常年期第二十六主日 2019年09月29日


常年期第廿六主日
 
貧富今生過,禍福來世易
 
讀經一:(亞6:1,4-7):尋歡作樂者的狂歡必會消失
讀經二:(弟前6:11-16):度聖潔無玷的生活
福 音:(路16:19-31):富翁與拉匝祿的比喻
中國文化:富貴不能淫,貧賤不能移。人禽之辨。何不食肉糜?衙齋臥聽簫簫竹,疑是民間疾苦聲;些少吾曹州縣吏,一枝一葉總關情。
 
有一個富翁,錦衣華服,天天奢華宴樂。另外有一個乞丐,名叫拉匝祿,滿身瘡痍,躺在富翁門口,指望得到從富翁餐桌上掉下來的碎屑充饑,但是只有狗來舔他的瘡痍。後來,那乞丐死了,天使把他送到亞巴郎的懷裡。那個富翁也死了,被人埋葬了。他在陰間,舉目一望,遠遠看見亞巴郎和他懷中的拉匝祿……亞巴郎說:「孩子,你該記得,你活著時,享盡了福,而拉匝祿卻受盡了苦。現在,他在這裡得到安慰,但你卻得受苦了。」(路16:19-25節錄)
 
在四部福音中,路加福音似乎刻意突顯耶穌對窮人的關顧。路加的耶穌,清楚聲明自己來到世上的使命,是「向貧窮人傳報喜訊」(4:18);我們習稱的真福「八端」,路加只有四端,並配以「四禍」,來使人明白「四福」的真實而正確的內容。其中的第一端,或第一對的福和禍就是:「你們貧窮的是有福的;你們富有的是有禍的。」(6:20,24)這裡的對比,清晰而強烈,絕不籠統含糊。
 
這種「禍」與「福」的並排與對比,在這個拉匝祿的比喻中,更是顯露無遺了。
 
理論上,富貴本來不是罪,貧窮也不一定是善,不一定是福。如果能做到孔子所謂「富貴不能淫,貧賤不能移」,那麼富人和窮人都一樣可以活出人性的尊嚴和人的特質;相反地,如果富貴而濫用財富、驕奢淫逸,貧賤而出賣人格,甚至出賣國家、朋友和親人,那才構成孟子所謂「人禽之辨」中,人向禽獸方向的傾斜和墮落。
 
不過,在具體的處境中,富貴卻很容易使人產生問題,尤其會使人在不知不覺間,出現了只顧自己享受,不顧窮人死活的社會性大問題。
 
和拉匝祿對比的富翁,就是這種人。他錦衣肉食,只知每天奢華宴樂,享盡人間的一切,但對躺在他家門口的窮人拉匝祿,卻完全不聞不問;他甚至可能根本就不知道,在自己的家門口,竟然有這麼樣的一個窮人!這就是所謂「缺」的罪。
 
我們犯罪可以因為在思、言、行為上「犯」了什麼,也可以是因為「沒有」犯什麼,而只是因為缺了一些東西,或不做該做的事。父母疏忽管教孩子,以致孩子變壞了;醫生不持續進修,以致醫死了人;甚至一個神父不好好的準備主日道理,以致「趕走」了許多教友,就是這種「缺」的罪。他們都沒有「犯」了什麼罪,他們只是「缺了」該做的事。
 
有一位無名詩人這樣說:「世界上有許多人在不幸中死了,而我竟然不知道;然而卻正因為我不知道,所以才有那麼多人死於不幸!」說真的,如果我知道,如果多一些人知道,如果我多作了一點什麼補救的工作,如果我的愛心能使世界溫暖了一點點……,世上又怎會有那麼多人死於不幸呢?
 
晉惠帝之所以是個昏君,不是因為他殘民自肥,或是因為他做了什麼壞事,而是因為他不管百姓的死活,他簡直就不知道百姓的死活。所以當屬下告訴他天下饑荒、百姓沒飯吃時,他便說出了那個「何不食肉糜?」的天大笑話!
 
耶穌明白「關心貧窮人」和「成為貧窮人」之間的關係,所以他不單關心窮人,自己更變成窮人。他本身就是個「狐狸有穴,天上的飛鳥有巢,而人子卻沒有枕頭的地方」(路9:58)的貧窮人;他是天地的主宰,他本來擁有整個世界,但卻是一無所有、居無片瓦、貧無立錐。
 
成了貧窮人,就更易了解貧窮人,也更容易明白貧窮人的處境、思想和心態。
 
在今日這個貧富懸殊的世代裡,不單人與人之間貧富懸殊,就是國與國之間,洲與洲之間,南半球與北半球之間,也是極端的貧富懸殊。今日三個最有錢的人的財富總和,竟然就等於四十七個最窮的國家的財富總和。多麼令人吃驚!教會若要有效地「向貧窮人傳報喜訊」,是否本身也要成為一個「貧窮的教會」,或「貧窮人的教會」,才能更有效地去為貧窮人請命呢?
 
鄭板橋有一首詩這樣說:「衙齋臥聽簫簫竹,疑是民間疾苦聲;些少吾曹州縣吏,一枝一葉總關情。」這種對人民疾苦的關切,這種「一枝一葉」都能夠引起我們對人民關懷的敏銳感,大概應該是每一個富人的責任,尤其應該是基督教會的本質吧?
常年期第廿六主日
 
贫富今生過,祸福来世易
 
读经一:(亚6:1,4-7):寻欢作乐者的狂欢必会消失
读经二:(弟前6:11-16):度圣洁无玷的生活
福 音:(路16:19-31):富翁与拉匝禄的比喻
中国文化:富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移。人禽之辨。何不食肉糜?衙斋卧听箫箫竹,疑是民间疾苦声;些少吾曹州縣吏,一枝一叶总关情。
 
有一個富翁,锦衣华服,天天奢华宴乐。另外有一個乞丐,名叫拉匝禄,满身疮痍,躺在富翁门口,指望得到从富翁餐桌上掉下来的碎屑充饥,但是只有狗来舔他的疮痍。后来,那乞丐死了,天使把他送到亚巴郎的怀里。那個富翁也死了,被人埋葬了。他在阴间,举目一望,遠遠看见亚巴郎和他怀中的拉匝禄……亚巴郎说:「孩子,你該记得,你活著時,享尽了福,而拉匝禄却受尽了苦。现在,他在这里得到安慰,但你却得受苦了。」(路16:19-25节录)
 
在四部福音中,路加福音似乎刻意突显耶稣对穷人的关顾。路加的耶稣,清楚声明自己来到世上的使命,是「向贫穷人传报喜讯」(4:18);我们习称的真福「八端」,路加只有四端,并配以「四祸」,来使人明白「四福」的真实而正确的内容。其中的第一端,或第一对的福和祸就是:「你们贫穷的是有福的;你们富有的是有祸的。」(6:20,24)这里的对比,清晰而强烈,绝不笼统含糊。
 
这种「祸」与「福」的并排与对比,在这個拉匝禄的比喻中,更是显露无遗了。
 
理论上,富贵本来不是罪,贫穷也不一定是善,不一定是福。如果能做到孔子所谓「富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移」,那么富人和穷人都一样可以活出人性的尊严和人的特质;相反地,如果富贵而滥用财富、骄奢淫逸,贫贱而出卖人格,甚至出卖国家、朋友和亲人,那才构成孟子所谓「人禽之辨」中,人向禽兽方向的倾斜和堕落。
 
不過,在具体的处境中,富贵却很容易使人產生問题,尤其会使人在不知不觉间,出现了只顾自己享受,不顾穷人死活的社会性大問题。
 
和拉匝禄对比的富翁,就是这种人。他锦衣肉食,只知每天奢华宴乐,享尽人间的一切,但对躺在他家门口的穷人拉匝禄,却完全不闻不問;他甚至可能根本就不知道,在自己的家门口,竟然有这么样的一個穷人!这就是所谓「缺」的罪。
 
我们犯罪可以因为在思、言、行为上「犯」了什么,也可以是因为「没有」犯什么,而只是因为缺了一些东西,或不做該做的事。父母疏忽管教孩子,以致孩子变坏了;醫生不持续进修,以致醫死了人;甚至一個神父不好好的准备主日道理,以致「赶走」了许多教友,就是这种「缺」的罪。他们都没有「犯」了什么罪,他们只是「缺了」該做的事。
 
有一位无名诗人这样说:「世界上有许多人在不幸中死了,而我竟然不知道;然而却正因为我不知道,所以才有那么多人死於不幸!」说真的,如果我知道,如果多一些人知道,如果我多作了一点什么补救的工作,如果我的爱心能使世界温暖了一点点……,世上又怎会有那么多人死於不幸呢?
 
晋惠帝之所以是個昏君,不是因为他残民自肥,或是因为他做了什么坏事,而是因为他不管百姓的死活,他简直就不知道百姓的死活。所以当属下告诉他天下饥荒、百姓没饭吃時,他便说出了那個「何不食肉糜?」的天大笑话!
 
耶稣明白「关心贫穷人」和「成为贫穷人」之间的关系,所以他不单关心穷人,自己更变成穷人。他本身就是個「狐狸有穴,天上的飞鸟有巢,而人子却没有枕头的地方」(路9:58)的贫穷人;他是天地的主宰,他本来拥有整個世界,但却是一无所有、居无片瓦、贫无立錐。
 
成了贫穷人,就更易了解贫穷人,也更容易明白贫穷人的处境、思想和心态。
 
在今日这個贫富悬殊的世代里,不单人与人之间贫富悬殊,就是国与国之间,洲与洲之间,南半球与北半球之间,也是极端的贫富悬殊。今日三個最有钱的人的财富总和,竟然就等於四十七個最穷的国家的财富总和。多么令人吃惊!教会若要有效地「向贫穷人传报喜讯」,是否本身也要成为一個「贫穷的教会」,或「贫穷人的教会」,才能更有效地去为贫穷人请命呢?
 
郑板橋有一首诗这样说:「衙斋卧听箫箫竹,疑是民间疾苦声;些少吾曹州縣吏,一枝一叶总关情。」这种对人民疾苦的关切,这种「一枝一叶」都能够引起我们对人民关怀的敏锐感,大概应該是每一個富人的責任,尤其应該是基督教会的本质吧?
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
 
Poverty and Wealth may be part of this Life
Exchange It for Fortune or Misfortune in the Next Life
 
First Reading (Amos 6: 1, 4-7): The revelry of pleasure-seekers will be eliminated
Second Reading (1 Tim 6: 11-16): Pursue a life of righteousness and godliness
Gospel: (Lk 16:19-31): Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
Chinese Classics:
-“To be beyond the power of riches and honors to make one dissipated, to be above poverty and mean conditions that make one swerve from principles (1)
-“The difference between man and beast” (2)
-“Why not have pork congee?” (3)
-“Lying in the magistrate's study listening to the sound of the bamboos, I thought it was the sound of the people's suffering. I have been governor of the Cho District for some time and I feel and care for every single branch and leaf.” (4)
 
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man name Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side... Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.” (Lk 16: 29-25 summarized)
 
Among the four Gospels Luke in particular stresses Jesus' concern for the poor. Jesus as portrayed by Luke clearly declares that his mission on earth is to “bring good news to the poor. (Lk 4:18). We usually call the 'Beatitudes' the 'Eight Beatitudes,' but actually in Luke's Gospel there are only four Beatitudes, matched by four 'Woes.' Luke wants us to understand the actual content of the 'Beatitudes,' so he pairs the first 'Beatitude' with the first 'Woe.' “Blessed are you who are poor...woe to you who are rich.” (Lk 6: 20, 24). The comparison makes it clear and strong, There is no inconsistency or lack of clarity.
 
The contrast and comparison between 'blessing' and 'woe' is illustrated clearly in the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus'.
 
Theoretically, to be rich is not sinful nor is being poor necessarily a virtue or a blessing. If people follow Confucius' teaching both the rich and the poor can live out human dignity and humane characteristics. Confucius said, “ Be beyond the power of riches and honours that make one dissipated, to be above poverty and mean conditions that swerve one from principles.”(1) On the other hand if rich people abuse their wealth and live in luxury and licentiousness, and those who are poor betray their dignity as human beings, even to betraying their country, friends and relatives, then it becomes like Mencius said, “( no) difference between man and beast.” (2) Human beings then tend to descend to the level of beasts.
 
In actual situations it is very easy for the wealth of rich people to create many problems for themselves. Without realizing it they begin to focus only on their own welfare and enjoyment, to the exclusion of any concern for the poor or for the misfortunes of society.
 
Compared with Lazarus the rich man was this kind of person. He was surrounded by wealth, dressed well and feasted sumptuously every day. He lived a life of luxury. He paid no attention to Lazarus, the poor man who lay at his doorstep. He did not even know there was a poor person like that. It was what we call a 'sin of omission.'
 
We can sin because we do something wrong in thought, word or action. Or we can sin because we do NOT do something, or we omit doing something we should do. Parents neglect to teach their children and the children do something wrong; a doctor neglects to update himself and his negligence causes someone's death; a priest neglects to prepare his sermons and is the cause of many Catholics losing interest in the church. These are sins of 'omission.' It is not something we do wrong, rather it is something we do NOT do.
 
An anonymous poet once said, “There are many people throughout the world who die of misfortunate but I do not know them; but is it because I do not know them that they die amid misfortunate?” It is true. If I knew, or more people knew, if I worked a little harder to save others, if my love was greater and I spread warmth among more people, would so many people in the world die amid misfortune?
 
The Emperor Zhun Wei was a somewhat befuddled monarch. It was not because he “fattened himself by exploiting the people,” or that he did anything really wrong. It was because he did not look after the people's livelihood, he knew nothing about their ordinary lives. When his officials told him the country was suffering from a famine and the people did not have enough rice, he asked, “Why not have pork congee? (3) This became a famous joke.
 
Jesus understood the relationship between “concern for the poor” and “becoming poor.” That is why he not only cared about those who were poor, he also became poor. He could say about himself, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Lk 9:58) He was master of the universe, the whole world belonged to him, yet he had nothing. He had no place to live, not even a small space.
 
Those who become poor more easily understand poor people, their circumstances, their mentality and their attitudes.
 
In the world today there is a great gap between rich and poor, not only among people, but among countries and continents and between north and southern hemispheres. The gaps are extreme. Today the wealth of the three richest people in the world equals that of the forty-seven poorest countries. This is almost unbelievable! If the Church wants to 'preach the Good News to the poor' effectively, must it not also become a 'Church of the poor' or a 'Church for the poor,' before it can obtain results in its fight for the poor?
 
There is a poem by Zhen Ban Qiao which says, “Lying in the magistrate's study listening to the sound of the bamboos, I thought it was the sound of the people's suffering. I have been the governor of the Cho District for some time, I feel and care for every single branch and leaf.”(4) This kind of care for the peoples' suffering, this kind of sensitivity which can be aroused by a 'single branch and leaf' should be the responsibility of every rich person. Should it not also be the special characteristic of the churches who profess to be Christian?
 
(1) 富貴不能淫,貧賤不能移。
(2) 人禽之辨。
(3) 何不食肉糜?
(4) 衙齋臥聽簫簫竹,疑是民間疾苦聲;些少吾曹州縣吏,一枝一葉總關情。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019