聖禮儀 (六)：聖餐，最強韌的愛 講道 ：李亮神父 , 英文紀錄：貝克教授 翻譯：張奉書
關於合一這樣的關係，我還必須說些事情。不論我們喜不喜歡，我們都是彼此相關的肢體。許多人不明白這個道理，特別是華人傾向反社會化，習慣封閉自己，在人與人之間築道牆。中國最有名、最重要的建築物是萬里長城，是道綿延的城牆，是在月球上唯一可看到地球上的人造物，這道城牆保護自己免受外人進侵。每件事物並不是它看起來的那麼簡單，我們可以看見有更深層的哲學和文化含義，而基督信仰則要打破這座高牆。不只是基督教，人們實際上用行動打破這些隔閡彼此的城牆，一首由Pink Floyd搖滾樂團演唱的知名歌曲「牆」提醒我們。當牆在東西德之間倒下時，有很盛大的表演來紀念柏林圍牆的倒下。(如果有時候我說到一些例子，像是Pink Floyd搖滾樂團，你們覺得這與信仰無關，請你們諒解。)假如我們在四圍建起高牆，認為基督教不過是種宗派，與社會、現代思想有所區隔，這樣我們所信的就不是基督教。現代物理學認為我們身體中的每個分子都與整個宇宙相連結。搜尋維基百科就可看到這樣的概念稱之為「非局域性」(non-locality)，有四、五個諾貝爾獎做過相關主題，是物理學中最新的研究之一。言歸正傳，阿陀斯山的聖徒Silouan（A.D. 1866~ A.D. 1938）曾說:「如果你對某個孩子微微一笑，你就可能影響他的一生。」也許當他長大了，在某個困難的時刻，你的笑容會在他的腦海浮現，拯救了他。每當我們看見對方，在我們的潛意識中就有了彼此的面容，從此刻到永遠我們就有了相互關連的關係。就算我打你一頓，造成的痛苦就算是負面關係，但也是一種關係。所以無論喜歡與否，因著我們身為人類，我們彼此有所關聯，我們就都是有關係的。但問題在於我們要如何培養這樣的關係，不要變成痛苦的關係，而要成為彼此憐憫的關係；若可行，就更進一步建立彼此相愛的關係。我說到「憐憫」是因為我們必須了解，不要只關心自己的需要。試著去了解，沒有不能解決的問題，因為如果我們存著良善的心思，就能找到解決之道。常常我們可能會覺得很困惑，因為我們只聽自己的聲音，對於愚昧者、惡者就缺少憐憫心。
2015.06.14 Second Sunday of Matthew
Liturgy VI : Communion as Social Union
Sermon: Fr. Jonah
Transcript: Prof. Baker
This time we will speak more about the Holy Communion because we must understand more that this is the ultimate reason we are Orthodox. When we receive the Holy Communion it is the ultimate, the most ultimate thing in this life or the next life. Don’t think that God is something abstract, spiritual, without limbs. If you think like this, then you are Platonic people, like the Greek philosophers or Buddhist philosophers, who go out of the body; but you are not Orthodox. The Holy Communion is to be Orthodox.
This is why, as I say, that the Orthodox Church says from the very beginning, that if some person does not participate in the Liturgy for more than one month without some reason, like he is sick or has something serious with his job, then he is excommunicated because he has cut himself off from Jesus Christ. And we must understand that the Church is not acting like a court to punish you under the law. Even the modern philosopher’s law is not that the law is punishing a criminal, but that it is trying to teach the person and make him better. It is like if you do not write a good final exam in school and you do not pass: it is not that you are being punished but you cannot be passed because you have not yet learned. Of course, the excommunication is not automatic. It is like if I steal money; that does not mean that I will automatically go to prison. According to the law of Taiwan, there must first be a trial and many other things. But the Church is no longer doing this excommunication by the decision of the local council or the bishop because of something called economy since, unfortunately, people now are so cold to the Church.
Today I want to say something more since last week I told you how the Communion is the most valuable thing in the Heavens and on the Earth. Today I wanted to speak to you about how the Holy Communion is the most deeply social thing because when I receive the Holy Communion, I do not receive it only for me. Indeed the grace of God goes to my friends (actually I myself have none) but to your friends. To your husband or wife who may not be Orthodox, to your beloved people who are not Orthodox. We never receive the Holy Communion as individuals. In the Orthodox Church, it is not me and God. It is me as a member of the Body of Jesus Christ, we as members of the Body of Jesus Christ and God. So the Holy Communion makes us unite.
Somebody could ask, “Why should I be united with some other person? It might be that he is dirty or I just don’t like him. Why to be united?” When I say unite, I do not mean complete union in every aspect. I mean like you see my hand here, this is one finger, this is another finger, every finger is different, but they have the same love. And what makes my fingers here alive is that there is blood flowing through them. Of course, every finger has a different job, but all together they function with harmony in the same body. And since I have two hands, with one hand I can do one job and with the other hand I can do another job. But if I I start beating myself with one hand, or beating the two hands together, then of course I will have a big problem.
About this union, this relationship, I want to say a few things. Because whether we like it or not, we are always related. Many people do not understand this, especially the Chinese people, who are antisocial, closed to themselves and making walls around themselves. This is why it is a sign that the most important thing, the most famous thing of the Chinese constructions is a wall, the Great Wall, the only manmade thing we can see from the moon. It is a wall to protect myself from the other, to keep them from entering, because everything is not simply just what it does – it has a deeper philosophical and cultural meaning. And Christianity breaks this wall.
And even apart from Christianity, physics is breaking these walls that keep us apart as separate entities. I could even remind you of the famous song, “The Wall” by Pink Floyd, which was a famous rock band. And when the wall between between East and West Germany came down they had a big performance to commemorate the falling down of the wall. (I’m sorry if sometimes I speak of many things and speak to you in a way you may not think is very religious about Pink Floyd.) But if there are walls around us and if we think of Christianity as just a religious sect that is separated from society and modern thought, that is not real Christianity. In modern physics, every molecule in my body and in your body is connected with all the universe. If you want to search on Wikipedia, this concept is called non-locality; there are four or five Nobel Prizes related to it, and it is the most modern research in physics.
But to come back to our context, Saint Silouan from Mount Athos says that, “If you smile to a kid, you may influence his life forever.” Perhaps when he is grown up and in a difficult time and he is going to commit suicide, this memory of your smile will come and save him. As long as I see and as long as I see you and your see me, our subconscious minds already have a picture of one another, so from this time and forever we are always interrelated. And even if I beat you, this pain is always a relationship. Of course it is a bad relationship, but it is a relationship.
So whether we like it or not, because we are human beings and we are related, we are all related. The problem is, how to cultivate this relationship, and not to make it a relationship of pain, but to make it a relationship of mercy if that is possible, or even better, of love. Why so I say mercy? Because we must start to understand, even a little bit, not just to care only for ourselves. And to try to understand that there is no problem that cannot be solved, since if we have a good heart, we can always find a solution. Many times we may be confused because we hear only for ourselves and we don’t have mercy for the stupid, bad Other. And I refer to a recent story in the news here about a man who had been following a woman for five years. Of course this was a bad thing, but if there had been mercy, and with counseling, then probably things could have been much better.
The most important thing is not to try and protect our rights and individuality, saying, “I don’t want you,” and “This is my right.” But to have a little bit of mercy, for the idiot, for those that are suffering in any way. From one point of view, God is respecting the freedom, even of the Devil. But also, He is suffering with everyone who is suffering, and even for the devil because he, too, is suffering. And what is he suffering? It is unfulfilled wish to be in the position of God. Of course that is very bad, but he is suffering for that because he is unable to love. And this is the real suffering- to reject love. And suffering even more is the person who is being rejected, So as long as we are connected to one another – not because we want to be, but according to physics, just because we have a body. If we tell someone that we don’t want to see them again, it would be like telling this finger here that I didn’t want to see it again and you cut it off, but then something is missing from your body. (And if you cut off one joint then you will be like the Japanese mafia because they also cut off a joint of the little finger.)
The Holy Communion is really making this natural connection, a connection of beauty and love. Today the Holy Communion is not that we can receive the Holy Communion, but that our brothers in Heaven can also receive it with us. Somebody might ask how this is possible since they are already dead, (Although in Christianity we don’t speak of people being dead, we say sleeping.) So, when we receive the Holy Communion it is as if someone says, “I love you,” since the fulfilment of love is to receive the Holy Communion together. This is why, theologically, until the Ninth Century, marriage in the Church was a part of the Liturgy. (And you know that when I do marriage here, I do it with the Liturgy.) But after the Ninth Century, because Emperor Leo said that everybody must have a religious marriage, whether they were believers or not, and if somebody is not a believer then they cannot receive the Holy Communion, so gradually the ceremony of marriage was separated from the Liturgy. And this is why we give wine to the married couple in the Orthodox ceremony: in the first Church this was Communion wine, not just regular wine. This is not done now, although when I do the Holy Communion with the marriage, this is like that. And when somebody that you love has died, the most important thing is not to do this koliva ceremony [pointing to the table remaining from the earlier ceremony]. Of course that is good, but what is best is to receive the Holy Communion for him. So this is a very important thing to understand, that when we love somebody, then we should receive the Holy Communion for our beloved people, for our kids, for our friends.
Many people forget the social importance of the Communion. The Holy Communion makes us brothers and sisters beyond the ideas of nationality, beyond the ideas of enemies, more than anything, And it overcomes the limitations of Death since the living and the dead receive the Holy Communion together.
Because what I am saying to you is very deep, and you may have never before heard it, and no matter what is your opinion of me, whether I say things that are deep or bad, you must remember that this is the Orthodox Church, and this is why I am a priest. I receive the Holy Communion for all of you, and from the time that I discovered myself during university, someone that I loved very much told me that they did not want me to pray for them. But that would be like saying, “Don’t breathe,” because prayer is like breathing and if you tell me not to pray for you, it would be like telling me not to breathe. How could I not breathe? If I don’t breathe then I would die.
And to finish, I will remind you that if you want to have a good marriage, and if you want to keep your marriage, which is much more difficult than just having a marriage, then you should feed it with this, with the Holy Communion. And if Jesus Christ is the center of your relationships, no matter whether the relationships are of marriage or in your job, or you are a student or teacher, this will be the strongest relationship. And when I say a strong relationship, I don’t mean that it will always be a happy relationship. Maybe it will be painful, perhaps the other person will stick a knife in you, and you may even take the knife and twist it yourself. But It is a real relationship, perhaps full of pain, but it is real and very, very strong. And Jesus Christ will make it correct, will turn it to the good and make it better.
May the Holy Trinity protect all of you.