復活期第六主日 2020年05月17日


復活期第六主日
 
聖神的教會:由他力到自力
 
讀經一:(宗8:5-8,14-17):撒瑪黎雅信徒領受聖神
讀經二:(伯前3:15-18):面對考驗,信靠基督之神
福 音:(若14:15-21):父要賜下護慰者聖神
中國文化: 讀書始讀,未知有疑;其次則漸漸有疑,中則節節是疑。過了這一番後,疑漸漸解,以至融會貫通都無所疑,方始是學。
 
在若望福音第14章中,耶穌對門徒說:「如果你們愛我,便要遵守我的命令,我要向父祈求,父一定賜給你們另一位護慰者,使他永遠與你們同在。他是世界所不能領受的真理之神。因為世界看不見他,也不認識他,但你們認識他,因為他與你們同在,並在你們之內。」(若14:15-17)
 
基督的教會有時候給人一個錯誤的印象,以為教會是一個「他力」的宗教。「他力」,因為我們講「聖統制」。在聖統制的教會中,成員之間的關係是由上而下,一層層的隸屬,由教宗、主教、神父一直到教友。我們都要聽長上、神長的教導。我們由他們的手中領受聖事;是他們告訴我們基督的道理;是他們將救恩帶給我們。他們牧養、管理我們。
 
這似乎是一個十分之「他力」的教會,一個由上而下,由外面的力量去維持的教會。我們的教友幾乎完全被動:他們聽道理、領聖事、接受牧養。這種教會模式似乎很配合我們的「基督學」。因為是基督建立了教會,委託門徒管理這個教會;門徒又委派他們的繼承人繼續去治理這個教會。
 
不過,這只是我們教會的一部分。在耶穌離世升天前,他已經向門徒許諾過,要派聖神來。聖神便是那位世界不能領受的真理之神。世界看不見他,也不認識他。不過,基督的信徒是認識他的,因為聖神與我們同在,在我們內。
 
今天的伯多祿前書對聖神在我們生命中的行為有清楚的描寫:伯前第3章說:「你們要在心內尊崇基督為主,若有人詢問你們所懷希望的理由,你們要隨時準備答覆。要保持良心的無愧,好讓那些誣告你們的人,自遭其辱。」(參考伯前3:15-16)
 
由內心去尊崇基督,答覆別人,說出我們所懷希望的理由:信仰的理由、繼續奮鬥的理由,保持良心的無愧,向我們的良心交待,服從良心的訓令,聽從良心的聲音。這一切都是聖神的行動。
 
聖神的教會是一個「自力」的教會,而不是一個「他力」的教會。自力的教會強調個人的重要,自力的信仰要在人心中慢慢形成、成長、成熟。
 
我想將朱熹的一番有關「求學問」的話,和「自力」的信仰作一比較。朱熹說:「讀書始讀,未知有疑;其次則漸漸有疑;中則節節是疑。過了這一番後,疑漸漸解,以至融會貫通,都無所疑,方始是學。」(朱熹:晦翁學案)聖神在我們心中幫助我們處理我們的信仰,過程有些和朱熹所說的相似。
 
聖神在我們心裡,他和基督不同。基督的教會是一個有形的教會,在這個有形的教會中,我們可以直接去問,直接去聽,去服從。不明白,可以問神父,問神學家。不過,這有形的教會只是教會的一部分,教會還有無形的一面。那裡有的是聖神。
 
聖神無形無相、來去如風。他不可被掌握。你有問題問聖神,他不會直接回答你。聖神住在我們心裡,我們只能慢慢去體會,慢慢去學習,慢慢去悟出答案。
 
其實,當我們看聖人的行實,或聽一些有智慧的人的見識時,那都是他們一生經驗累積的精華。我們可以透過這些經驗、這些話而進入聖人的內心世界。同樣,我們也可以透過聖經的話,藉聖神的啟發,進入基督的內心世界。這時,天主聖神就幫助我們明白這些話背後的意義,並將這些話轉化成我們的渴望、理想和對自我的要求,然後再決定我們自己該如何實踐,找出屬於我們的答案。這些答案已經不是聖人的答案,不是聖經的答案,而是我們自己的答案,是我們在回應天主時,所作出的個人的、獨一無二的決定。
 
是聖神幫助我們作出這個決定,是聖神在我們心中,和我們一起找出這個答案。可以說,這是我們良心的答案、我們自己生命的答案。因為聖神在我們心中。
 
耶穌說:「聖神與你們同在,並在你們內。」所以,如果我們進入生命的深處,就會接觸到聖神。藉著聖神,我們才會進一步認識基督、認識天父。這就是耶穌所說的:「到那天,你們便會知道,我在父內,你們在我內,我也在你們內。那些接受我的命令而遵守的,便是愛我的人。誰愛我,我父一定愛他,我也要愛他,並將我自己顯示給他。」(若14:20-21)
 
主耶穌基督,求你派遣聖神來到我們心中,成為我們生命的動力、我們的朋友。我們願意進入我們良心的深處,與我們的朋友、我們的護慰者聖神談話。我們相信,他會使我們更加明白你的話。主,求你將聖神賜給我們,賜給你的教會,也賜給所有的人!
复活期第六主日
 
圣神的教会:由他力到自力
 
读经一:(宗8:5-8,14-17):撒玛黎雅信徒领受圣神
读经二:(伯前3:15-18):面对考验,信靠基督之神
福 音:(若14:15-21):父要赐下护慰者圣神
中国文化: 读书始读,未知有疑;其次则渐渐有疑,中则节节是疑。過了这一番后,疑渐渐解,以至融会贯通都无所疑,方始是学。
 
在若望福音第14章中,耶稣对门徒说:「如果你们爱我,便要遵守我的命令,我要向父祈求,父一定赐给你们另一位护慰者,使他永遠与你们同在。他是世界所不能领受的真理之神。因为世界看不见他,也不认识他,但你们认识他,因为他与你们同在,并在你们之内。」(若14:15-17)
 
基督的教会有時候给人一個错误的印象,以为教会是一個「他力」的宗教。「他力」,因为我们讲「圣统制」。在圣统制的教会中,成员之间的关系是由上而下,一层层的隶属,由教宗、主教、神父一直到教友。我们都要听长上、神长的教导。我们由他们的手中领受圣事;是他们告诉我们基督的道理;是他们将救恩带给我们。他们牧养、管理我们。
 
这似乎是一個十分之「他力」的教会,一個由上而下,由外面的力量去维持的教会。我们的教友幾乎完全被动:他们听道理、领圣事、接受牧养。这种教会模式似乎很配合我们的「基督学」。因为是基督建立了教会,委托门徒管理这個教会;门徒又委派他们的继承人继续去治理这個教会。
 
不過,这只是我们教会的一部分。在耶稣離世升天前,他已经向门徒许诺過,要派圣神来。圣神便是那位世界不能领受的真理之神。世界看不见他,也不认识他。不過,基督的信徒是认识他的,因为圣神与我们同在,在我们内。
 
今天的伯多禄前书对圣神在我们生命中的行为有清楚的描写:伯前第3章说:「你们要在心内尊崇基督为主,若有人询問你们所怀希望的理由,你们要随時准备答覆。要保持良心的无愧,好让那些诬告你们的人,自遭其辱。」(参考伯前3:15-16)
 
由内心去尊崇基督,答覆别人,说出我们所怀希望的理由:信仰的理由、继续奋斗的理由,保持良心的无愧,向我们的良心交待,服从良心的训令,听从良心的声音。这一切都是圣神的行动。
 
圣神的教会是一個「自力」的教会,而不是一個「他力」的教会。自力的教会强调個人的重要,自力的信仰要在人心中慢慢形成、成长、成熟。
 
我想将朱熹的一番有关「求学問」的话,和「自力」的信仰作一比较。朱熹说:「读书始读,未知有疑;其次则渐渐有疑;中则节节是疑。過了这一番后,疑渐渐解,以至融会贯通,都无所疑,方始是学。」(朱熹:晦翁学案)圣神在我们心中帮助我们处理我们的信仰,過程有些和朱熹所说的相似。
 
圣神在我们心里,他和基督不同。基督的教会是一個有形的教会,在这個有形的教会中,我们可以直接去問,直接去听,去服从。不明白,可以問神父,問神学家。不過,这有形的教会只是教会的一部分,教会还有无形的一面。那里有的是圣神。
 
圣神无形无相、来去如风。他不可被掌握。你有問题問圣神,他不会直接回答你。圣神住在我们心里,我们只能慢慢去体会,慢慢去学习,慢慢去悟出答案。
 
其实,当我们看圣人的行实,或听一些有智慧的人的见识時,那都是他们一生经验累积的精华。我们可以透過这些经验、这些话而进入圣人的内心世界。同样,我们也可以透過圣经的话,藉圣神的启发,进入基督的内心世界。这時,天主圣神就帮助我们明白这些话背后的意义,并将这些话转化成我们的渴望、理想和对自我的要求,然后再决定我们自己該如何实踐,找出属於我们的答案。这些答案已经不是圣人的答案,不是圣经的答案,而是我们自己的答案,是我们在回应天主時,所作出的個人的、独一无二的决定。
 
是圣神帮助我们作出这個决定,是圣神在我们心中,和我们一起找出这個答案。可以说,这是我们良心的答案、我们自己生命的答案。因为圣神在我们心中。
 
耶稣说:「圣神与你们同在,并在你们内。」所以,如果我们进入生命的深处,就会接触到圣神。藉著圣神,我们才会进一步认识基督、认识天父。这就是耶稣所说的:「到那天,你们便会知道,我在父内,你们在我内,我也在你们内。那些接受我的命令而遵守的,便是爱我的人。谁爱我,我父一定爱他,我也要爱他,并将我自己显示给他。」(若14:20-21)
 
主耶稣基督,求你派遣圣神来到我们心中,成为我们生命的动力、我们的朋友。我们願意进入我们良心的深处,与我们的朋友、我们的护慰者圣神谈话。我们相信,他会使我们更加明白你的话。主,求你将圣神赐给我们,赐给你的教会,也赐给所有的人!
Sixth Sunday of Easter
 
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
From dependency on others to self-reliance
 
First Reading : ( Acts 8:5-8,14-17) : The Samaritan faithful received the Holy Spirit
Second Reading : ( 1 Pet 3:15-18) : Trust in the Lord when facing a test
Gospel : ( Jn 14:15-21) : The Father will send the Advocate , the Spirit
Chinese Classics
“When I first started studying, there was no doubt at all. Then, the doubts gradually came in. Halfway through, every section posed doubt. After going through this phase, the doubts were gradually clarified until there were no more doubts and all knowledge was integrated. This was when learning began.” (1)
 
In Chapter XIV of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus said to the apostles, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. (Jn 14:15-17)
 
Sometimes Christ’s Church gives an incorrect impression to people, who think incorrectly that the Church is a religion whose members are dependent on others. This is because we speak of a hierarchy. In a hierarchical Church members relationships with each other are in a descending order, from top to bottom, from Pope to Bishops to priests, right down to the laity. We must listen to church superiors (priests). From them we receive the sacraments, they pass on to us Christ’s teachings, they bring us the means of salvation. They nourish us and govern us.
 
Church members seem very dependent in a descending order, a church controlled by external authority. The ordinary Christian seems very passive: they listen to instruction, receive the sacraments, accept nourishment. This model of Church fits well into our concept of ‘Christology.’ Christ established the Church, told the apostles to watch over it; the apostles in turn chose successors to continue to manage the Church.
 
However this is only one side of the Church. Before Jesus departed this world and ascended into Heaven, he already promised the apostles he would send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot accept. The world cannot see nor recognize the Holy Spirit. However Christ’s followers recognize the Holy Spirit because the Spirit is with us and in us.
 
Today’s reading from the first Epistle of Peter has a clear description of the actions of the Spirit in our daily lives. ‘In your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, may be put to shame.’ (Ref 1 Pet 3 :15-16)
 
From our internal reverence for Christ and in our response to people, we can explain our reasons for remaining hopeful, the reasons for our belief and continuing the struggle, preserving a clear conscience, listening to it and being attentive to its promptings. All these are actions of the Holy Spirit.
 
Members of the Holy Spirit’s Church are self-reliant self-development, not only dependent. This type of Church emphasizes the importance of each individual, each person’s faith gradually taking form, growing and maturing.
 
I would like to compare what Zhu Xi said about “learning” with the belief of “self-power”. Zhu Xi said: “When I first started studying, there was no doubt at all. Then, the doubts gradually came in. Halfway through, every section posed doubt. After going through this phase, gradually the doubts were clarified until there were no more doubts and all knowledge is integrated. This was when learning began.” (Zhu Xi , The Work of the Senile Old Man) The Holy Spirit resides in our hearts and helps us monitor our beliefs. The process is similar to Zhu Xi’s process of learning.
 
The Holy Spirit within our hearts is not the same as Christ. Christ’s Church is a visible Church and within it we can ask and listen and submit directly. What we do not understand, we can ask a priest or theologian. However this visible church is only one aspect of the Church, the Church also has an invisible part. Within it is the Holy Spirit.
 
The Holy Spirit has no fixed form or image but moves like the wind. The Spirit cannot be grasped. If one has a problem and one asks the Holy Spirit, there will not be a direct reply. The Holy Spirit lives within our hearts, we can only feel and learn this gradually and slowly understand the reply.
 
In fact, when we study the deeds of the saints or listen to the comments of wise people, we see the essence of their experience through their lives. Aided by their experience and words, we can go into the inner world of the saints. In the same way, through the words of Scripture and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can go into the world of Christ’s heart. At that time God the Holy Spirit will help us to understand the meaning behind the words and convert the words to become our desires, ideals and demands on our selves. Then we are able to decide upon how we should reply. The replies then are no longer the replies of the saints or of Scripture but a reply totally our own. It is our own response to God, a personal, unique decision we have made.
 
The Holy Spirit helps us make this decision, it is the Holy Spirit within our hearts who, together with us finds the answer. We can say this is the reply from our conscience, a reply from our own self. Because the Holy Spirit is within us.
 
Jesus said, ‘The Holy Spirit abides with you, and he will be in you.’ Hence, when we go into the depth of our lives, we will be in contact with the Holy Spirit. Only through the Holy Spirit, then can we learn more about Christ and recognize God our Father. Thus Christ said, ‘On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ (Jn 14:20-21)
 
O Lord Jesus Christ, we ask you to send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to become the motivation in our lives, to be our friend. We would go into the depths of our conscience and speak with our friend, our consoler, the Holy Spirit. We believe the Spirit will help us to understand your words better. O Lord, give the Holy Spirit to us, to the Church, and to all people.
 
(1) 讀書始讀,未知有疑;其次則漸漸有疑,中則節節是疑。過了這一番後,疑漸漸解,以至融會貫通都無所疑,方始是學。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2020