將臨期第二主日 2018年12月09日


將臨期第二主日

頌天恩重在生活,迎主臨莫如修身

讀經一:(巴5:1-9):天主要把以民領回來
讀經二:(斐1:4-6,8-11):要滿渥真知,認識天主
福 音:(路3:1-6):若翰在約旦河一帶傳道
中國文化:大孝尊親,其次不辱,其下能養。揚名聲、顯父母。

我每次祈禱,總是愉快地為你們各位祈禱。天主為我作證:我是怎樣以基督耶穌的情懷愛你們眾人。我所祈求的是:你們的愛德日漸增長,滿渥真知灼見,使你們能體認至善之所在,為叫你們直到基督的日子,常保持純潔無瑕,並藉著耶穌基督,滿結義德的果實,使天主獲得光榮和讚美。
(斐1:4-11節錄)

保祿在這裡的發言重點有三:

第一、他希望斐理伯教友能夠度一種豐富而活潑的信仰生活,包括愛德增長,有真知灼見,體認至善之所在,結義德之果,終生純潔無瑕。

第二、這種生活必須持之以恆,一生努力,堅持到底,直到基督再來的日子。

第三、活出這一切,都是為了天主的榮耀,使天主獲得光榮和讚美。

將臨期是一個準備的時期,是準備去迎接、等待基督來臨的重要時期。今天的路加福音,要我們在這時期中「預備上主的道路,修直他的途徑,深坑山谷要填滿,大山小丘要剷平,彎曲的道路要修直,崎嶇的途徑要夷平。」(路3:4-5)為的是要除去一切的阻擋,掃除一切的障礙,好能迎接基督的到來,讓基督進入我們的心中和生命中。

縱觀上述引用的兩段聖經,我們似乎看不到應該多念經、多祈禱、參加退省,或熱心參與彌撒等傳統教訓。今天聖經裡所說迎接耶穌降生的方法,重點似乎並不是放在傳統的熱心神功上!

當然,這也不是說,我們不需要熱心神功。所以,我們該怎樣作呢?究竟熱心神功與將臨期有沒有重要的關係呢?我們還需不需要以多祈禱或多作犧牲或多參與彌撒等,去準備自己,以迎接耶穌的來臨呢?

聖經的教訓是清晰的:我們要準備自己去迎接基督的來臨;但最好的準備,是度聖潔無瑕的生活,即在基督內,被聖神所光照和推動,而按天父的旨意去生活。

我們對上主的「光榮和讚美」,也只能透過我們聖潔無瑕的生活去達成。

兒女成材,是父母的光榮;學生在社會中出人頭地,才能為老師、為學校增光。如果你去國外旅行,你的一舉一動,不單與你個人有關,人家還會把你和你的國家扯在一起,你行為不檢,人家就會說:「這些中國人是怎麼搞的?」

天主是生命的創造者,我們從天主而來,將來有一天,也要落葉歸根,回到天主那裡去。所以我們也應該用我們的生命去光榮天主。

拉丁文就有這麼的一句話:Gloria Dei, Homo vivens,它的意譯是:一個活生生的、活活潑潑的、生活得充充實實的人,就是天主的光榮。我們並不用口舌去光榮天主,我們只是用我們的生命,也只能用我們的生命去光榮天主。

這種活生生的人,當然不是指一個行屍走肉的人,而是指今日斐理伯書所說的:愛德日漸增長、對生命有真知灼見、追求至善、純潔無瑕、能結出義德之果的人。

《曾子大孝》認為孝有三等:大孝尊親,其次不辱,其下能養。曾子認為,最大的孝道是尊敬父母,尤其是藉著自己在社會中的成就,去光宗耀祖,即中國傳統家庭所嚮往的「揚名聲、顯父母」,這是父母最大的光榮,也是子女對父母能夠表達的最大孝心。

次一等的孝道,是從反面說的,即要能夠不犯罪,不讓父母蒙羞,不辱沒父母,這也可以說是重要的孝道。至於供養父母、給父母的生養死葬,便只能算得上是第三等的孝道而已!(雖然這也是重要的!)

我們的祈禱、退省、參與彌撒,或其它熱心神功,本身並不能光榮天主,除非這些宗教行為,能幫助我們活得更豐富和更有深度。又或者,正因為我們的熱心神功,我們接觸到生命之源的天主,因而使我們的生命,也變得充滿生機,這樣,我們才可以說,我們的熱心神功,也能光榮天主。

就讓我們虔誠地以聖善的生活,去準備迎接基督的再來,以光榮我們的在天之父。

 

 

将临期第二主日

颂天恩重在生活,迎主临莫如修身

读经一:(巴5:1-9):天主要把以民领回来
读经二:(斐1:4-6,8-11):要满渥真知,认识天主
福 音:(路3:1-6):若翰在约旦河一带传道
中国文化:大孝尊亲,其次不辱,其下能养。扬名声、显父母。

我每次祈祷,总是愉快地为你们各位祈祷。天主为我作证:我是怎样以基督耶稣的情怀爱你们众人。我所祈求的是:你们的爱德日渐增长,满渥真知灼见,使你们能体认至善之所在,为叫你们直到基督的日子,常保持纯洁无瑕,并藉著耶稣基督,满结义德的果实,使天主获得光荣和赞美。
(斐1:4-11节录)

保禄在这里的发言重点有三:

第一、他希望斐理伯教友能够度一种丰富而活泼的信仰生活,包括爱德增长,有真知灼见,体认至善之所在,结义德之果,终生纯洁无瑕。

第二、这种生活必须持之以恒,一生努力,坚持到底,直到基督再来的日子。

第三、活出这一切,都是为了天主的荣耀,使天主获得光荣和赞美。

将临期是一個准备的時期,是准备去迎接、等待基督来临的重要時期。今天的路加福音,要我们在这時期中「预备上主的道路,修直他的途径,深坑山谷要填满,大山小丘要铲平,弯曲的道路要修直,崎嶇的途径要夷平。」(路3:4-5)为的是要除去一切的阻挡,扫除一切的障碍,好能迎接基督的到来,让基督进入我们的心中和生命中。

纵观上述引用的两段圣经,我们似乎看不到应該多念经、多祈祷、参加退省,或热心参与弥撒等传统教训。今天圣经里所说迎接耶稣降生的方法,重点似乎并不是放在传统的热心神功上!

当然,这也不是说,我们不需要热心神功。所以,我们該怎样作呢?究竟热心神功与将临期有没有重要的关系呢?我们还需不需要以多祈祷或多作牺牲或多参与弥撒等,去准备自己,以迎接耶稣的来临呢?

圣经的教训是清晰的:我们要准备自己去迎接基督的来临;但最好的准备,是度圣洁无瑕的生活,即在基督内,被圣神所光照和推动,而按天父的旨意去生活。

我们对上主的「光荣和赞美」,也只能透過我们圣洁无瑕的生活去达成。

儿女成材,是父母的光荣;学生在社会中出人头地,才能为老师、为学校增光。如果你去国外旅行,你的一举一动,不单与你個人有关,人家还会把你和你的国家扯在一起,你行为不检,人家就会说:「这些中国人是怎么搞的?」

天主是生命的创造者,我们从天主而来,将来有一天,也要落叶归根,回到天主那里去。所以我们也应該用我们的生命去光荣天主。

拉丁文就有这么的一句话:Gloria Dei, Homo vivens,它的意译是:一個活生生的、活活泼泼的、生活得充充实实的人,就是天主的光荣。我们并不用口舌去光荣天主,我们只是用我们的生命,也只能用我们的生命去光荣天主。

这种活生生的人,当然不是指一個行尸走肉的人,而是指今日斐理伯书所说的:爱德日渐增长、对生命有真知灼见、追求至善、纯洁无瑕、能结出义德之果的人。

《曾子大孝》 认为孝有三等:大孝尊亲,其次不辱,其下能养。曾子认为,最大的孝道是尊敬父母,尤其是藉著自己在社会中的成就,去光宗耀祖,即中国传统家庭所向往的「扬名声、显父母」,这是父母最大的光荣,也是子女对父母能够表达的最大孝心。

次一等的孝道,是从反面说的,即要能够不犯罪,不让父母蒙羞,不辱没父母,这也可以说是重要的孝道。至於供养父母、给父母的生养死葬,便只能算得上是第三等的孝道而已!(虽然这也是重要的!)

我们的祈祷、退省、参与弥撒,或其它热心神功,本身并不能光荣天主,除非这些宗教行为,能帮助我们活得更丰富和更有深度。又或者,正因为我们的热心神功,我们接触到生命之源的天主,因而使我们的生命,也变得充满生机,这样,我们才可以说,我们的热心神功,也能光荣天主。

就让我们虔诚地以圣善的生活,去准备迎接基督的再来,以光荣我们的在天之父。

 

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Live a Good Life in Praise of God's Grace
With a Life of Virtue Welcome God's Coming

First Reading (Bar 5: 1-9): God wanted to lead the Israelites back to the Promised Land
Second Reading (Phil 1: 4-6, 8-11) To have true knowledge we must recognize God
Gospel (Lk 3: 1-6): John the Baptist preached along the Jordan River
Chinese classics:
-“The highest level of filial piety is to respect one's parents. Second is not to shame them. Third is to support them.” (1)
-“Our good name is the glory of our parents.” (2)

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you. God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1: 4-11, summary)

In this passage Paul emphasizes three points:
1) He hopes the Philippian Christians can live a full, vibrant life of faith, growing in love with full knowledge and perfect judgment, choose what is best at all times, and be free from all impurity and blame.
2) Such a life must be maintained throughout one's entire life. They must strive valiantly for this always and perseveringly until the day when Christ returns..
3) To live in this way is for the honor of God, so that God will receive glory and praise.

Advent is a time of preparation, an important time during which we prepare to welcome Christ and await his coming. In today's Gospel Luke reminds us that now is the time to “prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth.” (Lk 3: 4-5) For this we need to remove all obstacles that hinder us, so that we can receive Christ into our
hearts and lives. .

Note that in the two Scripture passages quoted above we do not see mentioned any of the traditional admonitions such as attending Mass, reciting prayers or other forms of prayer, taking part in retreats, etc. In today's Scripture, when speaking about ways to receive Christ at his birth, the emphasis does not seem to be on traditional acts of piety.

Of course this does not mean we do not need to perform such acts of piety. So what should we do? In the end, do fervent pious acts have any important relation to the Advent season? Do we still need to participate in Mass more often, pray more, sacrifice more, prepare ourselves to receive Christ when he comes? The teaching of Scripture is clear: we must prepare ourselves to receive Christ. But the best preparation is to live a pure and holy life, that is, to live according to the will of God, in Christ and under the guiding power of the Holy Spirit. We can only 'glorify and praise God' by living a pure and holy life.

Children's achievements honour their parents; students honour their teachers and school when they receive praise for some achievement in society. If you go to a foreign country, your behavior is not just a private matter, your whole country is judged by your actions. It is not your actions that are examined, rather, people say, 'What kind of people are these Chinese?'

God is the Creator of life. We come from God and one day we will return to God. So we should use our life now to give glory to God. There is a phrase in Latin: 'Gloria Dei, Homo vivens ' -"The glory of God is man fully alive.". That is to say, a person who leads a vivacious and wholesome life, full of vigour and enthusiasm, is an honour to God. We do not honour God with our tongues, but with our whole being - we can only glorify God with our entire life.

This lively and vital person of course is not like one who acts half-dead but rather like one described in the Letter to the Philippians: “one whose love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help determine what is best, and that one may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness.

Zeng Zi's 'Filial Piety' describes three ordinary types of filial piety “The highest type of filial piety is to respect one's parents. Second is not to shame them. Third is to support them.”(1)

Zeng Zi thought that the greatest kind of filial piety was to respect one's parents. In particular, if through our accomplishments in society we can glorify our ancestors, it would exemplify the saying, “Our good name is the glory of our parents,” (2) This is something traditional Chinese families yearned for, the greatest glory parents could enjoy and the greatest act of filial piety children could show their parents.

The next type of filial piety was expressed in a negative tone, warning children against wrong-doing, putting their parents to shame, or humiliating their parents.
This was also an important part of filial piety. To support one's parents, provide for them, and perform their burial rites is only the third type of filial piety (though it is also important).

Our prayers, retreats, participation in Mass or performance of other pious acts, cannot glorify God unless these religious acts help us live a life of greater fullness and depth. Or if through these acts we come into contact with God who is the source of life and our lives become full of vitality. Only then can we say that our acts of piety can glorify God.

So let us with great sincerity live lives of holiness in order to prepare to receive Christ when he comes again, and so give glory to our Father in heaven.


(1)大孝尊親,其次不辱,其下能養。
(2) 揚名聲、顯父母。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2017