將臨期第一主日 2018年12月02日


將臨期第一主日

夢久不知身是蝶

讀經一:(耶33:14-16):由達味生出一枝正義的苗芽
讀經二:(得前3:12-4:2):應活出所學的訓導
福 音:(路21:25-28,34-36):應時時醒寤、準備
中國文化:一年之計在於春。夢久不知身是蝶。
《神馬》:這匹馬,當牠被人們當作神的時候,悲劇就開始了;當牠自己也以為是神的時候,就完全成了悲劇。

你們應當小心,不要使你們的心為貪吃、醉酒,和生活的掛慮所困擾,以免那意想不到的日子臨到你們身上……所以你們應當時時醒寤祈禱,好讓你們能應付即將發生的一切事,並能站立在人子面前。
(路21:34-36)

將臨期的第一主日,是教會禮儀年的開始,就好像是教會的新年。如果「一年之計在於春」,那麼我們很值得在這教會年曆的開頭,定出一個全年的「基調」,一個貫穿全年思想的正確調子。因為好的開始,就是成功的一半。

今日的讀經,明顯要我們「醒寤」,即醒覺和警醒,不再沉沉欲睡。就讓我們善用這個主題,去作我們來年生活的主要旋律。

在上述經文中,我想突出幾個因素:一是貪吃、醉酒、生活的掛慮;二是困擾;三是醒寤祈禱;四是站立在人子面前。

這段經文的背景當然是世界末日和公審判。那時,「日月星辰將有異兆;在地上各國要因海濤的怒號而驚惶,世人也要因將臨的厄運而失措。因為天上萬象將要震動。那時,他們要看見人子,帶著威能和極大的光榮乘雲而降。」(路21:25-27)就是在這個時候,每個人都要「站立在人子面前」,即站在耶穌這位審判主的面前,向他交賬、向他交代。

我們在一生中,要向許多人交代:在家中,做子女的要向父母交代,向兄弟姊妹交代;做父母的要向子女交代;在學校中,學生要向老師交代,老師要向學生交代;在民主社會中,做官的要向老百姓交代,做公僕的,要向廣大的市民交代。在教會中,雖然大家都要向天主交代,但教會內的上、下人等,不論是作長上或作屬下的,從教宗到主教,從本堂神父、牧職修女,到基基團中的最小一個平信徒,都無不需要彼此交代。

但在這所有的交代中,將有一個最後的交代,就是最後審判時,我們向基督的交代,交代我們整個的一生,交代我們在這一生中,是否時常都作了最好的、最完整的「交代」。

這樣,我們才能無愧地、無悔地,「站立在人子面前」,等待他仁慈的判決,和他熱烈的歡迎,迎接我們到他的父家。

但是為要能站立在人子面前,聖經提醒我們要醒寤、祈禱。祈禱,是保持醒寤的重要方法。

要醒寤,因為實在有太多東西讓我們困擾,使我們沉醉,把我們束縛住。這些東西包括今天聖經所說的「貪吃、醉酒、生活的掛慮」,或者說,是一切的貪婪、自我麻醉、過於執著而不懂得「放下」。這一切,都會令我們不夠清醒。

貪婪,使我們的眼睛只能看到我們心想要看的東西,其它的一切都不會放在眼內;自我麻醉,更可使人失去一切的判斷力;放不下,於是我們只能目光如豆、營營役役,為一些未必是最重要的東西而耗盡一生。這時,我們很難清醒,不夠清醒就很難交代我們的生命,向別人不能,向天主就更加不能。

其實,不夠清醒,也可以是源於我們做了太久的夢:在混混噩噩中做夢,在百無聊賴中做白日夢,在自我欺騙中作愚弄自己的美夢。於是發生了「夢久不知身是蝶」的現象,不知是人(莊子)夢見蝶,或者是蝶夢見人。總之是糊裡糊塗的度了一生。

中國近代的一位作家黃瑞雲說過一個寓言:《神馬》,描寫一隻凡馬被捧為神馬,最後終於陷沒在泥潭中,死了。

作者在文末中說:這匹馬,當牠被人們當作神的時候,悲劇就開始了;當牠自己也以為是神的時候,就完全成了悲劇。

要活得清醒,其中一個十分有效的方法就是祈禱,一種以天主為中心,又以雙目注視著世界的祈禱。

祈禱,讓我們在一個日趨非人化的世間中,擁有屬於自己的時間,也有時間和天主在一起;祈禱,讓我們可以進入我們自己的內心,接觸我們自己的真實感覺和需要,聆聽天主在我們心中所說的話;祈禱,可以幫助我們進入天主的心中,和天主作最親密的結合。

其實,當我們進入天主的心中時,我們就會以天主的眼睛去看世界,並以天主的心去愛世界。這是我們最清醒的時候。

讓我們在來年,在主內保持這種高度的清醒。

 

将临期第一主日

梦久不知身是蝶

读经一:(耶33:14-16):由达味生出一枝正义的苗芽
读经二:(得前3:12-4:2):应活出所学的训导
福 音:(路21:25-28,34-36):应時時醒寤、准备
中国文化:一年之计在於春。梦久不知身是蝶。
《神马》 :这匹马,当它被人们当作神的時候,悲剧就開始了;当它自己也以为是神的時候,就完全成了悲剧。

你们应当小心,不要使你们的心为贪吃、醉酒,和生活的掛虑所困扰,以免那意想不到的日子临到你们身上……所以你们应当時時醒寤祈祷,好让你们能应付即将发生的一切事,并能站立在人子面前。
(路21:34-36)

将临期的第一主日,是教会礼仪年的開始,就好像是教会的新年。如果「一年之计在於春」,那么我们很值得在这教会年历的開头,定出一個全年的「基调」,一個贯穿全年思想的正确调子。因为好的開始,就是成功的一半。

今日的读经,明显要我们「醒寤」,即醒觉和警醒,不再沉沉欲睡。就让我们善用这個主题,去作我们来年生活的主要旋律。

在上述经文中,我想突出幾個因素:一是贪吃、醉酒、生活的掛虑;二是困扰;三是醒寤祈祷;四是站立在人子面前。

这段经文的背景当然是世界末日和公审判。那時,「日月星辰将有异兆;在地上各国要因海涛的怒号而惊惶,世人也要因将临的厄运而失措。因为天上万象将要震动。那時,他们要看见人子,带著威能和极大的光荣乘云而降。」(路21:25-27)就是在这個時候,每個人都要「站立在人子面前」,即站在耶稣这位审判主的面前,向他交账、向他交代。

我们在一生中,要向许多人交代:在家中,做子女的要向父母交代,向兄弟姊妹交代;做父母的要向子女交代;在学校中,学生要向老师交代,老师要向学生交代;在民主社会中,做官的要向老百姓交代,做公仆的,要向广大的市民交代。在教会中,虽然大家都要向天主交代,但教会内的上、下人等,不论是作长上或作属下的,从教宗到主教,从本堂神父、牧职修女,到基基团中的最小一個平信徒,都无不需要彼此交代。

但在这所有的交代中,将有一個最后的交代,就是最后审判時,我们向基督的交代,交代我们整個的一生,交代我们在这一生中,是否時常都作了最好的、最完整的「交代」。

这样,我们才能无愧地、无悔地,「站立在人子面前」,等待他仁慈的判决,和他热烈的欢迎,迎接我们到他的父家。

但是为要能站立在人子面前,圣经提醒我们要醒寤、祈祷。祈祷,是保持醒寤的重要方法。

要醒寤,因为实在有太多东西让我们困扰,使我们沉醉,把我们束缚住。这些东西包括今天圣经所说的「贪吃、醉酒、生活的掛虑」,或者说,是一切的贪婪、自我麻醉、過於执著而不懂得「放下」。这一切,都会令我们不够清醒。

贪婪,使我们的眼睛只能看到我们心想要看的东西,其它的一切都不会放在眼内;自我麻醉,更可使人失去一切的判断力;放不下,於是我们只能目光如豆、營營役役,为一些未必是最重要的东西而耗尽一生。这時,我们很难清醒,不够清醒就很难交代我们的生命,向别人不能,向天主就更加不能。

其实,不够清醒,也可以是源於我们做了太久的梦:在混混噩噩中做梦,在百无聊赖中做白日梦,在自我欺骗中作愚弄自己的美梦。於是发生了「梦久不知身是蝶」的现象,不知是人(庄子)梦见蝶,或者是蝶梦见人。总之是糊里糊涂的度了一生。

中国近代的一位作家黄瑞云说過一個寓言:《神马》 ,描写一只凡马被捧为神马,最后终於陷没在泥潭中,死了。

作者在文末中说:这匹马,当它被人们当作神的時候,悲剧就開始了;当它自己也以为是神的時候,就完全成了悲剧。

要活得清醒,其中一個十分有效的方法就是祈祷,一种以天主为中心,又以双目注视著世界的祈祷。

祈祷,让我们在一個日趋非人化的世间中,拥有属於自己的時间,也有時间和天主在一起;祈祷,让我们可以进入我们自己的内心,接触我们自己的真实感觉和需要,聆听天主在我们心中所说的话;祈祷,可以帮助我们进入天主的心中,和天主作最亲密的结合。

其实,当我们进入天主的心中時,我们就会以天主的眼睛去看世界,并以天主的心去爱世界。这是我们最清醒的時候。

让我们在来年,在主内保持这种高度的清醒。

 

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dreaming for so long he did not know he had become a Butterfly

First Reading (Jer 33: 14-16): A righteous Branch sprung up from David
Second Reading (1 Thess 3:12- 4:2): We should learn from all he has taught us
Gospel: (Lk 21: 25-28, 34-36) We should always be alert and prepare
Chinese classics:
-“A year’s resolution begins in spring.” (1)
-“Dreaming for so long he was not aware that he had been transformed into a butterfly.” (2)
-“For this horse the tragedy began when he was acclaimed by people as a god. It became even more of a tragedy when he himself thought that he was a god.”(3)

Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly… Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Lk 21: 34-36)

The first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of the Church's liturgical year. It is like the Church's New Year. If "a year's resolution begins in spring" (1) it is worthwhile for us at this start of the year to set the main theme for the entire year, like a 'keynote' that connects the thoughts for the entire year. After all, a good start is half-way to success.

Today's Scripture urges us to be 'alert', that is, to stay awake, be forewarned and avoid drowsiness. So let this theme or key be the melody for the coming year.

In the above Scripture there are four points I would like to highlight. First is 'dissipation, drunkenness, and the worries of life'; second, 'catching you unexpectedly' ; third, 'be alert and pray'; fourth, 'to stand before the Son of Man.' The background for this passage of Scripture, of course, is the last days and the final judgment. At that time “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory.” (Lk 21: 25-27)

At that time each individual must "stand before the Son of Man," that is, before our Judge, Jesus Christ, and give an account of his/her life.

Throughout life we must be accountable to many people: in a family, children are accountable to their parents and siblings; parents are accountable to their children. In school students are accountable to teachers and vice versa. In a democratic society, government officials must be accountable to the people and civil servants are
held responsible to the citizens. In the Church, even though everyone is accountable to God, still, within the Church from the highest rank down to the lowest, from the Pope to the Bishops to parish priests and pastoral Sisters, to the lowest lay member of a Basic Christian Community (BCC), all must be accountable to each other.

For all, there is a final accountability. That is at the final judgment when we will be accountable to Jesus Christ. At that time we must present to Jesus Christ our entire life, and whether or not we always did our best - that is the most complete accountability. With that account, we are able to "stand before the Son of Man" without shame or regret, awaiting his merciful judgment and warm welcome as he receives us into his Father's house.

In order to be able to stand before the Son of Man, Scripture reminds us that we must be alert and pray. Prayer is an important way to 'stay awake'.

We must stay awake because truly there are too many things that confuse us, make us addicted, bind us with fetters. These are the things that today's Scripture speaks about, "we are weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life." In other words, greed, self-indulgence, inability to 'let go' due to unrelenting stubbornness - these are some of the things that prevent us from remaining alert.

Greed makes us so blind that we see only those things which we desire and nothing else besides; self-indulgence makes us unable to make sound judgments. Because of our stubbornness and the inability to 'let go,' we lack insight, and waste life on things that are worthless. It is difficult then to remain alert, and if we are not sufficiently alert we cannot be accountable for our own lives, much less be accountable to God.

In fact, lacking such alertness we can become like a person living in a prolonged

dream. We live in a state of aimlessness, day-dreaming out of despondency or dreaming mocking dreams of self-deception. Eventually there occurs this phenomenon: "Dreaming for so long, he was not aware that he had been transformed into a butterfly."(2) We do not know if the man, (Zhuang Zhou) dreamed about the butterfly or if the butterfly dreamed about the man. Whichever, it was a foolish way to go through life.

A contemporary Chinese writer, Wang Rui Yun, in his fable entitled "The Supernatural Horse" described an ordinary horse which was elevated to the status of a god. In the end it was trapped in a swamp and died there. At the conclusion of the story the author wrote, "For this horse , the tragedy began when it was proclaimed by people as a god. It became an even greater tragedy when the horse itself thought that it was a god."(3)

One of the most effective ways to remain alert is through prayer, prayer that puts God at the centre of our lives and at the same time fixes our view on the world. Prayer enables us to save time for ourselves as well as to have time with God in a world that is becoming more and more impersonal. Prayer allows us to enter into our inner-most being and to get in contact with our true emotions and needs. We can listen to what God speaks within our hearts, and it helps us enter into God's heart and become more closely united with God.

Truly when we enter into God's heart we will look at the world from God's point of view and love the world with God's heart. That is the time of our most heightened alertness.

Let us then maintain this state of heightened alertness throughout the year to come.

(1)一年之計在於春。
(2) 夢久不知身是蝶。
(3)《神馬》:這匹馬,當牠被人們當作神的時候,悲劇就開始了;當牠自己也以為是神的時候,就完全成了悲劇。

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017