常年期第三十一主日 2019年11月03日


常年期第三十一主日
 
獲寬恕情不自禁,作補贖徹底皈依
 
讀經一:(智11:23-12:3):天主愛惜他所造的一切
讀經二:(得後1:11-2:2):基督在人內受光榮,
人在基督內受光榮
福 音:(路19:1-10):稅吏匝凱
中國文化:率獸食人。久矣,吾不復夢見周公。不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲。男兒要當死於邊野,以馬革裹屍,還葬耳;何能臥床上,在兒女子手中耶?酬國家文化之恩澤,而無愧於讀聖賢書,所學何事之問。
 
耶穌對他說:「匝凱,快下來!我今天要住在你家裡。」他便趕快下來,高興地接待耶穌。眾人看見就紛紛議論說:「他竟然到罪人家裡去投宿。」匝凱站起來對主說:「主啊!請看,我願將一半財產施捨給窮人;我如果欺騙過誰,就會四倍賠償。」耶穌對他說:「今天救恩到了這一家,因為他也是亞巴郎的子孫,因為人子來,是要尋找並拯救迷失了的人。」(路19:5-10)
 
這是一個有關與耶穌相遇後的悔改和做補贖的故事。只要我們全心、虛心、坦誠、完全地自我開放,與耶穌接觸,他一定會啟發、滋潤、感動、變化我們。
 
匝凱是一個有錢人,但名譽並不很好。因為他是一個稅務長,不單為帝國主義者羅馬人辦事,做了他同胞眼中的「羅馬走狗」,向自己的同胞抽稅;他也許還在抽稅的過程中,私下也揩點油水、中飽私囊,並由此而致富。所以他儘管有錢,卻沒有地位,還被人認為是一個公開的罪人。
 
但他的心,正如許多人的心一樣,本來就是善良的,一有機會,還是會對真、善、美、聖的東西相當嚮往。近來城中的熱門話題是耶穌,一個類似先知的人物出現了,這就引起了他要一睹耶穌風采的決心。
 
如果孔子因為當時的社會,長久以來都是天下無道、禮崩樂壞、凌亂無序,甚至有「率獸食人」的現象,因而會讓他無奈地興起了「久矣,吾不復夢見周公」之嘆的話(意即許久都未接觸過周公所堅持的理想、未經驗過周公時代的盛世),那麼,耶穌時代的人,一定也會因為許久未見有「天主的人」的出現,未見到上主對以色列祝福的許諾的實現,而渴望看到有類似耶穌的人物來臨。(洗者若翰的出現比較短暫,也不如耶穌的哄動。)
 
匝凱就是這些引頸期待者當中的一位。
 
以色列人在國破家亡、顛沛流離的生活中,等待默西亞的來臨,就像大旱之望雲霓。依撒意亞先知的話,早已成了他們民族的共同心聲:「願蒼天遍灑甘露,雲端降下正義;願大地裂開,產生救主。」(依45:8)耶穌的來臨,他在民間引起的轟動效應,已給這個民族帶來了一點點微妙的盼望。
 
為了達成願望,匝凱不顧身份,好像一個野孩子,「爬上一棵桑樹」,只是為了要看一看那位即將從這裡經過的耶穌。結果出乎他的意料,也令所有的人大吃一驚:耶穌竟然要住在匝凱這個罪人的家裡!
 
有耶穌,就有救恩。匝凱在與耶穌相遇後,回頭了、皈依了,而且是徹底的皈依了。從前金錢對他是絕對重要的,金錢就是一切,金錢就是他的天主。今天,他要把一半的財產施捨給窮人;如果欺騙過誰,還要四倍的償還!他的補贖確確實實是十分的全面和徹底。
 
他並不是出於壓力而作出這個承諾;在他的心中,也許仍未有什麼天堂地獄,或社會正義、公平分配這類概念。這些決定發自他的內心深處,是他和耶穌相遇後,從心內湧現出來的。有了耶穌,其他的一切都已經不再重要。他已達到了孔子「不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲」的境界。
 
《後漢書》記載了名將馬援的一句豪語:「男兒要當死於邊野,以馬革裹屍,還葬耳。何能臥床上,在兒女子手中耶?」馬援是一個將軍、一名保家衛國的戰士,他愛自己的國家,也愛自己的人民。他從心底裡就深信自己應當為國而死;能夠以馬革裹屍、戰死沙場,才是大將軍的本色,方算不枉此生。
 
唐君毅形容中國人裡的氣節之士,他們的死,也是為了「酬國家文化之恩澤,而無愧於讀聖賢書,所學何事之問」。
 
馬援和這些氣節之士,他們能人之所不能,是因為他們已掌握了生命的意義,找到了內心最深的支持點,所以其他的一切,包括金錢和權位,甚至自己的生命,都變成次要。
 
匝凱也找到了。對他來說,捨棄財物不過是情不自禁的行為。遇到耶穌,太好了;所有的問題,已經不再是問題了。
 
如果我們不能學到匝凱的悔改、皈依,和作出全面的補贖,是否因為我們還未曾真的遇到耶穌?
 
耶穌,你在哪裡?你會在哪裡經過?你可以幫助我們學匝凱一樣去找尋你、去「爬上一棵桑樹」等你嗎?
常年期第三十一主日
 
获宽恕情不自禁,作补赎彻底皈依
 
读经一:(智11:23-12:3):天主爱惜他所造的一切
读经二:(得后1:11-2:2):基督在人内受光荣,
人在基督内受光荣
福 音:(路19:1-10):税吏匝凯
中国文化:率兽食人。久矣,吾不复梦见周公。不义而富且贵,於我如浮云。男儿要当死於边野,以马革裹尸,还葬耳;何能卧床上,在儿女子手中耶?酬国家文化之恩泽,而无愧於读圣贤书,所学何事之問。
 
耶稣对他说:「匝凯,快下来!我今天要住在你家里。」他便赶快下来,高兴地接待耶稣。众人看见就纷纷议论说:「他竟然到罪人家里去投宿。」匝凯站起来对主说:「主啊!请看,我願将一半财產施舍给穷人;我如果欺骗過谁,就会四倍赔偿。」耶稣对他说:「今天救恩到了这一家,因为他也是亚巴郎的子孫,因为人子来,是要寻找并拯救迷失了的人。」(路19:5-10)
 
这是一個有关与耶稣相遇后的悔改和做补赎的故事。只要我们全心、虚心、坦诚、完全地自我開放,与耶稣接触,他一定会启发、滋润、感动、变化我们。
 
匝凯是一個有钱人,但名誉并不很好。因为他是一個税务长,不单为帝国主义者罗马人办事,做了他同胞眼中的「罗马走狗」,向自己的同胞抽税;他也许还在抽税的過程中,私下也揩点油水、中饱私囊,并由此而致富。所以他尽管有钱,却没有地位,还被人认为是一個公開的罪人。
 
但他的心,正如许多人的心一样,本来就是善良的,一有机会,还是会对真、善、美、圣的东西相当向往。近来城中的热门话题是耶稣,一個类似先知的人物出现了,这就引起了他要一睹耶稣风采的决心。
 
如果孔子因为当時的社会,长久以来都是天下无道、礼崩乐坏、凌亂无序,甚至有「率兽食人」的现象,因而会让他无奈地兴起了「久矣,吾不复梦见周公」之叹的话(意即许久都未接触過周公所坚持的理想、未经验過周公時代的盛世),那么,耶稣時代的人,一定也会因为许久未见有「天主的人」的出现,未见到上主对以色列祝福的许诺的实现,而渴望看到有类似耶稣的人物来临。(洗者若翰的出现比较短暂,也不如耶稣的哄动。)
 
匝凯就是这些引颈期待者当中的一位。
 
以色列人在国破家亡、颠沛流離的生活中,等待默西亚的来临,就像大旱之望云霓。依撒意亚先知的话,早已成了他们民族的共同心声:「願苍天遍洒甘露,云端降下正义;願大地裂開,產生救主。」(依45:8)耶稣的来临,他在民间引起的轰动效应,已给这個民族带来了一点点微妙的盼望。
 
为了达成願望,匝凯不顾身份,好像一個野孩子,「爬上一棵桑树」,只是为了要看一看那位即将从这里经過的耶稣。结果出乎他的意料,也令所有的人大吃一惊:耶稣竟然要住在匝凯这個罪人的家里!
 
有耶稣,就有救恩。匝凯在与耶稣相遇后,回头了、皈依了,而且是彻底的皈依了。从前金钱对他是绝对重要的,金钱就是一切,金钱就是他的天主。今天,他要把一半的财產施舍给穷人;如果欺骗過谁,还要四倍的偿还!他的补赎确确实实是十分的全面和彻底。
 
他并不是出於压力而作出这個承诺;在他的心中,也许仍未有什么天堂地狱,或社会正义、公平分配这类概念。这些决定发自他的内心深处,是他和耶稣相遇后,从心内涌现出来的。有了耶稣,其他的一切都已经不再重要。他已达到了孔子「不义而富且贵,於我如浮云」的境界。
 
《后汉书》 记载了名将马援的一句豪语:「男儿要当死於边野,以马革裹尸,还葬耳。何能卧床上,在儿女子手中耶?」马援是一個将军、一名保家卫国的战士,他爱自己的国家,也爱自己的人民。他从心底里就深信自己应当为国而死;能够以马革裹尸、战死沙场,才是大将军的本色,方算不枉此生。
 
唐君毅形容中国人里的气节之士,他们的死,也是为了「酬国家文化之恩泽,而无愧於读圣贤书,所学何事之問」。
 
马援和这些气节之士,他们能人之所不能,是因为他们已掌握了生命的意义,找到了内心最深的支持点,所以其他的一切,包括金钱和权位,甚至自己的生命,都变成次要。
 
匝凯也找到了。对他来说,舍弃财物不過是情不自禁的行为。遇到耶稣,太好了;所有的問题,已经不再是問题了。
 
如果我们不能学到匝凯的悔改、皈依,和作出全面的补赎,是否因为我们还未曾真的遇到耶稣?
 
耶稣,你在哪里?你会在哪里经過?你可以帮助我们学匝凯一样去找寻你、去「爬上一棵桑树」等你吗?
THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
 
INCREDIBLE JOY FOR BEING FORGIVEN
DO PENANCE AND BE FULLY CONVERTED
 
 
First Reading (Wis 11: 23 – 12:3): God loves all that He has made
Second Reading (2 Thes 1: 11-2:2): Christ is glorified in humanity and humanity
is glorified in Christ
Gospel (Lk 19: 1-10): Zacchaeus the tax-collector
Chinese classics:
-“Leading beasts to eat human beings (1)
-“For a long time I have not dreamed of the sage Zhou” (2)
-“Obtaining riches and honor by unrighteous acts is like a passing cloud for me” (3)
-“A man should die in the wild border of his country, have his dead body wrapped in horse hide and be buried there. How can I lie in bed and be attended by my sons and daughters? (4)
-One should repay the bounty received from the culture of one's own country so one would not be ashamed of always questioning and learning from the teachings in the books of the sages.” (5)
 
“Jesus said to him, ‘Zacchaeus hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’ ” (Lk 19:5-10)
 
This is a story about a person who repented and did penance after he had encountered Jesus. If we are whole-hearted, humble, sincere, and totally open in our contacts with Jesus, he will definitely inspire, nourish, move and ultimately change us.
 
Zacchaeus was a wealthy man but he had a poor reputation. Because he was a tax collector, he not only worked for the imperialist Romans, and so was a ‘running dog’ of the Romans, he also collected taxes from his own people. Probably he also took a portion of the tax collection for himself, thus becoming very rich. So though he was wealthy, he had no status in society. People looked on him as a public sinner.
 
However, like many people he had a good heart, and when there was an opportunity he responded to what was true, good, beautiful and holy. At the time in his city the topic most talked about was the man Jesus who many said was a prophet. So Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus and his ‘wonders.’.
 
In the time of Confucius, society had been in a state of disorder for a long time. Rites and ceremonies, i.e. morality, had collapsed, music corrupted. Everything was in chaos to the extent that some people actually were “leading beasts to eat men.” (1) It was in such a state of near despair that Confucius sighed, “For a long time, I have not dreamed of the sage Zhou.” (2) (Confucius meant that it was a long time since he had witnessed the ideals upheld by the sage Zhou nor experienced the prosperity of that era.). In the same way, in Jesus' time people had waited a long time for the appearance of “a man of God.” They had not yet seen fulfilled God's promise of blessings on Israel. They were longing for someone like Jesus to appear. (John the Baptist had appeared for a comparatively short time only and did not cause the stir that Jesus did.)
 
Zacchaeus was one of the people who was waiting for that day to come.
 
The Israelites' nation had been destroyed, society was in disarray. Waiting for the Messiah was like waiting for the rain clouds in a time of drought. The words of Isaiah echoed in the hearts of all the tribes of Israel: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up.” (Is 45: 8). The coming of Jesus had a resounding effect upon them. It gave a glimmer of hope to all the people of Israel.
 
In order to make his wish come true, Zacchaeus paid no attention to his status in society. Like an unruly child he ‘climbed up a sycamore tree’ just to find out if he could see Jesus as he passed by. The result was far beyond what he had expected. It also shocked all the people: Jesus wanted to stay in the home of Zacchaeus, the sinner!
 
Where Jesus is there is salvation. After Zacchaeus had encountered Jesus, he made a total turnaround. He repented and was converted completely. Wealth had been the most important thing in his life before, money had been his ‘god.’ After that day he gave up half of his possessions to the poor. Those people whom he had defrauded, he would pay back fourfold. His repentance was truly total and complete.
 
Zacchaeus did not make these promises under pressure. It was unlikely that he had any concept of heaven and hell, social justice, or equal distribution of property. His decisions came from the depth of his heart, welling up from within him after his encounter with Jesus. Now that he had Jesus nothing else was important. He had reached the state Confucius had described, “Obtaining riches and honor by unrighteous acts are like a passing cloud for me.” (3)
 
The book of the Later Han Dynasty records the chivalrous words of a famous general, Ma Yuan, “A man should die in the wild border of his country, have his dead body wrapped in horsehide, and be buried there. How can I lie in bed and be attended by my sons and daughters?” (4) Ma Yuan was a general and a patriotic warrior. He loved his country and his people and spent his life fighting to protect them. Deep within his heart he believed that he should fight and die for his country. A true general should die in battle and have his dead body wrapped up. Only such a death made life worthwhile.
Emperor Tang Jun Yi exemplified the moral integrity of the Chinese martyr. Their death was an act that “repaid the bounty received from the culture of one's own country, so one would not be ashamed of always questioning and learning from the books of the sages.” (5)
 
Ma Yuan and those men and women of moral integrity could do what others could not because they had grasped the meaning of life. They found support from deep within themselves. For them, everything else including money, power, even one's own life, was secondary.
 
Zacchaeus also found this. For him, to give up his possessions was an act of unrestrained love To encounter Jesus was the most wonderful event of his life. Whatever problems there had been before were problems no longer.
 
If we are unable to imitate Zacchaeus' repentance, conversion and the way in which he made full restitution, is it perhaps because we have never really had an encounter with Jesus?
 
Jesus, where are you? Where will you pass by? Can you help us to learn from Zacchaeus to seek you and to ‘climb a sycamore tree’ to wait for you?
 
(1) 率獸食人。
(2) 久矣,吾不復夢見周公。
(3) 不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲。
(4) 男兒要當死於邊野,以馬革裹屍,還葬耳;何能臥床上,在兒女子手中耶?
(5) 酬國家文化之恩澤,而無愧於讀聖賢書,所學何事之問。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019