將臨2:認罪難 2020年12月06日


將臨期第二主日

甘作前驅

讀經一:(依40:1-5,9-11):先知向以民傳報喜訊
讀經二:(伯後3:8-14):宗徒勸戒信友應以聖潔和虔誠生活等候主
福 音:(谷1:1-8):若翰的使命
中國文化: 苦恨年年壓金線,為他人作嫁衣裳。


馬爾谷所寫的福音書,開頭第一句就是:「天主子耶穌基督福音的開始。

「福音」不是指一本書,而是指「好消息」、「喜訊」。它是指一個事件,它告訴我們:有一個福音、有一件令人興奮的事「發生了」、開始了。

這個福音就是耶穌基督;耶穌基督自己就是福音、就是喜訊;他還要傳揚這個福音——傳揚他自己。

為什麼耶穌基督要傳揚自己?因為他是天主子。因為他是舊約中千百年來所期待的一個偉人、一個偉大的先知、一個忠實的以色列人。他是雅威的兒子,他和雅威有最親密的關係,他對雅威是完全的、絕對的付出。他一生都在尋求和承行天父的旨意。

耶穌是天主子,因為他完全以天主為中心;一個以天主為中心的生命,本身就是喜訊。當人能完全以天主為中心時,天主便在他內為王,他便獲得救贖,他的生命便達致圓滿。這就是福音,是人生命中最大的喜訊。

當一個人好像耶穌一樣完全順服於天父時,生命就達到高峰;於是基督的喜訊就成了那個人的喜訊。基督徒的生命本身也就成了喜訊。

為準備人類接受這個喜樂的福音,天主首先派遣了一位「前驅」,他就是若翰洗者。

先知依撒意亞曾預言:「看,我要派遣我的使者作你的前驅,為你開路。曠野中有一個聲音呼喊說:你們該預備上主的道路,修直他的途徑。」(谷1:2-3;參看依40:3;拉3:1)

然後,這個前驅若翰來了,他「在曠野裡出現,宣講悔改的洗禮,為使人得到罪的赦免。有許多人從猶太各地和耶路撒冷來到若翰那裡,承認自己的罪過,在約但河裡接受他的洗禮。」(谷1:4-5)然後,他向自己的追隨者說:「繼我而來的那一位,比我更尊貴,我連彎腰給他解鞋帶也不配。我用水給你們授洗,他卻要用聖神給你們授洗。」(谷1:7)

若翰在曠野中施洗,他有許多追隨者、崇拜者。他本來可以儼如一代宗師,樹立自己的名聲、鞏固自己的威望、建立自己的王國、擴展自己的地盤、追求自己的利益。

但他甘願只是作一個「前驅」。

而這個前驅,本來就是一代宗師。他本身原本有很多追隨者,他的道德、人格、生活方式,都曾經吸引了不少傾慕他、佩服他的人。
我們從來都沒有甘作前驅的概念,因為我們的文化、教育,都在教我們要做主角;做不成主角時才迫不得已做配角。

例如:我們的社會在競選時,所有候選人的最重要任務是擊倒對手;我們的學校教我們以獨佔鰲頭為榮;古時讀書人十年窗下,為的就是希望有一天能上京考試、做官,然後衣錦還鄉、光宗耀祖。這一切,都在教我們以自我為中心,把一切集中在自己身上。我們要做主角、享受榮譽、接受歡呼和喝采。

我們沒有甘作前驅的文化,我們從來就沒有看過甘作前驅的榜樣,沒有接觸過甘作前驅的人。

相反地,我們認為「苦恨年年壓金線,為他人作嫁衣裳」是一種痛苦和不幸。這種遭遇,令人唏噓、嘆息。

前驅,也就是「為他人作嫁衣裳」,是在造了最漂亮的嫁衣裳以後,自己卻無緣身披嫁衣,只是把它披在別人的身上。

例外不是沒有。父母見子女長大成人,就老懷安慰;老師見學生出人頭地,也會與有榮焉。父母和老師,在這個角度下都是前驅;他們把子女和學生帶到台前,自己卻隱居幕後,快樂而滿足地靜心欣賞自己多年來努力的成果。

嫉妒使人把別人的成功當作自己的失敗;前驅精神卻使人能對別人的成就感到高興、充滿感恩,因為別人可以補我們的不足,別人可以做我們做不來的事。

為天主的光榮,為人類、國家、社會、群體的好處,我們都需要有更多甘作前驅的人,以帶來更多有用和有貢獻的人。這些人的成就,為我們大家都是有益的。

我們值得多作前驅、甘作前驅。

 

将临期第二主日

甘作前驱

读经一:(依40:1-5,9-11):先知向以民传报喜讯
读经二:(伯后3:8-14):宗徒劝戒信友应以圣洁和虔诚生活等候主
福 音:(谷1:1-8):若翰的使命
中国文化: 苦恨年年压金线,为他人作嫁衣裳。


马尔谷所写的福音书,開头第一句就是:「天主子耶稣基督福音的開始。

「福音」不是指一本书,而是指「好消息」、「喜讯」。它是指一個事件,它告诉我们:有一個福音、有一件令人兴奋的事「发生了」、開始了。

这個福音就是耶稣基督;耶稣基督自己就是福音、就是喜讯;他还要传扬这個福音——传扬他自己。

为什么耶稣基督要传扬自己?因为他是天主子。因为他是旧约中千百年来所期待的一個伟人、一個伟大的先知、一個忠实的以色列人。他是雅威的儿子,他和雅威有最亲密的关系,他对雅威是完全的、绝对的付出。他一生都在寻求和承行天父的旨意。

耶稣是天主子,因为他完全以天主为中心;一個以天主为中心的生命,本身就是喜讯。当人能完全以天主为中心時,天主便在他内为王,他便获得救赎,他的生命便达致圆满。这就是福音,是人生命中最大的喜讯。

当一個人好像耶稣一样完全顺服於天父時,生命就达到高峰;於是基督的喜讯就成了那個人的喜讯。基督徒的生命本身也就成了喜讯。

为准备人类接受这個喜乐的福音,天主首先派遣了一位「前驱」,他就是若翰洗者。

先知依撒意亚曾预言:「看,我要派遣我的使者作你的前驱,为你開路。旷野中有一個声音呼喊说:你们該预备上主的道路,修直他的途径。」(谷1:2-3;参看依40:3;拉3:1)

然后,这個前驱若翰来了,他「在旷野里出现,宣讲悔改的洗礼,为使人得到罪的赦免。有许多人从犹太各地和耶路撒冷来到若翰那里,承认自己的罪過,在约但河里接受他的洗礼。」(谷1:4-5)然后,他向自己的追随者说:「继我而来的那一位,比我更尊贵,我连弯腰给他解鞋带也不配。我用水给你们授洗,他却要用圣神给你们授洗。」(谷1:7)

若翰在旷野中施洗,他有许多追随者、崇拜者。他本来可以俨如一代宗师,树立自己的名声、巩固自己的威望、建立自己的王国、扩展自己的地盤、追求自己的利益。

但他甘願只是作一個「前驱」。

而这個前驱,本来就是一代宗师。他本身原本有很多追随者,他的道德、人格、生活方式,都曾经吸引了不少倾慕他、佩服他的人。
我们从来都没有甘作前驱的概念,因为我们的文化、教育,都在教我们要做主角;做不成主角時才迫不得已做配角。

例如:我们的社会在竞选時,所有候选人的最重要任务是击倒对手;我们的学校教我们以独占鳌头为荣;古時读书人十年窗下,为的就是希望有一天能上京考试、做官,然后衣锦还乡、光宗耀祖。这一切,都在教我们以自我为中心,把一切集中在自己身上。我们要做主角、享受荣誉、接受欢呼和喝采。

我们没有甘作前驱的文化,我们从来就没有看過甘作前驱的榜样,没有接触過甘作前驱的人。

相反地,我们认为「苦恨年年压金线,为他人作嫁衣裳」是一种痛苦和不幸。这种遭遇,令人唏嘘、叹息。

前驱,也就是「为他人作嫁衣裳」,是在造了最漂亮的嫁衣裳以后,自己却无缘身披嫁衣,只是把它披在别人的身上。

例外不是没有。父母见子女长大成人,就老怀安慰;老师见学生出人头地,也会与有荣焉。父母和老师,在这個角度下都是前驱;他们把子女和学生带到台前,自己却隐居幕后,快乐而满足地静心欣赏自己多年来努力的成果。

嫉妒使人把别人的成功当作自己的失败;前驱精神却使人能对别人的成就感到高兴、充满感恩,因为别人可以补我们的不足,别人可以做我们做不来的事。

为天主的光荣,为人类、国家、社会、群体的好处,我们都需要有更多甘作前驱的人,以带来更多有用和有貢献的人。这些人的成就,为我们大家都是有益的。

我们值得多作前驱、甘作前驱。

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Willing to be a Forerunner

First Reading: (Is 40:1-5,9-11): The prophet preached the good new to the Israelites
Second Reading:(2 Pet 3:8-14): The Apostles encouraged the faithful to live holy and devoted lives to wait for the Lord
Gospel: (Mk 1:1-8): The mission of John the Baptist
Chinese Classics: “In golden threads she weaves her bitter despair, Year after year making bridal robes which other girls wear.”(1)

The first verse of Mark's gospel is “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The 'Gospel' is not a book, it is 'Good News', 'Good tidings.' It tells us about an "Event." There is good news to tell. An exciting event has just taken place.

This good news is about Jesus Christ. He himself IS the good news. He is going to share this good news with us, to share HIMSELF with us.

Why did Jesus want to speak about himself to us? Because he is the Son of God, because he is the unique one expected for so many years in the Old Testament. He is the great prophet, a loyal Israelite. He is the son of Yahweh, with a close relationship with Yahweh. He is completely loyal to Yahweh, totally carrying out the will of his Father throughout his life.

Jesus is the Son of God, God the Father is the center of his life. A life with God at the center itself is good news. When people accept God as the center of life, then God will be king in their hearts. They will be saved, their lives will be fulfilled. This is the greatest good news anyone can hear.

When a person is obedient to God as Jesus was, life has reached its climax. Jesus' good news becomes that person's good news. Those Christians themselves also will have become good news.

To prepare humankind to receive the joy of this good news, God sent a forerunner, a herald, John the Baptist.

The Prophet Isaiah had predicted “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mk 1: 2-3 ; see also Is 40:3 ; Mal 3:1)

And so John came. He appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins(Mk 1:4-5) John said to his disciples,The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. (Mk 1:7)

John baptized people in the desert regions. He had many followers, people who admired him. He was a great Master of his time. He could have enhanced his own reputation, strengthened his own fame, set up a kingdom and extended its boundaries, and sought his own advantage.

But he was willing to be just a forerunner.

This forerunner was a man with an esteemed reputation. He had many disciples. He attracted many people who admired him for his virtue, personality and lifestyle.

Most of us never have thought of being only a forerunner. Our culture and education teach us to strive to be main characters. Only when this fails are we forced to be forerunners.

For example, in our society when there is a political campaign, the most important aim of the candidates is to win over opponents. In our schools, teachers teach us to strive for the highest honors. Ancient scholars in China “studied for 10 years” under extremely severe conditions just to take part in the imperial examination and become a government official. Only then could they return home full of honor and glory.

All this teaches us to be self-centered, to concentrate totally on ourselves. We want to be main characters, enjoy the praise of others, accept other peoples’ cheers and applause.

We do not live in a culture that fosters becoming forerunners. We have rarely seen examples of people who want to be forerunners

On the contrary, we think that “In golden threads she weaves her bitter despair, Year after year making bridal robes which other girls wear”(2) is a kind of misery and misfortune. To be in such a situation makes one sigh with helplessness.

A forerunner or bridesmaid is precisely the one who “makes bridal robes which other girls wear”. After making the most beautiful bridal robe, she is not fortunate enough to wear the bridal robe. All she can do is help someone else put it on. (Qin Taoyu, A Poor Girl)(3)

Of course, there are exceptions. Parents are comforted by seeing their children growing up. Teachers feel honored by the success of their students. Both parents and teachers take on the role of forerunners. They play a role in bringing their children or students to the forefront and on the stage, and are happy and content to forfeit the center stage themselves to witness the results of their efforts for others.

Jealousy can cause us to see another's success as one's own failure. But the spirit of a forerunner enables one to be happy at the success of others and be filled with gratitude, because this can fill up our inadequacies and accomplish what we can't do ourselves.

For the glory of God, for the good of all people, of our society and nation, we need more people willing to be forerunners, to lead more people to contribute their talents for the good of others. Such persons' accomplishments are of benefit to all of us.

It is worthwhile indeed for us to be forerunners.

(1) 中國文化: 苦恨年年壓金線,為他人作嫁衣裳。
(2) 「苦恨年年壓金線,為他人作嫁衣裳」
(3) 前驅,也就是「為他人作嫁衣裳」,是在造了最漂亮的嫁衣裳以後,自己卻無緣身披嫁衣,只是把它披在別人的身上。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2020