四旬期第一主日 2019年03月10日


四旬期第一主日

以壯士斷臂之志,破群魔巧佈之局

讀經一:(申26:4-10):選民宣示自己的信仰
讀經二:(羅10:8-13):心裡信服,口中承認主的人必得救
福 音:(路4:1-13):耶穌禁食三退魔誘
中國文化:富貴不能淫、貧賤不能移、威武不能屈。素富貴,行乎富貴;素貧賤,行乎貧賤。衣食足,然後知榮辱。

那時候,耶穌充滿聖神,從約旦河回來,被聖神領到荒野裡去,受魔鬼的試探四十天之久。(面對著魔鬼三次的試探)耶穌回答說:「經上記載:『人不但靠餅,也靠發自天主口中的話而生活。』……經上記載:『你要朝拜上主、你的天主,單單事奉他。』……經上說:『你不可試探上主、你的天主。』」
(路4:1-13節錄)

在瑪竇福音的記載中,耶穌最後還加上了一句驅魔式的、疾言厲色的、聲如洪鐘的話:「去吧!撒殫!」或譯為「撒殫!走開!」(瑪4:10)

「去吧!」「走開!」我們在讀到福音的這個片段時,簡直是如見耶穌其人,如聞耶穌其聲。我們彷彿見到一個頂天立地的巨人,在正氣凜然地把惡魔痛斥到抱頭鼠竄。在「天主的人」面前,怎容惡魔肆虐!

「去吧!」這是一個決絕的斥責,一個沒有妥協的拒絕。

「走開!」耶穌的聲音具有雷霆萬鈞之力,蘊含著懾人的天威,迸發出天地之主對一切邪魔外道的鄙夷和震怒。

如果我們純從耶穌的「人性」去看,我們更會看到一個中國古人夢寐以求的完人典範:人確實可以達到「富貴不能淫、貧賤不能移、威武不能屈」的地步;這是一個富貴不能使他迷惑腐化,貧賤不能動搖他的高潔操守,威武不能使他屈服變節的人,這就是孟子所說的「大丈夫」。

人原來也確有能力做到「素富貴,行乎富貴;素貧賤,行乎貧賤」的境界,即在任何環境中,無論是富貴、貧窮,或順境、逆境,都能恰到好處、恰如其分地,做個堂堂正正的人。

作為一個百分之百的人,耶穌的外表一定沒有什麼與眾不同的地方,否則,他的同鄉也不會拒絕他、輕視他,甚至膽敢「起來把他趕出城外,領他到了山崖上,要把他推下去。」(路4:29)因為在許多人的眼中,耶穌只不過是「若瑟的兒子」而已!(路4:22)

這個真真實實的、在各方面都和我們相似的人,現今在荒野裡,已經在守齋、祈禱中渡過了四十個晝夜;他顯然面容憔悴、饑腸轆轆,站起來時一定也是弱不禁風、搖搖欲墜的了。魔鬼見到這個牠不知來歷、卻又似曾相識的人,怎會不抓緊機會,要把這個人騙入自己的陣營,甚至收為己用呢?

管子所謂「衣食足,然後知榮辱」,即要在足衣、足食之後,才能談理想、仁義道德和信仰等問題,這對許多人來說,都是顛撲不移的真理。所以魔鬼對這個餓到發慌的人的第一個誘惑,當然就是食物。

然後,雖然飽暖的人未必一定思淫慾,但衣食無憂之後,人跟著要追求的,可能便是權勢、榮華了,最好還有神明的庇佑,使人行險而可以僥倖!這就是魔鬼對耶穌的隨後兩個誘惑--以權勢、榮華去吸引耶穌;以對天主的信賴為名,而從聖殿頂跳下去,以博取群眾掌聲,去考驗耶穌。

魔鬼對耶穌的誘惑還附有相當強的宗教理由,一些聽起來十分堂皇的理由。至少,魔鬼不會一開始就露出猙獰的面孔,或用上一些不理性的、荒謬的理由;聰明的魔鬼當然懂得如何包裝自己的邪惡:

「你若是天主子,你就有能力使石頭變成餅!挨餓算什麼聖德?人生活不單靠天主的聖言,還要靠餅呢!物質的豐盛不也是天主的祝福嗎?天主在曠野中,在以色列子民饑餓時,不是也從天上降下瑪納,去養活他們嗎?

「你不必害怕跳下去,因為天主的天使會保護你。跳啊!你不是屬於天主的嗎?你不是『天主的人』嗎?他會忍心讓你的腳踫著石頭嗎?還有,請你看看這個色彩繽紛的大千世界,它將會屬於你,因為我可以把它交給你!寶劍贈烈士,紅粉贈佳人,你絕對是配享這個世界的榮華富貴的!來,朝拜我!」

只說世風日下,或不斷認為今世已是邪魔當道,也許是太過駭人了。但對邪惡勢力的囂張掉以輕心,也同樣是不智的。

面對著可能有的邪惡勢力,和那個隨時可讓我們陷於誘惑的環境,我們需要學習耶穌,懷著大無畏的精神,以壯士斷臂的勇氣,斷然地向魔鬼說「不」;不需討論、不必理由,只需否決和驅逐。

讓我們緊緊追隨耶穌,還天地以正氣,作古今之完人!

四旬期第一主日

以壮士断臂之志,破群魔巧布之局

读经一:(申26:4-10):选民宣示自己的信仰
读经二:(罗10:8-13):心里信服,口中承认主的人必得救
福 音:(路4:1-13):耶稣禁食三退魔誘
中国文化:富贵不能淫、贫贱不能移、威武不能屈。素富贵,行乎富贵;素贫贱,行乎贫贱。衣食足,然后知荣辱。

那時候,耶稣充满圣神,从约旦河回来,被圣神领到荒野里去,受魔鬼的试探四十天之久。(面对著魔鬼三次的试探)耶稣回答说:「经上记载:『人不但靠饼,也靠发自天主口中的话而生活。』……经上记载:『你要朝拜上主、你的天主,单单事奉他。』……经上说:『你不可试探上主、你的天主。』」
(路4:1-13节录)

在玛窦福音的记载中,耶稣最后还加上了一句驱魔式的、疾言厉色的、声如洪钟的话:「去吧!撒殚!」或译为「撒殚!走開!」(玛4:10)

「去吧!」「走開!」我们在读到福音的这個片段時,简直是如见耶稣其人,如闻耶稣其声。我们彷佛见到一個顶天立地的巨人,在正气凛然地把恶魔痛斥到抱头鼠窜。在「天主的人」面前,怎容恶魔肆虐!

「去吧!」这是一個决绝的斥責,一個没有妥协的拒绝。

「走開!」耶稣的声音具有雷霆万钧之力,蕴含著慑人的天威,迸发出天地之主对一切邪魔外道的鄙夷和震怒。

如果我们纯从耶稣的「人性」去看,我们更会看到一個中国古人梦寐以求的完人典范:人确实可以达到「富贵不能淫、贫贱不能移、威武不能屈」的地步;这是一個富贵不能使他迷惑腐化,贫贱不能动摇他的高洁操守,威武不能使他屈服变节的人,这就是孟子所说的「大丈夫」。

人原来也确有能力做到「素富贵,行乎富贵;素贫贱,行乎贫贱」的境界,即在任何环境中,无论是富贵、贫穷,或顺境、逆境,都能恰到好处、恰如其分地,做個堂堂正正的人。

作为一個百分之百的人,耶稣的外表一定没有什么与众不同的地方,否则,他的同乡也不会拒绝他、轻视他,甚至胆敢「起来把他赶出城外,领他到了山崖上,要把他推下去。」(路4:29)因为在许多人的眼中,耶稣只不過是「若瑟的儿子」而已!(路4:22)

这個真真实实的、在各方面都和我们相似的人,现今在荒野里,已经在守斋、祈祷中渡過了四十個昼夜;他显然面容憔悴、饥肠辘辘,站起来時一定也是弱不禁风、摇摇欲坠的了。魔鬼见到这個它不知来历、却又似曾相识的人,怎会不抓紧机会,要把这個人骗入自己的阵營,甚至收为己用呢?

管子所谓「衣食足,然后知荣辱」,即要在足衣、足食之后,才能谈理想、仁义道德和信仰等問题,这对许多人来说,都是颠扑不移的真理。所以魔鬼对这個饿到发慌的人的第一個誘惑,当然就是食物。

然后,虽然饱暖的人未必一定思淫欲,但衣食无忧之后,人跟著要追求的,可能便是权势、荣华了,最好还有神明的庇佑,使人行险而可以侥幸!这就是魔鬼对耶稣的随后两個誘惑--以权势、荣华去吸引耶稣;以对天主的信赖为名,而从圣殿顶跳下去,以博取群众掌声,去考验耶稣。

魔鬼对耶稣的誘惑还附有相当强的宗教理由,一些听起来十分堂皇的理由。至少,魔鬼不会一開始就露出狰狞的面孔,或用上一些不理性的、荒谬的理由;聪明的魔鬼当然懂得如何包装自己的邪恶:

「你若是天主子,你就有能力使石头变成饼!挨饿算什么圣德?人生活不单靠天主的圣言,还要靠饼呢!物质的丰盛不也是天主的祝福吗?天主在旷野中,在以色列子民饥饿時,不是也从天上降下玛纳,去养活他们吗?

「你不必害怕跳下去,因为天主的天使会保护你。跳啊!你不是属於天主的吗?你不是『天主的人』吗?他会忍心让你的脚碰著石头吗?还有,请你看看这個色彩缤纷的大千世界,它将会属於你,因为我可以把它交给你!宝劍赠烈士,红粉赠佳人,你绝对是配享这個世界的荣华富贵的!来,朝拜我!」

只说世风日下,或不断认为今世已是邪魔当道,也许是太過骇人了。但对邪恶势力的嚣张掉以轻心,也同样是不智的。

面对著可能有的邪恶势力,和那個随時可让我们陷於誘惑的环境,我们需要学习耶稣,怀著大无畏的精神,以壮士断臂的勇气,断然地向魔鬼说「不」;不需讨论、不必理由,只需否决和驱逐。

让我们紧紧追随耶稣,还天地以正气,作古今之完人!

First Sunday of Lent

With the Determination of the Warrior who Cuts Off his Arm,
Destroy the Crafty Plans of the Devil

First Reading (Deut 26: 4-10): The Chosen People proclaimed their faith
Second Reading (Rom 10: 8-13): Those with faith who verbally acknowledge God will be saved
Gospel (Lk 4: 1-13): Jesus fasted, then three times overcame the devil's temptations
Chinese classics:
-“Riches cannot corrupt me; poverty cannot move me; force cannot make me bend.”(1)
-“Being rich, behave with dignity; being poor, behave with dignity.” (2)
-“Sufficiently fed and clothed, one becomes conscious of honor and shame”. (3)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil... Jesus answered him “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ ...It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.’ ...It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Lk 4: 1-13, summarized)


In Matthew's version of this passage, Jesus added a word of exorcism at the end. In a loud voice as clear as a bell, he called out, “Away with you Satan!” (Mt 4: 10). Or we could translate it, “Go away! Be gone!”

“Go away! Be gone!” When we read this verse in the Gospel, it is as if we can see Jesus himself and hear his voice. We seem to see a giant standing firmly on his own ground, coldly scolding the devil so that the devil could only run away like a mouse! In the face of such 'a man of God', how could the devil harm at will?

“Go away.” This is a definitive rebuke, an uncompromising rejection.

“Go away.” Jesus' voice had the power of thunder, showing a strength which came from the majestic God. It showed clearly the cold rage and wrath the Lord of heaven and earth felt towards the devil' wiles.

If we look at this from the viewpoint of Jesus' human nature only, we can see a perfect model of what ancient Chinese people dreamt about. A person actually can reach such a stage: “Riches cannot corrupt me; poverty cannot move me; force cannot make me bend.” (1) Such a person cannot be tempted or corrupted by riches and honors. That person's high standard of moral principles cannot be shaken by poverty or humble conditions. Nor can power or force make the person bow or bend. Mencius described such a person as a 'great man.'

We humans really do have the ability to reach the stage of “being rich, and behaving with dignity; being poor and behaving with dignity.”(2) That is, people can live and act appropriately no matter what their environment, whether there is wealth or poverty, good or bad fortune. Whatever the circumstances, the person remains a righteous, dignified human being.

Jesus was a full human person, externally no different from other people. Otherwise, his neighbors would not have rejected and looked down on him, even to the point where “they got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. (Lk 4: 29). In the eyes of many people, Jesus was just “Joseph's son.”(Lk 4:22)

This fully human person, similar to us in every aspect, was now in the wilderness, having fasted and prayed for forty days and nights. His face would have been pale, he would have been hungry and weak, probably even shaky when he stood up. Satan saw a person somewhat familiar but whose background he did not know. How could the devil not grasp the opportunity to draw this person into his own circle, even to use him for his own purposes?

When Guan Zi said, “Sufficiently fed and clothed, then one becomes conscious of honor and shame”(3) he meant that only after a person had enough to eat and wear could he talk about ideals, benevolence, justice, or moral standards and religious issues. This is an obvious and simple truth to many people. That is why when a person is starving and is near death, the devil's first temptation, of course, is food.
.
Although people who are over-fed and dressed too ornately do not necessarily have covetous thoughts, still, when they need not worry about basic needs they are more inclined to pursue power and glory. It is so much better if such people were under God's special protection so as to avoid too much risk! So Satan's temptations to Jesus were to attract him to power and honor, using trust in God as the excuse. Therefore he tempted Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple in order to be acclaimed by all the people.

This temptation of Jesus actually has some strong religious reasons, quite reasonable to some who hear it. At least at the very start, Satan does not show his cunning face or use unreasonable or ridiculous reasons. The clever devil knows how to mask his evil ways!

“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to be turn into bread! What virtue is there in being hungry? Human life relies not only on God's Word but also on bread! Isn’t material abundance a sign of God's blessing? When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness, did not God send down manna from heaven to save their lives?

“Do not be afraid to jump down, God will send angels to protect you. Jump! Do you not belong to God? Are you not a 'man of God'? Would God let your foot slip on a rock? Look at the magnificent world with such myriad colors, all of it will belong to you because I can give it all to you! As a warrior deserves a precious sword and a hero unmatched beauty, you surely are worthy of such glory and honor! Come, worship me!”

Today some people say that 'moral degeneration in the world is becoming worse day by day' or 'the world is in the grip of the devil.' Perhaps such words sound too frightening, but it is also unwise to look too lightly on the presence of evil and the wiles of the devil.

When we are facing the possibility of evil's power, and the circumstances that can so often lead us into temptation, we need to learn from Jesus. We must have a fearless spirit, and with the courage of 'cutting off one's arm', say a definite 'No' to Satan. There is no need to discuss or look for reasons, we must overcome the temptation and thrust it far from us.

With complete righteousness let us follow Jesus closely and become for all time a person full of integrity.

(1)富貴不能淫、貧賤不能移、威武不能屈。
(2)素富貴,行乎富貴;素貧賤,行乎貧賤。
(3)衣食足,然後知榮辱。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019