常年廿九主日:刀劍鑄成鋤頭 2020年10月18日


常年廿九主日

凱撒的也應歸天主

讀經一:(依45:1,4-6):居魯士也屬於天主
讀經二:(得前1:1-5):得撒洛尼信眾以信望愛堅守主的訓導
福 音:(瑪22:15-21):納稅的問題
中國文化: 螳臂擋車:其為蟲也,知進而不知退,不量力而輕敵。


在本主日福音中,有一句時常被人引用,甚至被外教人引用的話,就是:「凱撒的歸凱撒,天主的歸天主」,並認為這話是要求教會「政教分離」。

故事的起因,是法利塞人正商討要怎樣在言論中陷害耶穌。他們派門徒去問耶穌:「是否應該給凱撒納稅?」

這裡說,法利塞人要設的是一種佈局、一個陷阱,要在耶穌的言論中,去找出陷害耶穌的話柄。

「應該納稅給凱撒嗎?」耶穌很難回答。他不可以說必須給凱撒納稅,因為猶太雖亡於羅馬,但公然主張向一個帝國主義者納稅,畢竟是一件讓猶太人感到十分羞恥而屈辱的事。他這樣說會大失人心。但如果耶穌說不應納稅,他們就會說他明目張膽背叛凱撒、背叛羅馬,這可真是一條叛國的死罪。

耶穌並不直接回答,卻反問他們,這個用來納稅的銀幣,上面的肖像和名號究竟是屬於誰的?他們回答說:「是凱撒的。」耶穌就說:「那麼,凱撒的就該歸還凱撒;天主的就該歸還天主。

很多人就根據這話,說教會不應參與政治。

但假如我們細心看看今天的依撒意亞先知書第45章,我們會比較清楚知道耶穌在說甚麼。

依撒意亞這樣說:上主牽著他的受傅者居魯士的右手,使他征服他面前的列國。上主對他這樣說:「雖然當時你還未認識我,我卻指名召叫你,給你起了一個稱號。我是上主,除我以外再沒有別的神;雖然你還未認識我,我卻武裝了你,使從東到西的人都知道:除我之外,再沒有別的神。我是上主,再沒有另一位。」(依45:1,4-6)

「凱撒的歸凱撒,天主的歸天主」。甚麼該歸還給凱撒呢?是錢幣。因為這個錢幣既然刻有凱撒的肖像,就歸還給凱撒吧;但是天主的便要歸還給天主!

但甚麼是屬於天主的呢?不是一個錢幣,不是某些東西,而是普天下所有的物、所有的人,包括認識天主的、或不認識天主的,選民、或外邦人,以色列的君王、巴比倫的君王、或亞述帝國的君王,不論是達味、撒羅滿、或居魯士,甚至連凱撒自己,全部都是屬於天主的。

所以這段經文並非講述政教的關係,而是耶穌用一個簡單的方法,去迴避一個兩難的問題,去解決別人對他的陷害。不過耶穌的說話仍然是十分清楚的:凱撒的歸凱撒,天主的歸天主。

這兩句話並不是平行、平等的。因為歸於天主的,也包括凱撒和凱撒所有的一切。凱撒絕不能和天主並排、相比!依撒意亞先知認為,連威名遠播的居魯士也是屬於天主的。

在《淮南子》中,有一則螳臂擋車的故事。故事說在齊莊公出獵時,有一蟲正舉著牠的前足,要擋住齊莊公馬車的去路。莊公很奇怪,就問那是甚麼蟲?駕車的人就告訴他:「此所謂螳螂者也,其為蟲也,知進而不知退,不量力而輕敵。

螳螂和馬車,是絕對不同類、不同比例、不同世界中的兩碼子事,這正如凱撒和天主,跟本也是不可相提並論的兩碼子事。認為「凱撒歸凱撒,天主歸天主」這話,意味著政教分離,就等如說「螳臂可以擋車」一樣的可笑。

不過,既然大家都把這兩句話當作有政治的含意,那麼,我們也不妨順便談一談天主教對參與政治的看法。

天主教認為教友應該參政,因為教友也是公民,是天國的子民,也是現世的國民。

作為教友,他擁有全部的公民權利和義務。他可以投票,參與公職,可以屬於不同的政黨。

但是作為教會,尤其是教會組織、教會當局(包括主教和神父),教會要和政治、政黨保持距離,不應該牽涉黨派政治或黨爭。如果教會和社會的權勢能保持一個適當的距離,教會就能成為社會及國家的諍友,亦可以客觀地按照福音的準則和理想,說出福音對社會、對國家的要求。

既然整個社會,整個世界,包括凱撒在內,都是屬於天主的,我們便要使我們的國家成為天國,一個正義、仁愛、和平的天國,讓所有人都能活在一個天父的大家庭裡,無恐無懼、相親相愛地生活。這是信徒參政的最終目的。

常年廿九主日

凯撒的也应归天主

读经一:(依45:1,4-6):居鲁士也属於天主
读经二:(得前1:1-5):得撒洛尼信众以信望爱坚守主的训导
福 音:(玛22:15-21):纳税的問题
中国文化: 螳臂挡车:其为虫也,知进而不知退,不量力而轻敌。


在本主日福音中,有一句時常被人引用,甚至被外教人引用的话,就是:「凯撒的归凯撒,天主的归天主」,并认为这话是要求教会「政教分離」。

故事的起因,是法利塞人正商讨要怎样在言论中陷害耶稣。他们派门徒去問耶稣:「是否应該给凯撒纳税?」

这里说,法利塞人要设的是一种布局、一個陷阱,要在耶稣的言论中,去找出陷害耶稣的话柄。

「应該纳税给凯撒吗?」耶稣很难回答。他不可以说必须给凯撒纳税,因为犹太虽亡於罗马,但公然主张向一個帝国主义者纳税,毕竟是一件让犹太人感到十分羞耻而屈辱的事。他这样说会大失人心。但如果耶稣说不应纳税,他们就会说他明目张胆背叛凯撒、背叛罗马,这可真是一条叛国的死罪。

耶稣并不直接回答,却反問他们,这個用来纳税的银币,上面的肖像和名号究竟是属於谁的?他们回答说:「是凯撒的。」耶稣就说:「那么,凯撒的就該归还凯撒;天主的就該归还天主。

很多人就根据这话,说教会不应参与政治。

但假如我们细心看看今天的依撒意亚先知书第45章,我们会比较清楚知道耶稣在说甚么。

依撒意亚这样说:上主牵著他的受傅者居鲁士的右手,使他征服他面前的列国。上主对他这样说:「虽然当時你还未认识我,我却指名召叫你,给你起了一個称号。我是上主,除我以外再没有别的神;虽然你还未认识我,我却武装了你,使从东到西的人都知道:除我之外,再没有别的神。我是上主,再没有另一位。」(依45:1,4-6)

「凯撒的归凯撒,天主的归天主」。甚么該归还给凯撒呢?是钱币。因为这個钱币既然刻有凯撒的肖像,就归还给凯撒吧;但是天主的便要归还给天主!

但甚么是属於天主的呢?不是一個钱币,不是某些东西,而是普天下所有的物、所有的人,包括认识天主的、或不认识天主的,选民、或外邦人,以色列的君王、巴比伦的君王、或亚述帝国的君王,不论是达味、撒罗满、或居鲁士,甚至连凯撒自己,全部都是属於天主的。

所以这段经文并非讲述政教的关系,而是耶稣用一個简单的方法,去回避一個两难的問题,去解决别人对他的陷害。不過耶稣的说话仍然是十分清楚的:凯撒的归凯撒,天主的归天主。

这两句话并不是平行、平等的。因为归於天主的,也包括凯撒和凯撒所有的一切。凯撒绝不能和天主并排、相比!依撒意亚先知认为,连威名遠播的居鲁士也是属於天主的。

在《淮南子》 中,有一则螳臂挡车的故事。故事说在齐庄公出猎時,有一虫正举著它的前足,要挡住齐庄公马车的去路。庄公很奇怪,就問那是甚么虫?驾车的人就告诉他:「此所谓螳螂者也,其为虫也,知进而不知退,不量力而轻敌。

螳螂和马车,是绝对不同类、不同比例、不同世界中的两码子事,这正如凯撒和天主,跟本也是不可相提并论的两码子事。认为「凯撒归凯撒,天主归天主」这话,意味著政教分離,就等如说「螳臂可以挡车」一样的可笑。

不過,既然大家都把这两句话当作有政治的含意,那么,我们也不妨顺便谈一谈天主教对参与政治的看法。

天主教认为教友应該参政,因为教友也是公民,是天国的子民,也是现世的国民。

作为教友,他拥有全部的公民权利和义务。他可以投票,参与公职,可以属於不同的政党。

但是作为教会,尤其是教会组织、教会当局(包括主教和神父),教会要和政治、政党保持距離,不应該牵涉党派政治或党争。如果教会和社会的权势能保持一個適当的距離,教会就能成为社会及国家的诤友,亦可以客观地按照福音的准则和理想,说出福音对社会、对国家的要求。

既然整個社会,整個世界,包括凯撒在内,都是属於天主的,我们便要使我们的国家成为天国,一個正义、仁爱、和平的天国,让所有人都能活在一個天父的大家庭里,无恐无惧、相亲相爱地生活。这是信徒参政的最终目的。

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Even Caesar Must Return to God

First Reading (Is 45:1,4-6): Even Cyrus belonged to God
Second Reading (1 Thes 1:1-5): The Thessalonian believers followed God's teachings with faith, hope and love.
Gospel (Mt 22:15-21) : The question of paying taxes
Chinese Classics
A mantis trying to stop a cart: “It is an insect. It only knows to go forward but not to retreat. It overestimates its own ability and underestimates its enemy.” (1)

In today's Gospel there is a line often quoted even by non-Christians: “Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God the things that belong to God.” It is often seen as an instruction for the Church to separate itself from politics.

The Gospel account says that the Pharisees discussed how to entrap Jesus by his own words. They sent their disciples to ask him, ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

The Pharisees were trying to use a ruse to trap Jesus and use this as an excuse to frame him.

‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor?’ This was s difficult question for Jesus. He could not say that taxes must be paid to the emperor because though the Jews had been conquered by Rome, it would bring shame and humiliation on them if Jesus publicly encouraged the idea of paying taxes to an imperialist. By saying that he would lose the peoples' support. If however Jesus said that taxes should not be paid, then they would accuse him of openly betraying the emperor and Rome. This could lead to the death sentence for high treason.

Jesus did not give a direct answer. Instead he asked them whose head and title were on the coin used for the tax. They answered, ‘The emperor's.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's.

Many people claim that these words of Jesus are a rationale for the Church to avoid becoming involved in politics.

But if we look carefully at today's first Reading from the Forty-fifth Chapter of Isaiah we will understand more clearly what Jesus was trying to say.

Isaiah sad that the Lord grasped the right hand of Cyrus, his anointed, to subdue nations before him. “I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.” (Is 45:1,4-6)

‘Give therefore to the emperor what belongs to him and to God the things that belong to God,’What should be given to the emperor? Coins. As the emperor's head was engraved on the coin, return that to the emperor. On the other hand those things that belong to God should be returned to God.

But what belongs to God? Not a coin or material things. Rather, all the things in the world, all people in the world, including those who believe in God and those who do not; the ‘Chosen People’ and the Gentiles; the Kings of Israel and of Babylon and Assyria; David, Solomon or Cyrus and even Caesar himself; all of them belong to God.

So Jesus' words do not refer to the relationship between politics and the Church. Jesus used this simple method to avoid answering the difficult two-edged question and the trap others had set for him. But Jesus' words were quite clear: what belongs to Caesar is his, what belongs to God is God's.

The two sentences are not parallel or equal. What belongs to God includes Caesar and all he owns. In no way can any emperor be considered equal or compared with God. Isaiah thought that even the prestigious Cyrus belonged to God.

In Huai Nan Zi, there is a story about a mantis trying to stop a cart. The story happened at the time when Qi Zhuang Gung was out hunting. An insect raised its forelegs to his chariot. Zhuang Gung was very surprised and asked what the insect was. The driver told him, “This is called a mantis. It is an insect. It only knows to go forward but not to retreat. It overestimates its own ability and underestimates its enemy.”

The mantis and the chariot were entirely different in kind and size. They were two different objects from two different worlds. Just like Caesar and God, they should not even be talked about in the same breath. To think that to ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's' means to separate political and religious power is as foolish as the story of the mantis trying to stop the cart.

But since people so often think these remarks have a political meaning, it does no harm to speak here about the Catholic view of participation in politics.

The Catholic Church is of the view that Christians should take part in politics because Christians are also citizens: they are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and citizens of a country.

As Christians they have all the rights and duties of a citizen. They can vote in elections, hold public office and join different political parties.

On the other hand, Church organizations and the hierarchy (including bishops and priests) do well to keep a distance from politics and political parties and not get too involved in party politics or party disputes. If the church and society authorities can maintain a suitable distance, the Church can at times become constructive critics of governments and offer objective views based on Gospel principles and ideals and speak clearly of the evangelical demands on societies and governments.

Since all of society and the world, including emperors, belong to God, we should work to make our country become part of the Kingdom of Heaven, full of justice, righteousness and peace, so that all within it can live as members of the family of God the Father, loving each other without fear. This is the ultimate goal of the faithful's participation in politics.

 

(1)螳臂擋車:其為蟲也,知進而不知退,不量力而輕敵。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2020