將臨4:Count Your Blessings 數算祝福 2020年12月20日


將臨4:Count Your Blessings 數算祝福

帶來耶穌的人

讀經一:(撒下7:1-5,8-11,16):上主許給達味鴻恩
讀經二:(羅16:25-27):天主救世的計劃彰顯了
福 音:(路1:26-38):聖母領報
中國文化: 試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期。

「我是上主的婢女,願照你的話,在我身上成就吧!」
(路1:38)

瑪利亞是一位謙卑的鄉下童女。那位預報了若翰誕生的天使加俾額爾,又被差遣到納匝肋,預報一個更卓越的事件:天主聖子的誕生。

天使的問候,使那位謙卑的女郎不知所措:「萬福,充滿恩寵者,上主與你同在!」(路1:28)瑪利亞大概一生都從未聽到過這樣尊敬、客氣、禮貌的問候。以她的卑微身份,不被人輕視已經是極不尋常的恩典了。

但她接著聽到的是更令她驚訝的事:「你將懷孕生子,要給他取名叫耶穌。他是偉大的,將稱為至高者的兒子,上主天主要把他祖先達味的御座賜給他。他要為王,統治雅各伯家族,直到永遠;他的王權萬世無疆。」(路1:31-33)

純潔的貞女,完全不明白天使的話,於是很天真的問:「這事怎能成就?因為我不認識男人。」(路1:34)

天使加俾額爾知道瑪利亞並不是在懷疑他的話,也不是在拒絕他所帶來的天主的邀請,所以就直接了當的解答她的難題:是天主聖神的德能要使她懷孕生子。因為道成肉身原是一種新的創造,是聖神的化工,而不是人為的結果。因為這個耶穌「不是由血氣,也不是由肉慾,也不是由男慾,而是由天主生的」(若1:13)

謙卑的貞女答應了:「願照你的話,在我身上成就吧!」(路1:38)這就是天主教傳統中十分重視的一句話,拉丁文叫它做Fiat,這確實是一句石破天驚的話,天主聖子就是因著這句話而降生成人了!

我想問:「如果瑪利亞不答應,天主會降生成人嗎?」不會的!但你可以說:「瑪利亞不答應,羅撒不可以答應嗎?羅撒不答應,亞芬、亞芳不可以答應嗎?」

對!你說得很對!瑪利亞也好,羅撒也好,亞芬、亞芳都好,總之是必須要有人答應。人不答應,天主不會降生成人。這是天主自己的計劃。

這就是「人」在救恩史上的地位,一個無可取代的地位。

我們習慣把一切推在天主身上,但天主卻把一切交在我們手中。天主的計劃和安排是,他透過父母去教育子女,透過老師去栽培學生,透過教友去傳揚福音,透過人與人的關係去經驗天主。如果人不和天主合作,天主不會單獨行事。

所以,天主降生成人,我們除感謝天主外,也要感謝瑪利亞。是她給我們帶來了耶穌。

瑪利亞的信心是超卓的,獻身精神是完全而絕對的。她要做天主的婢女,一生一世為天主而服役;為了天主,她不怕奉獻一切、忍受一切、犧牲一切。

在她答應了天主的邀請以後,她第一個犧牲就是忍受她名譽的損失。

她向天使說過「我不認識男人」,換句話說,貞潔對她十分重要。但她的未婚夫若瑟懷疑她的,正是她的這個貞潔!儘管若瑟由於是義人,在未明真相之前不會謬然行事、不會定她的罪,但聖經明言,若瑟已準備了要暗暗休退瑪利亞。

對一個重視名節的童貞女來說,被人懷疑自己的貞操,這是多麼痛苦的一件事!解釋嗎?誰會相信「因聖神有孕」這種怪談?所以,「願照你的話成就於我」這句話,瑪利亞現在要第二次向天主訴說了;可能這次是哭訴。除了向天主哭訴外,她還有別的途徑、別的方法嗎?

白居易有一首《放言》詩,說明世上許多是非曲直都只可以由時間來證明,其中的名句是:「試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期」,把真玉和石頭放在一起燒上三日,才能夠知道哪是真玉、哪是石頭,因為玉是不會化灰的;把木材放在一旁陰乾七年,才能看得出什麼是好木材、什麼是不好的朽木。

時間會證明一切。瑪利亞那種「願照天主的話而成就」的精神,恰恰也反映在她整個的生命裡。她不單是開始時說要順服天主,她一生都順服天主,每時每刻都順服,時時順服、事事順服。

瑪利亞掌握了領報時的決定性一刻,也掌握了生命中的每一刻,去順服天主。所以她在救恩史上,佔有了一個十分重要的位置。

将临4:Count Your Blessings 数算祝福

带来耶稣的人

读经一:(撒下7:1-5,8-11,16):上主许给达味鸿恩
读经二:(罗16:25-27):天主救世的计劃彰显了
福 音:(路1:26-38):圣母领报
中国文化: 试玉要烧三日满,辨材需待七年期。

「我是上主的婢女,願照你的话,在我身上成就吧!」
(路1:38)

玛利亚是一位谦卑的乡下童女。那位预报了若翰诞生的天使加俾额尔,又被差遣到纳匝肋,预报一個更卓越的事件:天主圣子的诞生。

天使的問候,使那位谦卑的女郎不知所措:「万福,充满恩宠者,上主与你同在!」(路1:28)玛利亚大概一生都从未听到過这样尊敬、客气、礼貌的問候。以她的卑微身份,不被人轻视已经是极不寻常的恩典了。

但她接著听到的是更令她惊讶的事:「你将怀孕生子,要给他取名叫耶稣。他是伟大的,将称为至高者的儿子,上主天主要把他祖先达味的御座赐给他。他要为王,统治雅各伯家族,直到永遠;他的王权万世无疆。」(路1:31-33)

纯洁的贞女,完全不明白天使的话,於是很天真的問:「这事怎能成就?因为我不认识男人。」(路1:34)

天使加俾额尔知道玛利亚并不是在怀疑他的话,也不是在拒绝他所带来的天主的邀请,所以就直接了当的解答她的难题:是天主圣神的德能要使她怀孕生子。因为道成肉身原是一种新的创造,是圣神的化工,而不是人为的结果。因为这個耶稣「不是由血气,也不是由肉欲,也不是由男欲,而是由天主生的」(若1:13)

谦卑的贞女答应了:「願照你的话,在我身上成就吧!」(路1:38)这就是天主教传统中十分重视的一句话,拉丁文叫它做Fiat,这确实是一句石破天惊的话,天主圣子就是因著这句话而降生成人了!

我想問:「如果玛利亚不答应,天主会降生成人吗?」不会的!但你可以说:「玛利亚不答应,罗撒不可以答应吗?罗撒不答应,亚芬、亚芳不可以答应吗?」

对!你说得很对!玛利亚也好,罗撒也好,亚芬、亚芳都好,总之是必须要有人答应。人不答应,天主不会降生成人。这是天主自己的计劃。

这就是「人」在救恩史上的地位,一個无可取代的地位。

我们习惯把一切推在天主身上,但天主却把一切交在我们手中。天主的计劃和安排是,他透過父母去教育子女,透過老师去栽培学生,透過教友去传扬福音,透過人与人的关系去经验天主。如果人不和天主合作,天主不会单独行事。

所以,天主降生成人,我们除感谢天主外,也要感谢玛利亚。是她给我们带来了耶稣。

玛利亚的信心是超卓的,献身精神是完全而绝对的。她要做天主的婢女,一生一世为天主而服役;为了天主,她不怕奉献一切、忍受一切、牺牲一切。

在她答应了天主的邀请以后,她第一個牺牲就是忍受她名誉的损失。

她向天使说過「我不认识男人」,换句话说,贞洁对她十分重要。但她的未婚夫若瑟怀疑她的,正是她的这個贞洁!尽管若瑟由於是义人,在未明真相之前不会谬然行事、不会定她的罪,但圣经明言,若瑟已准备了要暗暗休退玛利亚。

对一個重视名节的童贞女来说,被人怀疑自己的贞操,这是多么痛苦的一件事!解释吗?谁会相信「因圣神有孕」这种怪谈?所以,「願照你的话成就於我」这句话,玛利亚现在要第二次向天主诉说了;可能这次是哭诉。除了向天主哭诉外,她还有别的途径、别的方法吗?

白居易有一首《放言》 诗,说明世上许多是非曲直都只可以由時间来证明,其中的名句是:「试玉要烧三日满,辨材需待七年期」,把真玉和石头放在一起烧上三日,才能够知道哪是真玉、哪是石头,因为玉是不会化灰的;把木材放在一旁阴干七年,才能看得出什么是好木材、什么是不好的朽木。

時间会证明一切。玛利亚那种「願照天主的话而成就」的精神,恰恰也反映在她整個的生命里。她不单是開始時说要顺服天主,她一生都顺服天主,每時每刻都顺服,時時顺服、事事顺服。

玛利亚掌握了领报時的决定性一刻,也掌握了生命中的每一刻,去顺服天主。所以她在救恩史上,占有了一個十分重要的位置。

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

The One Who Brought Forth Jesus

First Reading: (2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-11,16): God promised David special graces.
Second Reading:(Rom 16:25-27): God’s salvific plan is revealed.
Gospel: (Lk 1:26-38): The Annunciation
Chinese Classics:“To test jade you need to burn it for three whole days;
To distinguish good wood from bad wood, one must wait for seven long years.”(1)

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)

Mary was a humble country girl. The angel Gabriel who had announced John's birth, was sent to Nazareth to announce an even more extraordinary event : the birth of God's Son.

The angel's greeting stunned this humble maiden. Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Lk 1:28)
Probably Mary never before had heard such a respectful courteous and polite greeting. Humble as she was, it was already a gift not to be despised!

Then she heard words even more astonishing : “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:31-33)

Being a virgin, Mary could not understand what the words meant, so she asked innocently, “How can this be, since I am a virgin” (Lk 1:34)

The angel Gabriel knew Mary would not doubt his words nor refuse God's invitation, so he answered her question clearly. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that you will conceive and bear a son. The “WORD becoming FLESH” is a new creation. It is the magnificent work of the Holy Spirit, not done by human effort. This Jesus is “not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:13)

The humble virgin then accepted, let it be with me according to your word. (Lk 1:38) This is a statement the Roman Catholic Church traditionally has considered very important. The Latin word “Fiat” is a word almost beyond comprehension - the Son of God became human as a result of this acceptance - fiat.

I would like to ask, “ If Mary hadn't accepted this invitation, would God have become human?” The answer is “No”. But you may say, “If Mary didn't accept, could Rosa accept? Or, if not Rosa, could Fanny or any other accept?”

Right! It doesn't matter whether it is Mary, Rosa, Fanny or any other person. But some one had to accept the invitation. If no one accepted it, God would not have become human. That is God's plan.

This is the role of human beings in God's salvific plan, a role that cannot be replaced.

We are accustomed to placing everything in God's hands, but God puts everything into our hands. God's plan and design is to have us bring up children through their parents, educate students through teachers, spread the good news through faithful Christians and experience God through our relationships with each other. If we do not cooperate with God, God does not act alone.

Therefore besides thanking God we have to thank Mary for her part in God becoming human.

Mary's faith was extraordinary, her dedication of self absolute. She wanted to be God's servant, to serve God her whole life. She was not afraid to offer her all, bear all, sacrifice all.

Her first sacrifice after her acceptance of God's invitation was loss of reputation.

She had said to the angel, “I know not man.” This means that virginity to her was very important. What Joseph her betrothed doubted was her chastity. Joseph was a righteous man. He would not declare her guilty before understanding the truth. The Gospel says Joseph was prepared to “put her away privately.”

For a virgin to face doubts about her chastity was very painful. How could she explain it? Who would believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit”? Therefore she could only cry out to her Lord, “let it be with me according to your word.

Po Chu-yi in his poem Free Speech wrote that in this world, only time could tell whether something was right or wrong, straight or crooked. His most quoted lines are “To test jade you need to burn it for three whole days; To distinguish between good and rotten wood one must wait seven years.”(2) Put a piece of genuine jade and a piece of stone in the furnace and burn them for three days, and you will be able to tell which is genuine jade and which is stone because the jade will not turn to ashes. Leave two pieces of wood to dry in a dark corner for seven years and you can tell which is good wood and which is bad.

Time would prove everything. Mary's spirit of “let it be with me according to your word” is reflected in her life. She obeyed God in all things, every minute, every hour, not only in the beginning but throughout her entire life. Mary grasped the decisiveness of the annunciation. She was aware that she had pledged to do God's will every moment of her life.

Therefore Mary played a very important role in God's plan of salvation.

(1) 中國文化: 試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期。
(2) 白居易有一首《放言》詩,說明世上許多是非曲直都只可以由時間來證明,其中的名句是:「試玉要燒三日滿,辨材需待七年期」

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2020