常年期第三十三主日 2018年11月18日


常年期第三十三主日

以末世情懷,迎今天挑戰

讀經一:(達12:1-3):義人得永生,邪惡蒙羞辱
讀經二:(希10:11-14,18):基督一次的奉獻以使人成全
福 音:(谷13:24-32):末世的預言
中國文化: 知其不可而為之。

那時候,耶穌向門徒說:「在那些日子裡,大災難過後,太陽將要昏暗,月亮不再發光,星辰要從天際隕落,天上萬象都要震動。那時,眾人要看見人子帶著威能和光榮乘雲而來。他要派遣天使,從四方八面,由地極到天邊,聚集他的選民。……至於那日子和時間,只有父知道,此外,誰也不知道,連天使和人子也不知道。」
(谷13:24-32)

這是末世的情景,那時,一切都要臣服在基督之下。今天,這個「末世」已經來到了;最少已經掀起了序幕。

基督二千年前來到世上,他還要再來,且要帶著威能和光榮而來。他已經戰勝了邪惡,他還要徹底地、全面地戰勝一切邪惡,粉碎一切不幸,治療一切創傷,施行救贖。

但今天,在我們現實的生活中,我們卻有很多截然相反的、不愉快的經驗:我們許多人,都是臣服在基督以外的其他勢力之下。

這些令我們屈從的勢力有很多,它們或者是金錢的威力,或是超級大國的壓力,或是各種「天王天后」的魅力,甚至是邪魔外道的震懾力。

面對今天,我們要十分的清醒,提起精神去面對一切。要猶如身處於末世的情景之中,並以活於末世的情懷,去面對今天的衰敗和今生的挑戰。

絕大部分的武俠片,都會在最後一幕的決戰關頭,讓主角被打敗,或讓代表正義、善良的那一方,被邪惡的勢力打到頭破血流,甚至奄奄一息。但在最後的關頭,在最後的一刻裡,善良、正義的主角一定會在千鈞一髮之間,把邪惡的敵人,把那無法被擊倒的敵人,一舉殲滅。

故事大團圓、人心大快,看的人都鬆了一口氣:幸好,世界最終還是充滿了希望!希望常在,正義永存!

當然,有些武俠片也是以悲劇收場的,這或是為了博取觀眾的同情,或是為了讓我們警愓到生命與現實的殘酷與無奈。

但人類的真實故事卻一定是大團圓的。因為基督已經復活了,他確實戰勝了邪惡,粉碎了魔鬼的惡勢力。他藉死亡粉碎了死亡,他已在表面的失敗中,取得了永恆的勝利。

他還要和一切信仰他的人,及和那些按照他天父旨意生活的人,去分享他的永恆勝利。

常年期的尾聲,也就是禮儀年度的尾聲,所以禮儀的選經,也在預表世界和人類的結局。教會傳統有所謂萬民四末,即:死亡、審判、天堂、地獄。

如果世界有一些必然要發生的事,這「萬民四末」就是最大的必然、最必然的必然。

我們要「以四末的情懷活於今天」,不是單單因為那個四末必定要來臨,更是因為那個四末要為我們帶來必然的、永生的希望。

無論我們今天的生活有多麼糟、多麼可怕、多麼不幸,我們仍然堅信:善一定勝惡;在基督身上,或在與基督相連者的身上,罪惡的權勢已經無能為力。

我們將可以以堅忍不拔的心,以我們整個的生命和整個生命的所有力量,去和罪惡及黑暗的勢力,作殊死的決鬥。我們的決鬥因基督的緣故,必會獲得最後的勝利。

亦正因如此,我們更應該無懼和一切邪惡的勢力決鬥,期待在基督「聚集他的選民時」,去和基督團聚。

基督徒必須學會以堅定不移的信心,去面對人生、做該做的事。有一次,孔子的弟子子路,在魯國的石門歇了一夜,他第二天進城時,看城門的人問他從哪裡來。他說:「從孔子那裡來。」看城門的人就說:「是知其不可而為之者與?」知其不可而為之:就是明知做不到,都要去做。意思是:孔子是一位認為該做就努力去做的人,至於能否做得到,或能否輕易做得到,並非孔子的重要考慮範圍。

如果孔子可以達到「知其不可而為之」的境界,那麼,基督徒就更應因為「知其必可」而努去做了,因為有基督在全力支持我們,我們是一定會成功的。

「知其不可而為之」,是一種道德力量;「知其必可而為之」,卻是基督徒的信仰。

 

常年期第三十三主日

以末世情怀,迎今天挑战

读经一:(达12:1-3):义人得永生,邪恶蒙羞辱
读经二:(希10:11-14,18):基督一次的奉献以使人成全
福 音:(谷13:24-32):末世的预言
中国文化: 知其不可而为之。

那時候,耶稣向门徒说:「在那些日子里,大灾难過后,太阳将要昏暗,月亮不再发光,星辰要从天际陨落,天上万象都要震动。那時,众人要看见人子带著威能和光荣乘云而来。他要派遣天使,从四方八面,由地极到天边,聚集他的选民。……至於那日子和時间,只有父知道,此外,谁也不知道,连天使和人子也不知道。」
(谷13:24-32)

这是末世的情景,那時,一切都要臣服在基督之下。今天,这個「末世」已经来到了;最少已经掀起了序幕。

基督二千年前来到世上,他还要再来,且要带著威能和光荣而来。他已经战胜了邪恶,他还要彻底地、全面地战胜一切邪恶,粉碎一切不幸,治疗一切创伤,施行救赎。

但今天,在我们现实的生活中,我们却有很多截然相反的、不愉快的经验:我们许多人,都是臣服在基督以外的其他势力之下。

这些令我们屈从的势力有很多,它们或者是金钱的威力,或是超级大国的压力,或是各种「天王天后」的魅力,甚至是邪魔外道的震慑力。

面对今天,我们要十分的清醒,提起精神去面对一切。要犹如身处於末世的情景之中,并以活於末世的情怀,去面对今天的衰败和今生的挑战。

绝大部分的武侠片,都会在最后一幕的决战关头,让主角被打败,或让代表正义、善良的那一方,被邪恶的势力打到头破血流,甚至奄奄一息。但在最后的关头,在最后的一刻里,善良、正义的主角一定会在千钧一发之间,把邪恶的敌人,把那无法被击倒的敌人,一举歼灭。

故事大团圆、人心大快,看的人都松了一口气:幸好,世界最终还是充满了希望!希望常在,正义永存!

当然,有些武侠片也是以悲剧收场的,这或是为了博取观众的同情,或是为了让我们警愓到生命与现实的残酷与无奈。

但人类的真实故事却一定是大团圆的。因为基督已经复活了,他确实战胜了邪恶,粉碎了魔鬼的恶势力。他藉死亡粉碎了死亡,他已在表面的失败中,取得了永恒的胜利。

他还要和一切信仰他的人,及和那些按照他天父旨意生活的人,去分享他的永恒胜利。

常年期的尾声,也就是礼仪年度的尾声,所以礼仪的选经,也在预表世界和人类的结局。教会传统有所谓万民四末,即:死亡、审判、天堂、地狱。

如果世界有一些必然要发生的事,这「万民四末」就是最大的必然、最必然的必然。

我们要「以四末的情怀活於今天」,不是单单因为那個四末必定要来临,更是因为那個四末要为我们带来必然的、永生的希望。

无论我们今天的生活有多么糟、多么可怕、多么不幸,我们仍然坚信:善一定胜恶;在基督身上,或在与基督相连者的身上,罪恶的权势已经无能为力。

我们将可以以坚忍不拔的心,以我们整個的生命和整個生命的所有力量,去和罪恶及黑暗的势力,作殊死的决斗。我们的决斗因基督的缘故,必会获得最后的胜利。

亦正因如此,我们更应該无惧和一切邪恶的势力决斗,期待在基督「聚集他的选民時」,去和基督团聚。

基督徒必须学会以坚定不移的信心,去面对人生、做該做的事。有一次,孔子的弟子子路,在鲁国的石门歇了一夜,他第二天进城時,看城门的人問他从哪里来。他说:「从孔子那里来。」看城门的人就说:「是知其不可而为之者与?」知其不可而为之:就是明知做不到,都要去做。意思是:孔子是一位认为該做就努力去做的人,至於能否做得到,或能否轻易做得到,并非孔子的重要考虑范围。

如果孔子可以达到「知其不可而为之」的境界,那么,基督徒就更应因为「知其必可」而努去做了,因为有基督在全力支持我们,我们是一定会成功的。

「知其不可而为之」,是一种道德力量;「知其必可而为之」,却是基督徒的信仰。

 

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

With an End-of-the-World Mentality Meet the Challenges of Today

First Reading (Dan 12:1-3): The righteous will receive everlasting life, the wicked will be put to shame
Second Reading (Heb 10:11-14, 18): Jesus' once-for-all offering enables us all to be perfect
Gospel (Mk 13:24-32): Predictions about the end of the world.
Chinese Classics :
“Knowing it cannot be done yet going ahead and doing it.” (To dream the impossible dream)

“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Moan coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven… “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mk 13:24-32)


That scene is about the end of the world, when all of creation must bow down before Christ. Today, that ‘end of the world’ has already come; at least the curtain has lifted a little.

Christ came into the world 2000 years ago and he will come again with great power and glory. He already has overcome evil, then he will have defeated all evil fully and decisively, destroying all misfortune, healing all wounds, saving all creatures.

But today in our actual life we often have many contrary unhappy experiences: many of us fall down before powers other than Christ's. There are many powers that make us fall, such as the power of money or the pressure from superpowers, the attraction all kinds of ‘stars’ or celebrities or the very magnetism of the devil and evil.

Facing life today we must be very alert and lift up our spirits so that we can face the world as it is today. We must live as if it were the end of the world, with that kind of mindset, in order to face today's corruption and the challenges of our present lives.

In most martial arts films there is a final scene which depicts fierce fighting. The hero or those characters who represent innocence and righteousness are beaten up by the evil characters until their heads are injured, they bleed profusely and almost die. At the final and crucial moment, however, the hero who is righteous and innocent destroys once and for all those who were seemingly invincible. When the film ends happily we are relieved and happy: fortunately in the end, our world is still full of hope and righteousness will prevail forever.

Of course there are also martial arts films that end in tragedy. The purpose is to elicit from the audience pity for the characters or to warn us of the cruelty and helplessness of real life.

But the real story of the life of human beings must end with perfect happiness. This is because Christ has risen from the dead, has overcome evil and destroyed the power of the devil. Through his death he overcame death. Through what appeared to be failure he obtained eternal victory. Moreover, he wants his believers and those who live according to the will of the Father to share his eternal victory.

These final weeks bring the year to an end. They are also the end of the liturgical year and the Scripture readings all refer to the final days of the world and humankind. The church traditionally speaks of the ‘Four Last Things’: death, judgment, heaven and hell.

If there is something that MUST happen in this world, the ‘Four Last Things’ are the absolutely inevitable events. We must live today keeping the ‘Four Last Things’ in mind. This is not only because they must come about but also because the Four Last Things inevitably bring us the hope of eternal life.

No matter how hard, dreadful and disastrous our lives are today, we do firmly believe that good will win over evil. The power of evil does not affect Christ or those united with him.

We must have hearts full of confidence and patience and make use of all the strength that comes from life itself to fight against the power of sin and darkness until our very last breath. Because the struggle is for the sake of Christ it will result in final victory with absolute certainty.

Because of this we should struggle fearlessly with all the evil powers, waiting for the time when Christ will ‘gather together his chosen people’ to be with him forever.

Christians must learn to face life with staunch and unmovable faith and do all that one should. Once Confucius' student Zi Lu spent the whole night at the stone gate of the state of Lu. The next day the warden at the gate asked him where he came from. He replied, ‘I came from Confucius' place.’ The warden said, ‘Is he the person who “knowing it cannot be done yet goes ahead and does it?”(1) The meaning is that even if one knows one cannot do it, the person still goes ahead and does it. Confucius was a person who thought that if something should be done, we should try hard to do it. Whether we succeed or not or whether it is easy to succeed was not Confucius' major consideration.

If Confucius could reach the state of “Knowing it cannot be done yet going ahead and doing it,” how much more should we Christians strive with all our energy to do what we “know can be done.” For with the support of Christ’s strength we certainly will succeed.

“Knowing it cannot be done yet doing it” is a kind of moral strength; “Knowing it can be done and doing it” is a part of the faith of all Christians.

(1)知其不可而為之。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017