主顯節 2019年01月06日


主顯節

朝朝暮暮追尋,快快樂樂奉獻

讀經一:(依60:1-6):萬民奔赴上主的光明
讀經二:(弗3:2-3,5-6):眾人分沾天主的恩許
福 音:(瑪2:1-12):賢士來朝
中國文化:知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言。路漫漫其修遠兮,吾將上下而求索。道不遠人。

黑落德為王時,耶穌誕生在猶大的白冷,有幾個賢士從東方來到耶路撒冷,詢問說:「新生的猶太人君王在哪裡?我們在東方看見他的星出現,特來朝拜他。」……他們看見那顆星,喜出望外,走進屋內,看見了嬰兒和他的母親瑪利亞,就俯伏在地朝拜他;然後打開寶盒,拿出黃金、乳香和沒藥,奉獻給他。
(瑪2:1-2;10-11)

在賢士們所奉獻的禮物中,金光閃閃的、貴重的黃金,是尊貴的象徵,代表賢士們相信耶穌是君王;由燃燒乳香而產生的裊裊輕煙,是人類的祈禱上昇到天主台前的象徵,代表賢士們承認耶穌是真天主;沒藥用來敷抹死人的屍體,使屍體不易腐朽,代表賢士們相信耶穌是人,是和我們相似的、有生老病死的真人。

除了這三種禮物外,聖經還描寫了賢士們的行動:看見、喜歡、走進、朝拜、奉獻等,這都是他們和耶穌相遇,及他們皈依的過程。
「看見」是指最初的接觸、相遇和認識;「喜歡」是把初步的接觸和相遇,變成心中的信念和喜愛,並很珍惜這個相遇;「走進」是進一步把喜愛化為行動,使信念能落實於生活之中,並且還加以深化;「朝拜」是把行動和生活再昇級為信仰和皈依,讓自己整個人和整個的生命,都降服在天主的面前;「奉獻」則是象徵一個人在降服之後,承認自己和自己的一切,都屬於上主,今後要為上主而奉獻、而生活。

在這個「看見、喜歡、走進、朝拜、奉獻」的過程中,喜歡是一個很重要關鍵。孔子說:「知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。

一件好事情,你接觸、你知道、你認識,這都是重要的,但都不及你珍惜它、愛它;你珍惜它、愛它,但都不及你喜歡它。「好之者、樂之者」就是喜歡,喜歡一件事,喜歡去作這件事。有些人知道要讀書,明白讀書的益處,但卻不喜歡讀書;有些人知道要幫助人,也相信在幫助人時,就在幫助耶穌,但他們在愛德的實踐中,卻未必一定嚐到快樂。這些人都不會長久的去做這些「好」事。因為他們不快樂。

我們或許會在腦袋中,承認信仰是好的、正確的、需要的,但我們更需要喜歡自己所擁有的信仰,並為自己的信仰而自豪。

基督徒在腦袋中「相信」福音是喜訊。但如果我們留心看一看每主日到聖堂的教友的面容,我們未必看得出他們正在接受喜訊,或正在去一個興高釆烈的宴會。那些不去聖堂的教友,我們就更無從判斷他們是否樂於相信了。

賢士們是當時猶太人所謂的「外邦人」,他們不是天主的「選民」,他們沒有猶太人的信仰。他們也許是些占星學家,或者是一些在內心追求信仰和生命深度的人。他們有一些特點:就是他們很留意發生在他們周圍的一切;天象正是他們關懷的一部分。

他們關心環境,他們追尋真理;也許他們天天都在研究和探索,上究天文,下察地理。他們亦如司馬遷所說,要「究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言」,為的是要找到生命的秘密。他們就是屈原所謂「路漫漫其修遠兮,吾將上下而求索」的那種人。

從來「道不遠人」,探求生命之道的人,「道」和他們不過近在咫尺。天主更是在找尋他者的身旁。

他們終於「看到了」異星!

但看到了又怎樣?看到異星的人也許成千上萬,但喜歡、追隨異星指引的人,只有幾位而已。這幾位也許不是傳統所說的三位,但決不會是許多人。

從認識到行動,從信仰到生活,是一個重要和必要的過程,我們需要強大的推動力,還要堅毅的持續力、後續力。

這推動力和持續力的最後來源當然是天主,但近因卻可能是一些「人性」的因素:如良好的教育,朋友的鼓勵,宗教的啟發,別人的榜樣,良好的書本所帶來的正確知識,及信仰團體的互相支持等。

而行動的最高峰當然便是全人的奉獻、一生的奉獻、快快樂樂的奉獻;獻出我們最寶貴的東西,獻出我們的一切所有。

 

主显节

朝朝暮暮追寻,快快乐乐奉献

读经一:(依60:1-6):万民奔赴上主的光明
读经二:(弗3:2-3,5-6):众人分沾天主的恩许
福 音:(玛2:1-12):贤士来朝
中国文化:知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如乐之者。究天人之际,通古今之变,成一家之言。路漫漫其修遠兮,吾将上下而求索。道不遠人。

黑落德为王時,耶稣诞生在犹大的白冷,有幾個贤士从东方来到耶路撒冷,询問说:「新生的犹太人君王在哪里?我们在东方看见他的星出现,特来朝拜他。」……他们看见那颗星,喜出望外,走进屋内,看见了婴儿和他的母亲玛利亚,就俯伏在地朝拜他;然后打開宝盒,拿出黄金、乳香和没药,奉献给他。
(玛2:1-2;10-11)

在贤士们所奉献的礼物中,金光闪闪的、贵重的黄金,是尊贵的象徵,代表贤士们相信耶稣是君王;由燃烧乳香而產生的袅袅轻烟,是人类的祈祷上升到天主台前的象徵,代表贤士们承认耶稣是真天主;没药用来敷抹死人的尸体,使尸体不易腐朽,代表贤士们相信耶稣是人,是和我们相似的、有生老病死的真人。

除了这三种礼物外,圣经还描写了贤士们的行动:看见、喜欢、走进、朝拜、奉献等,这都是他们和耶稣相遇,及他们皈依的過程。
「看见」是指最初的接触、相遇和认识;「喜欢」是把初步的接触和相遇,变成心中的信念和喜爱,并很珍惜这個相遇;「走进」是进一步把喜爱化为行动,使信念能落实於生活之中,并且还加以深化;「朝拜」是把行动和生活再升级为信仰和皈依,让自己整個人和整個的生命,都降服在天主的面前;「奉献」则是象徵一個人在降服之后,承认自己和自己的一切,都属於上主,今后要为上主而奉献、而生活。

在这個「看见、喜欢、走进、朝拜、奉献」的過程中,喜欢是一個很重要关键。孔子说:「知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如乐之者。

一件好事情,你接触、你知道、你认识,这都是重要的,但都不及你珍惜它、爱它;你珍惜它、爱它,但都不及你喜欢它。「好之者、乐之者」就是喜欢,喜欢一件事,喜欢去作这件事。有些人知道要读书,明白读书的益处,但却不喜欢读书;有些人知道要帮助人,也相信在帮助人時,就在帮助耶稣,但他们在爱德的实踐中,却未必一定尝到快乐。这些人都不会长久的去做这些「好」事。因为他们不快乐。

我们或许会在脑袋中,承认信仰是好的、正确的、需要的,但我们更需要喜欢自己所拥有的信仰,并为自己的信仰而自豪。

基督徒在脑袋中「相信」福音是喜讯。但如果我们留心看一看每主日到圣堂的教友的面容,我们未必看得出他们正在接受喜讯,或正在去一個兴高采烈的宴会。那些不去圣堂的教友,我们就更无从判断他们是否乐於相信了。

贤士们是当時犹太人所谓的「外邦人」,他们不是天主的「选民」,他们没有犹太人的信仰。他们也许是些占星学家,或者是一些在内心追求信仰和生命深度的人。他们有一些特点:就是他们很留意发生在他们周围的一切;天象正是他们关怀的一部分。

他们关心环境,他们追寻真理;也许他们天天都在研究和探索,上究天文,下察地理。他们亦如司马迁所说,要「究天人之际,通古今之变,成一家之言」,为的是要找到生命的秘密。他们就是屈原所谓「路漫漫其修遠兮,吾将上下而求索」的那种人。

从来「道不遠人」,探求生命之道的人,「道」和他们不過近在咫尺。天主更是在找寻他者的身旁。

他们终於「看到了」异星!

但看到了又怎样?看到异星的人也许成千上万,但喜欢、追随异星指引的人,只有幾位而已。这幾位也许不是传统所说的三位,但决不会是许多人。

从认识到行动,从信仰到生活,是一個重要和必要的過程,我们需要强大的推动力,还要坚毅的持续力、后续力。

这推动力和持续力的最后来源当然是天主,但近因却可能是一些「人性」的因素:如良好的教育,朋友的鼓励,宗教的启发,别人的榜样,良好的书本所带来的正确知识,及信仰团体的互相支持等。

而行动的最高峰当然便是全人的奉献、一生的奉献、快快乐乐的奉献;献出我们最宝贵的东西,献出我们的一切所有。

 

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY

Search Day and Night - Happily Offer One's All

First Reading: (Is 6: 1-6): All humankind will behold the glory of the Lord
Second Reading: (Eph 3: 2-3, 5-6): All people share in God's graces
Gospel: (Mt 2: 1-12): The wise men came to adore
Chinese classics:
-“The Master said, 'Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and those who love it are not equal to those who delight in it”(1)
-“Investigate circumstances about heaven and man, understand past and present changes, then succeed in establishing a school of thought’ (2)
-“Long as the way is I will continue to search above and below.”(3)
-“The way is never far from humankind.”(4)

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.’….When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Mt 2: 1-2, 10-11)

Among the gifts the three wise men brought, the shiny, expensive gift of gold was a symbol of nobility, indicating they believed that Jesus was King. The fragrance of the smoke released from the burning frankincense symbolized the prayer of humankind ascending to God. It showed that the wise men acknowledged that Jesus was true God. Myrrh was used to anoint the body of a deceased person and prevent the body from decay. It represented the wise men's belief that Jesus was also truly human, like us subject to life and death, sickness and aging.

Besides these three kinds of gifts, Scripture also describes the actions of the wise men: they looked, they were overjoyed, they entered, they worshipped, they offered, etc. This was their meeting with Jesus and the process of their conversion.

'They looked' - this refers to their first meeting and recognition; 'overjoyed' indicates that this first contact and meeting became a source of belief and joy - it showed how highly they treasured the event; 'they entered'- they proceeded from joy to action, they took one more step, their joy was turned into action, their faith became an integral part of their lives and grew deeper. They 'worshipped'- action and life rose to the higher level of faith and conversion, so that they could lay their whole beings and lives before God in total submission; 'they offered'- this symbolized that after people have submitted themselves and acknowledged that all that they are and have belong to God, they henceforth will sacrifice themselves and their whole lives to God.

In this process of 'looking, being overjoyed, entering, worshipping, offering, being overjoyed is a very important key. Confucius said, “Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and those who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.”(1)

To be in contact with someone, to know and acknowledge, all these are important, but not so important as to treasure, to appreciate and love; and to treasure and love cannot be equated with being overjoyed. 'What is good, you are happy about'- this means to be joyful about an event or deed. Some people know they should study and that studying is beneficial, but they are not joyful about studying. Some people know they should help others and believe that in helping others they are helping Jesus, but in carrying out the virtue of love they do not necessarily feel happy. Such people will not persevere in doing good because they are not happy.

We may acknowledge mentally that faith is good, correct and necessary, but even more than that, we must be joyful about our faith and be proud of it.

Intellectually, Christians 'believe' that the Gospel is good news. But if we look carefully at the faces of some of the Christians we meet in church every Sunday we may not necessarily recognize that they have received the good news or that they are going to a joyful banquet. As to those who do not go to church, even less can we judge if they are happy in their faith.

The wise men were what the Jews of that time called 'foreigners' (Gentiles). They were not part of God's 'Chosen People,' nor did they have the same kind of faith the Jewish people had. They may have been astrologers or among those people who in their hearts search for some sort of belief and depth to life. What was special about them was that they were very alert to everything that went on around them; any natural phenomenon was part of their concern.
They were concerned about the environment and they wanted to find the truth; perhaps they daily researched and investigated astronomy, geography, and the like. They did what Si Ma Qian talked about: “Investigate circumstances about heaven and man, understand past and present changes, succeed in establishing a school of thought.”(2) Their aim was to discover the mysteries of life. They were the kind of person Qu Yuan wrote about: “Long as the way is, I will keep searching above and below.(3)

“The way is never far from humankind.”(4) For those who wish to discover the Way to life, the 'Way' is only a short distance away. They need not go far for God is right beside those who search for him. In the end they 'see' the star!

And after the Wise Men saw, what then? Perhaps thousands of people saw the star, but only a few were overjoyed and followed it. There may not have been three as tradition says, but certainly there were not many of them.

From recognizing to action, from faith to life, is an important and necessary process. For this we need strong motivation, determination and perseverance. Ultimately the source of such motivation and determination is God, but the proximate cause can be due to 'human' factors, such as a good education, encouragement from friends, religious inspiration, others' good example, wholesome books that disseminate correct knowledge, mutual support from a faith community, and so on.

The highest point of course is the offering of the whole person, a long-term offering that is happy and joyous, offering all that we have and all that we are.

(1)知之者,不如好之者;好之者,不如樂之者。
(2)究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言。
(3)路漫漫其修遠兮,吾將上下而求索。
(4)道不遠人。

 

 

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019