四旬期第五主日 2019年04月07日


四旬期第五主日

慈悲化育萬物,大愛超越公平

讀經一:(依43:16-21):天主要創造一件新事
讀經二:(斐3:8-14):以認識基督耶穌為至寶
福 音:(若8:1-11):憐憫罪婦
中國文化:父為子隱,子為父隱。於其厚者薄,則無所不薄矣。

那時,經師和法利塞人帶來一個犯姦淫時被逮捕的婦人,讓她站在中間,然後對耶穌說:「師傅!這婦人正在犯姦淫時被逮捕;這樣的婦人,梅瑟在法律上命令我們用石頭砸死;你有何高見?」……耶穌對他們說:「你們當中誰沒有罪,就先向她投石罷!」他們聽了這話,就從年老的開始到年幼的,逐個靜悄悄地離去。
(若8:1-11節錄)

我並不以為我成功,我只顧一件事,就是忘盡過往,只向著前面的目標奔馳,為爭取天主在基督耶穌內召我向上勇奪的錦標。(斐3:13-14)

上面引用的第一段聖經,來自一個十分出名的「投第一塊石頭」的故事。這個故事在我們這個事事講正義、時時講理性的時代中,有它不可取代、不容忘懷的意義和價值。它教導我們該當如何面對罪惡和罪人,又怎樣區分對待罪惡和罪人。

故事是說有一個女人在犯姦淫時被捉住了,經師和法利塞人把她帶到耶穌跟前,看耶穌怎樣處置她。聖經在這裡還明言,「他們說這話是要試探耶穌」。

有時,人們在祭出的最堂皇的旗幟的背後,或在最漂亮的言語的背後,隱藏著的,不過是各色各樣的、或明或暗的權力鬥爭而已。

在這事件中,經師和法利塞人為耶穌設下的陷阱是這樣的:耶穌如果要釋放這個公然犯姦淫的婦人,便是輕蔑梅瑟的法律,也就是把天主的法律視為無物;耶穌如果要用石頭砸死這個婦人,那耶穌平日不斷強調的仁愛、慈悲和寬恕,都會淪為笑柄,甚至被人視作是空洞無物的廢話。

這真是一個兩難的問題,無論耶穌怎樣回答,怎樣決定,都會落入對頭人的圈套中。

公平和理性無疑都是良好生活的重要支柱,是一個健康社會的根基。但生命的崇高和偉大,自有它超越公平、超越理性的部分。這種超越是來自人的心,和人心裡的慈悲和深情,以及對生命的無限崇敬,和無條件的擁抱和寬恕。

在中國近代史中文化大革命的那個荒唐年代,父母子女之間有時也會出現彼此控告的情況,且被視為是「大義滅親」的正義行為,在政治上被吹捧成是火紅而正確。純從理性來說,我們確找不到反對這些行為的理由,但孔子卻寧可教人「父為子隱,子為父隱」,即是說,如果自己的父母或子女犯錯,就讓社會和法律去裁決好了,我們是用不著親手去把至親的人置於死地的!這種親手置親人於死地的人,不是「理性」有問題,而是「心性」有問題。

古人認為「於其厚者薄,則無所不薄矣。」意思是:一個人能夠這樣無情地對待他生命中最親愛的、最厚愛的人,又怎能避免不更加無情地對待其他的人呢?

耶穌邀請那些「沒有罪的人」首先拿起石頭投過去。這不是曉以大義,而是動以真情。按理來說,這個女人有罪就是有罪,有罪就該受罰,別的人有沒有罪又有什麼關係呢?但那些聽到耶穌的話的人,都開始認真地面對自己,面對那個真實而有罪的自己,於是他們「從年老的開始到年幼的」,都靜悄悄地溜走了。他們無顏面對自己,也就沒有資格去懲罰這位罪婦。這不是理的反思,而是情的觸動。說到底,我們哪個不需要同情、仁慈和寬恕呢?我們哪個在跌倒後不渴求有再多一次的機會呢?這不是人同此心、心同此理嗎?
我在中國大陸從來不判斷那裡的人和事,更不會、也不敢定任何人的罪,因為我沒有資格,我的手拿不起第一塊石頭;我在認真的問我自己:如果我那時是真的在他們的處境中,我會全身而退嗎?我一定會比他們做得更恰當、更好嗎?

不過,耶穌的寬恕絕不等同於姑息或縱容,他嚴肅地向那位獲得寬恕的罪婦說:「我也不定你的罪了;去罷!從今以後不要再犯罪了!」寬恕絕不能成為可以隨便犯罪的藉口!

罪就這樣成了恩寵:我們為了報答所獲得的寬恕,要從今以後,「忘盡過去」,思高版聖經譯為「忘盡背後」,即是把背後的、過去的沉重包袱放下,給已經發生的一切勇敢地劃上一個清晰的句號,揭開生命中的另一新頁,向著前面的目標奔馳,向著理想奮勇前進。

我們更要小心謹慎,以懺悔的愛,懷著新生的希望,用盡餘生的精力,去善度餘下的生命,「為爭取天主在基督耶穌內召叫我們向上勇奪的錦標。」

 

四旬期第五主日

慈悲化育万物,大爱超越公平

读经一:(依43:16-21):天主要创造一件新事
读经二:(斐3:8-14):以认识基督耶稣为至宝
福 音:(若8:1-11):怜悯罪妇
中国文化:父为子隐,子为父隐。於其厚者薄,则无所不薄矣。

那時,经师和法利塞人带来一個犯奸淫時被逮捕的妇人,让她站在中间,然后对耶稣说:「师傅!这妇人正在犯奸淫時被逮捕;这样的妇人,梅瑟在法律上命令我们用石头砸死;你有何高见?」……耶稣对他们说:「你们当中谁没有罪,就先向她投石罢!」他们听了这话,就从年老的開始到年幼的,逐個静悄悄地離去。
(若8:1-11节录)

我并不以为我成功,我只顾一件事,就是忘尽過往,只向著前面的目标奔驰,为争取天主在基督耶稣内召我向上勇夺的锦标。(斐3:13-14)

上面引用的第一段圣经,来自一個十分出名的「投第一块石头」的故事。这個故事在我们这個事事讲正义、時時讲理性的時代中,有它不可取代、不容忘怀的意义和价值。它教导我们該当如何面对罪恶和罪人,又怎样区分对待罪恶和罪人。

故事是说有一個女人在犯奸淫時被捉住了,经师和法利塞人把她带到耶稣跟前,看耶稣怎样处置她。圣经在这里还明言,「他们说这话是要试探耶稣」。

有時,人们在祭出的最堂皇的旗帜的背后,或在最漂亮的言语的背后,隐藏著的,不過是各色各样的、或明或暗的权力斗争而已。

在这事件中,经师和法利塞人为耶稣设下的陷阱是这样的:耶稣如果要释放这個公然犯奸淫的妇人,便是轻蔑梅瑟的法律,也就是把天主的法律视为无物;耶稣如果要用石头砸死这個妇人,那耶稣平日不断强调的仁爱、慈悲和宽恕,都会沦为笑柄,甚至被人视作是空洞无物的废话。

这真是一個两难的問题,无论耶稣怎样回答,怎样决定,都会落入对头人的圈套中。

公平和理性无疑都是良好生活的重要支柱,是一個健康社会的根基。但生命的崇高和伟大,自有它超越公平、超越理性的部分。这种超越是来自人的心,和人心里的慈悲和深情,以及对生命的无限崇敬,和无条件的拥抱和宽恕。

在中国近代史中文化大革命的那個荒唐年代,父母子女之间有時也会出现彼此控告的情况,且被视为是「大义灭亲」的正义行为,在政治上被吹捧成是火红而正确。纯从理性来说,我们确找不到反对这些行为的理由,但孔子却宁可教人「父为子隐,子为父隐」,即是说,如果自己的父母或子女犯错,就让社会和法律去裁决好了,我们是用不著亲手去把至亲的人置於死地的!这种亲手置亲人於死地的人,不是「理性」有問题,而是「心性」有問题。

古人认为「於其厚者薄,则无所不薄矣。」意思是:一個人能够这样无情地对待他生命中最亲爱的、最厚爱的人,又怎能避免不更加无情地对待其他的人呢?

耶稣邀请那些「没有罪的人」首先拿起石头投過去。这不是晓以大义,而是动以真情。按理来说,这個女人有罪就是有罪,有罪就該受罚,别的人有没有罪又有什么关系呢?但那些听到耶稣的话的人,都開始认真地面对自己,面对那個真实而有罪的自己,於是他们「从年老的開始到年幼的」,都静悄悄地溜走了。他们无颜面对自己,也就没有资格去惩罚这位罪妇。这不是理的反思,而是情的触动。说到底,我们哪個不需要同情、仁慈和宽恕呢?我们哪個在跌倒后不渴求有再多一次的机会呢?这不是人同此心、心同此理吗?
我在中国大陆从来不判断那里的人和事,更不会、也不敢定任何人的罪,因为我没有资格,我的手拿不起第一块石头;我在认真的問我自己:如果我那時是真的在他们的处境中,我会全身而退吗?我一定会比他们做得更恰当、更好吗?

不過,耶稣的宽恕绝不等同於姑息或纵容,他严肃地向那位获得宽恕的罪妇说:「我也不定你的罪了;去罢!从今以后不要再犯罪了!」宽恕绝不能成为可以随便犯罪的藉口!

罪就这样成了恩宠:我们为了报答所获得的宽恕,要从今以后,「忘尽過去」,思高版圣经译为「忘尽背后」,即是把背后的、過去的沉重包袱放下,给已经发生的一切勇敢地劃上一個清晰的句号,揭開生命中的另一新页,向著前面的目标奔驰,向著理想奋勇前进。

我们更要小心谨慎,以忏悔的爱,怀著新生的希望,用尽余生的精力,去善度余下的生命,「为争取天主在基督耶稣内召叫我们向上勇夺的锦标。」

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent

God's Benevolence Nurtures All Creation
God's Great Love Surpasses Justice

First Reading (Is 43: 16- 21): God wants to create something new
Second Reading (Phil 3: 8-14): To acknowledge Christ Jesus as most precious of all
Gospel (Jn 8: 1-11): Jesus has pity on the sinful woman
Chinese classics:
-“The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father”(1)
-“A man who is mean to his closest comrade can be mean to anyone.” (2)

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’… Jesus said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' When they heard this, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders.” (Jn 8: 1-11, summary)

“I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3: 13-14)

The first Scriptural passage above is the well-known story of 'Throwing the first stone.' The value and meaning of this story is of particular importance in our modern society when we talk so often about justice and reason. The story teaches us how we should face sin and the sinner and how to distinguish between treating sin and the sinner.

The story tells about a woman caught committing adultery whom the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus. They wanted to see how Jesus would deal with her. The Scripture passage clearly states that “they said this to test Jesus.

Sometimes behind the most flamboyant banner or beautiful words there are hidden a variety of open or secret power struggles.

In this situation the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to set a trap for Jesus. If he released the woman who had publicly committed adultery, Jesus would be making light of the Law of Moses, that is, totally ignoring God’s Law. On the other hand, if Jesus approved the woman’s death by stoning, he who ceaselessly emphasized benevolence, mercy and forgiveness, would be acting against his own words. People would regard his words as empty and worthless. It was truly a double dilemma. No matter how Jesus answered or decided, he would fall into their trap.

Without doubt justice and reasoning are important pillars of a righteous life. They are the foundation of a healthy society. But sometimes greatness and nobility of life has its own standard which surpasses justice and reason. It springs from a heart full of mercy and sensitivity that respects life and includes unconditional forgiveness..

During the reckless era of the Cultural Revolution in Modern China, there were instances of children and parents accusing each other in court. This act of 'punishing one's own relations for the sake of justice' was considered politically correct and was highly acclaimed. From a rational point of view, there may be no reason to object to this behavior. But Confucius would rather teach people, “the father should conceal the misconduct of the son and the son should conceal the misconduct of the father.” (1) That is, if one's parents or children commit an offense, let society and the law judge them. We should not of our own accord send our closest relatives to death! People who could send their closest relations to death had no problem with 'finding a reason,' they had a problem with their 'hearts.'

In ancient times people believed that “a man who is mean to his closest comrades can be mean to anyone.” (2) That is, if people can treat those dearest and closest to themselves so heartlessly, how can they avoid treating other people even more heartlessly?

Jesus invited those 'without sin' to cast the first stones. That invitation was not to stimulate their sense of fairness, but to revitalize their hearts. According to reason the woman had sinned, was guilty and deserved to be punished. What did it matter whether others were sinful or not? But those who heard Jesus' words began to face themselves honestly and recognized themselves as the true sinners. “Beginning with the elders” they started to walk away quietly. They could not face themselves and so they were not qualified to punish the adulterous woman. This was not a reflection based on reason but because their hearts were moved. In the end which of us does not need sympathy, kindness and forgiveness? Which of us, having fallen, does not hope for one more opportunity? Are we not all the same in such circumstances?

When I have been in mainland China, I have never judged people and affairs there, even less do I dare judge another's wrongdoing. I am not qualified to judge and I could not pick up the first stone. I ask myself: if I were in a similar situation would I act any differently? Am I sure I would act more appropriately or better?

However, Jesus' forgiveness was not the same as tolerating or encouraging sin. He said gravely to the woman whose sin had been forgiven, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” Forgiveness can never become an excuse for committing sin again.

In that way sin becomes a blessing: To show gratitude to God for forgiving our sins, we promise to “forget what lies behind,” that is, let go of the heavy burden of the past, courageously put aside all that has taken place, and turn over a new leaf in our lives. We “strain forward to what lies ahead” towards the goals and ideals before us..

Even more, with care and prudence, and a love based on sorrow, we must nurture hope for new life, using all our energy to continue living a full life in order to “press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

(1)父為子隱,子為父隱。
(2)於其厚者薄,則無所不薄矣。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019