主受洗節 2019年01月13日


主受洗節

人間滿安慰,天上樂融融

讀經一:(依40:1-5,9-11):安慰書
讀經二:(鐸2:11-14;3:4-7):天主的愛與救恩已顯示出來
福 音:(路3:15-16,21-22):耶穌受洗
中國文化:舜何人也,予何人也,有為者亦若是。將相本無種,男兒當自強。天行健,君子以自強不息。盡日尋春不見春,芒鞋踏破壟頭雲;歸來偶過桃花下,春在枝頭已十分。


你們安慰、安慰我的百姓吧!你們要向耶路撒冷說寬心的話,向她宣告:她的奴役已經結束,她的罪債已經清償,因為她為了自己的一切罪過,已經從上主手中承受了雙倍的懲罰。(依40:1-2)

這段經文是依撒意亞先知「安慰書」的開場白;韓德爾在他的《默西亞》(The Messiah)神劇中,第一首獨唱曲也是引用了這段經文。
這是令人很感興奮和安慰的一段話,尤其是對於處在逆境中的、已經國破家亡的、以為是被天主捨棄了的猶太「選民」來說,這無疑更是一個莫大的喜訊。

基督徒喜歡談罪,認為人應該謙卑,要懺悔、認罪,要皈依、回頭。並認為我們都是罪人,必須在基督內重生,才有可能獲得救贖。所以我們在教會中,尤其在基督新教中,經常聽到的就是罪、罪、罪。

天主教在口頭上,並沒有像基督教那麼的強調罪,但天主教的修和聖事或告解聖事,或者在每台彌撒前的懺悔禮,本身即已在強調罪的存在。

「罪」在不知不覺之中,已經成了基督教會道理的主要調子、基本內容和旋律。

中國文化則很少有基督徒式的罪的觀念。儒家更認為人有無限向上的潛能,認為人人都可以「向裡用力」,努力修身,以達人生境界的極致;因為人人都可以成為堯舜,都可以成為聖人,都可以登上生命的顛峰。所以孟子說:「舜何人也,予何人也,有為者亦若是。」(孟子‧滕文公上)

中國人為教育下一代,有三本所謂的「訓蒙」讀本,其中的《幼學詩》開頭便有這麼的兩句:「將相本無種,男兒當自強。」《易經》也教人要效法天而自強,它說:「天行健,君子以自強不息。

佛教思想較易在中國的知識分子中生根,是因為佛教也有「向裡用力」的傾向。佛教,尤其是禪宗的學說,就認為人人都有佛性,只要「明心」就可以「見性」,「見性」就可以「成佛」。這便是所謂的「自力」的宗教。

這篇短短的道理並不企圖解決這些思想上的分歧和紛爭,只是想嘗試指出這些問題的一個關鍵。這個關鍵就是:天主教說的是最後的、最終極的問題,而中國文化要面對的,則是今世的、現實的生命。

我曾看過一幅天主教海報,上面有句標語:「如果天主不向人伸手,人不可能接觸到天主。」這是完全正確的神學觀,這也是天主教神學一向肯定的真理:一切恩寵都是來自上主,沒有他,我們連「稱耶穌是主」都不可能!

但熱愛全人類的天主,他有不向人伸手的時候嗎?如果他的愛廣被宇宙,他的救恩達於地極,他從來就未曾把他的手、他的愛收回,那麼,剩下來該說的,就是:「天主已經向一切人伸出了他仁慈和援助的手,人只要一伸手,就可以接觸到天主。 」

毫無疑問,救恩確是來自天主的,但這位天主已經來了,人類已經沐浴在上主大愛的汪洋裡。我們要強調罪,還是要強調救恩呢?我們要對天主的慈愛滿懷安慰,還是仍要永恆地汲汲於自己的罪性呢?

在今天耶穌受洗節的福音中,路加說:「天開了;聖神藉著宛如鴿子的形象降臨耶穌頭上;天上有聲音說:你是我的愛子,我因你而喜悅。」(路3:21-22)

這是一幅多麼充滿快樂、溫馨、喜氣洋洋的圖畫!連天都開了,中國人新年中所有的頌祝和賀詞,加起來也不足以表達這種「天開了」的盛況!

世界從此已經充滿了光明和希望;默西亞的時代、新的時代已經來臨了,天國已經悄然降到人間!

我想起了一首小詩:盡日尋春不見春,芒鞋踏破壟頭雲;歸來偶過桃花下,春在枝頭已十分。

這首小詩說出春天已到人間,這不是人自己製造得出來的。我們應該學會去發現春天、享受春天,就如同我們應該回應上主的呼喚,快樂地享受他所賜給我們的救恩一樣。

 

主受洗节

人间满安慰,天上乐融融

读经一:(依40:1-5,9-11):安慰书
读经二:(铎2:11-14;3:4-7):天主的爱与救恩已显示出来
福 音:(路3:15-16,21-22):耶稣受洗
中国文化:舜何人也,予何人也,有为者亦若是。将相本无种,男儿当自强。天行健,君子以自强不息。尽日寻春不见春,芒鞋踏破垄头云;归来偶過桃花下,春在枝头已十分。


你们安慰、安慰我的百姓吧!你们要向耶路撒冷说宽心的话,向她宣告:她的奴役已经结束,她的罪债已经清偿,因为她为了自己的一切罪過,已经从上主手中承受了双倍的惩罚。(依40:1-2)

这段经文是依撒意亚先知「安慰书」的開场白;韩德尔在他的《默西亚》 (The Messiah)神剧中,第一首独唱曲也是引用了这段经文。
这是令人很感兴奋和安慰的一段话,尤其是对於处在逆境中的、已经国破家亡的、以为是被天主舍弃了的犹太「选民」来说,这无疑更是一個莫大的喜讯。

基督徒喜欢谈罪,认为人应該谦卑,要忏悔、认罪,要皈依、回头。并认为我们都是罪人,必须在基督内重生,才有可能获得救赎。所以我们在教会中,尤其在基督新教中,经常听到的就是罪、罪、罪。

天主教在口头上,并没有像基督教那么的强调罪,但天主教的修和圣事或告解圣事,或者在每台弥撒前的忏悔礼,本身即已在强调罪的存在。

「罪」在不知不觉之中,已经成了基督教会道理的主要调子、基本内容和旋律。

中国文化则很少有基督徒式的罪的观念。儒家更认为人有无限向上的潜能,认为人人都可以「向里用力」,努力修身,以达人生境界的极致;因为人人都可以成为堯舜,都可以成为圣人,都可以登上生命的颠峰。所以孟子说:「舜何人也,予何人也,有为者亦若是。」(孟子・ 滕文公上)

中国人为教育下一代,有三本所谓的「训蒙」读本,其中的《幼学诗》 开头便有这么的两句:「将相本无种,男儿当自强。」《易经》 也教人要效法天而自强,它说:「天行健,君子以自强不息。

佛教思想较易在中国的知识分子中生根,是因为佛教也有「向里用力」的倾向。佛教,尤其是禅宗的学说,就认为人人都有佛性,只要「明心」就可以「见性」,「见性」就可以「成佛」。这便是所谓的「自力」的宗教。

这篇短短的道理并不企图解决这些思想上的分歧和纷争,只是想尝试指出这些問题的一個关键。这個关键就是:天主教说的是最后的、最终极的問题,而中国文化要面对的,则是今世的、现实的生命。

我曾看過一幅天主教海报,上面有句标语:「如果天主不向人伸手,人不可能接触到天主。」这是完全正确的神学观,这也是天主教神学一向肯定的真理:一切恩宠都是来自上主,没有他,我们连「称耶稣是主」都不可能!

但热爱全人类的天主,他有不向人伸手的時候吗?如果他的爱广被宇宙,他的救恩达於地极,他从来就未曾把他的手、他的爱收回,那么,剩下来該说的,就是:「天主已经向一切人伸出了他仁慈和援助的手,人只要一伸手,就可以接触到天主。」

毫无疑問,救恩确是来自天主的,但这位天主已经来了,人类已经沐浴在上主大爱的汪洋里。我们要强调罪,还是要强调救恩呢?我们要对天主的慈爱满怀安慰,还是仍要永恒地汲汲於自己的罪性呢?

在今天耶稣受洗节的福音中,路加说:「天開了;圣神藉著宛如鸽子的形象降临耶稣头上;天上有声音说:你是我的爱子,我因你而喜悦。」(路3:21-22)

这是一幅多么充满快乐、温馨、喜气洋洋的图画!连天都開了,中国人新年中所有的颂祝和贺词,加起来也不足以表达这种「天開了」的盛况!

世界从此已经充满了光明和希望;默西亚的時代、新的時代已经来临了,天国已经悄然降到人间!

我想起了一首小诗:尽日寻春不见春,芒鞋踏破垄头云;归来偶過桃花下,春在枝头已十分。

这首小诗说出春天已到人间,这不是人自己制造得出来的。我们应該学会去发现春天、享受春天,就如同我们应該回应上主的呼唤,快乐地享受他所赐给我们的救恩一样。

 

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Consolation for All People - Heaven full of Joy

First Reading (Is 40: 1-5, 9-11)): Book of Consolation
Second Reading (Tit 2: 11-14, 3: 4-7): God's love and salvation is revealed already
Gospel (Lk 3: 15-16, 21-22): Baptism of Jesus
Chinese classics:
-“What kind of man is Xun? What kind of man am I? He who exerts himself will become such as Xun was.”(1)
-“Generals and prime ministers are not born but made. A man should be self-reliant. (2).”
-“In its motion heaven gives the idea of strength. In accordance with this the superior man exerts himself to ceaseless activity”.(3)
-“All day long we search for spring and do not see spring. Straw sandals are broken as they reach for the tips of the clouds. By chance on return we pass the peach blossoms and spring is all over there on the branches.” (4)

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Is 40: 1-2)

This passage is taken from the opening verses of the 'The Book of Consolation' in the Book of Isaiah. Handel used it for the first solo aria in his oratorio 'The Messiah.'

It is a delightful passage, full of consolation, especially for the Jews who thought they were God's 'Chosen People. 'They had been banished, seen their country destroyed and so thought they had been forsaken by God.

Christians like to talk about sin and think people should be ashamed and contrite, acknowledge their sin, be converted and repent. Moreover, they think that before we can be saved we must admit we are sinners who must be born again in Christ. That is why in the church, especially among Christians of other persuasions, we hear so often about sin, sin, sin.

In the Catholic church, we do not emphasize sin as much as some other Christians, but the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or 'Confession') and the 'Confiteor' at the start of every Mass stress the existence of sin. Almost without realizing it, 'sin' has become a main 'tune,' a fundamental theme in Christianity.

The Christian concept of sin is seldom found in Chinese culture. Confucians believe that human beings have unlimited potential and everyone can 'exert one's inner strength,' cultivate and improve oneself in order to obtain the highest achievements in life. Each one can be like Yao and Xun, become a sage and reach the highest peak in life. That was why Mencius said, “What kind of man was Xun? What kind of man am I? He who exerts himself will become such as Xun was.” (1) (Works of Mencius, Bk III, Dang Wan Gung, Chap 1-4)

To educate the next generation Chinese people refer to three books dedicated to the teaching of the very young. One of them is 'Poems for the Young to Learn'. It begins with these lines, “Generals and prime ministers are not born but made. A man should be self-reliant.”(2) The Book of Changes also teaches people to model themselves on the heavens and strengthen themselves. “In its motion heaven gives the idea of strength. In accordance with this, the superior man exerts himself to ceaseless activity.” (3)

Chinese intellectuals find Buddhist concepts easier to accept because Buddhism has a similar concept of 'to exert one's inner strength.' Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism, believes that all people have a 'buddhist nature' and if they can understand their own hearts, they can find their true nature and reach the state of Buddha. That is what is called a religion of self-fulfillment.

This short explanation is not sufficient to explain the differences and disparities between these religions, but there is one point we can make. That is that Catholicism talks about the end or ultimate concern, while Chinese culture speaks about the present world and concrete life.

I once saw a Catholic poster with the slogan, 'If God does not reach out a hand to us human beings, we cannot reach God.' That is a perfectly correct theological view and a truth always affirmed by Catholic theology: all grace comes from God, and without God we cannot even so much as 'proclaim that Jesus is God.'

But has not God who so loves all of humankind already stretched out a hand to us? If God's love is as broad as the entire universe and His salvation has been extended to all, is it not true that God has never withdrawn his hand or his love? So it is more correct to say, 'God has already reached out to all the hand of mercy and assistance, we need but to stretch out our hands to reach God.'

Without a doubt salvation has come to us from God. But God has come already and humankind already has been washed in the water of God's love. What then should we emphasize, sin or salvation? Should we be full of consolation at God's mercy or constantly immersed in our own guilt?

In the Gospel for today, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Luke says, “The heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Lk 3: 21-22). ,

This is a portrait full of happiness, warmth and joy! Even Heaven itself opened. All the combined joyous celebrations of the Lunar New Year cannot express the wonderful exhilaration of that exclamation, 'The Heavens opened!'

From now on the world is filled with light and hope. The time of the Messiah, a new age, has already come, the kingdom of heaven has come silently into our midst!

I recall a little Chinese poem: “All day long we search for spring and do not see spring. Straw sandals are broken as they reach for the tip of the clouds. By chance on return we pass the peach blossoms, and spring is all over there on the branches.”(4)

This little poem is about spring having come to the earth. But spring is not something we ourselves can produce. We should learn to discover spring and enjoy it in the same way as we learn to respond to God's call and happily enjoy the grace of salvation which God has bestowed on us.

(1)舜何人也,予何人也,有為者亦若是。
(2)將相本無種,男兒當自強。
(3)天行健,君子以自強不息。
(4)盡日尋春不見春,芒鞋踏破壟頭雲;歸來偶過桃花下,春在枝頭已十分。

 

 

現場講道(粵語)

教友證道


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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019