常年期第二十五主日 2019年09月22日


常年期第廿五主日
 
學效世俗精明,事奉唯一真主
 
讀經一:(亞8:4-7):亞毛斯先知指責壓榨窮人的人
讀經二:(弟前2:1-7):天主願意眾人得救
福 音:(路16:1-13):不忠信的管家
中國文化:人寰尚有遺民在,大節難隨九鼎淪。
 
主人就稱讚這個不義的管家手段高明:因為世俗之子在應付世俗的事務上,的確比光明之子更為精明……在小事上忠信的,在大事上也會忠信;在小事上不義的,在大事上也會不義……沒有一個僕人能事奉兩個主人的:他或是恨這一個而愛那一個,或是忠於這一個而輕視那一個。你們不能同時事奉天主而又事奉金錢。」(路16:8-13節錄)
 
耶穌今天講這個比喻,很值得我們這些信天主的人、有信仰的人、講求超性與靈性生命的人,作出深刻的、誠實的反省,因為我們真的很難會明白這個比喻的深層意義。
 
我們自命是信天主、信神的人,我們追求靈性的、超性的生命。但說句真心話,這種信仰影響我們有多深呢?
 
一個「世俗之子」為了自己的前途、婚姻、事業,為了妻子、丈夫、兒女,他可以懷抱最驚人的毅力,投下最大量的時間,作出最重大的犧牲。而能夠為了信仰、為了天主而作出相同程度的努力、奉獻和犧牲的「光明之子」,卻為數不多。
 
如果拿神父和牧師作比較,我們也可能會發現,牧師們獲得俗世大學學位的,比例上似乎比神父的略多。無他,因為這些學位為牧師的前途,甚至為他們的生活、家庭、妻子和兒女,都是十分重要的。他們必須用他們的學問甚至學位,去贏取堂區會眾的信任、留任,甚至聘請;而他們薪金的多寡,也會因為他們學位的多寡或有無,而有所不同!
 
原來世俗之子所面對的,是一種迫切的、「感覺到」的需要,(即英文的所謂 felt need),而光明之子呢?我們的需要只是靈性上的、心理上的、理性上的、有點虛無縹緲的;我們並不真的「感覺到」需要信仰,並不像我們在口渴時感覺到需要水一樣。我們很少會因為靈性上的欠缺,而真的感覺到「肉痛」。對不少人來說,缺少了一次彌撒,唸少了一次經,做少了一次愛德工作,根本不會感覺到缺少了什麼。
 
那個因為不義而被解僱的管家,立刻要面對的,是生活沒有著落的問題,所以他要用盡一切方法,甚至耍出卑鄙的手段,也要去為自己的未來作周詳打算,以解決自己立刻就要面對的燃眉之急。
 
我們這些「光明之子」、「信仰之子」又怎樣呢?我們面對的神、永生、靈性、理想等等,對我們一些人來說,都是若有若無的東西;它們好像離開我們很遠、很遠似的。我們甚至未曾認真花過多少氣力,去學習有關我們所信的東西,也沒有花過多少時間在聖經、祈禱或聖事中,去經驗我們的天主,去驗證我們的信仰。
 
有些剛領洗的教友會很熱心,但過不多久就冷淡下來了。這現象甚至也會發生在新升的神父,和新發願的修女身上。這說明我們並未真的捉摸到信仰,並未真實的接觸到天主,對靈性的事物也不感到迫切,所以也就不會緊張和執著。
 
耶穌要我們學這個「不義的管家」,並不是要學他的不義或他的「蠱惑」,而是學習他解決問題的方法,學習他的精明和創意,學習他怎樣為自己的前途而費盡心力。
 
其實耶穌認為事奉主人,也應一心一意、用盡方法、盡忠職守,完全以主人為中心,全部以他的意志為依歸。絕不能一腳踏兩船、左右逢迎。
 
在實踐上,耶穌給我們提供了一個可行的辦法,就是從小事著手。他認為:「在小事上忠信的,在大事上也會忠信;在小事上不義的,在大事上也會不義。
 
世人為了「事奉」金錢,花盡了他們畢生的時間、才能和精力,我們「事奉」天主,如能有一半世俗之子的熱誠,已經不錯了!但耶穌要求我們的卻是「全心、全靈、全意、全力」的事奉,我們又怎麼可以只做到一半呢?
 
明末顧炎武一生愛國,明亡後仍然忠於前朝,他常常勉勵自己:「人寰尚有遺民在,大節難隨九鼎淪。」這是說,即使國破家亡了,他還是要做明朝的「遺民」,做人間中最後的一個愛國者;他自己絕不會讓這種忠君愛國的大氣節,隨著國家的破滅而沉淪消失(「九鼎」指國家)。
 
我們也可以這樣地忠於天主,一生只要敬拜、事奉他嗎?我們的信仰,我們對天主的忠貞,也可以好像顧炎武一樣,雖然經歷了國破家亡的大悲大痛,而仍然能夠不枯萎、不凋謝、不沉淪嗎?
常年期第廿五主日
 
学效世俗精明,事奉唯一真主
 
读经一:(亚8:4-7):亚毛斯先知指責压榨穷人的人
读经二:(弟前2:1-7):天主願意众人得救
福 音:(路16:1-13):不忠信的管家
中国文化:人寰尚有遗民在,大节难随九鼎沦。
 
主人就称赞这個不义的管家手段高明:因为世俗之子在应付世俗的事务上,的确比光明之子更为精明……在小事上忠信的,在大事上也会忠信;在小事上不义的,在大事上也会不义……没有一個仆人能事奉两個主人的:他或是恨这一個而爱那一個,或是忠於这一個而轻视那一個。你们不能同時事奉天主而又事奉金钱。」(路16:8-13节录)
 
耶稣今天讲这個比喻,很值得我们这些信天主的人、有信仰的人、讲求超性与灵性生命的人,作出深刻的、诚实的反省,因为我们真的很难会明白这個比喻的深层意义。
 
我们自命是信天主、信神的人,我们追求灵性的、超性的生命。但说句真心话,这种信仰影响我们有多深呢?
 
一個「世俗之子」为了自己的前途、婚姻、事业,为了妻子、丈夫、儿女,他可以怀抱最惊人的毅力,投下最大量的時间,作出最重大的牺牲。而能够为了信仰、为了天主而作出相同程度的努力、奉献和牺牲的「光明之子」,却为数不多。
 
如果拿神父和牧师作比较,我们也可能会发现,牧师们获得俗世大学学位的,比例上似乎比神父的略多。无他,因为这些学位为牧师的前途,甚至为他们的生活、家庭、妻子和儿女,都是十分重要的。他们必须用他们的学問甚至学位,去赢取堂区会众的信任、留任,甚至聘请;而他们薪金的多寡,也会因为他们学位的多寡或有无,而有所不同!
 
原来世俗之子所面对的,是一种迫切的、「感觉到」的需要,(即英文的所谓 felt need),而光明之子呢?我们的需要只是灵性上的、心理上的、理性上的、有点虚无缥缈的;我们并不真的「感觉到」需要信仰,并不像我们在口渴時感觉到需要水一样。我们很少会因为灵性上的欠缺,而真的感觉到「肉痛」。对不少人来说,缺少了一次弥撒,念少了一次经,做少了一次爱德工作,根本不会感觉到缺少了什么。
 
那個因为不义而被解雇的管家,立刻要面对的,是生活没有著落的問题,所以他要用尽一切方法,甚至耍出卑鄙的手段,也要去为自己的未来作周详打算,以解决自己立刻就要面对的燃眉之急。
 
我们这些「光明之子」、「信仰之子」又怎样呢?我们面对的神、永生、灵性、理想等等,对我们一些人来说,都是若有若无的东西;它们好像離開我们很遠、很遠似的。我们甚至未曾认真花過多少气力,去学习有关我们所信的东西,也没有花過多少時间在圣经、祈祷或圣事中,去经验我们的天主,去验证我们的信仰。
 
有些刚领洗的教友会很热心,但過不多久就冷淡下来了。这现象甚至也会发生在新升的神父,和新发願的修女身上。这说明我们并未真的捉摸到信仰,并未真实的接触到天主,对灵性的事物也不感到迫切,所以也就不会紧张和执著。
 
耶稣要我们学这個「不义的管家」,并不是要学他的不义或他的「蠱惑」,而是学习他解决問题的方法,学习他的精明和创意,学习他怎样为自己的前途而费尽心力。
 
其实耶稣认为事奉主人,也应一心一意、用尽方法、尽忠职守,完全以主人为中心,全部以他的意志为依归。绝不能一脚踏两船、左右逢迎。
 
在实踐上,耶稣给我们提供了一個可行的办法,就是从小事著手。他认为:「在小事上忠信的,在大事上也会忠信;在小事上不义的,在大事上也会不义。
 
世人为了「事奉」金钱,花尽了他们毕生的時间、才能和精力,我们「事奉」天主,如能有一半世俗之子的热诚,已经不错了!但耶稣要求我们的却是「全心、全灵、全意、全力」的事奉,我们又怎么可以只做到一半呢?
 
明末顾炎武一生爱国,明亡后仍然忠於前朝,他常常勉励自己:「人寰尚有遗民在,大节难随九鼎沦。」这是说,即使国破家亡了,他还是要做明朝的「遗民」,做人间中最后的一個爱国者;他自己绝不会让这种忠君爱国的大气节,随著国家的破灭而沉沦消失(「九鼎」指国家)。
 
我们也可以这样地忠於天主,一生只要敬拜、事奉他吗?我们的信仰,我们对天主的忠贞,也可以好像顾炎武一样,虽然经历了国破家亡的大悲大痛,而仍然能够不枯萎、不凋谢、不沉沦吗?
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Learn from the Shrewdness of the World - Serve the One True God
 
First Reading (Amos 8: 4-7): The Prophet Amos condemned those
who oppressed the poor
Second Reading (1 Tim 2: 1-7): God wants all people to be saved
Gospel (Lk 16: 1-13): The unjust steward
Chinese Classics:
-“If there is still a remnant from Ming in this world, Honor will not die with the fall of the country.” (1)
 
The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light...’Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much... No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Lk 16: 8-13 summarized)
 
The parable that Jesus tells us today is well worth deep and sincere reflection on the part of all of us who have faith and believe in God and are seeking a spiritual life. Otherwise we will really find it difficult to understand the parable's deeper meaning.
 
We think of ourselves as people who believe in God and a Supreme Being and who try to pursue a spiritual and supernatural life. But in actuality, to what extent does our faith influence our lives?
 
The 'children of this age' - 'worldly' people- will at times demonstrate incredible determination and invest an enormous amount of time and effort, even sacrifice, for the sake of future prospects, marriage, career, family. But there do not seem to be many 'children of light' who can put forth the same measure of energy, sacrifice or commitment for faith or for God.
 
If we compare priests with Christian ministers, we may find that there are a greater number of ministers with secular college degrees. One reason may be that it is very important for their future prospects, even for their own livelihood and that of their wives and children. The ministers need such training and academic qualifications to win the trust of their congregations, even to seeking a position in a parish. The duration of time in one place and the size of their salaries also depends in part on that.
 
Actually, the 'children of this age' face a kind of pressure, or what is sometimes termed a 'felt need.' What about the 'children of light'? Our needs are only spiritual, psychological, rational. They are not so tangible. We don't have the same 'felt need' for faith, not like when we are thirsty and feel we absolutely must have water. We seldom will feel an actual physical pain for a spiritual deficiency. There are not many people who feel a real sense of loss for one less Mass or prayer or one less act of charity.
 
What the unjust steward in the parable had to face immediately was his dismissal, a matter of his livelihood. So he needed to exhaust every possibility, even to using base means, to solve the imminent calamity
 
How would we 'children of light,' 'people of faith,' react? Some of us are rather indifferent about matters relating to God, eternity, spiritual life, ideals, etc. These things seem very remote from us. We perhaps have not given them much attention or have not studied extensively about our beliefs. Or we have not given much time or effort to Scripture reading, prayer, the sacraments. So we really are not able to experience our God or verify our faith.
 
Some newly baptized people are very fervent at first but after a short time become lax. This occurs also among newly ordained priests and newly professed Sisters. It indicates clearly that we have not really grasped what we mean by faith or we have not actually had any very close contact with God. We feel no pressing need for spiritual things nor are we interested enough to pursue this any further.
 
Jesus does not want us to imitate the 'shrewd manager' in his unfairness and cunning, but rather learn from the way he solved his problem, from his cleverness and creativity, and from the all-consuming energy with which he planned for his future.
 
In fact Jesus thinks that we should serve the Master with our whole heart and will. We should not be half-hearted in our service, but perform our duties with loyalty and attentiveness, put God at the center of our lives and try our utmost to think and act fully in accordance with God's will.
 
On a practical level Jesus proposes a way that is workable, that is, to begin with small things. He says, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
 
Many people in the world spend a whole lifetime of energy, time and skill to 'serve' money. Would it not be wonderful if we would serve God with even half the amount of zeal as the 'children of the world'! What Jesus really asks is that we serve the Lord “with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength.” How can we go only halfway?
 
By the end of the Ming Dynasty Gu Yan Wu had been a lifelong patriot. He remained loyal to the empire even after the Dynasty's fall. He continued to encourage himself with these words, “If there is still a remnant from Ming in this world, Honour will not die with the fall of one dynasty.”(1) Even though the Ming Dynasty was destroyed, he remained 'the remnant of Ming,' even to being the last of the patriots. He would not compromise his honor. Even though his country was destroyed, he would not let his loyalty die.
 
Can we worship and serve God with such steadfast loyalty? Can our trust and loyalty to God be as strong as that of Gu Yan Wu? Though he endured the suffering and pain of loss of country and family, he never allowed his loyalty to decline, diminish or wither away.
 
(1)人寰尚有遺民在,大節難隨九鼎淪。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019