Friday, June 8, 2018

人生猶如一塲賽跑

今年我主持的聖經硏討會硏究的聖經是希伯来人書。想和大家分享以下一段很有意思的經文。

「就讓我們脫去各樣的重擔和容易纏累我們的罪,藉著忍耐去跑那擺在我們前面的賽程, 仰望信仰的創始者和成終者耶穌。」(希伯來人書12:1-2)

對保祿,人生像古希腊奧林匹克競賽一般,是一個競争的過程;它猶如一塲賽跑,參賽者務求成功到達终點(天鄉)。這表示成功的人生(或賽程)應具備以下三大特點:

(一) 簡單 一 賽程上,運動員要行裝簡便,盡量脱去阻碍行動的重擔。(古希腊奥林匹克運動員甚至身無寸縷地參賽。)他明白競賽的旅途只是一個過程,不是終向,所以不會眷戀過程本身,也不寄情過程中的事與物,將一切看成幫助人跑到終點的工具。所以快樂和成功的人生,應生活簡樸。

(二)肯挨 一 要成功跑到终点,便要好好地鍛鍊,吃得苦中苦,方為人上人。在人生道路上應忍耐,堅信上主,縱遇上痛苦困难,絕不放棄,反而因為信靠主而樂於接受考验,心中時常充滿平安和感恩。

(三)信主 一 最重要地,在賽跑途中,双目注視的,不是花花世界的名名利利和享受,也不是週圍的人。很多人甚至將人當偶像來崇拜,或不斷將自己和别人作比较,做成鬥争或帶來妒忌、抱怨和仇恨。人應注視的是主耶穌,他已在我们前便完美地完成賽程,应跟隨他的言行、榜樣和教導。凡事先問「WWJD」?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

耶穌孝敬祂的母親嗎?

當聽到自己母親來到,耶穌的回應聽起來好像有些拒人千里,沒有親切歡迎母親和家人。


這個主日的福音讀經來看,似乎耶穌不大尊重祂的母親。當人告知耶穌祂母親和兄弟在外面要求見祂時,按馬爾谷祂的回應是:「誰是我的母親和我的兄弟?......因為誰奉行天主的旨意,他就是我的兄弟、姊妹和母親」。聽起來耶穌好像拒人千里,沒有親切歡迎母親和家人。耶穌是否忘記了十誡中的第四誡─當孝敬父母?雖説耶穌不會有罪,但祂這反應是否代表他犯了罪?我們先別倉猝下結論,先探討一下。

今天的讀經一將原祖亞當和厄娃違背天主的命令,吃了知善惡樹上的果子一事放在顯微鏡下細看(創2:16-17)。我們的原祖父母不服從天主命令的後果是即時和災難性的:在犯錯前,他們赤身露體,「並不害羞」,但現在他們卻突然感到不安(創2:25)。但為甚麼說這是災難性?每個人赤身露體時,不是都會覺得不安嗎?請讀下去。這是表面,内裡有更深層次的問題。亞當的脆弱,看來沒有什麼不妥,其實裡面卻出現了一些極壞的問題,需要天主立即採取行動。

當天主查問亞當時,他這樣向天主解釋:「我害怕,因為我赤身裸體,所以我藏了起來」(創3:9-10)。人在甚麼時候會覺得他需要躲避天主鋭利的眼光?你猜對了:當他生活在重罪中時。這就是亞當和厄娃在違背天主命令之後所處的狀態。由於真正的幸福只能在天主内得到,當原祖不想靠近天主時,他們是不可能快樂的。事實上,有一個地方離開天主極遠,甚至連祂的存在也絕對不能感覺得到。那地方稱為「地獄」。當人選擇不遵循天主的道路時;當人故意迴避天主,不欲棲身於祂永遠幸福的居所時;地獄是他唯一的歸宿。很明顯,當原祖父母失去天主的恩寵之後,人類便處於極大的危機中。

但天主慈愛憐憫,不希望人永遠離開祂。結果在我們的原祖父母第一次犯罪的同時,天主立刻宣佈祂的救贖計劃。祂對這條蛇 -- 後來若望指證它就是「魔鬼或撒殫」(默12:9)-- 宣佈判決:「我要把仇恨放在你和女人,你的後裔和她的後裔之間,她的後裔要踏碎你的頭顱,你要傷害他的腳跟」(創 3:15)。這段話在基督信仰傳統上一直被稱為「原始福音」或Protoevangelium,因為在這個古老的故事中,我們看到上主的預告,宣佈耶穌的救贖會踏碎撒殫的頭顱並拯救我們於地獄永罰(天主教教理410)。

請注意,除了救世主會踏碎撒殫的頭外;在這善與惡的對抗中,有一個「女人」被巧妙地安排於其中。教會傳統一向認為這「女人」是聖母瑪利亞,因為是她的後代,耶穌,會攻擊撒殫的頭(天主教教理411,《教會》憲章55)。她在「原始福音」中的關鍵角色,就像她在新約福音中的角色一樣,是不可或缺的,因為種種原因,她的角色充滿涵意,包括她修復了厄娃所犯的錯、她的無玷始胎、她在天主救世計劃中,與天主無與倫比地配合的獨特使命等(天主教教理 411, 968)。但在這裡,我們只強調一個重要的原因:她出於信德的服從。

為什麼這「女人」─聖母瑪利亞─會出現在這場有決定性和激烈的善與惡的爭鬥中?她出現是因為她出於信德的順從。當她被要求在天主的拯救計劃中擔綱關鍵性的角色時,瑪利亞的回答非常肯定:「看,上主的婢女,願照你的話成就於我吧!」(路1:38)。她的應允讓天主的計劃成為可能;她的應允給聖子一個用來做祭獻的身體,使聖子能夠承行聖父的旨意(參看希10:5-7,《救世主之母》通諭 n.13)。聖母「充滿恩寵」是因為她相信,而「那信了由上主傳於她的話必要完成的,是有福的」(路1:28, 45)。

現在回到這個主日令我們感到困惑的福音讀經。由於尊重她作為耶穌母親的身份,人們覺得有必要宣告聖母瑪利亞的到來。而耶穌的反應絕不是譴責祂的母親,祂的回答肯定了她至高無上的榮譽和特殊地位,祂提醒群衆 -- 和世界 -- 聖母值得我們極度的尊敬,並不因為她是祂的母親, 而是因為她相信並服從天主的聖言。聖母瑪利亞的服從扭轉了厄娃的不服從;她的堅信解開了因厄娃的不信所形成的死結。主耶穌堅持地說:「因為誰奉行天主的旨意,他就是我的兄弟、姊妹和母親」(谷3:35)。

Does Jesus Honor His Mother?

Jesus’ response on learning his mother’s arrival sounds more like a rebuke than an affectionate welcome.


One can’t say Jesus is very respectful of his mother in this Sunday’s gospel. When told his mother and relatives are outside asking for him, Jesus’ response, as quoted by Mark, is: “Who are my mother and my brothers?... For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” This sounds more like a rebuke than an affectionate welcome for his mother and relatives. Has Jesus forgotten the 4th commandment – honor thy father and thy mother? Could this be a sin committed by Jesus, who is supposedly sinless? Let’s reflect a little more before rushing into such a conclusion.

Put under the microscope in the first reading is Adam and Eve’s violation of God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and bad (Gn 2:16-17). The consequence of our first parents’ disobedience is immediate and catastrophic: their nakedness, for which they have “felt no shame” before the violation suddenly makes them feel insecure (Gn 2:25). But how is this catastrophic? Doesn’t everyone feel insecure when naked? Hang on. There’s something more to this problem than meets the eye. Hidden underneath Adam’s seemingly harmless feeling of vulnerability is a devastating reality that necessitates God’s immediate action.

“I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself,” Adam explains on God’s probing (Gn 3:9-10). When does a person feel like he/she needs to hide from God’s piercing eyes? You guessed it: when he/she is living in a state of grave sin. Such is the state that Adam and Eve find themselves in after disobeying God’s command. Since true happiness can only be found in God, our first parents can’t possibly be happy when they don’t want to be near God. In fact, there’s a place that is so far removed from God that His presence absolutely cannot be felt. It is called “hell”. When they choose not to follow God’s way; when they intentionally avoid God, desiring not to dwell in His abode of eternal happiness; hell is the only dwelling place left for them. Clearly, humanity is in dire straight after Adam and Eve’s fall from grace.

But God, who is loving and merciful, does not want the human race to fall away from Him forever. As a result, He announces His redemptive plan as soon as the first sinful act of our first parents is committed. To the serpent – identified later as “the Devil and Satan” by John (Rev 12:9) - He pronounces His judgement: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel" (Gn 3:15). This passage is what the Christian tradition has always referred to as “the first Gospel” or Protoevangelium, because we see in this ancient event a prophetic announcement of Jesus’ redemption which will crush Satan’s head and save us from eternal damnation (CCC410).

Note that apart from the Savior, whose job it is to crush Satan’s head; strategically placed in this confrontation between the good and the evil forces is “the woman” whom the Church traditionally understands as Mary since it’s her offspring, Jesus, that will strike at Satan’s head (CCC411, LG55). Her pivotal appearance in “the first Gospel”, just as the indispensable role she plays in the actual Gospel, is rich in meaning for many reasons, including her restoration of Eve’s mishaps, her immaculate conception, her singular mission as the Co-operatrix of our Lord in the salvation of mankind, etc. (CCC 411, 968). But for the purposes of this reflection, let’s focus on just one important reason: her obedience of faith.

Why is “the woman” – Mary – present in this decisive and monumental struggle between the forces of good and evil? She is there because she agrees to with the obedience of faith. When asked to play a pivotal role in God’s plan of salvation, Mary’s response is affirmative: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Her “yes” made God’s plan possible; her “yes” gave the Son the body that he needed for his sacrificial offering and made it possible for the Son to do the Father’s will (c.f. Heb 10:5-7, Redemptoris Mater n.13). Mary is “full of grace” because she believed - “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:28, 45).

Now back to this Sunday’s Gospel reading that has planted so much doubt in our heads. The crowd feels obliged to announce Mary’s arrival out of respect for her identity as Jesus’ mother. Far from being a rebuke of his mother, Jesus’ reply on hearing the announcement is a strong endorsement of her supreme honors and privileges, reminding the crowd – and the world - that Mary deserves our utmost respect not so much because she is his mother, but because she believed and obeyed the word of God. Mary’s obedience reversed the disobedience of Eve; her belief untied the knot of Eve’s unbelief. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”, our Lord insists (Mk 3:35).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Monday, May 14 - Join FLL Spiritual Formation Meeting on St. Thomas Aquinas Telecast! 網上現場收看生命恩泉屬靈培育聚會直播!

Chosen by Bishop Robert Barron as one of six pivotal players of the Church in the 2nd millennium, St. Thomas Aquinas is known for many distinguishing roles: a Dominican friar, a scholar, a theologian, a philosopher, a mystic, and a saint. Little known, however, is his role as a humble servant of the Church. He prayed, worshiped, celebrated the Eucharist day in and day out as a priest, and composed eucharistic hymns which we still sing. When the FLL Spiritual Formation Program meets again at 8 p.m., on Monday, May 14, 2018, we will follow Bishop Barron’s DVD to study and discuss the life and teaching of this spiritual giant of the Church, whose masterpiece, summa theologiae, every student learning to master the art of conducting proper theological explorations must study. If you can't join in person, consider joining our live telecast, which will allow you to catch all actions and discussions on-line and at the same time. Just click this link at 8 p.m., on Monday, May 14: Join FLL Spiritual Formation on St. Thomas Aquinas.

被Bishop Robert Barron揀選為第二個千年六位教會關鍵人物之一的聖多瑪斯·阿奎那,扮演著很多卓越的角色:道明會修士,學者,神學家,哲學家,神秘主義者,聖人。但很少人會想到,他只是一位謙卑的教會的僕人。他每天用司鐸身份祈禱,敬禮天主,舉行聖祭。到今天我們仍頌唱他創作的聖體讚歌。當生命恩泉屬靈培育課程在五月十四日星期一晚上8:00-10:00在生命恩泉錄影室再次聚會時,我們將會跟隨Bishop Barron的影碟,學習和討論這位教會的屬靈巨人。他的名著《神學大全》,至今仍是有志於學習和把握神學探討藝術的每一個學員所必須研究的。如果您不能親身出現參與,請考慮網上現場收看聚會直播。只需在五月十四日星期一晚上8:00,點擊這連結便可以:網上現場收看生命恩泉屬靈培育聚會直播

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Understanding the Bible as a Polyphonic Hymn

The universality of God’s love and catholicity of His Church is a characteristic integral to the harmony of the polyphonic hymn.

Coming from a large family of 10 siblings, I’m keenly aware of how certain distinctive family characteristics – personality traits, physical and facial features, etc. – are somehow shared by all family members, each to a different extent. These are “legacies” from our ancestors handed down to us through our parents. They remind us of our kinship and common ancestral origin. Better than our birth certificates, these characteristics prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we truly belong to the same family.

Unlike my family of 10 siblings, the Bible that we’ve come to know today is not the result of a biological and anthropological process of development. But as the word of God spoken humanly to reveal God to the world, through various authors over the centuries and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is in a very real sense “a symphony of the word”, “a single word expressed in multiple ways”, “a polyphonic hymn” sung by a great multitude of people from different times of human history but all in one accord (cf. Verbum Domini, n.7). There exists in this hymnal harmony we call the Bible a number of distinctive characteristics that the voices of its members share in common. Characteristics that are easily detectable by the careful listener, allowing him to identify the voices as either integral or peripheral to the overall harmony. In this Sunday’s Mass readings, we recognize one of those distinctive characteristics – the universality of God’s love.

Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, Peter baptizes Cornelius and his kinsmen, all of whom gentiles. "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him," he explains in reading one. Ripples of the same message spread through the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power”, “in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice”. The message continues to intensify in the 2nd reading where love is singled out as the litmus test for determining whether one is of God. “[L]ove is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God”, John declares.

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you”, says our Lord in this Sunday’s gospel. Echoing John’s teaching above - or chronologically the other way around – Jesus makes it clear that what it takes for us to remain in him is to “love one another as I love you”. How does Jesus love us? With a love than which there is no greater: “lay down one's life for one's friends”. It’s this love that enables us to remain in him, not one’s nationality, nor race, nor religious affiliation or lack of it. If the message of God’s universal love ripples through the first two readings, it emerges more like a tidal wave in Jesus’ proclamation of his commandment of love. “Tidal wave” is too much of an exaggeration, you say? Just recall the rude awakening that Peter experienced earlier in the same chapter of this Sunday’s first reading, where God had to use a vision to help him understand His universal love. It’s this realization that enables him to profess in the first reading: "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him."

Paul goes even further when he calls the universality of God’s love and salvation “the mystery of Christ”. It is a mystery because it was previously hidden from the world. The mystery is now revealed to his holy apostles by the Spirit (cf. Eph. 3:4-8). This explains the Judaic teaching against the gentiles (who were considered “unclean”) and Peter’s bewilderment when asked to consume foods deemed profane by the Mosaic Law (c.f. Acts 10:14). After all, according to the Old Testament school of thought, only Israel, God’s chosen people, was considered the holy nation of God.

If God’s love is universal, so is the Church He instituted to bring His love to everyone. It was for the fulfillment of the catholicity of his Church that Jesus on his Ascension into glory mandated his disciples to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19) – a mission faithfully and successfully carried out by the Church in her history of over 2,000 years; a mission so prominent to her identity and intrinsic to the core of her being that the Church Fathers had made a point of including it as one of the four marks of the Church in the Creeds: I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The careful listener listening to the polyphonic hymn of the Bible knows that this teaching is biblical because it’s one of those distinctive characteristics that are integral to its overall harmony.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bishop Barron - A Case for Priestly Celibacy

Bishop Barron is always a pleasure to read. One reason why is his language, which is uniquely articulate in style and distinctively scholastic in tradition. In the article below, he discusses the reasons - both good and bad - for celibacy in priesthood and how he has "struggled mightily" with it even after more than 30 years of priestly vocation. I like how he pinpoints the unique sacramental nature of celibacy - that it's pointing us to God and to the form of life as an eschatological person. Interestingly, the sacramentality of sex - its beauty and goodness that reveals God - is at one and the same time a support and a hurdle for practicing celibacy in his case. I can assure those of you who take the time to read that you will have no regrets for doing so.

Bishop Robert Barron - A Case for Priestly Celibacy


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Would you support this blog?您願意幫助推廣這網誌嗎?

Dear friends,

Happy Easter!

As you know, my personal blog ELODOCUMENTS is one of the more important platforms I use to share my thoughts with the Chinese Catholic community and friends both in Canada and abroad. It's a very important and effective tool for my personal ministry of evangelization. I understand many of you visit ELODOCUMENTS either regularly or occasionally, for which I am deeply grateful.

One very good way to promote this blog is for my visitors to identify themselves as blog "followers". This can be done by simply clicking the button underneath the header "Support this blog and the BSP, become a Follower". The header is located at the top right hand side of the blog. It can be seen easily. Would I be able to count on your kind support?

Becoming a follower of my blog is obligation-free. It's basically equivalent to "like" on Face Book. You'll receive no emails from the blog or any other distractions. But every time a new post from my blog is published, your blogspot reading list (automatically created by blogspot when you agree to become my blog follower) will be notified, which you don't have to track at all.

Hope to meet YOU on my blog! Please encourage your friends and relatives to follow ELODOCUMENTS too. Thank you very much for supporting ELODOCUMENTS and my evangelization ministry!

Blessings and peace,
Edmond

各位加拿大和外地好友:

祝您們復活節愉快!

相信各位都知道我的個人網誌ELODOCUMENTS是我用來做福傳工作的重要渠道之一。它幫助我與海内外好友和教友們保持聯絡,分享自己的思念和生活體驗。如果您間中或定期性地也會瀏覽ELODOCUMENTS,您是否願意幫助我推廣這網誌呢?

您只需點擊在網誌右上角「請支持這網誌和聖經研討會網站,成為跟隨者」下面的按纽便可以。成為跟隨者不會帶給您麻煩。「跟隨者」基本上等如Face Book 的 "like",代表支持。當ELODOCUMENTS 有新文章發表時,您在Blogspot的文章綜合表(是Blogspot在您成為跟隨者時,自動為您設立的)將會顯示,但您不一定要查看。

衷心多謝您的支持和幫助!希望我們在ELODOCUMENTS 時常相見和交談! 歡迎鼓勵您的親友也成為ELODOCUMENTS 跟隨者。

主內,
Edmond