常年期第十三主日 2019年06月30日


常年期第十三主日

回應主召義無反顧,追隨耶穌奉獻一生

讀經一:(列上19:16,19-21):厄里叟被召
讀經二:(迦5:1,13-18):應順從聖神而行事
福 音:(路9:51-62):應無牽掛地跟隨主
中國文化:年年難過年年過,處處無家處處家。亦余心之所善兮,唯九死其猶未悔。不遭人忌是庸才。墨子服役者八十人,皆可使赴火蹈刃,死不旋踵,化之所致也。讀聖賢書,所學何事。立地以上承天,承天道以隆人。


有一個人對耶穌說:「你無論往哪裡去,我都要跟隨你。」耶穌對他說:「狐狸有穴,天空的飛鳥有巢,可是人子連棲身枕頭的地方都沒有……任憑死人去埋葬他們的死人吧!你要去傳揚天主的國……手扶著犁而往後看的,不適合進天主的國。」(路9:58-62)

古往今來,都有不少人要追隨耶穌,但耶穌卻毫不含糊的告訴他們,和他在一起究竟是什麼一回事,要承擔的又是什麼樣的後果。

上面的經文,還告訴我們,做耶穌的門徒該有什麼特質。

第一、耶穌的門徒必須吃得苦、「捱得」、忍得,可以忍受連枕頭之地都沒有的、貧無立錐的艱苦生活條件,可以經得起「年年難過年年過,處處無家處處家」的長期考驗。

第二、耶穌的門徒必須以天國為優先,而且是絕對的優先,並且要懂得如何在適當的時候,把其他的所有東西都暫擱一旁:「任憑死人去埋葬他們的死人吧!」即是要讓屬世的人,去做他們屬世的事。本來,我們都是「在世」的,而且也深愛著這個世界,因為基督徒絕對不應逃避這個世界,和我們在這世界中所應承擔的義務。但我們卻是「在世而不屬於世」,因為我們負有更重要的任務。

第三、耶穌的門徒必須義無反顧的追隨耶穌,無怨、無悔的和耶穌一起生活,一生堅持和耶穌一起並肩作戰、共同奮鬥,並具有屈原那種「亦余心之所善兮,雖九死其猶未悔」的堅貞和至死不渝之心。

這是一段十分「硬磞磞」的經文,嚴肅、認真、絕對,沒有妥協的餘地,聽起來有點無情和不可理喻,因為說這話的,同樣是一個十分強硬的耶穌!他不要求門徒做到九十九分,他要求的是一百分!

其實,耶穌本來也是一個十分多樣化的人,他有硬的一面,也有軟的一面。

一方面,耶穌確是良善心謙的,對人充滿了同情和諒解。他輕撫兒童的頭,赦免罪婦的罪,顯增餅的奇跡去讓群眾吃飽;他為朋友的死而哭泣,也為民族的苦難而流淚;他的臨別贈言更是充滿了期盼、溫馨、愛意與柔情。在那個溫情洋溢的晚餐廳中,他連自己的心、身體和寶血都留下來,作人們的食糧了。中國文化所推崇的溫柔敦厚等美德,耶穌樣樣都有。

但在另一方面,耶穌也是一個革命家,一個挑戰傳統惡習的人,他甚至說過:「我帶來的不是和平,而是刀劍。」(瑪10:34)西默盎就認定耶穌要「使以色列中許多人跌倒和復起,並成為反對的記號。」(路2:34)

在中國人的通俗智慧中,老早就有「不遭人忌是庸才」的感慨,而耶肋米亞先知的蒙召,也是要「執行拔除、破壞、毀滅、推翻、建設和栽培的任務」(耶1:10)。這大概也是所有有理想的人或先知們的任務和使命吧?

人間從來不會只有天天笑語盈盈的友愛共融,理想的團體也不會是只有一團和氣的!耶穌來到世上,不只是要建立一個友愛共融的教會,他更是要找尋一群和他志同道合的人,去為天國的理想而作艱苦的、長期的奮鬥!

中國春秋戰國時代的墨子,就曾經為了兼愛、和平、非攻的理想,而建立了一個墨者團體。這個團體內的所有人,都有耶穌所要求的那種剛強、堅忍、有耐力的性格。所以在墨子的這個團體中,就有許多連死都不怕的人,即所謂「墨子服役者八十人,皆可使赴火蹈刃,死不旋踵,化之所致也。

化之所致,即教化的結果,就是中國古人所謂:「讀聖賢書,所學何事」的覺醒。文化本來就是一種力量。聖賢書教導我們要為聖為賢,要活得崇高而偉大,要「立地以上承天,承天道以隆人」。這一切,本身就有非凡的吸引力。

跟隨耶穌本身也有非凡的吸引力。在耶穌內,我們完成自我、成聖成賢;在耶穌內,我們活得快樂,活出一種充滿天上神恩和平安的快樂;在耶穌內,我們可以把福音傳遍天涯海角,使天國臨現人間。

這樣,我們又哪會為自己選擇了耶穌而反悔,又何須頻頻回頭,去留戀我們曾經棄之如敝屣的污濁之物呢?

 

 

常年期第十三主日

回应主召义无反顾,追随耶稣奉献一生

读经一:(列上19:16,19-21):厄里叟被召
读经二:(迦5:1,13-18):应顺从圣神而行事
福 音:(路9:51-62):应无牵掛地跟随主
中国文化:年年难過年年過,处处无家处处家。亦余心之所善兮,唯九死其犹未悔。不遭人忌是庸才。墨子服役者八十人,皆可使赴火蹈刃,死不旋踵,化之所致也。读圣贤书,所学何事。立地以上承天,承天道以隆人。


有一個人对耶稣说:「你无论往哪里去,我都要跟随你。」耶稣对他说:「狐狸有穴,天空的飞鸟有巢,可是人子连栖身枕头的地方都没有……任凭死人去埋葬他们的死人吧!你要去传扬天主的国……手扶著犁而往后看的,不適合进天主的国。」(路9:58-62)

古往今来,都有不少人要追随耶稣,但耶稣却毫不含糊的告诉他们,和他在一起究竟是什么一回事,要承担的又是什么样的后果。

上面的经文,还告诉我们,做耶稣的门徒該有什么特质。

第一、耶稣的门徒必须吃得苦、「捱得」、忍得,可以忍受连枕头之地都没有的、贫无立錐的艰苦生活条件,可以经得起「年年难過年年過,处处无家处处家」的长期考验。

第二、耶稣的门徒必须以天国为优先,而且是绝对的优先,并且要懂得如何在適当的時候,把其他的所有东西都暂搁一旁:「任凭死人去埋葬他们的死人吧!」即是要让属世的人,去做他们属世的事。本来,我们都是「在世」的,而且也深爱著这個世界,因为基督徒绝对不应逃避这個世界,和我们在这世界中所应承担的义务。但我们却是「在世而不属於世」,因为我们负有更重要的任务。

第三、耶稣的门徒必须义无反顾的追随耶稣,无怨、无悔的和耶稣一起生活,一生坚持和耶稣一起并肩作战、共同奋斗,并具有屈原那种「亦余心之所善兮,虽九死其犹未悔」的坚贞和至死不渝之心。

这是一段十分「硬磞磞」的经文,严肃、认真、绝对,没有妥协的余地,听起来有点无情和不可理喻,因为说这话的,同样是一個十分强硬的耶稣!他不要求门徒做到九十九分,他要求的是一百分!

其实,耶稣本来也是一個十分多样化的人,他有硬的一面,也有软的一面。

一方面,耶稣确是良善心谦的,对人充满了同情和谅解。他轻抚儿童的头,赦免罪妇的罪,显增饼的奇迹去让群众吃饱;他为朋友的死而哭泣,也为民族的苦难而流淚;他的临别赠言更是充满了期盼、温馨、爱意与柔情。在那個温情洋溢的晚餐厅中,他连自己的心、身体和宝血都留下来,作人们的食粮了。中国文化所推崇的温柔敦厚等美德,耶稣样样都有。

但在另一方面,耶稣也是一個革命家,一個挑战传统恶习的人,他甚至说過:「我带来的不是和平,而是刀劍。」(玛10:34)西默盎就认定耶稣要「使以色列中许多人跌倒和复起,并成为反对的记号。」(路2:34)

在中国人的通俗智慧中,老早就有「不遭人忌是庸才」的感慨,而耶肋米亚先知的蒙召,也是要「执行拔除、破坏、毁灭、推翻、建设和栽培的任务」(耶1:10)。这大概也是所有有理想的人或先知们的任务和使命吧?

人间从来不会只有天天笑语盈盈的友爱共融,理想的团体也不会是只有一团和气的!耶稣来到世上,不只是要建立一個友爱共融的教会,他更是要找寻一群和他志同道合的人,去为天国的理想而作艰苦的、长期的奋斗!

中国春秋战国時代的墨子,就曾经为了兼爱、和平、非攻的理想,而建立了一個墨者团体。这個团体内的所有人,都有耶稣所要求的那种刚强、坚忍、有耐力的性格。所以在墨子的这個团体中,就有许多连死都不怕的人,即所谓「墨子服役者八十人,皆可使赴火蹈刃,死不旋踵,化之所致也。

化之所致,即教化的结果,就是中国古人所谓:「读圣贤书,所学何事」的觉醒。文化本来就是一种力量。圣贤书教导我们要为圣为贤,要活得崇高而伟大,要「立地以上承天,承天道以隆人」。这一切,本身就有非凡的吸引力。

跟随耶稣本身也有非凡的吸引力。在耶稣内,我们完成自我、成圣成贤;在耶稣内,我们活得快乐,活出一种充满天上神恩和平安的快乐;在耶稣内,我们可以把福音传遍天涯海角,使天国临现人间。

这样,我们又哪会为自己选择了耶稣而反悔,又何须频频回头,去留恋我们曾经弃之如敝屣的污浊之物呢?

 

 

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Kingdom of God has come to Earth,
the Poor, the Sick and the Destitute Rejoice

First Reading (Neh 7:2-6, 8-10) : Ezra the priest preached to the people
Second Reading (1 Cor12: 12-30) : Though many members, only one Body
Gospel (Lk 1:14: 14-21) : Jesus proclaims the Lord's goodness to all people
Chinese Classics:
-“If I could only have ten thousand houses to house the homeless, to bless and protect the whole world, all the people would be happy.”(1)
“This poet has compassion on the sores and disfigurement of the people; his pen cries out for the ills and sufferings of mankind.”(2)
“Iron shoulders champion righteousness and justice. He writes about life and mankind until his hair grows white.”(3)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.(Lk4: 18-19)

These are Jesus' first public words as he began his public life. He spoke clearly about his identity, his mission and his work. His identity was that of the anointed of the Lord, a messenger sent by God. He came from the Father to carry out the Father’s plan and the will of the Father. Of course he himself is God.

His work is to let all the marginalized people that society ignores, all the poor, the suffering and the maimed, re-enter into the midst of society, into the circle of the kindly love and care of God and other people. According to the Father's plan, those who had been marginalized by others would be invited back again into a society full of love and mutual support.

But Jesus' more important mission was to establish the Kingdom of God, to nurture the environment of the kingdom, to build the kingdom's culture, to declare that God's ‘Year of Grace’ had come.Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing!(Lk 4:21)

Correct! It has been fulfilled! It has arrived! It has been realized! From the beginning of time until now, all the desires and dreams for a wholistic life, all the hopes for a time of universal harmony that the prophets and saints of old longed for, today are all fulfilled. The dreams have come true.

What here is called the ‘Year of Grace’ is the Jubilee Year, the Holy Year, the time the Lord has ordained, the time of God’s universal salvation.

According to the book of Leviticus the year after the seventh year of rest, that is every 50 years, was a Jubilee Year. (Chap 25: 9-10, 23-28, 39-43). During the Jubilee Year You shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants. ‘Jubilee’ originally meant a ‘horn’, its function being to awaken the people and tell them that a nationwide day of joy had come.

According to the laws of the Jubilee Year the innate rights that God had bestowed upon humankind – the right to own land, to have property, to have personal freedom,- are not to be transferred, sold or usurped. Every 50 years was to be a nationwide jubilee year and during that year all land and property that had been sold was to be restored to the owner and slaves who had lost their freedom were to regain it. Everyone would again enjoy the grace of the Lord.

Because land and peoples' lives all belong to the Lord, we humans can only use them, not usurp them as our own. No one has the right to take as one's own anything that originally belongs to God.

If we are not happy with laws that restrict our inter-personal relationships, in today's reading from the twelfth Chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians Paul tells us of the kind of relationship we should have with one another:For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)

How are we then to look upon the weak and less important members of this body? In the same Chapter Paul continues, Truly, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior members, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (cf 1Cor 12:22-26)

We all belong to the same body; we all are members of Christ's Mystical Body. We are brothers and sisters of each other because we have only one Heavenly Father.

These teachings are for all people, they are the foundation of the kingdom of heaven. In this kingdom love is supreme. It is a love that enables us to look upon the weakest members with respect and sympathy.

Within love and an environment of love, for example within the warmth of a family, the poor, the sorrowing, the maimed, the sick, become particularly privileged, because they are especially cared for. Is it not true that in a family when someone becomes ill, perhaps cannot eat ordinary food, they are better cared for and exempt from regular household chores?

“If I could only have ten thousand houses to house the homeless, to bless and protect the whole world, all the people would be happy.”(1) This was the dream of the poet Du Fu. He yearned for a heaven on earth, a utopia. He was a considerate and warmhearted intellectual who worried about the country and the people. How posterity describes and evaluates Du Fu can be seen from the following couplets: “This poet has compassion on the sores and disfiguration of the people; his pen cries out for the ills and sufferings of mankind. (2) “Iron shoulders champion righteousness and justice. He writes about life and mankind until his hair grows white.”(3)

Heaven or utopia is not something we can obtain on our own just by wishing for it. There must be some who struggle continuously for it. Du Fu, bearing the conscience of an intellectual, wrote about this wholistic world in his works and continually used his poems and essays to appeal to the people. He seemed to have iron-cast shoulders to undertake to champion righteousness and justice. Throughout his life ‘until his hair turned white’ he strove to achieve this and spent his entire life to attain it.

The Kingdom of heaven and universal harmony depend on many people willing to cooperate together to build and achieve it. And two thousand years ago, it is this Kingdom of God that Jesus declared had already come.

(1)安得廣廈千萬間,大庇天下寒士俱歡顏!
(2)百姓瘡痍,詩中聖哲,民間疾苦,筆底波瀾。
(3)鐵肩擔道義,白首寫蒼生。

 

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Kingdom of God has come to Earth,
the Poor, the Sick and the Destitute Rejoice

First Reading (Neh 7:2-6, 8-10) : Ezra the priest preached to the people
Second Reading (1 Cor12: 12-30) : Though many members, only one Body
Gospel (Lk 1:14: 14-21) : Jesus proclaims the Lord's goodness to all people
Chinese Classics:
-“If I could only have ten thousand houses to house the homeless, to bless and protect the whole world, all the people would be happy.”(1)
“This poet has compassion on the sores and disfigurement of the people; his pen cries out for the ills and sufferings of mankind.”(2)
“Iron shoulders champion righteousness and justice. He writes about life and mankind until his hair grows white.”(3)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.(Lk4: 18-19)

These are Jesus' first public words as he began his public life. He spoke clearly about his identity, his mission and his work. His identity was that of the anointed of the Lord, a messenger sent by God. He came from the Father to carry out the Father’s plan and the will of the Father. Of course he himself is God.

His work is to let all the marginalized people that society ignores, all the poor, the suffering and the maimed, re-enter into the midst of society, into the circle of the kindly love and care of God and other people. According to the Father's plan, those who had been marginalized by others would be invited back again into a society full of love and mutual support.

But Jesus' more important mission was to establish the Kingdom of God, to nurture the environment of the kingdom, to build the kingdom's culture, to declare that God's ‘Year of Grace’ had come. Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing! (Lk 4:21)

Correct! It has been fulfilled! It has arrived! It has been realized! From the beginning of time until now, all the desires and dreams for a wholistic life, all the hopes for a time of universal harmony that the prophets and saints of old longed for, today are all fulfilled. The dreams have come true.

What here is called the ‘Year of Grace’ is the Jubilee Year, the Holy Year, the time the Lord has ordained, the time of God’s universal salvation.

According to the book of Leviticus the year after the seventh year of rest, that is every 50 years, was a Jubilee Year. (Chap 25: 9-10, 23-28, 39-43). During the Jubilee Year You shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants.‘Jubilee’ originally meant a ‘horn’, its function being to awaken the people and tell them that a nationwide day of joy had come.

According to the laws of the Jubilee Year the innate rights that God had bestowed upon humankind – the right to own land, to have property, to have personal freedom,- are not to be transferred, sold or usurped. Every 50 years was to be a nationwide jubilee year and during that year all land and property that had been sold was to be restored to the owner and slaves who had lost their freedom were to regain it. Everyone would again enjoy the grace of the Lord.

Because land and peoples' lives all belong to the Lord, we humans can only use them, not usurp them as our own. No one has the right to take as one's own anything that originally belongs to God.

If we are not happy with laws that restrict our inter-personal relationships, in today's reading from the twelfth Chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians Paul tells us of the kind of relationship we should have with one another: For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)

How are we then to look upon the weak and less important members of this body? In the same Chapter Paul continues, Truly, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior members, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (cf 1Cor 12:22-26)

We all belong to the same body; we all are members of Christ's Mystical Body. We are brothers and sisters of each other because we have only one Heavenly Father.

These teachings are for all people, they are the foundation of the kingdom of heaven. In this kingdom love is supreme. It is a love that enables us to look upon the weakest members with respect and sympathy.

Within love and an environment of love, for example within the warmth of a family, the poor, the sorrowing, the maimed, the sick, become particularly privileged, because they are especially cared for. Is it not true that in a family when someone becomes ill, perhaps cannot eat ordinary food, they are better cared for and exempt from regular household chores?

“If I could only have ten thousand houses to house the homeless, to bless and protect the whole world, all the people would be happy.”(1) This was the dream of the poet Du Fu. He yearned for a heaven on earth, a utopia. He was a considerate and warmhearted intellectual who worried about the country and the people. How posterity describes and evaluates Du Fu can be seen from the following couplets: “This poet has compassion on the sores and disfiguration of the people; his pen cries out for the ills and sufferings of mankind. (2) “Iron shoulders champion righteousness and justice. He writes about life and mankind until his hair grows white.”(3)

Heaven or utopia is not something we can obtain on our own just by wishing for it. There must be some who struggle continuously for it. Du Fu, bearing the conscience of an intellectual, wrote about this wholistic world in his works and continually used his poems and essays to appeal to the people. He seemed to have iron-cast shoulders to undertake to champion righteousness and justice. Throughout his life ‘until his hair turned white’ he strove to achieve this and spent his entire life to attain it.

The Kingdom of heaven and universal harmony depend on many people willing to cooperate together to build and achieve it. And two thousand years ago, it is this Kingdom of God that Jesus declared had already come.

(1)安得廣廈千萬間,大庇天下寒士俱歡顏!
(2)百姓瘡痍,詩中聖哲,民間疾苦,筆底波瀾。
(3)鐵肩擔道義,白首寫蒼生。

 

 

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019