常年期第三十二主日 2019年11月10日


常年期第三十二主日
 
現世有情人、來生無限愛
 
讀經一:(加下7:1-2,9-14):天主必使為道而死的人復活
讀經二:(得後2:16-3:5):天主必堅強信徒活出聖善
福 音:(路20:27-38):復活的問題
中國文化:在天願作比翼鳥,在地願為連理枝。三過其門而不入。父母不得以為子,妻孥不得以為夫。
 
今世的人男婚女嫁,但是,那些有資格死而復活,獲得永生的人,不娶也不嫁,他們也不能再死,因為他們像天使一樣。他們既然復活了,也就是天主的兒女……天主不是死人的天主,而是活人的天主:所有人在天主眼中都是活的。(路20:34-38)
 
法利塞人和大部分猶太人,都相信死人復活的道理,耶穌也肯定死人將來要復活。
 
在天主教的傳統信仰中,「死人復活」及隨之而來的「永生」,是一端重要的信條。我們的宗徒信經這樣說:「我信肉身之復活,我信常生。」彌撒中的尼西信經也這樣說:「我期待死人的復活,及來世的生命。」所以在追思亡者彌撒的頌謝詞中,我們會唸:「在基督身上,我們有了光榮復活的希望。我們雖為死亡的定律而悲傷,卻因永生的許諾而獲得安慰。
 
但撒杜塞人卻不相信人死後會復活,所以他們設計了一個情景、一個「問題」,希望大家一聽,就可以聽得出或感受得到,死人復活是多麼的荒謬、無聊和可笑。
 
他們引用的,是《申命紀》中的一個傳統:即兄弟立嗣律(申25:5-10)。在這個「代兄弟立嗣」的傳統下,如果沒有死人的復活,即使一個女人連續嫁了七次,她於任何一個時間內,仍然只是某一個男人的妻子。但如果有死人復活這回事,那麼,在復活後的情況中,這位嫁過七個男人的婦人,就不知算是哪個人的妻子了。
 
人之常情,是希望這個世界的美好情況,能延續到身後,尤其在偉大的婚姻愛情中,人們更希望,不單在世上大家可以長相廝守,在天上也可以形影不離。所以一切有情人,都盼望能達到「在天願作比翼鳥,在地願為連理枝」的形神合一的境界。而牛郎織女故事的令人嚮往,便在於他們能年年相會、歲歲相逢,直到海枯石爛、地老天荒。
 
耶穌的答案,遠遠超出了撒杜塞人所問的,妻子究竟是屬於誰的問題。耶穌告訴我們:在未來的世界中,我們將會永遠活在天父的家裡,我們一如保祿所說,我們擁有一個屬神的身體:「死人的復活也是這樣:播種的是可朽壞的,復活起來的是不可朽壞的;播種的是可羞辱的,復活起來的是光榮的;播種的是軟弱的,復活起來的是強健的;播種的是屬生靈的身體,復活起來的是屬神的身體;既有屬生靈的身體,也就有屬神的身體。」(格前15:42-44)
 
亦正因為我們將要擁有的是「屬神的身體」,所以我們才能夠「不娶也不嫁,像天使一樣。」我們不再只是屬於某一個人,或屬於少數人;我們屬於天主,也屬於所有人。大家在天主內,彼此相屬,並構成一個完整而友愛的團體、一個永恆的大家庭。
 
其實,在這個世界上,有些人也可能在某種程度上,已經在度這種「天國式」的生活,他們不屬於某一個個人,而是屬於天主、屬於教會、屬於眾人和屬於世界。這是修會生活中,或羅馬天主教的神父生活中,獨身或貞潔生活的最重要精神。
 
一個會士、一個修女,或一個羅馬禮的天主教神父(這裡強調羅馬天主教,因為東方禮的天主教神父並不必獨身),他們已把自己完全奉獻於天主,為天主及為他的教會而活,所以他們選擇去放棄了那原屬於他們的結婚權利,而度這種「天國式」的生活。他們要愛所有人,也被所有人所愛;他們屬於所有人,也要在自己的心中,懷抱眾生。
 
傳說中的大禹治水,「三過其門而不入」,無暇去探望家人;遼東經略袁崇煥將軍,為了保家衛國,防止清兵入侵,而有「父母不得以為子,妻孥不得以為夫」之嘆;傳教士遠涉重洋、梯山航海,不也是因為已把整個生命獻給了天主,而無暇於建設自己私有的家庭嗎?
 
進一步來說,其實真正的家庭,原來也不只是為了建立二人世界,或建立一個三、四人的世界而存在的;結了婚的人,也不應壯志沉埋、讓自己永遠消失在溫柔鄉之中。真正美好的家庭,是健全社會的基礎、教會的活細胞。人們在溫暖的家中休養生息之後,便可以恢復元氣,以更多的精力去為社會、為教會而作出更大的貢獻。
 
天主是活人的天主,也是活力家庭、活潑婚姻的天主,他是一切愛的最終導向;這個愛將發展而為圓滿無限的愛,幫助我們投入永恆、擁抱一切。
常年期第三十二主日
 
现世有情人、来生无限爱
 
读经一:(加下7:1-2,9-14):天主必使为道而死的人复活
读经二:(得后2:16-3:5):天主必坚强信徒活出圣善
福 音:(路20:27-38):复活的問题
中国文化:在天願作比翼鸟,在地願为连理枝。三過其门而不入。父母不得以为子,妻孥不得以为夫。
 
今世的人男婚女嫁,但是,那些有资格死而复活,获得永生的人,不娶也不嫁,他们也不能再死,因为他们像天使一样。他们既然复活了,也就是天主的儿女……天主不是死人的天主,而是活人的天主:所有人在天主眼中都是活的。(路20:34-38)
 
法利塞人和大部分犹太人,都相信死人复活的道理,耶稣也肯定死人将来要复活。
 
在天主教的传统信仰中,「死人复活」及随之而来的「永生」,是一端重要的信条。我们的宗徒信经这样说:「我信肉身之复活,我信常生。」弥撒中的尼西信经也这样说:「我期待死人的复活,及来世的生命。」所以在追思亡者弥撒的颂谢词中,我们会念:「在基督身上,我们有了光荣复活的希望。我们虽为死亡的定律而悲伤,却因永生的许诺而获得安慰。
 
但撒杜塞人却不相信人死后会复活,所以他们设计了一個情景、一個「問题」,希望大家一听,就可以听得出或感受得到,死人复活是多么的荒谬、无聊和可笑。
 
他们引用的,是《申命纪》 中的一個传统:即兄弟立嗣律(申25:5-10)。在这個「代兄弟立嗣」的传统下,如果没有死人的复活,即使一個女人连续嫁了七次,她於任何一個時间内,仍然只是某一個男人的妻子。但如果有死人复活这回事,那么,在复活后的情况中,这位嫁過七個男人的妇人,就不知算是哪個人的妻子了。
 
人之常情,是希望这個世界的美好情况,能延续到身后,尤其在伟大的婚姻爱情中,人们更希望,不单在世上大家可以长相厮守,在天上也可以形影不離。所以一切有情人,都盼望能达到「在天願作比翼鸟,在地願为连理枝」的形神合一的境界。而牛郎织女故事的令人向往,便在於他们能年年相会、岁岁相逢,直到海枯石烂、地老天荒。
 
耶稣的答案,遠遠超出了撒杜塞人所問的,妻子究竟是属於谁的問题。耶稣告诉我们:在未来的世界中,我们将会永遠活在天父的家里,我们一如保禄所说,我们拥有一個属神的身体:「死人的复活也是这样:播种的是可朽坏的,复活起来的是不可朽坏的;播种的是可羞辱的,复活起来的是光荣的;播种的是软弱的,复活起来的是强健的;播种的是属生灵的身体,复活起来的是属神的身体;既有属生灵的身体,也就有属神的身体。」(格前15:42-44)
 
亦正因为我们将要拥有的是「属神的身体」,所以我们才能够「不娶也不嫁,像天使一样。」我们不再只是属於某一個人,或属於少数人;我们属於天主,也属於所有人。大家在天主内,彼此相属,并构成一個完整而友爱的团体、一個永恒的大家庭。
 
其实,在这個世界上,有些人也可能在某种程度上,已经在度这种「天国式」的生活,他们不属於某一個個人,而是属於天主、属於教会、属於众人和属於世界。这是修会生活中,或罗马天主教的神父生活中,独身或贞洁生活的最重要精神。
 
一個会士、一個修女,或一個罗马礼的天主教神父(这里强调罗马天主教,因为东方礼的天主教神父并不必独身),他们已把自己完全奉献於天主,为天主及为他的教会而活,所以他们选择去放弃了那原属於他们的结婚权利,而度这种「天国式」的生活。他们要爱所有人,也被所有人所爱;他们属於所有人,也要在自己的心中,怀抱众生。
 
传说中的大禹治水,「三過其门而不入」,无暇去探望家人;辽东经略袁崇焕将军,为了保家卫国,防止清兵入侵,而有「父母不得以为子,妻孥不得以为夫」之叹;传教士遠涉重洋、梯山航海,不也是因为已把整個生命献给了天主,而无暇於建设自己私有的家庭吗?
 
进一步来说,其实真正的家庭,原来也不只是为了建立二人世界,或建立一個三、四人的世界而存在的;结了婚的人,也不应壮志沉埋、让自己永遠消失在温柔乡之中。真正美好的家庭,是健全社会的基础、教会的活细胞。人们在温暖的家中休养生息之后,便可以恢复元气,以更多的精力去为社会、为教会而作出更大的貢献。
 
天主是活人的天主,也是活力家庭、活泼婚姻的天主,他是一切爱的最终导向;这個爱将发展而为圆满无限的爱,帮助我们投入永恒、拥抱一切。
THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
 
 
In This Life There are Those Who Love, In the Next Life Love is without Limits
 
 
First Reading (2 Mac 7: 1-2, 9-14): God will surely raise from the dead those who die for the sake of righteousness
Second reading (Thess 2: 16 –3:5): God will surely strengthen the faithful to live holy lives
Gospel (Lk 20: 27-28): The question of Resurrection
Chinese Classics:
-“In heaven we shall be birds flying side by side, on earth flowering sprigs on the same branch” (1)
-“Thrice passed his door without entering it.” (2)
-“My father and mother cannot consider me as a son, my wife and children cannot consider me as husband and father.” (3)
 
“Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of resurrection... He is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” (Lk 20: 34-38)
 
The Pharisees and most of the Jews believed in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Jesus also affirmed that the dead would rise again.
 
In the traditional faith of the Catholic Church, the 'resurrection from the dead' and its following phrase 'eternal life' is an important belief. In the prayer, the Apostles' Creed, we say, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” In the Nicene Creed recited during Mass we say, “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” So in the Preface of the Mass for the Deceased, we pray, “In Christ who rose from the dead our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality.
 
But in Jesus' time the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They proposed a scenario or a 'question' hoping that when people heard it they would realize or feel that the resurrection of the dead was ridiculous and meaningless, even laughable.
 
They quoted a tradition which was cited in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deut 25: 5-10) about the duty of a man to continue his brother's family line (by marrying his dead brother's widow). Under the tradition of the 'leviate marriage,' if there was no resurrection from the dead, a widow might marry seven consecutive times, but would be only one man's wife at any one time. However, if there was a resurrection from the dead, then in the afterlife no one would know which of the seven brothers was the husband of the widow. She had married seven times.
 
It is human nature to wish that the good things of this world could last forever, especially if this pertains to a truly happy, loving marriage. People not only hope to be with each other on this earth until death, but be inseparable afterwards, like bodies and their shadows. So all lovers hope to attain this state of union: “In heaven we shall be birds flying side by side, on earth flowering sprigs on the same branch”.(1) The appeal of the Chinese story of “The Cowboy and the Spinning Maid” is because they meet year after year, and continue on annually throughout eternity.
 
Jesus' answer went far beyond what the Sadducees had asked, which was whose wife would the woman be. Jesus told us that in the life to come, we would live forever in the home of the Father. As Paul said, we would have 'spiritual bodies.' “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Cor 15: 42-44)
 
Since we will have a “spiritual body” then we will “neither marry nor be given in marriage, but be like angels.” We will not belong to any one person, or to a small group of persons, we will belong to God and to all people. All of us will be in God, united with each other, and we will become part of a perfect community of love, an everlasting family.
 
Actually, there are some people in this world who to some extent lead a kind of 'heavenly' life. They do not belong to one person, they belong to God and to the church, to all people and to the world. These are the Catholic Church's religious and priests of the Roman Catholic rite, who remain single and live in a spirit of celibacy.
 
A Sister or Brother, or a priest of the Roman rite (priests of the Roman rite are emphasized here because Orthodox priests need not remain single), offer themselves totally to God and live for God and God's church. They choose to give up their right to marry and lead this kind of 'heavenly lifestyle.' They want to love all people and be loved by all people. They belong to all the people and in their hearts embrace all the people of the world.
 
The tale of the Great Yu who regulated the course of the rivers records that he “thrice passed his doors without entering them.”(2) He had no time to visit his family. When General Yuan Chong Huan was stationed at the border of East Liou Dong protecting his country and fighting off the attacks of the Ching soldiers, he sighed and said, “My father and mother cannot consider me as a son, My wife and children cannot consider me as a husband and father.”(3) Are not missionaries who travel afar over mountains and seas like this? They have offered their whole lives to God with little opportunity to build relationships with their own families.
 
Going a step further, a true family does not mean one builds up a world of two people, or a closed group of three or four persons. People who marry should not bury all their ambitions and allow themselves to sink into an exclusive cozy nest of tenderness. A truly beautiful family is the foundation of a healthy society and a living cell of the church. Those who have been nurtured in the warmth of a happy family gain strength from this and have greater energy to contribute to society and the church.
 
God is the God of all those who live. He is also the God of vibrant families and fruitful marriages. God is the ultimate goal of all love. This love will develop into the fullness of unlimited love. It will help us enter into eternity where we are able to embrace all things and all people.
 
(1) 在天願作比翼鳥,在地願為連理枝。
(2) 三過其門而不入。
(3) 父母不得以為子,妻孥不得以為夫。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2019