四旬1:天主與我立約 2021年02月21日


四旬期第一主日

彩虹、盟約

讀經一:(創9:8-15):天主與諾厄立約
讀經二:(伯前3:18-22):耶穌拯救了人靈
福 音:(谷1:12-15):耶穌公開宣講天國
中國文化: 文章是案頭的山水,山水是地面的文章。


「我把彩虹放在雲間,作為我與大地立約的標記。每當我興雲遮蓋大地,雲端出現彩虹時,我就想起我和你們以及所有生物所立的盟約:這樣,水就不會再成為洪水,而毀滅一切生物。」(創9:13-15)

看到這段聖經,我再次肯定,聖經是一本很環保、很綠色的書。它肯定在天主、人、彩虹、大地和各種生物之間,彼此都有一種很親密的關係、盟約的關係。

最近有人把創世紀第一章,天主要人「治理大地」的經文,理解為今日西方基督教世界不環保的根源,我認為這些人對聖經是誤解了。

聖經所說的「治理」大地原本便有「護理」的意思,不能單單理解為「無限地剝削、掠奪大地的資源」。何況,創世紀告訴我們,大地是屬於上主的,人不過只是「管家」。天主絕不會把大地作為禮物送給人,又叫人無情地去糟蹋。

洪水滅世以後,人類復興,等於是一個全新的創造。在這新創造的開始,天主就和人類重新訂立盟約,不單和人立約,「並與同你們在一起的一切生物:飛鳥、牲畜和一切地上的野獸……立約」。(創9:10)

我與你們以及同你們在一起的一切生物」,這種講法在這裡出現了好幾次,可見天主是用宏觀的眼光去看整個世界,把整個世界視為一體、一個有機的整體,而不是單單只看著人類。

在這段聖經中,彩虹是一個「標記」,它暗示、啟發、指引我們去意識到另一個更重要的事實:我們和天主所立的盟約。

「立約」表示我們和天主有一種密不可分的關係,並在天主內,我們和大地、萬物之間亦有一種密不可分的、好像交織在一起的關係。在這關係中,天主要作我們的主,我們要作他的子民。(參考創17:7)

今日參加甄選禮的候洗者,要知道他們也是正在選擇加入這個盟約:他們也在準備接受天主作他們的上主,他們要作天主的子民。
在這個神聖的盟約中,耶穌是一個最佳和最完美的象徵:他就是最忠於上主的一位。

今天的福音說:那時候,聖神催促耶穌到曠野裡去,他在那裡四十天之久,受撒旦的試探,和野獸在一起,也有天使服侍他。若翰被監禁以後,耶穌來到加里肋亞,宣講天主的福音說:「時期已到,天主的國臨近,你們要悔改,信從福音!」(谷1:12-15)

耶穌接受了聖神的催促而到曠野去,為自己的公開生活作最後的準備;他服從上主而在曠野中守了四十晝夜的嚴齋和祈禱;他按照天父的計劃宣講天國。

可以說,在耶穌公開生活的開始時,上主已經是他整個行動的總策劃、總指揮。他要人悔改、信從福音;這福音的內容就是天主和天主的計劃。

但天虹只是一個標記,天主在世上的臨在也不是明顯的。我們要具有辨識標記的能力,有見微知著的眼光,有吞吐宇宙的胸襟,才能欣賞彩虹、看到天主。

《幽夢影》中有句名言:「文章是案頭的山水,山水是地面的文章」,意思是:有些有透視生命能力的人,他們能夠由文章看到世界,並在觀察世界時看到世情、獲得學問、悟到真理,讀得出天地間給他們啟示的「大塊文章」。

傳說發現「北京人」的德日進神父,有一天他到中國的大西北去從事考古學的研究時,忘了攜帶舉行彌撒的用品。他起初有點難過,不知怎樣才能作彌撒。忽然他妙想天開,他說:我今天要作一台特別的彌撒,我要把整個大地作祭台,把基督,把我自己和整個人類作祭品。就這樣,他舉行了一台曠古絕今的「彌撒」!

我們有德日進神父的眼光嗎?我們知道有彩虹嗎?我們看過彩虹嗎?我們肯花點時間去欣賞彩虹嗎?我們的生活方式會讓我們有時間「抬起頭來」去看彩虹嗎?我們願意和我們的丈夫、妻子、兒女、朋友、愛人等等一起,去欣賞彩虹嗎?在看到彩虹時,我們會看到天主嗎?

四旬期第一主日

彩虹、盟约

读经一:(创9:8-15):天主与诺厄立约
读经二:(伯前3:18-22):耶稣拯救了人灵
福 音:(谷1:12-15):耶稣公開宣讲天国
中国文化: 文章是案头的山水,山水是地面的文章。


「我把彩虹放在云间,作为我与大地立约的标记。每当我兴云遮盖大地,云端出现彩虹時,我就想起我和你们以及所有生物所立的盟约:这样,水就不会再成为洪水,而毁灭一切生物。」(创9:13-15)

看到这段圣经,我再次肯定,圣经是一本很环保、很绿色的书。它肯定在天主、人、彩虹、大地和各种生物之间,彼此都有一种很亲密的关系、盟约的关系。

最近有人把创世纪第一章,天主要人「治理大地」的经文,理解为今日西方基督教世界不环保的根源,我认为这些人对圣经是误解了。

圣经所说的「治理」大地原本便有「护理」的意思,不能单单理解为「无限地剥削、掠夺大地的资源」。何况,创世纪告诉我们,大地是属於上主的,人不過只是「管家」。天主绝不会把大地作为礼物送给人,又叫人无情地去糟蹋。

洪水灭世以后,人类复兴,等於是一個全新的创造。在这新创造的開始,天主就和人类重新订立盟约,不单和人立约,「并与同你们在一起的一切生物:飞鸟、牲畜和一切地上的野兽……立约」。(创9:10)

我与你们以及同你们在一起的一切生物」,这种讲法在这里出现了好幾次,可见天主是用宏观的眼光去看整個世界,把整個世界视为一体、一個有机的整体,而不是单单只看著人类。

在这段圣经中,彩虹是一個「标记」,它暗示、启发、指引我们去意识到另一個更重要的事实:我们和天主所立的盟约。

「立约」表示我们和天主有一种密不可分的关系,并在天主内,我们和大地、万物之间亦有一种密不可分的、好像交织在一起的关系。在这关系中,天主要作我们的主,我们要作他的子民。(参考创17:7)

今日参加甄选礼的候洗者,要知道他们也是正在选择加入这個盟约:他们也在准备接受天主作他们的上主,他们要作天主的子民。
在这個神圣的盟约中,耶稣是一個最佳和最完美的象徵:他就是最忠於上主的一位。

今天的福音说:那時候,圣神催促耶稣到旷野里去,他在那里四十天之久,受撒旦的试探,和野兽在一起,也有天使服侍他。若翰被监禁以后,耶稣来到加里肋亚,宣讲天主的福音说:「時期已到,天主的国临近,你们要悔改,信从福音!」(谷1:12-15)

耶稣接受了圣神的催促而到旷野去,为自己的公開生活作最后的准备;他服从上主而在旷野中守了四十昼夜的严斋和祈祷;他按照天父的计劃宣讲天国。

可以说,在耶稣公開生活的開始時,上主已经是他整個行动的总策劃、总指挥。他要人悔改、信从福音;这福音的内容就是天主和天主的计劃。

但天虹只是一個标记,天主在世上的临在也不是明显的。我们要具有辨识标记的能力,有见微知著的眼光,有吞吐宇宙的胸襟,才能欣赏彩虹、看到天主。

《幽梦影》 中有句名言:「文章是案头的山水,山水是地面的文章」,意思是:有些有透视生命能力的人,他们能够由文章看到世界,并在观察世界時看到世情、获得学問、悟到真理,读得出天地间给他们启示的「大块文章」。

传说发现「北京人」的德日进神父,有一天他到中国的大西北去从事考古学的研究時,忘了携带举行弥撒的用品。他起初有点难過,不知怎样才能作弥撒。忽然他妙想天開,他说:我今天要作一台特别的弥撒,我要把整個大地作祭台,把基督,把我自己和整個人类作祭品。就这样,他举行了一台旷古绝今的「弥撒」!

我们有德日进神父的眼光吗?我们知道有彩虹吗?我们看過彩虹吗?我们肯花点時间去欣赏彩虹吗?我们的生活方式会让我们有時间「抬起头来」去看彩虹吗?我们願意和我们的丈夫、妻子、儿女、朋友、爱人等等一起,去欣赏彩虹吗?在看到彩虹時,我们会看到天主吗?

The First Sunday of Lent

Rainbow - Covenant.

Reading : ( Gen 9 :8-15 ) ) : God established a covenant with Noah
Second Reading : ( 1 Pet 3:18-22 ) : Jesus saved us
Gospel ( Mk 1:12-15 ) : Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven
Chinese Classics “Literary writing is Nature's landscape on (my) table; Nature's landscape is literary writing on earth.” (1)

“I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” (Gen 9:13-15 )

This verse in the Bible confirms my thinking that the Bible advocates environmental friendliness. It affirms the intimate relationship between God, humankind, the earth and all living creatures on earth. This relationship is a closely knit one, a covenant relationship.

Some people say that the verses in the Book of Genesis which record that God said to “let human beings have dominion over all the earth” (Gen 1:26) are the source of Christian churches in the West today abusing the environment. I think those who say this misinterpret the Bible.

To 'govern' or 'have dominion' over the earth in the bible has the meaning of 'taking care of' the earth. It does not mean to abuse and rob the earth of its resources. On the contrary, the Book of Genesis tells us that the earth belongs to God, human beings are only its guardians . God would never give human beings the earth as a “gift”, or encourage us to demolish it ruthlessly.

After the flood destroyed the world the human race was re-born, as if there had been a new creation. At the time of this new creation, God established anew his covenant with the human race. This covenant was not with human beings only, but “with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth I will establish my covenant” (Gen 9:10)

I now make between myself, you and every living creature” is repeated several times. From this we can see that God has a macro-view of the world, a world as a unity, an organic whole, not only a world of human beings.

In this verse of the Bible, the rainbow is a “sign.” A sign indicates, inspires and guides us to realize another important fact - the covenant between God and us. “To establish a covenant” means that God and we have an inseparable relationship. In God, we, the earth and every living creature have an intimate, close-knit relationship. In this relationship, God becomes our Lord, and we become his people. (Ref. Gen 17:7)

Today the catechumens taking part in the “Rite of Election” need to know they are choosing to enter into this covenant. They are preparing to accept God as their Lord, and become part of God's people. In this holy covenant, Jesus is by far the best and most perfect example. He is the most loyal of all God's people.

In today's gospel, we hear that “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mk 1:12-15)

Jesus accepted the Holy Spirit's urging to go to the desert for the final preparation for his public life. He obeyed God and remained in the desert forty days and nights fasting and praying. He followed his Father's plan to announce the Kingdom of Heaven. One may say that when Jesus began his public life, God had already been his chief planner and guide. Jesus urged people to repent and believe in the Good News. The content of that gospel is God and God's plan.

The rainbow is but a sign. God's presence on earth is subtle. We need to have the ability to “read” the sign, to distinguish between great and small events, to welcome the entire universe into our hearts, before we can appreciate the rainbow and see God. There is a famous quotation in The Shadow of a Beautiful Dream: “Literary writing is Nature's landscape on (my) table; Nature's landscape is literary writing on earth.” (1) These lines mean that some people have the ability to see through life. From literary writings they see the landscape, and from observing this, they see the ways of human beings. They gain knowledge from this and understand the truth. Such people read from the earth this 'great piece of writing' of Nature, what heaven and earth has revealed to them.

It is said that Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who discovered the fossilized “Peking Man” once forgot to bring the sacred vessels and hosts and wine for celebrating Mass on one of his archaeological trips to Northwestern China. At first he was a bit upset, concerned that he would not be able to celebrate Mass. Suddenly he had an inspiration and said, “Today I will celebrate a very special Mass. The whole earth will be my altar; Christ, myself and the whole human race will be my sacrificial offering.” And this is how he offered a truly unique Mass!

Do we have eyes as keen as those of Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin? Do we know there are rainbows? Have we looked at one? Are we willing to use a little time to appreciate a rainbow? Does our lifestyle allow us time to “lift up our heads” to look at rainbows, to enjoy them together with husband or wife, children, friends, those we love? Above all, when we look at a rainbow, are we able to see God ?

(1)文章是案頭的山水,山水是地面的文章。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2020