四旬期第四主日 2019年03月31日


四旬期第四主日

蕩子回頭金不換

讀經一:(蘇5:9,10-12):以民進入了福地過逾越節
讀經二:(格後5:17-21):天主藉基督使人與他和好
福 音:(路15:1-3,11-32):蕩子的比喻
中國文化:惜緣、惜福。由儉入奢易,由奢入儉難。
     魚相忘乎江湖,人相忘乎道術。

兒子對父親說:「爸爸,我得罪了天,也得罪了你,我不配再稱為你的兒子了!」父親卻吩咐僕人說:「你們快拿出最好的衣服來給他穿上,給他戴上戒指,穿上鞋,宰了那隻小肥牛,讓我們吃喝歡樂吧!因為我這個兒子死而復生,失而復得。」……大兒子就生氣,不肯進去,他父親就出來勸他:「孩子!你常和我在一起,我所有的一切都是你的;現在,你的弟弟死而復生,失而復得,我們應該歡樂慶祝!」
路15:11-32節錄)

蕩子回頭的比喻,是福音中最溫馨的一個比喻。

那個不肖子的思想和行為,確是令人遺憾,甚至令人髮指的。好好的在家享福,卻是身在福中不知福。他沒有珍惜他所擁有的一切,我們今天所說的「惜緣」、「惜福」,對他來說簡直是聞所未聞的廢話。

說他是要去闖蕩江湖、流浪一番、尋回自己嘛,他又似乎是對這個大千世界一無所知,對人間的凶險更是毫無印象,對自己的前途也不似有任何企盼。他也不像是個有充足準備,可以在人生的領域中勇闖前程、開拓新天地、幹一番大事業的人。

也許,他只是和許多今日悶到發慌的青年人一樣,不過是想嚐一嚐什麼叫做無憂無慮、無拘無束吧?想做就去做的生活,是多麼的浪漫,多麼的寫意?歐陽修在他的絕句《畫眉鳥》中不是也說過,關鎖在金色籠裡的小鳥,無論生活多麼安穩、富足,怎麼也「不及林間自在啼」嗎?

無論怎樣,他最後是離開家庭,走了;他去到一個很遠、很遠的地方。但對一個沒有理想、毫無準備的青年人來說,大量的金錢,只能帶來墮落。他果然墮落了,而且是徹底的墮落。他「在那裡荒淫度日,浪費錢財」,把所有的一切都揮霍淨盡。

在窮困潦倒中,他迫得要替人養豬,但在饑腸轆轆時,卻是連豬吃的荳莢也無法得到。

司馬光在《訓儉示康》中說:「由儉入奢易,由奢入儉難」,要從儉樸的生活進到奢華的生活中,這是毫無困難的;但要從奢華的生活回歸到儉樸的生活中,就很困難了。

對一個曾經錦衣玉食的公子哥兒來說,傭工的、養豬的粗活,又怎是他的身體和精神所可以承受得了的?何況,在他的宗教信仰中,豬還是一種他碰不得的禁忌,現在他卻要日夕與豬為伍!這又怎麼可以用一個「苦」字去說得清、說得完?

人在最痛苦、最失望時,或是會想到神明,或是會想到父母。這個蕩子現在想起的,就是他的父親,這個一直在愛著他的父親。

在他真心悔改,決心踏上歸家的路途時,聖經說:「他還在遠處,父親就看見了他」。這個父親一定是自從兒子走後,日夕倚門而望。從那時起,他已不知渡過了多少個無眠的夜晚,多少個充滿期盼和等待的白天黑夜,終於,皇天不負有心人,他總算是盼到愛子歸家了。

故事的後半部,我們都知道是大團圓結局。美中不足的是大兒子的生氣和執著:「你看,這些年來我服侍你,從未違背過你的命令,可是你從沒有給我一隻小山羊,讓我和我的朋友一同歡樂;但是你這個兒子,同娼妓在一起,耗盡了你的財產,他一回來,你倒為他宰了那隻小肥牛!

父親的回答我們也都知道了,但他回答的理由,也許是他這個要求「公道」的大兒子所無法完全明白的:「因為你的弟弟是死而復生,失而復得」,所以應該格外歡樂、大事慶祝。這是閤家歡騰的大事啊!

我想起了莊子在《大宗師》裡所描寫的境界:「魚相忘乎江湖,人相忘乎道術」。魚必須活在水中,而人必須在和樂、友愛、共融的環境中,才能快樂。在沒有水時,兩條魚會彼此用口水來互相潤濕,以解乾渴;在世道昏亂時,兩個人會互相扶持,以行善互助。但在江湖大海之中,魚又怎會需要對方的口水呢?在大同和真善美的世界裡,或在天國的境界中,人又怎會需要互相救援呢?

一個兒子死而復生了、失而復得了,一家人又可以再次團聚、其樂融融了,這才是一等一的大事,為什麼不熱烈慶祝呢?誰有多少功勞,誰配得到什麼,又有什麼關係呢?

 

四旬期第四主日

荡子回头金不换

读经一:(苏5:9,10-12):以民进入了福地過逾越节
读经二:(格后5:17-21):天主藉基督使人与他和好
福 音:(路15:1-3,11-32):荡子的比喻
中国文化:惜缘、惜福。由俭入奢易,由奢入俭难。
     魚相忘乎江湖,人相忘乎道术。

儿子对父亲说:「爸爸,我得罪了天,也得罪了你,我不配再称为你的儿子了!」父亲却吩咐仆人说:「你们快拿出最好的衣服来给他穿上,给他戴上戒指,穿上鞋,宰了那只小肥牛,让我们吃喝欢乐吧!因为我这個儿子死而复生,失而复得。」……大儿子就生气,不肯进去,他父亲就出来劝他:「孩子!你常和我在一起,我所有的一切都是你的;现在,你的弟弟死而复生,失而复得,我们应該欢乐庆祝!」
路15:11-32节录)

荡子回头的比喻,是福音中最温馨的一個比喻。

那個不肖子的思想和行为,确是令人遗憾,甚至令人发指的。好好的在家享福,却是身在福中不知福。他没有珍惜他所拥有的一切,我们今天所说的「惜缘」、「惜福」,对他来说简直是闻所未闻的废话。

说他是要去闯荡江湖、流浪一番、寻回自己嘛,他又似乎是对这個大千世界一无所知,对人间的凶险更是毫无印象,对自己的前途也不似有任何企盼。他也不像是個有充足准备,可以在人生的领域中勇闯前程、開拓新天地、干一番大事业的人。

也许,他只是和许多今日闷到发慌的青年人一样,不過是想尝一尝什么叫做无忧无虑、无拘无束吧?想做就去做的生活,是多么的浪漫,多么的写意?欧阳修在他的绝句《画眉鸟》 中不是也说過,关锁在金色笼里的小鸟,无论生活多么安稳、富足,怎么也「不及林间自在啼」吗?

无论怎样,他最后是離開家庭,走了;他去到一個很遠、很遠的地方。但对一個没有理想、毫无准备的青年人来说,大量的金钱,只能带来堕落。他果然堕落了,而且是彻底的堕落。他「在那里荒淫度日,浪费钱财」,把所有的一切都挥霍净尽。

在穷困潦倒中,他迫得要替人养猪,但在饥肠辘辘時,却是连猪吃的荳荚也无法得到。

司马光在《训俭示康》 中说:「由俭入奢易,由奢入俭难」,要从俭朴的生活进到奢华的生活中,这是毫无困难的;但要从奢华的生活回归到俭朴的生活中,就很困难了。

对一個曾经锦衣玉食的公子哥儿来说,佣工的、养猪的粗活,又怎是他的身体和精神所可以承受得了的?何况,在他的宗教信仰中,猪还是一种他碰不得的禁忌,现在他却要日夕与猪为伍!这又怎么可以用一個「苦」字去说得清、说得完?

人在最痛苦、最失望時,或是会想到神明,或是会想到父母。这個荡子现在想起的,就是他的父亲,这個一直在爱著他的父亲。

在他真心悔改,决心踏上归家的路途時,圣经说:「他还在遠处,父亲就看见了他」。这個父亲一定是自从儿子走后,日夕倚门而望。从那時起,他已不知渡過了多少個无眠的夜晚,多少個充满期盼和等待的白天黑夜,终於,皇天不负有心人,他总算是盼到爱子归家了。

故事的后半部,我们都知道是大团圆结局。美中不足的是大儿子的生气和执著:「你看,这些年来我服侍你,从未违背過你的命令,可是你从没有给我一只小山羊,让我和我的朋友一同欢乐;但是你这個儿子,同娼妓在一起,耗尽了你的财產,他一回来,你倒为他宰了那只小肥牛!

父亲的回答我们也都知道了,但他回答的理由,也许是他这個要求「公道」的大儿子所无法完全明白的:「因为你的弟弟是死而复生,失而复得」,所以应該格外欢乐、大事庆祝。这是合家欢腾的大事啊!

我想起了庄子在《大宗师》 里所描写的境界:「魚相忘乎江湖,人相忘乎道术」。魚必须活在水中,而人必须在和乐、友爱、共融的环境中,才能快乐。在没有水時,两条魚会彼此用口水来互相润湿,以解干渴;在世道昏亂時,两個人会互相扶持,以行善互助。但在江湖大海之中,魚又怎会需要对方的口水呢?在大同和真善美的世界里,或在天国的境界中,人又怎会需要互相救援呢?

一個儿子死而复生了、失而复得了,一家人又可以再次团聚、其乐融融了,这才是一等一的大事,为什么不热烈庆祝呢?谁有多少功劳,谁配得到什么,又有什么关系呢?

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Even Gold is not as Precious as the Return of a Prodigal Son

First Reading (Josh 5: 9, 10-12): The Israelites entered the Promised Land to celebrate the Passover
Second Reading (2 Cor 5: 17-21): Through Christ God was reconciled to humankind
Gospel (Lk: 15: 1-3, 11 –32): Parable of the Prodigal Son
Chinese Classics:
-“Treasure relationships and treasure all that you have already” (1)
-“From thriftiness to extravagance is easy. From riches to extravagance is difficult”(2)
-“As fish forget everything else in the bliss of rivers and lakes, so men forget all else in the Tao”(3)

“The son said to the father, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you: I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe - the best one - and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”... The elder son became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ ”(Lk 15: 11-32, summary)

The parable of the 'Prodigal Son' is the most tender parable in the gospel. We feel regret and anger at the thinking and behavior of the wayward son and we easily condemn him. He grew up in luxury and did not know how to appreciate his good fortune. He did not know how to treasure all that he had. To him the saying , “Treasure relationships and treasure all that you have already”(1) were wasted words.

It is not quite correct to say that the son wanted adventure and was trying to find his identity. He seemed to know little about the world or how cunning people could be, nor did he seem to have any idea about his future. He did not seem like a person fully prepared to face adventure, develop new enterprises, or start a big business.

Perhaps he was like many young people today, bored with life, but wanting to find out what it would be like to have a life free from any worries or restrictions. To do whatever one wants to do, to be completely free, would that not be happiness? In the poem “Hwa Mei Bird”, did not Ou Yang Xiu say that though the bird locked in the golden cage had security and all that it wanted, it thought that that could never be as enjoyable as singing in the forest?

We do not know all the reasons but in the end the son decided to leave home and go away. He went far away 'to a distant country.' However, for a youth who had no aspirations, was totally unprepared, and was carrying a great deal of money, this could only lead to disaster. So he fell and fell completely. “He squandered his property in dissolute living.” There was nothing whatsoever left. With nothing remaining he was forced to hire himself out to feed a farmer's pigs. But even when he was very hungry he was not allowed to eat the pigs’ leftover pods.

Si Ma Guang in “Instructions on Thriftiness to his Son” said, “From thriftiness to extravagance is easy. From extravagance to thrift is difficult.”(2) It is not difficult at all to move from an abstemious life to a life of luxury. However, to go back to thriftiness from an extravagant life style is really very difficult.

How could the son of a wealthy man, used to fine clothing and rich food, mentally or physically accept the rough life of a servant and raise pigs? To be in contact with pigs was even against his religion, and here he was among them day and night. Even to describe the life as ‘painful’ was not vivid enough!

When persons have reached such a state of pain and despair, they may turn to the heavens or God, or think of their parents.

The prodigal son thought of his father, the father who had loved him so much. He was full of repentance and decided to return home. Scripture says, “while he was still far off, his father saw him.” From the day his son had left, the father had gone out daily to look and wait for him, meanwhile passing many sleepless nights. He continued to hope his son would return and waited for him day and night. Finally one day he saw him coming – his love had brought him back.

We all know the parable has a happy ending. There is only one flaw and that is the elder son's anger and stubbornness. “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” .

We know the father's answer, but the elder son who asked only for 'fairness' did not fully understand his reasoning. ‘This brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ Therefore you should be especially happy and we should celebrate. It is a great event for our family!

I recall a situation Zhuang Zi described in “Immortality”: “As fish forget everything else in the bliss of rivers and lakes, so men forget all else in the Tao.”(3) A fish must live in water to be happy. It is the same for us human beings. To be happy a person must live in harmony, friendship and congeniality. When there is no water two fish can use their mouths to keep each other moist so that they will not get thirsty. When the world is in confusion, two people can support and help each other. However in a large lake, why would a fish need the saliva of another fish? In a utopian world of the good, true and beautiful, or in the realm of heaven, why would a person need the support and assistance of another human being?

The son was dead but had risen, was lost but had been found, the family was united once more and could be happy together again. It is an event of the greatest magnitude, why should we not celebrate? What does it matter any more who has the greatest merit, or deserves the greatest reward?

(1)惜緣、惜福。由儉入奢易,由奢入儉難。
(2)魚相忘乎江湖,人相忘乎道術。

 

 

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