常年期第六主日 2019年02月17日


常年期第六主日

禍兮福所倚,福兮禍所伏

讀經一:(耶17:5-8):信靠上主者蒙祝福
讀經二:(格前15:12,16-20):若基督沒有復活,信仰便成空
福 音:(路6:17,20-26):真福與真禍
中國文化:是貧也,非憋也。天子不得臣,諸侯不得友。

你們貧窮的人真有福,因為天主的國是你們的。你們現在饑餓的人真有福,因為你們將得飽飫……你們富有的人是有禍的,因為你們已經得到了你們的安慰。你們現在飽飫的人是有禍的,因為你們將要饑餓……
(路6:20-26)


耶穌在他的訓導中,最重要的言論可說是真福的言論,這也是他整個「山中聖訓」的導言、總綱和精神的所在。我們都習慣稱這些為「真福八端」。

瑪竇福音第五章開頭記載的有「八端」真福,路加在這裡記載的卻只有四端「真福」,其它四端卻是「真禍」。

而且,瑪竇在講真福時用的字眼,很富「精神」的性質或者是「靈性」的色彩,例如「神」貧,「慕義」如饑似渴,為「義」而受迫害等等。路加則直接了當地說:貧窮、饑餓、哭泣、憎恨、拒絕、辱罵詛咒。

有些解經學者稱路加福音為貧窮人的福音,認為它好像是特別為貧窮人而寫的,常在有意或無意之間,面對著貧窮人,關心著貧窮人的命運,也特別的為貧窮人發言。從今天的這篇聖經看來,這個觀點看來頗有道理。

當我們讀到今天的福音時,路加指的那四類有福的人是真真實實的苦人,他們是一無所有的窮人、缺少食糧的饑餓的人、在坎坷的生活中哭泣的人、因基督或因理想而被有錢有權的人迫害的人,耶穌認為這些不幸的人,都是有福的人。和這四種人相對的那四種有禍的人,則是真真實實的富有的人、飽飫的人、歡笑的人、被人誇讚的人。

真實的幸福和真實的災禍,在耶穌的眼中,與世俗人的看法,是多麼的不同,其中的差距何只霄壤,相距又何止雲泥!

作為一個基督徒,我們不單要相信、要領受洗禮,還要皈依——整個人的皈依,向基督的皈依。

保祿認為,我們相信基督而又接受洗禮的其中一個效果就是:「我們藉著洗禮,已歸於死亡與他同葬了,為的是基督怎樣藉著父的光榮從死者中復活了,我們也怎樣在新生活中度生。」(羅6:4)

這個新生活必須包括要有新思想,要有思想上的更新。真的基督徒必須生活像基督,思想像基督,並以福音的精神、福音的理想、福音的價值觀,作為自己生活的準則和規範。

今天的福音給我們啟發的一個新思想就是:感到有欠缺的人是有福的;意識到自己的生命不足、一無所有、十分的需要別人和天主的人,是有福的。反過來說,不感到欠缺,不感到有任何「需要」的人,是有禍的。

在基督徒的信仰生活實踐中,那些在世上擁有太多物質、太多財富,生活太順境的人,似乎真的是較難接觸到天主,也和信仰好像有點格格不入。

以色列人往往就是在順境中,便會忘記、甚至背叛天主。待到天主懲罰他們,而使他們處在逆境時,他們才會痛悔、回頭。所以整部古經、整個猶太人的歷史,好像都是一個不斷的循環:順境、背叛、懲罰、逆境、悔改、赦免、順境……。

我們不是也往往在逆境中才「臨急抱天主的腳」,才會去祈禱嗎?我們不是往往在困苦中、艱難中、無奈中,才尋回自己的信仰嗎?

今日的聖召危機,不是也和都市化、和人們擁有物質的多寡成反比例嗎?中國大陸有很多聖召,卻大多是從較貧窮的農村來的;富裕的北京、上海、廣州、武漢等大都市,早已和香港一樣,沒有聖召了!

又當我們看到貧窮的莊子在君王面前,能毫無愧色地說:「是貧也,非憋也」的時候,他是多麼的充滿自信、多麼的神采飛揚。而貧窮的曾子能日日引吭高歌,聲振金石,致使「天子不得臣,諸侯不得友」,他的心靈,又是多麼的灑脫、無憂和快樂?

物質的豐盛、財富和順境,其實都不是問題,它們本來也是天主的祝福,是好的。問題只在於:我們容易把這些物質當作「天主」,當作我們生命的歸宿,和我們一生奮鬥之所繫,這些物質很易掩蓋了我們注視天主的眼目。

神貧給我們提供一個自空的生命境界,在那裡,我們會更易被天主所充滿。所以神貧的人是有福的,因為天國是他們的,天主是他們的。

 

 

常年期第六主日

祸兮福所倚,福兮祸所伏

读经一:(耶17:5-8):信靠上主者蒙祝福
读经二:(格前15:12,16-20):若基督没有复活,信仰便成空
福 音:(路6:17,20-26):真福与真祸
中国文化:是贫也,非憋也。天子不得臣,诸侯不得友。

你们贫穷的人真有福,因为天主的国是你们的。你们现在饥饿的人真有福,因为你们将得饱饫……你们富有的人是有祸的,因为你们已经得到了你们的安慰。你们现在饱饫的人是有祸的,因为你们将要饥饿……
(路6:20-26)


耶稣在他的训导中,最重要的言论可说是真福的言论,这也是他整個「山中圣训」的导言、总纲和精神的所在。我们都习惯称这些为「真福八端」。

玛窦福音第五章開头记载的有「八端」真福,路加在这里记载的却只有四端「真福」,其它四端却是「真祸」。

而且,玛窦在讲真福時用的字眼,很富「精神」的性质或者是「灵性」的色彩,例如「神」贫,「慕义」如饥似渴,为「义」而受迫害等等。路加则直接了当地说:贫穷、饥饿、哭泣、憎恨、拒绝、辱骂诅咒。

有些解经学者称路加福音为贫穷人的福音,认为它好像是特别为贫穷人而写的,常在有意或无意之间,面对著贫穷人,关心著贫穷人的命运,也特别的为贫穷人发言。从今天的这篇圣经看来,这個观点看来颇有道理。

当我们读到今天的福音時,路加指的那四类有福的人是真真实实的苦人,他们是一无所有的穷人、缺少食粮的饥饿的人、在坎坷的生活中哭泣的人、因基督或因理想而被有钱有权的人迫害的人,耶稣认为这些不幸的人,都是有福的人。和这四种人相对的那四种有祸的人,则是真真实实的富有的人、饱饫的人、欢笑的人、被人夸赞的人。

真实的幸福和真实的灾祸,在耶稣的眼中,与世俗人的看法,是多么的不同,其中的差距何只霄壤,相距又何止云泥!

作为一個基督徒,我们不单要相信、要领受洗礼,还要皈依——整個人的皈依,向基督的皈依。

保禄认为,我们相信基督而又接受洗礼的其中一個效果就是:「我们藉著洗礼,已归於死亡与他同葬了,为的是基督怎样藉著父的光荣从死者中复活了,我们也怎样在新生活中度生。」(罗6:4)

这個新生活必须包括要有新思想,要有思想上的更新。真的基督徒必须生活像基督,思想像基督,并以福音的精神、福音的理想、福音的价值观,作为自己生活的准则和规范。

今天的福音给我们启发的一個新思想就是:感到有欠缺的人是有福的;意识到自己的生命不足、一无所有、十分的需要别人和天主的人,是有福的。反過来说,不感到欠缺,不感到有任何「需要」的人,是有祸的。

在基督徒的信仰生活实踐中,那些在世上拥有太多物质、太多财富,生活太顺境的人,似乎真的是较难接触到天主,也和信仰好像有点格格不入。

以色列人往往就是在顺境中,便会忘记、甚至背叛天主。待到天主惩罚他们,而使他们处在逆境時,他们才会痛悔、回头。所以整部古经、整個犹太人的历史,好像都是一個不断的循环:顺境、背叛、惩罚、逆境、悔改、赦免、顺境……。

我们不是也往往在逆境中才「临急抱天主的脚」,才会去祈祷吗?我们不是往往在困苦中、艰难中、无奈中,才寻回自己的信仰吗?

今日的圣召危机,不是也和都市化、和人们拥有物质的多寡成反比例吗?中国大陆有很多圣召,却大多是从较贫穷的农村来的;富裕的北京、上海、广州、武汉等大都市,早已和香港一样,没有圣召了!

又当我们看到贫穷的庄子在君王面前,能毫无愧色地说:「是贫也,非憋也」的時候,他是多么的充满自信、多么的神采飞扬。而贫穷的曾子能日日引吭高歌,声振金石,致使「天子不得臣,诸侯不得友」,他的心灵,又是多么的洒脱、无忧和快乐?

物质的丰盛、财富和顺境,其实都不是問题,它们本来也是天主的祝福,是好的。問题只在於:我们容易把这些物质当作「天主」,当作我们生命的归宿,和我们一生奋斗之所系,这些物质很易掩盖了我们注视天主的眼目。

神贫给我们提供一個自空的生命境界,在那里,我们会更易被天主所充满。所以神贫的人是有福的,因为天国是他们的,天主是他们的。

 

 

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Bad Fortune Depends on Good Fortune;
Good Fortune Exists in Bad Fortune

First Reading: (Jer 17: 5 -8): Blessed are those who trust in the Lord
Second Reading: (1 Cor: 15: 12, 16-20): If Christ was not raised our faith is in vain
Gospel: (Lk 6: 17, 20- 16): True Blessings and True Woes
Chinese classics:
“Poor yes, but not insecure.”(1)
“The emperor could not have him for a minister nor the lords for friend.” (2)

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled…But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry..." (Lk 6: 20-26)

One can say that of all Jesus' teachings the most important are the Beatitudes. They are an introduction to the entire 'Sermon on the Mount,' a summary of all that is contained in it. We usually call them the 'Eight Beatitudes.'

In Chapter five of Matthew's Gospel they are called the Eight Beatitudes, in Luke's Gospel there are only Four Beatitudes and'Four Woes.' Also, the words Matthew uses in speaking of the Beatitudes are full of 'spirit' or rather, have a 'spiritual' connotation, as 'poverty of spirit,' 'spiritual hunger,' 'suffering for the sake of justice,' etc. Luke however is very straightforward. He speaks outright of poverty, hunger, sorrow, hatred, rejection, curses.

Some Scripture scholars call Luke's gospel the Gospel of the poor, as if he wrote it especially for the poor. It is as if, intentionally or not, Luke was always addressing those who were actually poor and that he cared for the fate of poor people. From today's Gospel reading this view seems reasonable.

When we read today's gospel, Luke's four 'blessings' point to people who are truly suffering from hunger, people who are really poor with nothing at all, those who are truly hungry from lack of sufficient food, those whose lives are filled with sorrow, or people who are persecuted by the rich and powerful because they follow Christ or adhere to their ideals. Jesus thinks such unfortunate people are blessed. The four kinds of people who are the opposite from them are really the ones 'full of woe', that is, the rich, the satisfied, those who are too jubilant or are praised by others. How different from the viewpoint of worldly persons is Jesus' viewpoint of who are truly blessed and who are full of woe. It is like the distance between heaven and earth, or between peoples' different social standings.

As Christians we not only must believe and be baptized. Besides that we must be converted completely, that is, commit ourselves entirely to Christ.

Paul wrote about what should be a result of our faith in Christ and our Baptism:“We have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom 6:4)

This newness of life must include new consideration, a real change in how we think. True Christians must live like Christ, think like Christ, and take the spirit, ideals and values of the Gospel as their criterion and norm of life.

Today's Gospel gives us an insight into what this new thinking might be. Those who feel they have deficiencies are blessed; blessed also are those who are aware that their lives lack something, that they have nothing in themselves, that they have a great need for other people and for God. On the other hand, woe to those who are unaware of any inadequacy or who feel they have no need for anything or anyone else.

It seems that in living a Christian faith-life, those who have too many material possessions, too great wealth or too comfortable a life, will find it more difficult to be in contact with God. Their lives seem somewhat separated from their faith.

When the Israelites' lives were without trouble, they easily forgot God or turned against God. Only when God punished them and they underwent vicissitudes did they repent and turn back to God. Throughout the whole Old Testament and the entire history of the Jews, there was this continuous convolution: life without trouble, revolt against God, punishment, calamity, contrition, life without trouble...

Is it not true that only when we are in the midst of adversity do we 'quickly grasp the feet of God' and start to pray? Or only when we undergo suffering or difficulties do we turn again to our faith ?

Is not the crisis in religious vocations today due in part to urbanization and people seeking a higher standard of living? There are many religious vocations in Mainland China. Most of the young men and women come from comparatively poor rural areas. The large prosperous cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan are similar to Hong Kong, they no longer have vocations.

Zhuang Zi was very poor but when he stood before the emperor he was neither ashamed nor embarrassed. When he said, “Poor yes, but not insecure,”(1) he was so confident and impressive. In the same way, the poor Zeng Zi spent his days singing in the loudest possible voice, in a tone so clear it was like gold and jade, “The Emperor could not have him for a minister, nor the lords for friend.”(2) He had no worries, he was so happy and carefree.

Actually, abundance of material possessions, wealth and a comfortable life are not problems. They are really God's blessings and are good. The problem is that we so easily make these material things our 'god,' our 'idol.' We look on them as the end-all and be-all of life, the only things worth struggling for in life. These material possessions can easily prevent us from keeping our eyesight on the gaze of God.

Spiritual poverty provides us with a space to live in. There it is easier for us to be filled with God. Therefore, blessed are the poor in spirit because the kingdom of God is theirs. God Himself is theirs.

(1)是貧也,非憋也。
(2)天子不得臣,諸侯不得友。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019