常年期第廿六主日 2018年09月30日


常年期第廿六主日

愛主愛人須盡性,不帶殘肢入天堂

讀經一:(戶1:25-29):選立七十長老
讀經二:(雅5:1-6):警戒富人
福 音:(谷9:38-43,45,47-48):應躲避邪惡
中國文化: 益者三友,損者三友。友直、友諒、友多聞,益矣。友便辟、友善柔、友便佞,損矣。 壯士斷臂。

如果你的手使你犯罪,砍掉它!你殘廢而進入生命,總比有兩隻手而下地獄,到那不滅的火裡去更好。如果你的腳使你犯罪,砍掉它!你跛腳進入生命,總比雙腳俱全而被投入地獄裡更好。如果你的眼睛使你犯罪,挖出它來,你失去一隻眼睛而進入天主的國,總比有兩隻眼睛而被投在地獄裡更好。在那裡,毒蟲不死,烈火不滅。
(谷9:43-48)

按RSV聖經的註釋,這裡所說「地獄」的希臘原文,是Gehenna,是指耶路撒冷近郊的一個山谷。這裡曾經是把孩子燒死而祭獻邪神的地方。這個惡習被廢除後,這個山谷便做了耶路撒冷城的大垃圾堆,居民經常用火焚燒垃圾,蛆虫亦因有大量的食物殘餘,而迅速繁殖。於是猶太人便用這個地方,代表惡人將來要受苦的「地獄」,在那裡,的確是「毒蟲不死,烈火不滅」!

聖經十分重視生命和人格的完整。人是一個有機的整體,一個不能分割的個體。在恭敬天主的事上,我們更加要「全心、全靈、全力、全意」(參看谷12:30)的去恭敬,或者是「盡心、盡性、盡意、盡力」的去事奉,而不是不冷、不熱的去完成一些外表的宗教行為、虛應故事。

無論如何,我們不能只用自己生命的一半,來事奉我們的上主天主,而用生命的另一半,去事奉天主的敵人:「沒有人能事奉兩個主人:他或是要恨這一個,而愛那一個,或是要依附這一個,而輕忽那一個。你們不能事奉天主而又事奉錢財。」(瑪6:24)

耶穌也告訴我們,如果要追隨他,便要義無反顧、死心蹋地去追隨。不能今天說要去埋葬父親,明天又說要去向家人告別;反反覆覆,拖泥帶水。耶穌認為這種人,並不適合作他的門徒、走天國的路。他說:「手扶著犁而往後看的,不適於天主的國。」(參看路9:57-62)

生命的完整、人格的完整、信仰的完整,這一切都要求我們要注意我們生命中的一言、一行,掌握每一個機會,做好每一件事。以整個的身心、全部的力量,去投入我們的生命,承行天主的聖意,和天主作最親密的結合。

由於耶穌極度憎惡那些引人犯罪、使人格分裂、使生命分割,或導致人靈魂喪亡的邪惡行為,所以耶穌對於作這種事的人,也表現出深惡痛絕:「誰若使一個信我的小弟兄失足,倒不如將一塊大磨石,綁著他的頸項,投入海裡,為他更好。」(谷9:42)

引我們犯罪的可能是他人,也可能是我們自己的身體。所以耶穌連帶也警告我們說:如果你的手使你犯罪,你的腳使你犯罪,你的眼睛使你犯罪……,你都要把它們統統全部砍下來、挖去、丟掉。有這種行為的人,全部都無緣接近那全善、全美的天主。

孔子也是一個十分憎惡壞朋友,而欣賞好朋友的人。他說:「益者三友,損者三友。友直、友諒、友多聞,益矣。友便辟、友善柔、友便佞,損矣。」(論語季氏16:4)

意思是:正直的,誠實的,見聞廣博的人,都是好朋友;逢迎諂媚的,當面一套、背後一套的,誇誇其談、口甜舌滑的,都是壞朋友。

這種諂媚逢迎、兩面三刀、口甜舌滑的人,通常都只有一個目的,就是引誘我們去做惡事,帶領我們走上歧途,使我們墮入他們的圈套、中了他的詭計、成了他們的幫兇。這些正是耶穌要譴責的人。

世界正因為有這些惡表,所以才變得有禍。人因為見到這些惡表,所以才知道有犯這種罪的可能。由於有惡表,這個世界就成了一個教人為惡的大學堂。

面對惡表,我們要學會不留情的拒絕;面對自己的壞毛病,我們要狠得起心腸。這便是所謂「壯士斷臂」。

在面對壞朋友的時候,如果我們真的狠不起心腸,也找不到拒絕的好辦法,就要避之則吉,即是俗語所說的:「講多都無謂」。捨此別無他途,也沒有其他更好的辦法。

 

常年期第廿六主日

爱主爱人须尽性,不带残肢入天堂

读经一:(户1:25-29):选立七十长老
读经二:(雅5:1-6):警戒富人
福 音:(谷9:38-43,45,47-48):应躲避邪恶
中国文化: 益者三友,损者三友。友直、友谅、友多闻,益矣。友便辟、友善柔、友便佞,损矣。壮士断臂。

如果你的手使你犯罪,砍掉它!你残废而进入生命,总比有两只手而下地狱,到那不灭的火里去更好。如果你的脚使你犯罪,砍掉它!你跛脚进入生命,总比双脚俱全而被投入地狱里更好。如果你的眼睛使你犯罪,挖出它来,你失去一只眼睛而进入天主的国,总比有两只眼睛而被投在地狱里更好。在那里,毒虫不死,烈火不灭。
(谷9:43-48)

按RSV圣经的注释,这里所说「地狱」的希腊原文,是Gehenna,是指耶路撒冷近郊的一個山谷。这里曾经是把孩子烧死而祭献邪神的地方。这個恶习被废除后,这個山谷便做了耶路撒冷城的大垃圾堆,居民经常用火焚烧垃圾,蛆虫亦因有大量的食物残余,而迅速繁殖。於是犹太人便用这個地方,代表恶人将来要受苦的「地狱」,在那里,的确是「毒虫不死,烈火不灭」!

圣经十分重视生命和人格的完整。人是一個有机的整体,一個不能分割的個体。在恭敬天主的事上,我们更加要「全心、全灵、全力、全意」(参看谷12:30)的去恭敬,或者是「尽心、尽性、尽意、尽力」的去事奉,而不是不冷、不热的去完成一些外表的宗教行为、虚应故事。

无论如何,我们不能只用自己生命的一半,来事奉我们的上主天主,而用生命的另一半,去事奉天主的敌人:「没有人能事奉两個主人:他或是要恨这一個,而爱那一個,或是要依附这一個,而轻忽那一個。你们不能事奉天主而又事奉钱财。」(玛6:24)

耶稣也告诉我们,如果要追随他,便要义无反顾、死心蹋地去追随。不能今天说要去埋葬父亲,明天又说要去向家人告别;反反覆覆,拖泥带水。耶稣认为这种人,并不適合作他的门徒、走天国的路。他说:「手扶著犁而往后看的,不適於天主的国。」(参看路9:57-62)

生命的完整、人格的完整、信仰的完整,这一切都要求我们要注意我们生命中的一言、一行,掌握每一個机会,做好每一件事。以整個的身心、全部的力量,去投入我们的生命,承行天主的圣意,和天主作最亲密的结合。

由於耶稣极度憎恶那些引人犯罪、使人格分裂、使生命分割,或导致人灵魂丧亡的邪恶行为,所以耶稣对於作这种事的人,也表现出深恶痛绝:「谁若使一個信我的小弟兄失足,倒不如将一块大磨石,绑著他的颈项,投入海里,为他更好。」(谷9:42)

引我们犯罪的可能是他人,也可能是我们自己的身体。所以耶稣连带也警告我们说:如果你的手使你犯罪,你的脚使你犯罪,你的眼睛使你犯罪……,你都要把它们统统全部砍下来、挖去、丢掉。有这种行为的人,全部都无缘接近那全善、全美的天主。

孔子也是一個十分憎恶坏朋友,而欣赏好朋友的人。他说:「益者三友,损者三友。友直、友谅、友多闻,益矣。友便辟、友善柔、友便佞,损矣。」(论语季氏16:4)

意思是:正直的,诚实的,见闻广博的人,都是好朋友;逢迎谄媚的,当面一套、背后一套的,夸夸其谈、口甜舌滑的,都是坏朋友。

这种谄媚逢迎、两面三刀、口甜舌滑的人,通常都只有一個目的,就是引誘我们去做恶事,带领我们走上歧途,使我们堕入他们的圈套、中了他的诡计、成了他们的帮凶。这些正是耶稣要谴責的人。

世界正因为有这些恶表,所以才变得有祸。人因为见到这些恶表,所以才知道有犯这种罪的可能。由於有恶表,这個世界就成了一個教人为恶的大学堂。

面对恶表,我们要学会不留情的拒绝;面对自己的坏毛病,我们要狠得起心肠。这便是所谓「壮士断臂」。

在面对坏朋友的時候,如果我们真的狠不起心肠,也找不到拒绝的好办法,就要避之则吉,即是俗语所说的:「讲多都无谓」。舍此别无他途,也没有其他更好的办法。

 

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Love God and Neighbour to the Utmost; Take no ‘Deformities’ into Heaven


First Reading (Num (1:25-29): Israelites take a Census
Second Reading (Jas 5: 1-6): Warning to the Rich
Gospel (Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48) Avoid evil
Chinese classics:
-“There are three friendships which are advantageous and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the person of much observation; – these three are advantageous. Friendship with the person of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued; these are injurious.”(1)
-“The brave warrior cuts his arm.”(2)

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. (Mk 9: 43-48)

A footnote to the above Bible passage says that the original word for ‘hell’ (‘Gehenna’ which has a Greek origin) refers to a valley on the outskirts of Jerusalem where people burned children as a sacrifice to idols. After this evil custom was abolished, the area became a large refuse dump for the city of Jerusalem. The residents burned their rubbish there, and the leftover food caused worms to multiply rapidly. As a result, to the Jews the place represented the sufferings of ‘hell’ where “their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched!

The Bible emphasizes life and a holistic personality. Each person is an organic whole, each one is a full individual entity. When worshipping God, we must do so “with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our strength,” ( cf Mk 12:30) and not because it is a rule or a zealous way of performing an external religious rite. We must not spend half our lives serving the Lord God, and the other half serving the enemies of God, for “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Mt 6: 24)

Jesus also tells us that if we are to follow him, we must do so without regret and when doing so, give him our hearts completely. We cannot change our minds constantly, today saying we must bury our father, tomorrow saying we must bid farewell to our family. Jesus thinks that persons ‘as fickle as dripping water’ are not suitable to be his disciples or tread the path to heaven. He says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (cf Lk 9:57 – 62).


To have a life and personality that are complete and a faith that is holistic, we must watch each word and deed, use every opportunity, perform each act as well as possible. We should use our entire life and energy, to enter into our life, trying to do God’s will and remain closely united to God.

Because Jesus detests those who lead others into sin, splitting personalities, tearing lives apart, even leading people to do evil deeds which destroy their souls, he used some of his strongest words to describe them: “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” (Mk 9:42)

Sometimes other people are a source of temptation to us, sometimes it is we ourselves. That is why Jesus warns us that if our hand or foot or eyes cause us to sin, it is better to cut the limb off, pluck out the eye, cast the part off. Those who do such things have no reason to come near the all-good and all-beautiful God.

Confucius was a person who loathed friends who were evil and appreciated good friends. He said, “There are three friendships which are advantageous and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the person of much observation- these are advantageous. Friendship with the person of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued: these are injurious.” (Confucian Analects, Book XVI Ji Shi, Chap 3).

What he meant was that people who are righteous, honest and broad-minded are good friends, those who always try to please, are inconsistent in their speech, boast and flatter (‘speak with a sweet mouth and slippery tongue’), do not make good friends. People who flatter, are ‘two-faced,’ speak ‘honeyed’ words, usually have one aim only, to tempt us to act wickedly and lead us down a devious path, so that we fall into a trap and become their accomplices in evil-doing. Those are the kind of people Jesus rebuked.

This kind of bad example brings disaster to our world. Seeing such bad example opens our eyes to the vast possibility of evil. Because of such bad example the world becomes a big classroom where men and women are taught how to sin!

When confronted with adverse situations like this we must learn to refuse firmly without hesitation; when we become aware of our own weaknesses, we must be ruthless in overcoming temptation. This is what it is meant by “the brave warrior cuts his arm.”

When faced with bad companions, if we do not have sufficient courage to refuse them, we must be strong enough to avoid them. As a popular adage says, ‘It is no use to talk so much.’ Other than this, there is no better way.

(1)益者三友,損者三友。
(2)友直、友諒、友多聞,益矣。
(3)友便辟、友善柔、友便佞,損矣。
(4)壯士斷臂。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017