常年期第二十三主日 2019年09月08日


常年期第廿三主日
 
信仰重在抉擇,一切以主為基
 
讀經一:(智9:13-19):只有聖神能指引人探究天上的事
讀經二:(費9-10,12-17):保祿為奴隸敖乃息摩求情
福 音:(路14:25-33):做耶穌門徒的條件
中國文化:患在鼠:吾之患在鼠,不在乎無雞。捨魚而取熊掌;捨生而取義。魚,我所欲也,熊掌,亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍魚而取熊掌者也。生,亦我所欲也,義,亦我所欲也,二者不可得兼,舍生而取義者也。
 
有許多群眾與耶穌同行,耶穌轉身向他們說:「如果誰要跟隨我,他應該愛我超過自己的父親、母親、妻子、兒女、兄弟、姊妹,甚至自己的性命,否則,就不配做我的門徒。不論誰,若不背著自己的十字架,在我後面走,也不配做我的門徒。你們中不論是誰,如果不捨棄他所擁有的一切,就不配做我的門徒。」(路14:25-27,33)
 
耶穌在說上面這段話之前,曾講了一個宴席的比喻。他說要到城中的大街小巷,去邀請那些貧窮的、殘廢的、瞎眼的人來赴宴;甚至要勉強所有的人來參加宴會。這似乎暗示了不必任何條件和資格,人人都可以參加天國的宴會,人人都可以加入天國的行列。
 
耶穌為免群眾誤會,便說出了跟隨他的「條件」:第一、要愛耶穌超過自己的父母、妻兒、兄弟姊妹,甚至要超過自己的性命。按照思高的譯本,這「超過」一詞,原本用的是「惱恨」。第二、要背起自己的十字架,跟在耶穌後面。
 
要注意的是,思高版本中的所謂「惱恨」,並不是指真的「恨」。因為正是同樣的耶穌要我們孝順父母,要我們愛人如己。這是一個充滿悲天憫人之情、充滿對百姓蒼生之愛的天主。他不可能教我們去恨,恨自己的至親骨肉、恨自己!
 
聖經的言語有自己的特點,它喜歡以「對立」的方式去表達「比較」。例如,把「愛」和「恨」對立起來,是表示「愛」是指愛多一些,「恨」是指愛少一些。所以這段經文的真正意義才被一些譯本譯為:「如果誰要跟隨我,就應該愛我超過愛自己的父母……甚至超過愛自己的性命。」
 
父母兄弟姊妹都是重要的,愛他們也是天主的誡命;但比起耶穌來,他們都變成了次要。
 
《郁離子》有一則「患在鼠」的故事,故事說一個人為了滅絕家中的鼠患,找來一隻貓;怎知那貓既能治鼠,也喜歡捉雞吃。兒子心痛於雞的損失,要把貓趕走。但父親不同意,他說:「吾之患在鼠,不在乎無雞。」因為老鼠為患,毀壞了他們的所有生計,使他們整個生活陷入困境,這是大患;而無雞不過只是生活中的小損失罷了。
 
這就是所謂「抉擇」,包括選擇和放棄,或更好說,我們選擇去放棄。在信仰上我們更稱它做「基本抉擇」。
 
在生命中我們都有一些最基本、最重要的東西,即我們生命中的「第一優次」,我們就是以這個作標準,去衡量其他的所有選擇。例如,對一些人來說,金錢或權力可以是第一優次,而對那些「愛靚唔愛命」的人來說,美貌卻是第一優次。
 
我們確定了生命中的優次以後,便會為了那個更重要的「心頭所愛」,而「選擇」去放棄其它次等重要的東西。放棄這些次等的,就是為了獲得那最優等的;有了最優等的以後,即使我們損失了次等的,我們也不會覺得心煩和心痛。
 
孟子所謂「捨魚而取熊掌」,或「捨生而取義」,也是這樣的一種抉擇。孟子說:「魚,我所欲也,熊掌,亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍魚而取熊掌者也。生,亦我所欲也,義,亦我所欲也,二者不可得兼,舍生而取義者也。
 
今天福音告訴我們,我們在信仰上的第一優次就是耶穌;為了耶穌,我們放棄次等重要的東西,這甚至可以包括我們的父母、妻子、兒女、兄弟姊妹,和我們自己。
 
不過,為耶穌而捨棄自己的人,正是在最大程度上完成自己。這就是耶穌所說:「誰為我的緣故,喪失了自己的性命,必要獲得性命。」(瑪10:39)而許多「捨棄」父母而追隨聖召的人,事實證明他們也可以是十分孝順的子女。
 
家父於一九五二年去世,享年四十六歲;家母於二零零零年去世,享年八十七歲。我有兩位妹妹,我是家中唯一的兒子。我於一九五六年,「捨棄」了母親和兩位妹妹(當時家父已去世),進入修院;家母當時完全不能了解。但由於我也有堂兄弟姊妹,相對於我的堂兄弟姊妹對我的伯叔父母的關係而言,家母已能慢慢看出來,我才是最孝順的;也只有我這種「神父兒子」,才能完全屬於她。我始終都是她的好兒子。
 
我「捨棄」了父母,但我一生都愛著、惦記著父母,為他們獻上我工作、我的祈禱、我的感恩祭。
常年期第廿三主日
 
信仰重在抉择,一切以主为基
 
读经一:(智9:13-19):只有圣神能指引人探究天上的事
读经二:(费9-10,12-17):保禄为奴隶敖乃息摩求情
福 音:(路14:25-33):做耶稣门徒的条件
中国文化:患在鼠:吾之患在鼠,不在乎无鸡。舍魚而取熊掌;舍生而取义。魚,我所欲也,熊掌,亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍魚而取熊掌者也。生,亦我所欲也,义,亦我所欲也,二者不可得兼,舍生而取义者也。
 
有许多群众与耶稣同行,耶稣转身向他们说:「如果谁要跟随我,他应該爱我超過自己的父亲、母亲、妻子、儿女、兄弟、姊妹,甚至自己的性命,否则,就不配做我的门徒。不论谁,若不背著自己的十字架,在我后面走,也不配做我的门徒。你们中不论是谁,如果不舍弃他所拥有的一切,就不配做我的门徒。」(路14:25-27,33)
 
耶稣在说上面这段话之前,曾讲了一個宴席的比喻。他说要到城中的大街小巷,去邀请那些贫穷的、残废的、瞎眼的人来赴宴;甚至要勉强所有的人来参加宴会。这似乎暗示了不必任何条件和资格,人人都可以参加天国的宴会,人人都可以加入天国的行列。
 
耶稣为免群众误会,便说出了跟随他的「条件」:第一、要爱耶稣超過自己的父母、妻儿、兄弟姊妹,甚至要超過自己的性命。按照思高的译本,这「超過」一词,原本用的是「恼恨」。第二、要背起自己的十字架,跟在耶稣后面。
 
要注意的是,思高版本中的所谓「恼恨」,并不是指真的「恨」。因为正是同样的耶稣要我们孝顺父母,要我们爱人如己。这是一個充满悲天悯人之情、充满对百姓苍生之爱的天主。他不可能教我们去恨,恨自己的至亲骨肉、恨自己!
 
圣经的言语有自己的特点,它喜欢以「对立」的方式去表达「比较」。例如,把「爱」和「恨」对立起来,是表示「爱」是指爱多一些,「恨」是指爱少一些。所以这段经文的真正意义才被一些译本译为:「如果谁要跟随我,就应該爱我超過爱自己的父母……甚至超過爱自己的性命。」
 
父母兄弟姊妹都是重要的,爱他们也是天主的诫命;但比起耶稣来,他们都变成了次要。
 
《郁離子》 有一则「患在鼠」的故事,故事说一個人为了灭绝家中的鼠患,找来一只猫;怎知那猫既能治鼠,也喜欢捉鸡吃。儿子心痛於鸡的损失,要把猫赶走。但父亲不同意,他说:「吾之患在鼠,不在乎无鸡。」因为老鼠为患,毁坏了他们的所有生计,使他们整個生活陷入困境,这是大患;而无鸡不過只是生活中的小损失罢了。
 
这就是所谓「抉择」,包括选择和放弃,或更好说,我们选择去放弃。在信仰上我们更称它做「基本抉择」。
 
在生命中我们都有一些最基本、最重要的东西,即我们生命中的「第一优次」,我们就是以这個作标准,去衡量其他的所有选择。例如,对一些人来说,金钱或权力可以是第一优次,而对那些「爱靓唔爱命」的人来说,美貌却是第一优次。
 
我们确定了生命中的优次以后,便会为了那個更重要的「心头所爱」,而「选择」去放弃其它次等重要的东西。放弃这些次等的,就是为了获得那最优等的;有了最优等的以后,即使我们损失了次等的,我们也不会觉得心烦和心痛。
 
孟子所谓「舍魚而取熊掌」,或「舍生而取义」,也是这样的一种抉择。孟子说:「魚,我所欲也,熊掌,亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍魚而取熊掌者也。生,亦我所欲也,义,亦我所欲也,二者不可得兼,舍生而取义者也。
 
今天福音告诉我们,我们在信仰上的第一优次就是耶稣;为了耶稣,我们放弃次等重要的东西,这甚至可以包括我们的父母、妻子、儿女、兄弟姊妹,和我们自己。
 
不過,为耶稣而舍弃自己的人,正是在最大程度上完成自己。这就是耶稣所说:「谁为我的缘故,丧失了自己的性命,必要获得性命。」(玛10:39)而许多「舍弃」父母而追随圣召的人,事实证明他们也可以是十分孝顺的子女。
 
家父於一九五二年去世,享年四十六岁;家母於二零零零年去世,享年八十七岁。我有两位妹妹,我是家中唯一的儿子。我於一九五六年,「舍弃」了母亲和两位妹妹(当時家父已去世),进入修院;家母当時完全不能了解。但由於我也有堂兄弟姊妹,相对於我的堂兄弟姊妹对我的伯叔父母的关系而言,家母已能慢慢看出来,我才是最孝顺的;也只有我这种「神父儿子」,才能完全属於她。我始终都是她的好儿子。
 
我「舍弃」了父母,但我一生都爱著、惦记著父母,为他们献上我工作、我的祈祷、我的感恩祭。
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Faith is a Fundamental Option- God is the Foundation of Everything
 
First Reading (Wis 9:13-19): Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to probe the things of heaven
Second Reading (Philem 9-10, 12-17): Paul pleads for the slave Onesimus
Gospel (LK 14: 25-33): Conditions for being a disciple of Jesus
Chinese Classics:
-The trouble is the mice. “ My trouble is the mice, I do not care about not having any hens.”(1)
-“Let the fish go and choose the bear’s paws. Let life go and choose righteousness.” (2)
-“I like fish and I also like bear’s paws. If I cannot have the two together, I will let the fish go and take the bear’s paws. I like life and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep both of them I will let life go and choose righteousness.” (3)
 
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry th4 cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. So therefore, none of you can be my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (Lk 14: 25-27.33)
 
Before Jesus spoke the words recorded above he told a parable about a banquet. He said one should go throughout the streets and invite the poor, the lame, the blind to the feast, even force everyone to come to the banquet. It seemed as if there were no conditions or qualifications, everyone could take part in the Kingdom of Heaven’s feast. All people could enter into the kingdom.
 
However, Jesus did not want the crowds to misunderstand him so he listed the 'conditions' for following him. First, one must love Jesus more than one's parents, wife, brothers and sisters, even more than one's own life The Hong Kong Studium Biblicum translation even says 'hate' them. Second, one must bear one's cross and follow behind Jesus.
 
It should be noted that the word 'hate' here does not mean real hatred, because Jesus also tells us we must love and honor our parents and 'love our neighbor as ourselves'. God is a God of loving kindness, full of love for all people. God could not teach us to hate anyone, much less our family and relatives, or ourselves. .
 
Biblical language has its own characteristics. For example, it likes to use opposites when making comparisons, as 'love' compared to 'hate' to indicate that love is 'to love more' or 'to love less.' So in this Scriptural passage, some translations will render it ‘Those who wish to follow me must love me more than you love your parents... even more than you love your own life.’
 
Father and mother, brothers and sisters, are important people and one of God's commandments is to love them. But compared to loving Jesus, our love for them is secondary.
 
There is a story in “Yu Li Zi” called ‘The trouble is the Mice.’ In the story a man was plagued by mice in his house, so he brought in a cat to get rid of the mice. But besides the mice, the cat also caught and ate the chickens. The man's son was distressed at the loss of the chickens and wanted to do away with the cat. His father disagreed, saying, “My trouble is the mice. I do not care about not having any chickens.” The mice were the cause of the trouble, they had destroyed the family's whole livelihood and brought them great calamity. This was the cause of their downfall. Not having chickens was only a small loss in their lives. (1)
 
This is what is termed 'choosing options.'. It includes choosing and also 'letting go.' Or, it is better to say, we choose in order to let go (of something else). In relation to faith, we term this 'a fundamental option...'
 
Within life we all have some basic and important things which are our 'first priority.' They are the standard by which we measure other choices in life. For example, for some people money or power is their first priority, for those who 'love beauty more than life,' beauty is their first priority.
 
Once we have decided on the priorities in our life, then for the sake of that which is 'closest to our heart' we choose to let go of other less important matters. We give up the lesser ones in order to obtain the most precious one. Having achieved that, we do not feel distressed or deprived for relinquishing the less important things.
 
Mencius' “Let the fish go and choose the bear's paw’ or ‘Let life go and choose righteousness’(2) was this kind of option. He said, “I like fish and I also like bear's paws. If I cannot have the two together, I will let the fish go, and take the bear's paws. In the same way I like life and I also like righteousness. If I cannot keep both of them I will let go of life and choose righteousness.” (3)
 
Today's Gospel tells us that when we are talking about faith, our first priority is Jesus; for Him, we give up all other things. That includes our parents, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and our very selves.
 
But those who give up themselves entirely for Jesus, reach fulfillment in life to the greatest extent. That is what Jesus meant when he said, .”Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake with find it.” (Mt 10:39). 
 
Many people who give up their parents to follow a (religious) vocation have proved concretely that they can be very loving and devoted children of their parents.
 
My own father passed away in 1952 at the age of 46. My mother passed away in 2000 at the age of 87. I have 2 younger sisters and I am the only son. In 1956 when I entered the seminary, I can say I 'gave up' my mother and sisters (by that time my father was already deceased). At the time my mother was totally unable to comprehend my decision. However, I had close cousins and compared to their relationship with my uncle and aunt, my mother gradually began to realize that I was the one who paid the greatest filial respect. Only this “priest son” could be totally devoted to her. From beginning to end, I was her loyal and loving son.
 
I 'gave up' my parents, but I have loved, respected and remembered them throughout my life. For them I have offered my work and prayer and the Sacrifice of the Mass.
 
(1) 患在鼠:吾之患在鼠,不在乎無雞。
(2) 捨魚而取熊掌;捨生而取義。
(3) 魚,我所欲也,熊掌,亦我所欲也;二者不可得兼,舍魚而取熊掌者也。生,亦我所欲也,義,亦我所欲也,二者不可得兼,舍生而取義者也。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019