之間的對立
中國文化: 天命之謂性。鸚鵡能言,不離飛鳥;猩猩能言,不離禽獸。
質勝文則野,文勝質則史;文質彬彬,然後君子。

法利塞人和經師們質問耶穌說:「你的門徒為什麼不按照先人的傳統行事,竟用不潔的手進食呢?」耶穌對他們說:「依撒意亞預言你們這些偽君子所說的真對,經上記載著:『這民族用唇舌尊敬我,他們的心卻遠離我;他們恭敬我也是枉然,他們把人訂的規則當作教義去傳授。』你們離棄了天主的誡命,卻只拘守人的傳統。」
(谷7:5-8)

在這段經文中,我們很清楚的看到「天主的誡命」和「人的傳統」之間的對立,亦即是天主在頒佈誡命時,所著重的精神,和後來人在守誡命時,所著重的條文之間的對立。

聖經有很多誡命、規則,但聖經的一切規則,無非是為人本身的最大和最長遠的益處,所以十分重視規則的原意和守法的精神。《申命紀》把遵守法令和規律,視為選民生存和進入福地的條件,這樣,在守上主的誡命時,才能顯出我們的「智慧和見識」(申4:6)。

聖經把守法和智慧連結起來,因為聖經要人守的一切規則,都是生命的法則。不守這些規則,受害的不是天主,而是人;並不是天主要罰人,而是人在罰自己。

生命的法則都是為守法者的利益,而不是為立法者的光榮。自由物體的下墜,是由於萬有引力的法則;植物生長要靠陽光、空氣、水分,這是生命的法則;養魚有養魚的法則,養豬、狗、牛、羊,也有養豬、狗、牛、羊的法則。不守這些法則,牠們都不會健康地成長。

因此做人有做人的法則,家庭的和諧有家庭和諧的法則,社會進步、世界太平等等,都有它們顛撲不移的金科玉律。

而這些金科玉律,正是造物主在創世時已定下的,誰遵守這些法則,誰就能快樂、健康地生活和成長,否則,就會衰敗和死亡。因為這一切都是內在於生命、與生俱來的法則。這就是中庸所說的「天命之謂性」,是自天而來生命本性。

所以天主才說:「你們要聽從我教給你們的法令和規律,好能生存。」(申4:1)我們守誡命,並不是為天主的好處,而是為我們自己的好處。

雅各伯進一步把天主要求我們的一切,當作是「種在心裡的道」(參看雅1:21),這道能拯救我們的靈魂。

但天主要求我們的,不只是抽象的理念,他要我們把這些道、誡命、法令等等,統統都變為生活的實踐,具體落實地去愛人。所以雅各伯說了一句很出名的話:「在天主父眼中,純潔無瑕的虔誠,就是照顧患難中的孤兒寡婦。」(雅1:27)

愛人,尤其是愛那些沒有人愛的人,就是純潔無瑕的虔誠,就是在實踐生命之道的要求。

進食前洗手,本來也許只是一種衛生上的需要,後來卻變成一種禮儀上的要求,像徵內心的聖潔,提醒人要度純潔的生活,有點像神父在彌撒奉獻禮中的「洗手」。一旦把這簡單的儀式,無限上綱到人是否真的聖潔的時候,這規則便會成為人的束縛,甚至會助長人的虛偽,以為洗了手就是聖潔了。

耶穌要求人的,是真實的聖潔:「你們都要聽我說,且要明白:從人外面進入他裡面的,不能使他污穢;那從人裡面出來的,才能使他污穢。」(谷7:14-15)他進一步說明,只有從心中出來的惡念、貪婪等,才能使人污穢;吃飯前不洗手,只有衛生問題,沒有道德問題。

這裡,我們也不妨探討一下外表和內心之間的關係,以幫助我們藉禮儀的外在行為,而修養我們內心的聖德。

《禮記》說:「鸚鵡能言,不離飛鳥;猩猩能言,不離禽獸。」只有外表的行為,並不能造就內心的虔誠;有時禽獸對人的為害,還不如「衣冠禽獸」行為的狠毒!

但這絕非說外在的行為不重要。我們需要做到的,是如何內外如一、表裡一致。

孔子說:「質勝文則野,文勝質則史;文質彬彬,然後君子。」意思是:如果人光有內心的好和本質的善,卻缺少教育和教化,他的行為就會帶點「粗野」;如果他的外在教養超越了他本性的善質,那他就會好像歷來的「史官」一樣,帶有文過飾非的傾向了。只有本心和外表平衡發展的人,才算得上是真正的君子。

我們基督徒亦應以這種心境和精神,去謹守天主的法律,同時要努力去實踐、活出我們宗教禮儀所蘊含的精義。

 

常年期第廿二主日

神律人律、表里一致

读经一:(申4:1-2,6-8):遵守和实行上主的诫命時,显出人的智慧和见识
读经二:(雅1:17-18,21-22,27):要把天主之道付诸实行
福 音:(谷7:1-8,14-15,21-23):天主的诫命和人的传统之间的对立
中国文化: 天命之谓性。鹦鹉能言,不離飞鸟;猩猩能言,不離禽兽。
质胜文则野,文胜质则史;文质彬彬,然后君子。

法利塞人和经师们质問耶稣说:「你的门徒为什么不按照先人的传统行事,竟用不洁的手进食呢?」耶稣对他们说:「依撒意亚预言你们这些伪君子所说的真对,经上记载著:『这民族用唇舌尊敬我,他们的心却遠離我;他们恭敬我也是枉然,他们把人订的规则当作教义去传授。』你们離弃了天主的诫命,却只拘守人的传统。」
(谷7:5-8)

在这段经文中,我们很清楚的看到「天主的诫命」和「人的传统」之间的对立,亦即是天主在颁布诫命時,所著重的精神,和后来人在守诫命時,所著重的条文之间的对立。

圣经有很多诫命、规则,但圣经的一切规则,无非是为人本身的最大和最长遠的益处,所以十分重视规则的原意和守法的精神。《申命纪》 把遵守法令和规律,视为选民生存和进入福地的条件,这样,在守上主的诫命時,才能显出我们的「智慧和见识」(申4:6)。

圣经把守法和智慧连结起来,因为圣经要人守的一切规则,都是生命的法则。不守这些规则,受害的不是天主,而是人;并不是天主要罚人,而是人在罚自己。

生命的法则都是为守法者的利益,而不是为立法者的光荣。自由物体的下坠,是由於万有引力的法则;植物生长要靠阳光、空气、水分,这是生命的法则;养魚有养魚的法则,养猪、狗、牛、羊,也有养猪、狗、牛、羊的法则。不守这些法则,它们都不会健康地成长。

因此做人有做人的法则,家庭的和谐有家庭和谐的法则,社会进步、世界太平等等,都有它们颠扑不移的金科玉律。

而这些金科玉律,正是造物主在创世時已定下的,谁遵守这些法则,谁就能快乐、健康地生活和成长,否则,就会衰败和死亡。因为这一切都是内在於生命、与生俱来的法则。这就是中庸所说的「天命之谓性」,是自天而来生命本性。

所以天主才说:「你们要听从我教给你们的法令和规律,好能生存。」(申4:1)我们守诫命,并不是为天主的好处,而是为我们自己的好处。

雅各伯进一步把天主要求我们的一切,当作是「种在心里的道」(参看雅1:21),这道能拯救我们的灵魂。

但天主要求我们的,不只是抽象的理念,他要我们把这些道、诫命、法令等等,统统都变为生活的实踐,具体落实地去爱人。所以雅各伯说了一句很出名的话:「在天主父眼中,纯洁无瑕的虔诚,就是照顾患难中的孤儿寡妇。」(雅1:27)

爱人,尤其是爱那些没有人爱的人,就是纯洁无瑕的虔诚,就是在实踐生命之道的要求。

进食前洗手,本来也许只是一种卫生上的需要,后来却变成一种礼仪上的要求,像徵内心的圣洁,提醒人要度纯洁的生活,有点像神父在弥撒奉献礼中的「洗手」。一旦把这简单的仪式,无限上纲到人是否真的圣洁的時候,这规则便会成为人的束缚,甚至会助长人的虚伪,以为洗了手就是圣洁了。

耶稣要求人的,是真实的圣洁:「你们都要听我说,且要明白:从人外面进入他里面的,不能使他污秽;那从人里面出来的,才能使他污秽。」(谷7:14-15)他进一步说明,只有从心中出来的恶念、贪婪等,才能使人污秽;吃饭前不洗手,只有卫生問题,没有道德問题。

这里,我们也不妨探讨一下外表和内心之间的关系,以帮助我们藉礼仪的外在行为,而修养我们内心的圣德。

《礼记》 说:「鹦鹉能言,不離飞鸟;猩猩能言,不離禽兽。」只有外表的行为,并不能造就内心的虔诚;有時禽兽对人的为害,还不如「衣冠禽兽」行为的狠毒!

但这绝非说外在的行为不重要。我们需要做到的,是如何内外如一、表里一致。

孔子说:「质胜文则野,文胜质则史;文质彬彬,然后君子。」意思是:如果人光有内心的好和本质的善,却缺少教育和教化,他的行为就会带点「粗野」;如果他的外在教养超越了他本性的善质,那他就会好像历来的「史官」一样,带有文過饰非的倾向了。只有本心和外表平衡发展的人,才算得上是真正的君子。

我们基督徒亦应以这种心境和精神,去谨守天主的法律,同時要努力去实踐、活出我们宗教礼仪所蕴含的精义。

 

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

God's Law and Human Law:
Internal and External Consistency

1st reading: Dt 4:1-2, 6-8 Observing and practising God's commandments show human wisdom and knowledge
2nd reading: Jas 1:17-18,21-22,27 We must put God's word into practice
Gospel: Mk7:1-8,14-15,21-23 Contrasting God's commandments and human tradition

Chinese classics:
-“What Heaven has conferred is called Nature.”(1)
-“The parrot can speak but it is still a bird; the ape can speak but it is still a beast.”(2)
-“When solid qualities are in excess of achievements, we have rusticity; when accomplishments are in excess of solid qualities, we have the manners of a historian of the royal court; when accomplishments and solid qualities are well-balanced, we then have a person of virtue.”(3)

“The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” (Mk 7: 5-8)

In this passage we see clearly that God's commandments are incompatible with human tradition. When God promulgated the commandments, He stressed their spirit. When later human beings obeyed the commandments, they sometimes put the emphasis on the letter of the law.

In the Bible there are many commandments and rules, all of which are meant for the long-term good of the people. Hence when the law is kept the initial spirit is treasured and observed. In the Book of Deuteronomy obeying the law and regulations was the criterion for the Chosen People's existence and entrance into the Promised Land. So only by keeping God’s law can we show forth our “wisdom and discernment.” (Deut 4:6)

The Bible links obeying the law with wisdom because all the laws in Scripture relate to human life. To disobey those laws harms us human beings, not God. God does not punish us, we punish ourselves.

Rules for life are meant for the good of those who obey them, not for the glory of the law maker. The pull of gravity causes the free fall of matter. The law of life requires that light, air and water be available for plant growth. To culture fish, breed dogs, raise pigs and cattle, one must follow the respective laws for healthy growth. If one goes against the laws of Nature there will be no healthy development.

We see from this that to become fully human has its laws also. A harmonious family has its own rules for family harmony; so too for social development, world peace – all have their own infallible, unmovable laws. These laws were decreed by the Creator when God created the universe, and those who obey them will live and develop happily and healthily. Those who do not will wither and die. This is built into life which has its own rules. That is what The Doctrine of the Mean meant by “What Heaven has conferred is called Nature.” (1) This life-giving Nature comes from heaven.


Therefore in Deuteronomy God said, “Give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live.” (Deut 4:1) We keep the commandments for our own good, not for the good of God. James goes even further. He regards all that God asks of us as “the implanted word.” (see Jas 1:21). That Word can save our souls. What God asks of us are not just abstract ideas. God wants us to carry out the Word, the commandments, the law, in our daily lives, and love others with concrete actions. Hence James has a well-known verse, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress.” (Jas 1:27)

To love others, especially to love those for whom no one else cares, is ‘religion pure and undefiled’; it is to practise what the Word demands of us.

Washing hands before eating was perhaps just a hygienic need. Later it evolved into a ritual requirement which signified internal purity of heart to remind us that we should live pure lives. It is similar to the rite of washing of hands the priest does at the Offertory of the Mass. Once we raise this simple rite to the level of wondering if a person is truly pure, the rule becomes something that binds us, even may encourage hypocrisy, thinking that washing one’s hands is equal to a pure life.

What Jesus asks of us is true purity: “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile but the things that come out are what defiles.”(Mk 7: 14-15) He goes further to say that it is only from within our hearts come evil intentions, avarice, etc. that make a person unclean; neglecting to wash one's hands before a meal is a matter of hygiene, not a moral or religious issue. Here we may ponder on the relationship between our external actions and internal intentions. This will help us nurture inner virtue through the external rituals.

The Book of Ritual says: “The parrot can speak but it is still a bird; the ape can speak but it is still a beast.” (2) External behaviour cannot substitute for internal integrity. Sometimes people can be so venomous they act like beasts in human disguise. In comparison the harm they can do us far surpasses what a real beast can do! This definitely does not mean that external deportment is unimportant. What we need to do is assure that our external actions are in accord with our inner selves.

Confucius said, “When solid qualities are in excess of achievements, we have rusticity; when accomplishments are in excess of solid qualities, we have the manners of a historian of the royal court. When accomplishments and solid qualities are well-balanced, we then have the person of virtue.” (Confucian Analects, Book VI Yung Yey, Chap 16)(3) This means that if people only have kind hearts and good qualities but lack education and culture, their behaviour may be somewhat coarse or vulgar. But if education makes the person appear far better than what is inside, then it is like those ‘court historians’ throughout history who are inclined to use euphemistic language to hide the faults of the emperor. Only a person whose inner qualities and outward behaviour have developed equally can be called a person of virtue.

We who follow Christ must nurture the same kind of attitude and spirit, striving to keep God's commandments and at the same time carrying out our religious rituals according to their intended meaning.

(1)天命之謂性。
(2)鸚鵡能言,不離飛鳥;猩猩能言,不離禽獸。
(3)質勝文則野,文勝質則史;文質彬彬,然後君子。

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017