Sunday, June 18, 2017

Family – a Sweet and Safe Home Base or a Battle Ground?

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Mt 10:37).

“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that…we too might live in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).

If there’s a common thread that connects the above statements from this Sunday’s gospel and second reading, it is the severity of what each demands of us - one seeking the subordination of family relationships to those in God’s Family, the other commanding in us a complete rebirth of self.

As years go by and my relationship with God continues to deepen, it has become more and more obvious – sometimes painfully obvious – to me that the way I live and the values I seek are becoming more and more difficult to fathom, to put it mildly, for many members of my biological family. It isn’t that our relationships have turned sour or adversarial because of my Catholic beliefs. Far from it. If anything, we are only getting closer as we age, sharing a deeper and deeper appreciation of our unique family bond. In fact, for many of them, my determination to live a life with meaning and purpose is something that commands their respect, even if such meaning and purpose are things they cannot relate to or share completely. But there is no denying that our different religious beliefs, or lack of it for some, are causing us to approach life and see things in very different ways.

Growing up from an oriental, patriarchal culture where traditional Confucius family values are dominant and the parent-child relationship of sacred and supreme importance, it’s hard for some family members to understand my Christian disposition that sees my relationship with God as central and all-encompassing. My parents, to whom I’m forever indebted, had always respected my religious beliefs and continued to love me even if such beliefs and theirs did not always jive. Still, looking back so many years later after their departures from this world, I must admit that their respect and love for me were not without some regrets – regrets that somehow some things were less than ideal in our relationship because certain values and expectations of ours were different.

St. John Paul II said, “The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family” (Letter to Families, n.23). Family is in many ways a “training camp” where we learn to iron out our differences with love and tolerance so that we are better prepared to live in love in the heavenly Family of God, the Father. Sometimes the “training process” has become so rough and rigorous that our family may even begin to look more like a battle ground filled with “shell-shocked and injured soldiers” than a sweet and safe home base as it should be. But persist we must where God’s revealed truths and values are at stake, trusting that the willingness of all family members to submit themselves to God’s guidance will somehow bring understanding, respect, and love powerful enough to overcome all conflicts and differences. Let’s “battle on” as family members - with love; persist in our family way - in faith; and look forward to joining God’s Family in heaven one day – out of hope.

Thursday, May 4, 2017




讓我們先弄清楚:在這裡我們的工作,是為復活節第四主日彌撒讀經做一點反思,我們並非要評論曾蔭權受到的審判是否公平,或他在執政期間是否稱職,也沒有支持或批判他的意思。我們提起香港前領導人這段消息,是因為在這事情上,我們看到一個非常重要的神學議題:在經歷了長期痛苦的煎熬之後;在多次的禱告都好像石沉大海,得不到天主的回應之後;在政治和法律上的爭持和訴訟皆全數敗北,並且被公開羞辱,最後從高位墮下之後,為什麼曾蔭權仍然忠信於天主呢? 天主似乎已經多次離棄了他,為什麼他仍不離不棄地堅守自己的信仰呢?其實這不僅是曾蔭權的問題,而是每一個受苦的信徒的問題 。然而,試問誰人不受苦痛煎熬呢?

雖然這個主日的彌撒讀經的目的,不是要用痛苦作主題來做詳盡的神學講論,但在讀經一中以強而有力的福音宣講來說服了「大約三千人」悔改和受洗的聖伯多祿(宗徒大事錄2:41),在讀經二用同樣深遠的訓誨,使我們明白為什麼這麼多像曾蔭權的基督徒,在苦海沉淪幾乎沒頂時,仍然能繼續信靠天主。聖伯多祿說,因行善而受苦,是中悅天主的事(參閱伯前2:20);然後他總結說:「你們原是為此而蒙受召叫的,因為基督也為你們忍受了痛苦」 (伯多祿前書2:21)。換句話說,對基督徒來說,勇於接受為義而受苦涉及一種個人的信念 -- 一個為了仿傚基督為我們所做的一切而奉行的崇高的召叫。為天主的國度而受苦是極崇高的事,讓人得到像領受了使命般的力量,而願意披荊斬棘,努力堅持下去;那堅信不移的意志,幾近於殉道。

有趣的是,一生生活在極度貧困中,受盡痛苦的煎熬的德蘭修女,同樣地將痛苦視為「耶穌的吻」; 對她來說,痛苦是「天主的恩賜」(M. Gaitley,33 Days to Morning Glory,第69頁)。

如果這領悟聽起來令人不安 - 因為說到底,沒有人會喜歡受苦 - 這個主日的福音這樣安慰我們:耶穌是我們的牧者,我們是祂牧養的羊; 有祂在我們身邊,我們「不怕兇險」(參閱聖詠集23:4)。


Suffering Is “The Kiss of Jesus”

There is a loftiness to suffering for the kingdom of God that is somehow empowering and sustaining…

The morning after he was temporarily released from prison on bail, the former Hong Kong Chief Executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, headed straight to church to attend a morning Mass - together with an entourage of plain-clothes police bodyguards.

Let’s be clear: This is not the place to debate whether Tsang has been given a fair trial or whether he governed well while in power; nor are we interested in supporting or criticizing him as we reflect on the Mass readings of the 4th Sunday of Easter. Rather, the news about the former leader of Hong Kong is brought up because we see in it a very significant theological issue: After such a long period of suffering, after so many prayers have seemingly gone unanswered, and after so many lost political and legal battles, public humiliations and his eventual fall from grace, why is Tsang still faithful to God? Why doesn’t he abandon his faith when God appears to have abandoned him so many times already? To think about it, the question is a universal one - applicable not only to Tsang but also to all believers who suffer. And let’s face it, who doesn’t?

While it isn’t the intention of this Sunday’s Mass readings to give us a complete theological treatise on the problem of suffering, St. Peter, whose powerful proclamation of the gospel in the first reading has convinced “about three thousand persons” to repent and receive baptism (Acts 2:41), gives us an insightful exhortation in the second reading that enables us to understand why so many Christians like Tsang continue to trust God even when they can barely keep their heads above water. According to St. Peter, suffering for doing what is good is a grace before God (cf. 1 Pt 2:20). “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,” he concludes (1 Pt. 2:21). Suffering for righteousness, in other words, is courageously embraced by Christians as a personal conviction – a noble calling to follow what Christ has done for all of us. There is a loftiness to suffering for the kingdom of God that is somehow empowering and sustaining, giving a faithful Christian the determination to accept any adversity – a resolve that borders on martyrdom.

Interestingly, Mother Teresa, who lived a life of extreme poverty and for whom suffering appeared to know no bounds, also viewed suffering as “the kiss of Jesus”; to her it was “a gift from God” (M. Gaitley, 33 Days to Morning Glory, p.69).

If such a realization sounds less than comforting – after all, nobody likes suffering – the gospel reading of this Sunday gives us the assurance that Jesus is our shepherd and we are his sheep; we shall fear no harm when he is at our side (cf. Ps. 23:4).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Excellent insights from Fr. Francis Wong. Coming from someone who was about to leave this world makes the article even more special and thought-provoking. I agree with Fr. Wong 100% and thank him for leaving us with such a profound reflection before his departure from this world. May the happiness that he discovered by making himself #3 shortly before his death permeate the core of his being and bring him face to face with #1....

E. Lo

病榻中談 「無為」與「有為」之用

(公教報副刊) 慈幼會黃建國神父四月廿四日 (今日) 晚上八點多離世。他早前在病榻中為本報撰文談 「無為」與「有為」之用,文章以「我第三」此筆名撰寫首部份,第二部份則解釋為何取此筆名。文章刊於四月十六日公教報。請眾為黃神父靈魂的安息祈禱。——編者




「一無所用」即「無為」being useless,「有用」即「有為」being useful。回想起我整個生命,到我患上癌症為止,都是盡力使自己「有為」being useful。到處奔波勞碌,不斷學習,充實自己,使自己成為對人有用的、有幫助的人。




我現在體會到「無為」之用,因為祂在我身上會發揮祂最大的功能,不是我生活,而是祂在我身上生活。原來我現在是用另類的模式去福傳,我不用刻意去做什麼「有為」的事,僅是 let it be,接受在我生命所發生的一切,為耶穌而活,與祂一起活,開開心心,以微笑、慈悲心,將天主慈悲的面孔顯示給與相遇的人,讓祂的聖意好像光和鹽,把天主的慈愛,透過「無為」的我毫無保留地滲透到所有人的心靈,產生潛移默化的皈依功效、滋潤生命。我感謝天主的智慧、揀選和恩賜。我又明白到:我的聖洗聖名五傷方濟各的原因,原來我是遍體鱗傷。





天主有一天對我說:「你的想法完全對。但在人不可能,在天主是可能的 (參閱:谷10:27)。在你生命中當然無法脫離這個『我』,但我說的『我』是以自我為中心,不懂得歸因,把一切都當做理當所然,以為一切你的成功、順利、才華等是出於你這個『我』,其實完全是出自我的慈悲心,給予你一切你所需,所有的機會、方便等。你明白嗎?因為如果你以自我中心,就不會想到我,也不會對我事事感恩。」


*「我第三」*與大家共勉。(刊 2017-4-16 )

Friday, April 21, 2017



這些恐怖的影像在每個人的腦海裡仍然記憶猶新,揮之不去: 在聖枝主日, 埃及坦塔和亞歷山大兩個城市裡的兩間埃及科普特東正教會教堂,發生兩次爆炸事件, 造成四十四名無辜的人喪生,一百人受傷。而只有四個月前 – 2016年12月11日 – 在開羅一間科普特東正教會教堂亦發生類似的自殺式炸彈事件, 造成二十九人死亡,四十五人受傷。

人習慣了邪惡,這些事情或者已經不再是新聞: 這個月 <國家郵報> 的一篇專題報導,揭露了安大略省一所大學行政階層的偏見, 把尊重生命團體的活動標籤為 「敵對性的」,「挑釁性的」和 「反對選擇權的」。

當今之世,道德相對主義失控般泛濫於學校,媒體,企業和各級政府中。 他們認為每個人都有權跟隨自己所認定的真理。那些堅持自己所相信的是絕對真理,而認為全人類都應當跟隨的,被認定是 「心胸狹窄, 缺乏包容」。天主教會和許多宗教是當中表表者。

相比早期基督徒所面對無日無之的毀謗,鎮壓和迫害,今天基督徒的情況可說比他們好不了多少。 這樣說並沒有誇大其詞。 早期教會用什麼信息來幫助信徒克服逆境呢?有許多信息。而且由於今天教會所面對的困難和早期的教會所面對的有很多相似之處, 當年的信息到了今天仍然適用。以下的主日讀經是其中特別有用的信息之一:

「因此,你們要歡欣,雖然現在你們暫時還該在各種磨練中受苦, 但這是為使你們的信德, 鍛鍊得比經過火煉而仍易消失的黃金更有價值, 使你們在耶穌基督顯現時,得到稱讚,光榮和尊敬。」( 伯多祿前書1:6-7)

我們正活在前所未有的世代中,唯願這不是世界的終結。 伊拉克和敘利亞經歷了多年的緊張狀態和危機後, 亂狀正以恐佈主義的形式和暴徒式的侵略擴散至歐洲和中亞地區, 敘利亞阿薩德用化學武器, 引起西方國家和包括敘利亞阿薩德和伊朗的俄羅斯陣營的正面衝突, 互發最後通牒,擺出各不相讓,不惜一戰的姿態。而在西太平洋, 正蘊釀著同樣激烈甚至更嚴重的危機, 北朝鮮警告美國, 如果美國轟炸其核設施, 北朝鮮會用核武器襲擊南韓, 日本, 和美國大陸。

聖經多處有刻劃入微的描述,預測世界末日的可怕境況。 在現在這些衝突中,祇要一方有計算上或人為的錯誤, 以致在朝鮮半島或中東爆發核戰, 這些聖經中所提及的恐怖場面隨時會變成事實。不知是什麼原因,《 若望默示錄》中的兩個栩栩如生的描述一直存留在我腦海中:

「以後我看見,當羔羊開啟第六個印的時候 ,發生了大地震,太陽變黑,有如粗毛衣;整個月亮變得像血, 天上的星辰墜落在地上………;天也隱退,有如捲起的書卷; 一切山嶺和島嶼都移了本位。……….向山嶺和巖石說:「 倒在我們身上,遮蓋我們罷! 好避免那坐在寶座上的面容和那羔羊的震怒, 因為他們發怒的大日子來臨了,有誰能站立得住?」( 若望默示錄6:12-17)

「在那日期內,人求死而不得;渴望死,死卻避開他們。」(默9: 6))。

正如耶穌在福音讀經中對多默說:「那些沒有看見而相信的, 才是有福的!」(若望福音20:29)。在某種程度上,我們也能看見耶穌,不過不是以多默的方式, 而是以天主聖言和聖體聖事來與耶穌相遇。 我們確實生活在前所未有的世代中。 有可能這真是末日的先兆,雖然我們希望和祈求,最後獲勝的是信靠與和平。不過,祇要耶穌在伯多祿的船上與我們在一 起,陪伴我們抵擋風暴,我們還要害怕什麼(參見瑪竇福音8:23-27)? 「因此,縱使地動山崩,墮入海心,我們也絕不會疑懼橫生; 海濤儘管洶湧翻騰,山嶽儘管因浪震動:與我們同在的, 是萬軍的天主,雅各伯的天主是我們的保護。」(聖詠集46:3- 4)。就讓我們忍耐和接受,其實各種試探都是為了考驗我們,「為使你們的信德,得以精煉」(伯多祿前書1:7)。

Living In Unprecedented Times

The horrific images are still fresh in everyone’s mind: on this Palm Sunday, two Coptic church bombings took place in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt, killing 44 innocent people and injuring more than 100. Only 4 months before, on December 11, 2016, a similar suicide bombing of another Coptic church in Cairo had killed 29 people and injured 45 others.

People have become so accustomed to evils, perhaps this is no longer considered news anymore: in a special report this month, the National Post revealed the biased ideologies of the administration of a university in Ontario that labeled the activities of pro-life groups as “adversarial”, “confrontational”, and “anti-choice”.

Nowadays, moral relativism is running rampant in schools, media, businesses, and all levels of government. Everyone is entitled to uphold their own truths, so it’s claimed. Those who insist the truths in which they believe are absolute and universally applicable, as do the Catholic Church and many religions, are considered “intolerant”.

Compared to the early day Christians, for whom denigration, repression and persecution were the daily norms, it’s no exaggeration to say that today’s Christians are not faring any better. What messages did the early Church give her faithful to help them deal with their adversities at hand? Many. And most of them are still useful for us considering the similarity between the early Church’s difficult experiences and ours. But here’s one from this Sunday’s lectionary readings that is particularly useful:

“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

We are living in unprecedented times – hopefully not the end of time. After many years of tensions and crises in Iraq and Syria, which have spilled over to the European continent and Asia Minor in many forms of terrorism and rogue invasions, the western countries and the Russian camp, which includes Assad of Syria and Iran, have come to a head over Assad’s chemical warfare, with both sides issuing ultimatums to each other and taking belligerent positions that are difficult to back down. A similar – if not more intense and dangerous – situation has also been developing in the west Pacific where North Korea is threating to “nuke” South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. mainland should the U.S. decide to bomb its nuclear facilities.

The Bible is filled with vivid predictions of the horrific hardships that the world will experience on the Last Day. Many of them bring to mind horrors that may well become a reality should a nuclear war break out due to one single miscalculated threat or human error in the Korean peninsula or in the Middle East. For whatever reason, stuck in my head are two very graphic descriptions in the Book of Revelation:

“Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth and the whole moon became like blood. The stars in the sky fell to the earth…the sky was divided like a torn scroll curling up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place…They cried out to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come and who can withstand it?’” (Revelation 6:12-17)

“During that time these people will seek death but will not find it, and they will long to die but death will escape them.” (Revelation 9:6)

As Jesus said to Thomas in the gospel reading: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29). In a way, we see Jesus too: not in the manner Thomas encountered him, but in the word of God and the Eucharist. These indeed are unprecedented times that we live in. They may well be the precursors to the Last Day although we hope and pray that trust and peace would somehow prevail. But what are we to fear if Jesus is there with us in Peter’s boat, accompanying us to weather the storm (cf. Matthew 8:23-27)? “Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging, the LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob” (Psalm 46:3-4). Let’s hang in there and accept our various trials as a test of “the genuineness of your faith” (1 Peter. 1:7).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017




首先,基督徒認為人的肉身會在末日復活的信念,清楚地貫連著新舊約聖經。這教導的貫徹性正好說明它的重要性,也顯示出它的確是基督徒信仰的核心。 這也解釋了聖保祿在辯說復活時絕不妥協的立場:「我們既然傳報了基督已由死者中復活了,怎麼你們中還有人說:死人復活是沒有的事呢? 假如死人復活是沒有的事,基督也就沒有復活;假如基督沒有復活,那麼,我們的宣講便是空的,你們的信仰也是空的」 (格前15:12-14) 。在四旬期和復活期裡,教會特別紀念耶穌受難和復活,慶祝祂最後戰勝死亡,以擁有神速、神光、神健、神透特恩的肉身,光榮復活。既然如此,這主日聖道禮儀以復活為主題,貫連著三篇選自厄則克耳、羅馬書及若望福音的讀經,也是順理成章的事 (格前15:42-44,《神學大全》I.168 聖湯瑪斯著 ) 。

其次,復活的希望從未停止觸發我們五內中的渴望,我們渴望有一天人可以擺脫身體和靈魂之間的終生對立。這對立令人如此痛苦和氣憤,聖保祿甚至稱之為一場「戰爭」:「可是,我發覺在我的肢體內,另有一條法律,與我理智所贊同的法律交戰,並把我擄去,叫我隸屬於那在我肢體內的罪惡的法律。我這個人真不幸呀!誰能救我脫離這該死的肉身呢?」(羅馬書7:23-24) 原來在復活時,肉身將會以屬神的形式,和諧地與靈魂重新結合,水乳交融。這理解是何等的甜蜜啊!它讓我們釋然,心靈舒暢。據聖若望保祿二世解釋,所謂屬神的身體「不僅意味著靈性將主宰身體的一切,但我會說, 它將完全地滲透著整個身體... 復活是人的肉體性天衣無縫地參與著人靈性上的一切。」(公開接見: 1981年12月9日) 。

「主耶穌,你來罷!」即阿拉美語的Maranatha! 是教會對她至愛的新郎所說的,最後一句情話。在若望的神視和默示文體中,教會被描繪為新娘,悠長的救恩史也在新娘對新郎如癡如醉的呼喚中徐徐結幕 (默示錄 22:20)。就讓我們與教會一起呼喚新郎,我們的主耶穌基督:M-A-R-A-N-A-T-H-A! 主耶穌,你來罷! 我們渴望復活。在那一天,我們被救贖了和屬神的身體,將與靈魂結合,恢復完美和諧; 在那一天,天主在起初已預告了的,婚姻是丈夫和妻子二人結合而成為一體的預言,將滿全於教會與基督的完美結合之中!