復活期第四主日 2019年05月12日


復活期第四主日

驚人間阻撓事故,聞天上聖召綸音

讀經一:(宗13:14,43-52):外邦人信主
讀經二:(默7:9,14-17):基督要領人到生命之泉
福 音:(若10:27-30):耶穌賜永生給他的羊
中國文化:不招人忌是庸才。登高而招,臂非加長也,而見者遠;順風而呼,聲非加疾也,而聞者彰。君子生非異也,善假於物也。

猶太人看見這麼多人,就滿懷嫉妒,反對保祿所講的,並且辱罵他們。保祿和巴爾納伯卻毫不畏懼地說:「天主的話本來應該先講給你們聽,但是因為你們拒絕接受,判定自己不配得到永生,因此,我們就轉向外邦人,因為主曾這樣命令我們說:『我已立你做外邦人的光明,使你把救恩帶到地極。』」
(宗13:45-47)

保祿被稱為是「外邦人的宗徒」,要把救恩帶到地極。但出人意料的,是他之所以到外邦去傳道,竟是源於一個不幸的事件,由人的惡意所促成。

事緣保祿和巴爾納伯在安提約基雅的講道十分成功。保祿在會堂中講了一篇十分精采的道理後,「眾人要求下一個安息日再給他們講這些事」(宗13:42)。下個安息日,果然產生哄動,許多人都聞風而至,「幾乎全城的人都聚集起來,要聽天主的話。」(宗13:44)可惜樹大招風,也中了俗語所說的:「不招人忌是庸才」,保祿當然是個名副其實的大佈道家,而絕非庸才,所以「猶太人見這麼多人,就滿懷嫉妒,反對保祿所講的,並且辱罵他們。

保祿和巴爾納伯於是對他們說:「天主的話本來應先講給你們聽,但是因為你們拒絕接受,判定自己不配得到永生,因此,我們就轉向外邦人。

我們都相信,天主能使壞事變為好事,愛爾蘭也有句成語:「如果天主要關上一扇門,他必要開一隻窗。」有時,這隻窗比那扇門還大呢!所以,猶太人的惡意,剛好就成為保祿和巴爾納伯轉向外邦人傳教的契機。這確是人們所不能預料的,也是人所無法破壞的天主的計劃。

人生複雜異常,也危機處處,我們要不斷的作選擇,以完成自己的生命,也為了承行天主的旨意。找不到好的選擇,做不了好的決定,這固然是缺憾,但有時找到好的選擇,作了好的決定,卻未必是最好的事,因為這會使我們不再用心去找出「更好的」選擇和決定,因為我們已經有了一個「好的」選擇和決定。

因此,有時「好」會成為「更好」的敵人,而「好選擇」則成了「更好選擇」的障礙。

向猶太人傳福音而又成功,這當然是好事,但如果只是這樣,我們就不會有保祿這位外邦人宗徒的出現,因為保祿的精力、時間都會全部用在猶太人的社會中,向猶太人傳道。

當我們遭逢挫折、遇到失敗、前路茫茫的時候,很可能這就是我們生命的轉捩點,或者是突破的起點。我們不要只顧無奈而難受地看著那扇「砰」然一聲關起了的大門,我們可以、而且應該游目四顧,靜心期待,看看是否有一隻窗,正在悄悄的為我們而敞開了?

今天是聖召主日,所有基督徒其實都已蒙召去為教會、為天主而工作,而天主是藉著所有的機會向我們招手的。天主在我們的心中向我們說話,天主在聖經中向我們說話,天主也藉著他人,和藉著世上的一切事件和變故向我們說話。天主臨在於我們的信仰聚會中,也臨在於世上的「時代徵兆」中。

當保祿和巴爾納伯發現在猶太人中傳道是「此路不通」的時候,他們便聽得到、看得出,這原來就是天主召叫他們向外邦人傳道的徵兆。人間的變故,原來竟是天主的話語,是從天上來的綸音!

其實,天主需要我們,正如他需要保祿和巴爾納伯一樣。他要假我們的手,藉我們的口去為他傳福音、作見證;我們要作基督未完成的工作,去他未去的地方,向他未曾面對面的會晤的人傳福音。最好是為此而奉獻一生。

荀子在勸學篇中說:「登高而招,臂非加長也,而見者遠;順風而呼,聲非加疾也,而聞者彰。君子生非異也,善假於物也。」登高招手,很遠的人都能看得見;順風呼喚,聽到的人會更多。這是荀子所謂的「善於假借外力」。天主能藉我們而傳播福音,不也是「善假於物」的一種形式嗎?

今天的若望福音也說:「我的羊聽我的聲音,我認識他們,他們也跟隨我。」(若10:27)我們是否願意跟隨耶穌,和他一起,為他而召集所有的羊群,以進入他的羊棧呢?我們知道天主真的願意我們和他合作嗎?

 

复活期第四主日

惊人间阻挠事故,闻天上圣召纶音

读经一:(宗13:14,43-52):外邦人信主
读经二:(默7:9,14-17):基督要领人到生命之泉
福 音:(若10:27-30):耶稣赐永生给他的羊
中国文化:不招人忌是庸才。登高而招,臂非加长也,而见者遠;顺风而呼,声非加疾也,而闻者彰。君子生非异也,善假於物也。

犹太人看见这么多人,就满怀嫉妒,反对保禄所讲的,并且辱骂他们。保禄和巴尔纳伯却毫不畏惧地说:「天主的话本来应該先讲给你们听,但是因为你们拒绝接受,判定自己不配得到永生,因此,我们就转向外邦人,因为主曾这样命令我们说:『我已立你做外邦人的光明,使你把救恩带到地极。』」
(宗13:45-47)

保禄被称为是「外邦人的宗徒」,要把救恩带到地极。但出人意料的,是他之所以到外邦去传道,竟是源於一個不幸的事件,由人的恶意所促成。

事缘保禄和巴尔纳伯在安提约基雅的讲道十分成功。保禄在会堂中讲了一篇十分精采的道理后,「众人要求下一個安息日再给他们讲这些事」(宗13:42)。下個安息日,果然產生哄动,许多人都闻风而至,「幾乎全城的人都聚集起来,要听天主的话。」(宗13:44)可惜树大招风,也中了俗语所说的:「不招人忌是庸才」,保禄当然是個名副其实的大布道家,而绝非庸才,所以「犹太人见这么多人,就满怀嫉妒,反对保禄所讲的,并且辱骂他们。

保禄和巴尔纳伯於是对他们说:「天主的话本来应先讲给你们听,但是因为你们拒绝接受,判定自己不配得到永生,因此,我们就转向外邦人。

我们都相信,天主能使坏事变为好事,爱尔蘭也有句成语:「如果天主要关上一扇门,他必要開一只窗。」有時,这只窗比那扇门还大呢!所以,犹太人的恶意,刚好就成为保禄和巴尔纳伯转向外邦人传教的契机。这确是人们所不能预料的,也是人所无法破坏的天主的计劃。

人生复杂异常,也危机处处,我们要不断的作选择,以完成自己的生命,也为了承行天主的旨意。找不到好的选择,做不了好的决定,这固然是缺憾,但有時找到好的选择,作了好的决定,却未必是最好的事,因为这会使我们不再用心去找出「更好的」选择和决定,因为我们已经有了一個「好的」选择和决定。

因此,有時「好」会成为「更好」的敌人,而「好选择」则成了「更好选择」的障碍。

向犹太人传福音而又成功,这当然是好事,但如果只是这样,我们就不会有保禄这位外邦人宗徒的出现,因为保禄的精力、時间都会全部用在犹太人的社会中,向犹太人传道。

当我们遭逢挫折、遇到失败、前路茫茫的時候,很可能这就是我们生命的转捩点,或者是突破的起点。我们不要只顾无奈而难受地看著那扇「砰」然一声关起了的大门,我们可以、而且应該游目四顾,静心期待,看看是否有一只窗,正在悄悄的为我们而敞開了?

今天是圣召主日,所有基督徒其实都已蒙召去为教会、为天主而工作,而天主是藉著所有的机会向我们招手的。天主在我们的心中向我们说话,天主在圣经中向我们说话,天主也藉著他人,和藉著世上的一切事件和变故向我们说话。天主临在於我们的信仰聚会中,也临在於世上的「時代徵兆」中。

当保禄和巴尔纳伯发现在犹太人中传道是「此路不通」的時候,他们便听得到、看得出,这原来就是天主召叫他们向外邦人传道的徵兆。人间的变故,原来竟是天主的话语,是从天上来的纶音!

其实,天主需要我们,正如他需要保禄和巴尔纳伯一样。他要假我们的手,藉我们的口去为他传福音、作见证;我们要作基督未完成的工作,去他未去的地方,向他未曾面对面的会晤的人传福音。最好是为此而奉献一生。

荀子在劝学篇中说:「登高而招,臂非加长也,而见者遠;顺风而呼,声非加疾也,而闻者彰。君子生非异也,善假於物也。」登高招手,很遠的人都能看得见;顺风呼唤,听到的人会更多。这是荀子所谓的「善於假借外力」。天主能藉我们而传播福音,不也是「善假於物」的一种形式吗?

今天的若望福音也说:「我的羊听我的声音,我认识他们,他们也跟随我。」(若10:27)我们是否願意跟随耶稣,和他一起,为他而召集所有的羊群,以进入他的羊栈呢?我们知道天主真的願意我们和他合作吗?

 

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Amazed that the World Obstructs what One Does yet Hears Heaven's Call

First Reading (Acts 13:14, 43-52): The Gentiles believe in the Lord
Second Reading (Rev 7:9, 14-17): Christ wants to lead us to the fountain of life
Gospel (Jn 10:27-30): Jesus gave eternal life to his sheep
Chinese culture:
-“If you are not the envy of another person, you are a mediocre man.”(1)
-“Climb to high places and wave your arms, not that your arms have lengthened but people from afar can see you. Face the leeward of the wind and shout, not that your voice has increased in volume but that hearers can hear it more clearly A gentleman is not born any different, except that he is good at taking advantage of things. (2) (Xun Zi, ‘An Exhortation to Learning’)

When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ “ (Acts 13: 45-47)

Paul is called the ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’ because he wanted to spread the news of salvation to the ends of the earth. But one would hardly have guessed that the reason he started to preach to the Gentiles sprang from an unfortunate incident which in turn came from the malicious intent of some of his hearers

.This was the incident. Paul and Barnabas had spoken very successfully in Antioch. After they gave an inspiring sermon in the synagogue, the people urged them to speak about these things the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:24) On the following Sabbath many people rushed excitedly to the synagogue: -almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord (Acts 13:44). Unfortunately this aroused the jealousy of some people, much as a Chinese idiom says, “if you are not the envy of another person, you are a mediocre man.’(1) Paul of course was already a well-known preacher, not just an ordinary person.. Therefore, “when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy: and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul.

Paul and Barnabas then said to them, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles.

We believe that God can turn anything bad into good. There is an Irish idiom, “When God closes a door, He opens a window”. Sometimes this window is actually bigger than the door! Therefore, the Jews’ evil intention became the 'kairos' - the sacred moment - during which Paul and Barnabas began to proclaim the Good News to the Gentiles. Humanly speaking no one would have thought this could ever happen, but it was in God's plan and no human force could destroy it.

Life is complicated and unpredictable and there are risks everywhere. We must constantly make choices as we live out our lives and follow God's will. Of course at times we fail to make good choices and wise decisions. But at times our choices and decisions are really not the best ones. This may be because having made good choices and decisions in the past, we no longer try to find even 'better' ones. As a result, the 'good' choice becomes an enemy of a 'better' one and a 'good choice' becomes an obstacle to looking for a 'better choice.'

To succeed in preaching to the Jews of course was a very good thing, but if only that had occurred, we would not have seen the appearance of Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, because Paul would have used all his time and energy only within Jewish society, preaching to the Jews.

Whenever we meet frustration and failure, and the future seems uncertain, it may very well be a turning point in our lives or the start of some breakthrough. We must not only look despairingly at the door which closed so unexpectedly, but we can and should look around us and wait quietly to see if almost without our notice, another window is opening before us.

Today is Vocation Sunday. Actually all Christians have been called to work for the Church and for God. God uses every possible opportunity to beckon to us. God speaks to us in our hearts, through Scripture, through the people around us, and through all the changing events of our lives. God is present in the gatherings of our faith communities and in all the 'signs of the times' of the world.

When Paul and Barnabas realized that preaching to the Jews was 'the end of a road,' they could hear and see that it was actually a sign from God calling them to preach to the Gentiles. Changes that take place in our world often are actually the voice of God sending a message from heaven.

In reality God needs us, just as God needed Paul and Barnabas. God needs our hands and voices to proclaim the Good News and to be witnesses to it. We must complete the task Christ has left unfinished, go to place he was unable to go, preach the Good News to those he never met face to face. There is nothing better than to devote one's entire life to that.

Xun Zi in 'An Exhortation to Learning' wrote: “Climb to high places and wave your arms, not that your arms have lengthened but that people from afar can see you. Face the leeward side of the wind and shout, not that your voice has increased but that hearers can hear it more clearly. A gentleman is not born any different, except that he is good at taking advantage of things.”(2) When you stand on a high place and wave your arms, people much further away can see you. When you are on the leeward side of the wind and shout, more people can hear you. According to Xun Zi, this is 'taking advantage of outside forces.' Through us God can spread the Good News. Is this not one form of 'taking advantage of things?'

Today John's Gospel says, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27).
Are we willing to follow Jesus and be with him, calling all the sheep to enter his sheepfold? Do we realize God really wants us to cooperate with Him?


(1)不招人忌是庸才。登高而招,臂非加長也,而見者遠;順風而呼,聲非加疾也,而聞者彰。
(2)君子生非異也,善假於物也。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019