復活3: 我們祖先的天主 2021年04月18日


復活期第三主日

站在被告欄中的辯護律師

讀經一:(宗3:13-15,17-19):眾人都參與了迫害耶穌
讀經二:(若一2:1-5):耶穌成為眾人的辯護者
福 音:(路24:35-48):耶穌顯現給宗徒
中國文化: 天人交戰。 勝山中賊易,勝心中賊難。

「我給你們寫這些事,是叫你們不要犯罪;但是,誰若犯了罪,我們在父那裏,有正義的耶穌基督做我們的辯護者。他為了我們的罪,自己成了贖罪祭,不但為贖我們的罪,而且也為贖全世界的罪。」
(若一2:1-2)

天主教會有告解聖事,這是上主給我們顯示仁慈、寬恕的聖事。在這聖事中,我們即使犯了罪、是罪人,也可以獲得赦免,並在教會內,與主與人重新修好。

這也是我們的「宗徒信經」中的其中一個重要內容:我信「罪過的赦免」。

所以告解聖事也被稱為修和聖事、修好聖事,或和好聖事。這是一件修補人與人、人與神之間的裂痕,使人與人、人與神再次共融合一的聖事。「天人合一」不再是我們中國人祖先的夢想,它可以變為事實。

但我們不幸地有時也會聽到有人濫用這件聖事,以為我們可以隨便犯罪,因為反正天主會寬恕我們!

然而聖經的訊息是十分清楚的:我們不要犯罪,更加不能隨便犯罪!我們在意識上不犯罪,也不縱容自己犯罪,也不因為天主會寬恕我們而對罪惡掉以輕心。

聖經接著說的「誰若犯了罪」,意思是指,當我們發現自己「是」罪人的時候,我們要承認自己擁有的是一個會犯罪的生命,我們是軟弱的,我們有犯罪的傾向。我們不是完全自由的,我們的腦袋也不是常常百分百的清醒。我們會不幸失足、跌倒、犯罪。

保祿宗徒由於他過去無理地迫害過教會的經驗,所以對罪惡的現實和性質都有很深的認識,他說:「我不明白我作的是什麼:我所願意的,我偏不作,我所憎恨的,我反而去作。」(羅7:15)他還嫌描寫得不夠全面和徹底,所以在接著的第十九節中,他繼續說:「因此,我所願意的善,我不去行;而我所不願意的惡,我卻去作。

這大概就是中國人所說的「天人交戰」吧?在這場大戰役中,王陽明先生的經驗是:「勝山中賊易,勝心中賊難」。即是說:戰勝別人、戰勝環境都不太難,但要戰勝自己就真的很不容易了。

傳說教會內一位大聖師,即《懺悔錄》的作者奧斯定,他曾經說過:「當我聽到『義人每天七次跌倒』這句話時,我就感到很安慰。因為只有義人才會每天跌倒七次,因為他每次跌倒後,都會努力掙扎著爬起來;肯爬起來,才會再跌倒。而不義的人只會跌一次,因為他不願意重新爬起來,所以就不會再跌第二次!」

義人承認自己是罪人,但他從來不縱容自己。他奮鬥、他掙扎,他不斷和自己交戰。無論他跌倒多少次、失敗多少次,他都努力掙扎著爬起來。因為他相信,「我們在父那裏,有正義的耶穌基督做我們的辯護者。」他為我們祈求,他給我們庇護,他為我們向天父求情。他代表的是我們的權益!

不只如此,「他為了我們的罪,自己成為贖罪祭。」意思是,他親自在這個事件中,把自己的生命獻上:他徹底地站在我們這一邊。他好像世上那些充滿愛的父母、可歌可泣的偉大愛情故事:用自己的身體去擋住來犯的敵人,用自己的生命去換取所愛者的生命。
我少時住在香港的大澳,這是一個很小、很小的鄉村。在那裡我見過老鷹捕小雞。很奇怪的現象是:每當老鷹出現時,母雞都會大聲叫喚小雞回來,然後牠就張開雙翅,讓小雞都在牠的翅膀下躲避逃命。母雞就這樣地保護了小雞。

我在想:為什麼母雞就不怕老鷹呢?這不就是母愛的天性,使母親可以用自己的生命,來維護子女的生命嗎?

在上述的經文中,耶穌也好像要向天父說:「如果你要罰他們,就罰我吧!」這真是一位要和犯人一起站在被告欄中的律師,一位要用自己的生命去換取我們生命的救主!

恐怖分子會脅持人質,使對方不敢貿然出手;耶穌基督卻是甘願走進我們這群「恐怖分子」的中間,讓上主不會出手。

如果我們再辜負這位救主的恩情,把他趕走,我們豈不是自尋死路嗎?

复活期第三主日

站在被告栏中的辩护律师

读经一:(宗3:13-15,17-19):众人都参与了迫害耶稣
读经二:(若一2:1-5):耶稣成为众人的辩护者
福 音:(路24:35-48):耶稣显现给宗徒
中国文化: 天人交战。胜山中贼易,胜心中贼难。

「我给你们写这些事,是叫你们不要犯罪;但是,谁若犯了罪,我们在父那裏,有正义的耶稣基督做我们的辩护者。他为了我们的罪,自己成了赎罪祭,不但为赎我们的罪,而且也为赎全世界的罪。」
(若一2:1-2)

天主教会有告解圣事,这是上主给我们显示仁慈、宽恕的圣事。在这圣事中,我们即使犯了罪、是罪人,也可以获得赦免,并在教会内,与主与人重新修好。

这也是我们的「宗徒信经」中的其中一個重要内容:我信「罪過的赦免」。

所以告解圣事也被称为修和圣事、修好圣事,或和好圣事。这是一件修补人与人、人与神之间的裂痕,使人与人、人与神再次共融合一的圣事。「天人合一」不再是我们中国人祖先的梦想,它可以变为事实。

但我们不幸地有時也会听到有人滥用这件圣事,以为我们可以随便犯罪,因为反正天主会宽恕我们!

然而圣经的讯息是十分清楚的:我们不要犯罪,更加不能随便犯罪!我们在意识上不犯罪,也不纵容自己犯罪,也不因为天主会宽恕我们而对罪恶掉以轻心。

圣经接著说的「谁若犯了罪」,意思是指,当我们发现自己「是」罪人的時候,我们要承认自己拥有的是一個会犯罪的生命,我们是软弱的,我们有犯罪的倾向。我们不是完全自由的,我们的脑袋也不是常常百分百的清醒。我们会不幸失足、跌倒、犯罪。

保禄宗徒由於他過去无理地迫害過教会的经验,所以对罪恶的现实和性质都有很深的认识,他说:「我不明白我作的是什么:我所願意的,我偏不作,我所憎恨的,我反而去作。」(罗7:15)他还嫌描写得不够全面和彻底,所以在接著的第十九节中,他继续说:「因此,我所願意的善,我不去行;而我所不願意的恶,我却去作。

这大概就是中国人所说的「天人交战」吧?在这场大战役中,王阳明先生的经验是:「胜山中贼易,胜心中贼难」。即是说:战胜别人、战胜环境都不太难,但要战胜自己就真的很不容易了。

传说教会内一位大圣师,即《忏悔录》 的作者奥斯定,他曾经说過:「当我听到『义人每天七次跌倒』这句话時,我就感到很安慰。因为只有义人才会每天跌倒七次,因为他每次跌倒后,都会努力挣扎著爬起来;肯爬起来,才会再跌倒。而不义的人只会跌一次,因为他不願意重新爬起来,所以就不会再跌第二次!」

义人承认自己是罪人,但他从来不纵容自己。他奋斗、他挣扎,他不断和自己交战。无论他跌倒多少次、失败多少次,他都努力挣扎著爬起来。因为他相信,「我们在父那裏,有正义的耶稣基督做我们的辩护者。」他为我们祈求,他给我们庇护,他为我们向天父求情。他代表的是我们的权益!

不只如此,「他为了我们的罪,自己成为赎罪祭。」意思是,他亲自在这個事件中,把自己的生命献上:他彻底地站在我们这一边。他好像世上那些充满爱的父母、可歌可泣的伟大爱情故事:用自己的身体去挡住来犯的敌人,用自己的生命去换取所爱者的生命。
我少時住在香港的大澳,这是一個很小、很小的乡村。在那里我见過老鹰捕小鸡。很奇怪的现象是:每当老鹰出现時,母鸡都会大声叫唤小鸡回来,然后它就张開双翅,让小鸡都在它的翅膀下躲避逃命。母鸡就这样地保护了小鸡。

我在想:为什么母鸡就不怕老鹰呢?这不就是母爱的天性,使母亲可以用自己的生命,来维护子女的生命吗?

在上述的经文中,耶稣也好像要向天父说:「如果你要罚他们,就罚我吧!」这真是一位要和犯人一起站在被告栏中的律师,一位要用自己的生命去换取我们生命的救主!

恐怖分子会胁持人质,使对方不敢贸然出手;耶稣基督却是甘願走进我们这群「恐怖分子」的中间,让上主不会出手。

如果我们再辜负这位救主的恩情,把他赶走,我们岂不是自寻死路吗?

Third Sunday of Easter

The Defense Lawyer who Defends the Prosecuted

First Reading : ( Acts 3:13-19 ) : All took part in the persecution of Jesus
Second Reading : ( 1 Jn 2:1-5 ) : Jesus becomes the advocate for all people
Gospel : ( Lk 24:35-48 ) : Jesus appears to the Apostles

Chinese Classics:
- “The heavens and humans are at war.”(1)
-“Victory over thieves in the mountains is easy. Victory over the thief in one's heart is hard.”(2)

“I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 Jn 2:1-2).

The Catholic Church has the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession), a gift that is an indication of God's mercy, the sacrament of forgiveness. When we have sinned, are sinners, we can obtain forgiveness and in and through the church are reconciled with God and with each other once more. This is the meaning of the article in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”

That is why this sacrament is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or “the Sacrament of Peace.” It is the sacrament whereby, after our relationship with others and with God has been broken by sin, we can be united once again with God and with other human beings. The Chinese saying, “All people under heaven are one” is not just a dream of our ancestors, it can become a reality.

Unfortunately we sometimes hear that some people misuse the sacrament, thinking we can sin carelessly because God will always forgive us! On the contrary, the Scripture message is clear: we should never sin and certainly not sin out of carelessness! We must become more aware of how easy it is to fall into sinful ways and not develop a careless attitude towards sin just because God forgives us.

Scripture also says thatwhoever has sinned... that is, when we have become aware that we are a sinful people, we should acknowledge that we easily can fall into a life of sin, that we are weak creatures and inclined to sin. We are not totally free, not always conscious of what we are doing. Unfortunately, we may sometimes stumble and fall, and sin again.

Because St. Paul the Apostle had the experience of having persecuted the church without reason, he had a clear awareness of the reality and characteristics of sin. He said, I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15). Afraid he had not been clear enough in his letter, he added in verse 19, I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.

This is probably what the Chinese saying means: “the heavens and humans are at war.”(1) In this great war, Huang Ming Yang's experience was “Victory over thieves in the mountains is easy. Victory over the thief in one’s heart is hard.”(2) That is to say, to win a battle against others, or against adverse circumstances is not too difficult, but to win a battle over oneself truly is not easy.

There is a story about one of the great Doctors of the church, St. Augustine, author of “The Confessions of St. Augustine”. He once said, “ When I heard that 'the just person falls seven times a day' I was very consoled, because only the person who is just will fall seven times a day and still struggle to stand up and fall again. The unjust (or sinful) person falls only once. Because he is unwilling to stand up again, he never falls a second time!” Those who are just acknowledge they are sinners, but do not excuse themselves. They continue to make a great effort, re-commit themselves and continue the struggle with themselves. No matter how often they fall, how many times they fail, they stand up and try again. This is because they believe thatWe have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He prays for us and protects us and intercedes with the Father for us. What he presents to the Father are our rights!

Moreover, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, that is, it is for this that he gave up his life for us: he stands by our side to the end. He is like all the loving parents in the world about whom so many songs and stories tell: with their own bodies they protect their children against the enemy, and sacrifice their lives for the sake of those they love.

When I was growing up in Hong Kong I lived in a very small village, Tai O. Once I saw an old hawk catching small chickens. What was curious to watch was that whenever the hawk appeared, the mother hen would call out loudly for her chickens to come back, then open her wings widely for the little chicks to hide under them. In this way the mother hen protected her chicks. At the time I wondered why the hen was not afraid of the hawk. Was this an example of the nature of mother love, to sacrifice her own life to save the lives of her offspring?

In the Scripture quoted above, it is as if Jesus is saying to His Father, 'If you must punish them, then punish me first.' He is like a defense lawyer in court, standing together in defense of the criminal, - our savior who gives his own life in exchange for ours! Terrorists hold hostages and others dare do nothing. Jesus Christ willingly stands in the midst of us who are the 'terrorists' so that God will not lift a hand against us!

If we still continue to be so ungrateful in response to our savior's devotion, driving him away from us, are we not digging our own graves?

(1)天人交戰。
(2)勝山中賊易,勝心中賊難。

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徐錦堯@fr.luketsui.idv.hk 2021