四旬期第二主日 2019年03月17日


四旬期第二主日

英雄有淚不空流,只為天國哭教會

讀經一:(創15:5-12,17-18):天主與亞巴郎立約
讀經二:(斐3:17-21;4:1):保祿為信徒的行為憂心
福 音:(路9:28-36):耶穌顯聖容
中國文化:行吟澤畔,顏色憔悴,形容枯槁。
     究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言。
     百姓瘡痍,詩中聖哲;民間疾苦,筆底波瀾。

弟兄們:你們全體要效法我,也要注意那些按照我們的榜樣而生活行事的人。我曾多次對你們說過,現在又含著淚說:有許多人,行事為人,是基督十字架的敵人;他們的結局是喪亡,他們的神是自己的肚腹,以羞辱的事為光榮,只思念俗世的事。但對我們來說,我們的家鄉是在天上。
(斐3:17-20)

這段話是教會中的一位大宗徒,對他所熱愛的教會中部分人士的大控訴,而且是「含淚的」控訴,是一種愛之深、責之切的肺腑之言、血淚之音。

我們習慣稱我們的教會做「聖教會」,這是對的。因為我們的「教主」、那位建立教會的基督是聖的;我們的教會有滋養我們靈性生命的「聖事」,有導引我們升天的「十誡」,有使我們進入聖域賢關的「各種方法」。但教會在第二屆梵蒂岡大公會議之後,也懂得稱自己是「罪人的教會」,因為,即使這個教會是聖的,但組成這個教會的,卻是罪人。

教會對罪的自我意識,可從下面的例子看得很清楚:教宗若望保祿二世曾於2000年這個千禧年的四旬期開始,發表了一分文告,名為《回憶與修和:教會與過往的錯誤》,並在聖伯多祿大殿主持了一個歷史性的禮儀,為教會在過去二千年所犯的錯誤,向上主公開求恕,亦公開向全世界懺悔。其實,教會在所有彌撒之前,都必定舉行懺悔禮,可見教會很清楚自己那有罪的本質。

正是面對著這些罪:教會的罪、教友的罪,保祿宗徒作出「含淚的」控訴。

世上有很多至情至性的人,他們胸懷天下、背負蒼生;他們古道熱腸,有大慈大悲的心願;他們常對別人的遭遇,感同身受,但亦因此而飽嚐了人溺己溺、人饑己饑的刺骨之痛。

所以在中國歷史中,就有為了國家的興亡而憂心忡忡,以致「行吟澤畔,顏色憔悴,形容枯槁」的屈原;有為了「究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言」,以讓中華文化得以薪火相傳,而甘心忍辱負重的司馬遷;也有因為關心人民的命運,同情他們生活的坎坷,而被譽為「百姓瘡痍,詩中聖哲;民間疾苦,筆底波瀾」的大詩人杜甫。

大抵人愈是有情、有心,便愈會感受到生命的無常、人間的疾苦和疼痛。心理學家亦發現:一個人是否成熟、成長,其中一個重要標誌,就是他是否懂得為自己、為別人、為國家民族而擔憂,是否能以捨我其誰的擔當,去背起歷史的重擔。

今天的保祿,就盡顯了這一特性。他為了天主、為了耶穌、為了教會、為了信仰的理想而憂心如焚;他面對著那些在信仰上毫不長進、甚至在信仰上作了相反見證的人,只能多次地,甚至「含著淚」去作苦口婆心的勸告。

保祿加入的教會,原是一個充滿理想的教會。耶穌降生成人,本來就是為了建設天國,使天主的旨意得以實現在人間,如同在天上;而教會即是這個天國的工匠,是建設天國的工人。所以信徒本身便應是一群有理想、有信仰、有基督精神的人。教會絕不是一個同鄉會或一個俱樂部;信徒也不是一群登記了的會員,更不是一些爭名逐利、結黨營私的俗人。

但在保祿的眼中,他所看到的一些教會人士,竟然是「基督十字架的敵人,他們的神是自己的肚腹,以羞辱的事為光榮,只思念俗世的事!

作為一個終身為基督而奉獻的人,保祿也像孔子一樣熱愛人間、關切世運;他希望自己的教會是一個完美無暇的教會,希望自己的同工,都是一些活力充沛的人。但擺在眼前的殘酷事實,卻是有些表面上和他有相同信仰的人,卻在做一些和自己的信仰完全格格不入的事。他怎能不為此而憂心忡忡呢?

但這些事在一個「罪人的教會」中,是一定會發生的,而且永遠都會發生。唯一的面對之道,是相信「我們的家鄉是在天上」。我們要學會在世而不屬世,要肯定世界而又超越世界,要牢牢地扎根在塵世之中,而堅定地注目永恆、放眼天上。

或許,這是我們唯一可以協調理想與現實之間矛盾的方法,也可以讓我們在這無奈之中,給我們以永不熄滅的心火,和永不動搖的盼望。

 

 

四旬期第二主日

英雄有淚不空流,只为天国哭教会

读经一:(创15:5-12,17-18):天主与亚巴郎立约
读经二:(斐3:17-21;4:1):保禄为信徒的行为忧心
福 音:(路9:28-36):耶稣显圣容
中国文化:行吟泽畔,颜色憔悴,形容枯槁。
     究天人之际,通古今之变,成一家之言。
     百姓疮痍,诗中圣哲;民间疾苦,笔底波澜。

弟兄们:你们全体要效法我,也要注意那些按照我们的榜样而生活行事的人。我曾多次对你们说過,现在又含著淚说:有许多人,行事为人,是基督十字架的敌人;他们的结局是丧亡,他们的神是自己的肚腹,以羞辱的事为光荣,只思念俗世的事。但对我们来说,我们的家乡是在天上。
(斐3:17-20)

这段话是教会中的一位大宗徒,对他所热爱的教会中部分人士的大控诉,而且是「含淚的」控诉,是一种爱之深、責之切的肺腑之言、血淚之音。

我们习惯称我们的教会做「圣教会」,这是对的。因为我们的「教主」、那位建立教会的基督是圣的;我们的教会有滋养我们灵性生命的「圣事」,有导引我们升天的「十诫」,有使我们进入圣域贤关的「各种方法」。但教会在第二届梵蒂冈大公会议之后,也懂得称自己是「罪人的教会」,因为,即使这個教会是圣的,但组成这個教会的,却是罪人。

教会对罪的自我意识,可从下面的例子看得很清楚:教宗若望保禄二世曾於2000年这個千禧年的四旬期開始,发表了一分文告,名为《回憶与修和:教会与過往的错误》 ,并在圣伯多禄大殿主持了一個历史性的礼仪,为教会在過去二千年所犯的错误,向上主公開求恕,亦公開向全世界忏悔。其实,教会在所有弥撒之前,都必定举行忏悔礼,可见教会很清楚自己那有罪的本质。

正是面对著这些罪:教会的罪、教友的罪,保禄宗徒作出「含淚的」控诉。

世上有很多至情至性的人,他们胸怀天下、背负苍生;他们古道热肠,有大慈大悲的心願;他们常对别人的遭遇,感同身受,但亦因此而饱尝了人溺己溺、人饥己饥的刺骨之痛。

所以在中国历史中,就有为了国家的兴亡而忧心忡忡,以致「行吟泽畔,颜色憔悴,形容枯槁」的屈原;有为了「究天人之际,通古今之变,成一家之言」,以让中华文化得以薪火相传,而甘心忍辱负重的司马迁;也有因为关心人民的命运,同情他们生活的坎坷,而被誉为「百姓疮痍,诗中圣哲;民间疾苦,笔底波澜」的大诗人杜甫。

大抵人愈是有情、有心,便愈会感受到生命的无常、人间的疾苦和疼痛。心理学家亦发现:一個人是否成熟、成长,其中一個重要标志,就是他是否懂得为自己、为别人、为国家民族而担忧,是否能以舍我其谁的担当,去背起历史的重担。

今天的保禄,就尽显了这一特性。他为了天主、为了耶稣、为了教会、为了信仰的理想而忧心如焚;他面对著那些在信仰上毫不长进、甚至在信仰上作了相反见证的人,只能多次地,甚至「含著淚」去作苦口婆心的劝告。

保禄加入的教会,原是一個充满理想的教会。耶稣降生成人,本来就是为了建设天国,使天主的旨意得以实现在人间,如同在天上;而教会即是这個天国的工匠,是建设天国的工人。所以信徒本身便应是一群有理想、有信仰、有基督精神的人。教会绝不是一個同乡会或一個俱乐部;信徒也不是一群登记了的会员,更不是一些争名逐利、结党營私的俗人。

但在保禄的眼中,他所看到的一些教会人士,竟然是「基督十字架的敌人,他们的神是自己的肚腹,以羞辱的事为光荣,只思念俗世的事!

作为一個终身为基督而奉献的人,保禄也像孔子一样热爱人间、关切世运;他希望自己的教会是一個完美无暇的教会,希望自己的同工,都是一些活力充沛的人。但摆在眼前的残酷事实,却是有些表面上和他有相同信仰的人,却在做一些和自己的信仰完全格格不入的事。他怎能不为此而忧心忡忡呢?

但这些事在一個「罪人的教会」中,是一定会发生的,而且永遠都会发生。唯一的面对之道,是相信「我们的家乡是在天上」。我们要学会在世而不属世,要肯定世界而又超越世界,要牢牢地扎根在尘世之中,而坚定地注目永恒、放眼天上。

或许,这是我们唯一可以协调理想与现实之间矛盾的方法,也可以让我们在这无奈之中,给我们以永不熄灭的心火,和永不动摇的盼望。

 

 

Second Sunday of Lent

A Hero Does Not Shed Tears Without A Reason
Only for the Kingdom of Heaven Will He Weep for the Church

First Reading: (Gen 15: 5-12, 17-18) The Lord made a Covenant with Abraham
Second Reading: (Phil 3: 17-21, 4:1) Paul worried about the conduct of the faithful
Gospel (Lk 9: 28-36) Jesus is Transfigured
Chinese Classics:
-“Walk and hum along the swamps, with a sorrow-laden countenance and an emaciated appearance” (1)
-“Investigating circumstances about heaven and man, understanding changes in the past and present, he succeeded in establishing a school of thought” (2)
-“With the stroke of his pen the Sage of Poetry wrote about the sores and disfiguration of the people, the ills and suffering of mankind.” (3)

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil 3: 17-20)

These are words of St. Paul, one of the great Apostles of the Church. They are an appeal written to some of the people in the Church whom he loved dearly, an appeal written with tears, a strong condemnation written from the depth of his love for them. They are words written with extreme sorrow.

We are accustomed to calling the church “the Holy Catholic Church,” and that is correct.

This is because our 'Lord and Savior' who established the Church is Christ who is Holy; our Church has the 'Sacraments' which nourish our spiritual lives; we have the 'Ten Commandments' which guide us to heaven, and we have 'all the necessary means' to enable us to become saints, or holy people. But after Vatican Council II we have learned also to call ourselves 'the Church of sinners' because although the Church indeed is holy, those who make up the Church are sinful people.

The church's self-understanding of sin may be made clear from the example cited here. At the beginning of Lent 2000, the Millenium year called a Jubilee Year by the Church, Pope John Paul II issued a manifesto termed “Remembrance and Reconciliation: the Church and Past Mistakes.” At an historical liturgical ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, he publicly begged God's forgiveness for the Church's past sins and before the entire world expressed repentance. Actually, at the beginning of every Mass the Church recites the 'Confiteor' a prayer of repentance for sin, showing clearly it is aware of the nature of its sinfulness.

It was in facing these sins, - the sins of the Church and of Christians - that led St. Paul to make his appeal 'with tears.'

There are many compassionate people in the world who care about the world and are attentive to its needs. They are filled with kindness and are able to identify with the sufferings of others. With someone who has drowned they feel drowned, with the hungry they feel the pangs of hunger.

In Chinese history there were people who were sad and worried about the rise and fall of their country. For example, there was Qu Yuan who “walked and hummed along the swamps with a sorrow-laden countenance and an emaciated appearance”(1). There was Si Ma Qian who for the sake of “investigating circumstances about heaven and man, and understanding changes in the past and present, succeeded in establishing a school of thought” (2) He willingly and meekly accepted abuses so that Chinese culture would have a chance to continue. There was also the great poet Du Fu who cared about the fate of the people and sympathized with their distress. He, the Sage of Poetry, with the stroke of his pen, wrote about “the sores and disfiguration of the people, the ills and suffering of mankind.” (3)

Perhaps the more kind-hearted people are, the more they feel the uncertainty of life and the pain and suffering of others. Psychologists have discovered that an important measure of a person’s maturity is whether or not the person is able to be concerned about oneself, about others, one's country and ethnicity, and whether or not they can put aside their own worries and shoulder the burden of history.

In today's reading Paul shows this characteristic. He was extremely anxious about God, Jesus, the Church and the ideals of the faith. Faced with those whose faith had not matured or even had become counter-witnesses, all he could do was tearfully appeal to them over and over and warn them with a sorrowful yet loving heart.

The Church that Paul entered was a Church full of idealism. Jesus became incarnate in order to establish the kingdom of heaven, so that God's will would be carried out among human beings 'as it is in heaven.' The Church then is the builder of that kingdom, members are 'workers' for the kingdom. So actually the faithful should be a group of people with high aspirations and strong faith, filled with the spirit of Christ. The Church certainly is not a 'village association' or a social club. The faithful are not a group of people who register for membership in a club. Even less are they looking for fame or money, or want to form cliques to pursue their own advantage.

However, what Paul saw in some of the Christians was “enemies of the cross of Christ, their god is the belly: and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

A person like Paul who had devoted his whole life to Christ, was like Confucius who loved the people and cared about the destiny of the world. Paul hoped that his Church would be a perfect Church and his companions would be full of life and enthusiasm. But the cruel truth was that what he saw was some who externally shared the same faith as he but acted in ways totally opposite. How could he help but worry so much?

Incidents like this will surely happen in 'a Church of sinners,' not only now but always. The only way to face them is to remind ourselves that “our citizenship is in heaven.” We must learn that although we live in the world, we do not belong to the world. While affirming this world we must remember there is another world beyond this one. While involved deeply in this world, we must focus on eternity and raise our sights to heaven.

Perhaps this is the only way we can reconcile the contradictions between the ideal and reality. In such a seemingly helpless situation, we are able in this way to find the indistinguishable, everlasting flame that gives us unshakable hope.

(1)行吟澤畔,顏色憔悴,形容枯槁。
(2)究天人之際,通古今之變,成一家之言。
(3)百姓瘡痍,詩中聖哲;民間疾苦,筆底波瀾。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019