Friday, May 22, 2015

Old Friends Part II

Feelings come, feelings go. Good feelings? They don’t always come, but when they do, they can be overpowering. They enter deep into the inner chambers of our hearts, and stay fresh in the corners of our minds. Good feelings – they often come at the most inopportune time.

Exhausted from playing tennis the day before, I skipped my jogging routine this morning and chose to walk briskly around the Toogood Pond after warm up exercises and Tai Chi. The water level of Toogood Pond was noticeably lower than usual due to a lack of rain for more than a week. Still, it’s spring time. The new branches and foliage, still less than full grown, displayed a refreshing green and a hopeful luster unseen at any other times of the year. The Canada geese were crowding the paths of the park, showing forth their new-born goslings whose innate understanding of the art of lining up was an attraction for the tourists to marvel at.

As I walked, my thoughts turned to the numerous emails I exchanged with three secondary school friends in the last couple of weeks. They are good secondary school friends whom I haven’t seen for more than 30 years. But next month, we will have a reunion on a cruise trip from Vancouver to Alaska. No question it’s a dream come true. We’ve been preparing for this reunion for more than a year. Now we are into the final stretch of our preparation. It all began in March 2014. From searching out each other, to re-connecting, to an explosion of communications, to now waiting anxiously to see each other in Vancouver – the whole train of events raced through my head and triggered an immense amount of memories and feelings. Feelings that warmed my heart, feelings that overwhelmed, feelings…feelings that I simply had to express because they couldn’t be suppressed.

Over the last 15 months, 4 good old secondary school friends re-discovered each other - older and rather different now, but somehow still naïve and familiar as ever. The teenage selves that we saw in each other from the secondary school days are still there. Our human nature is such that the little bit of familiarity that exists in our collective psyche is enough to enable us to continue to trust each other and enjoy each other’s friendship the way we were accustomed to when we studied together in the same classroom. Over the last 15 months, we yearned to hear from each other and we communicated almost non-stop, all because of that little bit of familiarity and bonding from the teenage years – a familiarity and bonding in the human hearts we call “friendship”. Friends, teenage friends, secondary school friends – something everyone has; something so common and yet so special; something so human and yet so spiritual and overpowering!

While all these feelings were tugging at my heartstrings, I also realized with a little discomfort that I needed to prepare for the delivery of the Bible Study Program today. O, those good, heart-warming, fussy feelings…They can’t wait, can they? They always come at the most inopportune time. They pass you by if you don’t take a moment to acknowledge their unexpected visit; they speed off in a cloud of dust if you don’t accord them time to enjoy their companionship, and disappear faster than the refreshing green of spring. So Bible Study Program be damned, I must not allow these good feelings to disappear on me before they are captured in a post.

But then again, feeling is one thing, the reality can be quite another. When I was doing my undergrad in Canada, I had very good feelings about a friend in Hong Kong. But the good feelings quickly vanished the moment the two of us met each other again after my graduation. Good feelings can be fragile. Sometimes they surprise us and make us realize that they are mere illusions. Here’s hoping that they would do no such tricks on me and my secondary school friends this time!

(Note to reader: This is a sequel to another post entitled "Old Friends" dated March 30, 2014.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015


根據今天耶穌升天節的福音讀經,馬爾谷福音中的記載,這事在加里肋亞發生(馬爾谷福音16:7)。瑪竇也說是在加里肋亞發生(瑪28:7,16)。至於路加, 他跟馬爾谷及瑪竇的記載有分歧, 將事發地點放在耶路撒冷(路24:50-52)。

那麼,我們應該相信誰呢?若這不是聖經的記載出了錯誤,那麼會是什麼呢?若不是路加出了錯, 便是馬爾谷和瑪竇出了錯 。 總之在這記載上,一定有人犯了錯誤。對不對?那麽,我們如何去解釋這明顯的矛盾呢?但教會卻仍堅持,認為聖經中的記載是完全沒有錯誤的(啓示憲章Dei Verbum 11)。試問教會怎麼還可以教導聖經的無誤性?

無可否認,聖經的記載是有歷史成份的,因為「聖經的啟示是深深植根於歷史」(天主聖言Verbum Domini 42)。但聖經卻不是一本歷史書。這樣一來,它的辭彙必須「從歷史文學和基督宗教的觀點」(VD 42)的範疇來理解。換句話說,我們必須找出聖經作者描寫某件歷史事件時的真正意向。

路加記述耶穌升天的意向,不在於講述歷史,也不在於準確地記載這事件發生的歷史地點。多數聖經學者都認為路加和瑪竇都採用馬爾谷和Q(一個早已遺失了的福音記錄)作為他們的資料來源。在寫升天的事蹟時,兩位作者都假定讀者已經從這兩處知道了耶穌升天是在那裡發生。假如它真的是在加里肋亞發生,路加將它放在耶路撒冷, 並不是因為他記載錯誤,而是因為他受到聖神的默感, 從基督宗教的教義來詮釋,來肯定耶路撒冷聖殿的轉化。

路加用歷史文學觀來闡釋他的認知,在他的福音裡, 以耶路撒冷聖殿作為福音開始時的背境(當時匝加利亞正在聖殿中擔任司祭) ,也用耶路撒冷聖殿作為福音的終結(門徒們返回了耶路撒冷,常在聖殿裏稱謝天主)。但是,在經歷了耶穌受難,死而復活和升天的過程後, 福音完結時的耶路撒冷聖殿,在路加筆下是充滿著歡樂和對天主的讚美的,這形像正好指向著天上的耶路撒冷聖殿 — 那最終的和轉化了的聖殿。

(英文原文 - Edmond Lo,中文翻譯 - 生命恩泉翻譯小組)