節慶 復活節 Feast: Easter (and Great Lent) 節慶 紀念耶穌 Feasts of Jesus Christ 講道 Sermons

棕櫚主日講道 Palm Sunday (Sermon by Fr. Jonah)

 

耶穌進入耶路撒冷與拉撒路的復活:現在基督與我們同在,猶大也在策劃計謀。(中英文)

 

http://www.justin.tv/dao_love/b/396678649

 

今日,我們要慶祝耶穌基督光榮地進入耶穌撒冷。從今天起教會的「聖週」開始了;每晚七點教會都有特別的儀式,這些儀式與耶穌基督受難的每一個事件相關。星期六的時候,我們會慶祝耶穌復活。

耶穌進入耶路撒冷時,許多人等著見他、迎接他,然而,在這樣的光榮背後,耶穌此行卻是走入孤獨和棄絕的境地。許多人手持棕櫚葉,口中說著「Hosanna」向耶穌致敬,就像我們現在一樣,然而,這卻是殘酷的受難週的開端,因為,幾週之後,同樣這群人將對耶穌說:「把他釘在十字架上!」沒有人站出來說:「他是一個好人,他曾經幫助過我。」或是「他在我身上施行了奇蹟。」耶穌像國王一樣進入耶路撒冷,因為他是唯一的、真正的王,然而,他也是走入孤獨和棄絕的境地。唯有聖母知曉這一切而保持沉默,她在生產時不曾感受過其他產婦的痛苦,然而,此時此刻,她卻感受到深層的痛苦。

今日,教會要我們手持棕櫚葉,這是要我們明白聖經上所說的、耶穌基督進入耶路撒冷之後的事情。這些事情超越時間性,它並非發生在兩千年前而已。教會不是民間社團,教會幫助人們去除疾病、傲慢和心理上的折磨和偽裝。因為,在教會裡,時間會倒轉,或者我們可以說,教會已經超越了時間的限制。我們手握棕櫚葉的同時,也回到兩千年前耶路撒冷的人群中。我們應該自問:「是的,我就在那裡。但是,我如何對待耶穌基督?」「我有給予他絲毫的愛嗎?」「今日的我拋棄了他嗎?」「我一點也不想參與他的受難嗎?」正教徒歡慶復活節,許多人在這個節日中與好多不見的家人、朋友團聚,共享美食。在誦讀福音時,讀到耶穌基督進入耶路撒冷的那一段,我們會把手上的棕櫚葉放下。我們必須瞭解在「進入耶路撒冷」的一刻,和「放下棕櫚葉」的一刻,我們回到了耶穌基督的時代。我們所有人都應該檢視自己如何使用這些棕櫚葉。五分鐘之後,我會拋棄耶穌基督嗎?還是,我願意與他同在?我愛耶穌基督嗎?還是,我只想利用他?

前一天,在伯大尼這個小村莊,耶穌曾與拉撒路的家人共進簡單的晚餐。這個村莊距離耶路撒冷只有兩公里遠。馬利亞和馬大也在,馬利亞曾經購買昂貴的香膏抹主,並用頭髮擦拭耶穌的腳。她展現了極致的謙卑和最高的敬意與感謝,因為,耶穌讓她的兄弟拉撒路起死回生。

正如聖經曾說:猶大總是與宗徒在一起,然而,他的心卻沒有和大家在一起。猶大說:「這香膏為什麼不賣三十兩銀子救濟窮人呢?」當時這筆錢幾乎是一個人一年的薪水。猶大竟然跟如此深愛著他的老師說:「為什麼要浪費錢買香膏抹在你身上,而不把錢送給窮人?」猶大的思想總是與人不同。我們也可以看到許多人就像這樣。他們雖然告解,卻不是真正的告解,雖然在教會領聖餐,卻懷有其他的想法:他們想要破壞這個團體,並且在重新建立一個分裂的教會。猶大並沒有忽然間背叛耶穌基督,一切都從小事開始,偷偷進行、偷偷謀略、假裝是一位門徒,等待時機成熟再將耶穌送上十字架。麵包是耶穌基督的身體,神父這樣做(同時做出用手把麵包剝開的動作),將麵包分成小塊卻不是要「分裂」他,最後,神父執行耶穌基督的受難,這是復活節的儀式之一。

在福音中,猶大和瑪利亞形成強烈對比。福音說:猶大並沒有真正關心窮人和教會。他只關心權力和金錢,他想要奪取這筆錢。因為他是個賊,又帶著錢囊,常取其中所存的。耶穌擁有上帝的權力,他讓猶大和其他門徒一起行了這奇蹟。昨天,在福音中我們讀到,耶穌讓拉撒路起死回生,臥底的間諜馬上跑去告訴猶太祭司長Caiaphas耶穌所做的事情,還告訴他人們全都追隨耶穌。Caiaphas說:「最好有一個人要死,人們才會得救。」

福音告訴我們一些非常戲劇性又奇特的事情。Caiaphas這句話並非出於他自己,而是出於聖靈的力量,因為,他是祭司長,擁有最高祭司的權力,也擁有聖靈的力量。我們可以說,他預言了這一切,正如約翰福音中所說的:他將耶穌送上十字架。這是一件讓人恐懼的事情,因為,它此時此刻正在發生。上帝不斷影響著世界,我們都有責任變正直 —- 正直就是正直,我們不可能一半正直、一半不正直,就好像我們不可能一半懷孕、一半沒懷孕。此時猶大也一步步走向他的命運,很快我們就會看見。

耶穌對於猶大的表現只說:「由他吧!他是為我安葬之日存留的。」我們每一個小動作、手上的棕櫚葉、唱誦讚美詩的歌聲、為大家準備的食物,或是對耶穌、對教會(不是對我)的小小獻禮,都會回歸到耶穌基督那裡。瑪利亞做了一件非常有價值的事情,八天之後,耶穌接受了她的心意。亞伯拉罕從上帝那裡接受了應許之地,這個應許之地指的並不是以色列而是天國,正如保羅在希伯來書中所說的那樣。耶穌進入耶路撒冷時,迎接他的民眾高喊:「Hosanna!」在阿拉姆語中,它的意思是「現在已經得救」。我們在教會,就像回到耶路撒冷的現場,和這些迎接耶穌的民眾站在一起,耶穌會看見我們所做的一切。我們的一切獻禮,一朵小花、一小段祈禱文,為的不是兩千年前的事件,而是如同福音所說的,它是昨日、是今日、是未來,它們都會回歸到耶穌基督那裡。耶穌基督與我們同在。我們每個人都是那位用香膏抹主的婦女,對我們而言,耶穌是活生生的。

接下來,我想要談談死亡。耶穌非常愛拉撒路,我們昨天慶祝了拉撒路的復活。耶穌從未為任何人流淚,除了拉撒路。他聽到拉撒路生病時,並沒有立即前往探視,直到他死亡四日之後才去看他。或許有人質疑:「為什麼?這樣還算真的愛他嗎?」我無法回答這個問題。我只知道,我們應該縮小自己,變得更謙卑,瞭解自己所擁有的愛無法勝過耶穌基督。耶穌之所以這麼晚、這麼慢才去幫助他,是一個很深的奧秘。然而,耶穌為我們上了深刻的一課,這是非常珍貴的禮物。他給予拉撒路的,不僅僅是復活而已,還有一個獨特的經驗,幫助他瞭解死亡的狀態。耶穌教導我們,生命不只是心臟的跳動和生理機能的健康,耶穌基督就是生命。教會的傳統告訴我們,在此之後,拉撒路總會在食物中放多一點糖,因為,他曾經嘗過死亡的苦澀。

或許有人會質疑:「耶穌讓拉撒路復活了,但是,我為死去的親人祈禱千百萬次,耶穌卻沒有讓他們復活?」我們應該瞭解,拉撒路終究還是死亡了,就像Cyprus的主教一樣。即使耶穌讓我們死去的親人復活,總有一天他們還是會死去。當然,如果晚一點死,他們可以陪伴我們久一點。或許,上帝太愛他們了,上帝把身邊的位置給了他們,只是給予的時間比我們預期的更早。

為什麼我要談論死亡?因為在教會裡沒有死亡。這就是為什麼耶穌從未用過「死亡」一詞。他遇到亡者時,總是說他們安眠了。在聖禮儀舉行時,除了我們之外,還充滿了許多天使和摯愛的人的靈魂。他們很高興能見到我們,他們用上帝才知道的方式幫助我們。

在我的家中,有一幅新殉道聖人St. George of Ioannana的聖像。我的曾祖母將這幅聖像送給我的曾祖父。St. George of Ioannana過去擔任土耳其人的僕人,當時他已婚,育有一個一歲的孩子。他的雇主強迫他拋棄東正教,改信伊斯蘭教,他抵死不從,最後被吊死。三天之後,在黑夜裡他的身體發出光芒。他們將他埋葬之後,他又行了許多奇蹟直到今日。她的太太雖然沒有工作,然而,她每天都在桌上發現一枚硬幣,這樣就足以買食物養活自己和孩子。即使耶穌的安排沒有符合我們的期待,讓我們所愛的人從死亡中復活,但是,耶穌會一直幫助我們,他會用各種我們預料不到的方式支持我們,等待時機成熟我們就會知道。

讓我們將耶穌放在心中常常憶念他。當然,不是像福音中那些猶太人那樣想他,而是用他所希望的方式。他進入耶路撒冷時,我們可以看出,他是唯一的、真正的王。他並不是以權力治國的王,而是以愛治國。那些猶太人只看到他的權力,沒有認出他的愛。我們應該接納他,在每次的聖禮儀中,在他每次進入耶路撒冷時,向他說:我們在這裡!對我們來說,耶穌基督就是我們心中的王,是我們的生命與希望。願耶穌基督守護我們各位。阿門。

 

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聖枝主日經文 約翰福音12:1~18

逾越節前六日,耶穌來到伯大尼,就是他叫拉撒路從死裡復活之處。有人在那裡給耶穌預備筵席;馬大伺候,拉撒路也在那同耶穌坐席的人中。馬利亞就拿著一斤極貴的真哪噠香膏,抹耶穌的腳,又用自己頭髮去擦,屋裡就滿了膏的香氣。

有一個門徒,就是那將要賣耶穌的加略人猶大,說:這香膏為什麼不賣三十兩銀子賙濟窮人呢?他說這話,並不是掛念窮人,乃因他是個賊,又帶著錢囊,常取其中所存的。耶穌說:由他吧!他是為我安葬之日存留的。因為常有窮人和你們同在,只是你們不常有我。

有許多猶太人知道耶穌在那裡,就來了,不但是為耶穌的緣故,也是要看他從死裡所復活的拉撒路。但祭司長商議連拉撒路也要殺了;因有好些猶太人為拉撒路的緣故,回去信了耶穌。

第二天,有許多上來過節的人聽見耶穌將到耶路撒冷,就拿著棕樹枝出去迎接他,喊著說:和散那!奉主名來的以色列王是應當稱頌的!耶穌得了一個驢駒,就騎上,如經上所記的說:錫安的民(原文作女子)哪,不要懼怕!你的王騎著驢駒來了。

這些事門徒起先不明白,等到耶穌得了榮耀以後才想起這話是指著他寫的,並且眾人果然向他這樣行了。當耶穌呼喚拉撒路,叫他從死復活出墳墓的時候,同耶穌在那裡的眾人就作見證。眾人因聽見耶穌行了這神蹟,就去迎接他。

 

2013.04.28 Palm Sunday Sermon

on the Entrance into Jerusalem and the resurrection of Lazaurus: Christ is with us now, as is Judas.

Sermon by Father Jonah

Today we celebrate the glorious entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. And from today starts the Holy Week; every evening starting at 7:00 we have services for all the events of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Of course, Saturday night we celebrate the Resurrection.

Now I say the glorious entrance to Jerusalem because when Jesus entered there were so many people there to see him; but it was also his entrance into loneliness and abandonment. There were so many people with the palms that we have today and hold in our hands, but what happened then? When this crucial week of the Passion started, all the people who were saying “Hosanna!” after a few days were saying, “Crucify him!” Nobody appeared to say to say, “He is a good person,” or “He helped me,” or “He performed a miracle for me;” nobody. So, we see from one point of view that Jesus is entering as king because he is the real and only king; and from the other point of view, he is entering into loneliness and abandonment. Only the Holy Mother understood in her silence and in her deep pain, having the pains that she did not have while giving birth, as any other woman would have had.

The Church tells us to hold these palms today in order to understand that the entrance of Jesus Christ, and all the other things in the Bible, they are not just events that happened two thousand years ago. The Church is not a social event; it’s not a club. We are the people who have the opportunity to exorcize their sickness, their pride, or their other psychological needs for torturing or pretending anything. Because in the Church, time is reversed or the Church is actually above time, so by holding these palms we become one with these people, we are close to them. We must think to ourselves, “Yes, I am there, how do I treat Jesus Christ?” Do we treat him with a little bit of love – I don’t say too much? Or do I abandon him from today, not wanting to participate even a little in His Passion, and I don’t say my own passion. Obviously for many Orthodox the Passion of Jesus Christ is a time of celebration, a time of social meetings, of good food, and of a lot of showing off. We should understand that the Entrance – and this is why we throw down the palms during the Gospel and during the Entrance – every time this occurs, every time we are at the time of Jesus Christ, or as if by a time machine, that time is here and now. So from this point of view, once more I will say that we should all, including myself, examine ourselves for how we use these palms. After five minutes will I refuse Jesus Christ, or will I be with him? Do I love Him, or do I use Him?

You see, on the previous day, Jesus was with the family of Lazarus and they made a small dinner in the village of Bethany, which is only two kilometers from Jerusalem. Mary and Martha were there and Mary had bought a very expensive perfume, which she put on his legs, using her own hair to wash his feet. This was very, very humiliating for a woman to do this, but it was also an expression of the deepest respect and gratitude because he had brought her brother back to life.

As the Gospel says, Judas was always with the disciples, but at the same time he was not with them, and he started saying that this cost three hundred denarius, which was a person’s salary for one year. So he dared to say to his Master, who is Love, “Why should the money be wasted on perfumes for you, and not give it to the poor?” He did not understand Jesus at all; he had his own thoughts on his mind always. We have seen these things ourselves, seeing students of theology being like Judas, confessing but not really confessing, living in the Church and receiving the Holy Communion, but with another thought: to destroy and create a schismatic group, as they have created. The thought of Judas gradually developed. He did not suddenly betray Jesus Christ – for what? Gradually he came from one thing, hiding, hiding, conspiring, pretending to be a disciple, gradually of course he led Jesus to the Cross. As the priest who was here doing this [making the movement of breaking bread with his hands] for the body of Jesus Christ, who is broken but not divided, and finally he crucifies Jesus Christ and he will do so for Easter.

The Gospel contrasts Judas and Mary. The Gospel says that Judas did not really care for the poor, did not really care for the Church. He cared only for power, to steal money, because when there is a collection of money, someone can put a little bit in his pocket. Judas did miracles, as all the other disciples did because Jesus sent them to do so; he was teaching; he had the power of God. He was not a spy or a poor theological student. And finally he betrayed Jesus Christ. We see in the Gospel for yesterday that when Jesus had brought Lazarus back to life, spies went to Caiaphas, the high priest, and told him that people were following Jesus. Caiaphas said, “It is better to have one person die so that the people may be saved.”

And the Gospel says something very dramatic and very strange. It says that Caiaphas did not say this on his own; he said it by the power of the Holy Spirit because he was the high priest. See this very dramatic and strange thing, because Caiaphas was officially the high priest for this year, he had the power of the Holy Spirit. And from the other point of view, he – who had the power of the Holy Spirit and who had given a prophesy, as the Gospel of John says – he crucified Jesus. See this thing, and we should all feel the fear because, you know, already it is happening here. God works, but there is also the personal responsibility for honesty – somebody cannot be half-honest just like he cannot be half-pregnant. But leave Judas to his fate, as will happen soon.

Jesus said about the woman who was anointing him with perfume, “Don’t bother her. She did this for my burial.” This was a very important thing because Jesus was not buried yet; that did not happen for another week. And this reminds us that our poor actions, our palms, our small offerings to Jesus, to the Church (not to me), your voices, your food, they go, even more than to the present situation, they go to Jesus Christ himself. Jesus will not say, “Oh, in that church after two thousand years they were thinking of me.” He will know that you are thinking of him personally. You feed me. Mary did something that counted, and Jesus accepted it eight days later. And Abraham received the Promised Land, which is not Israel, but is Heaven as Paul says in Hebrews. Jesus will count us today as those people who were waiting for him in Jerusalem to say, “Hosanna!” which means “saved now” in the Aramaic language. So remember, whatever you give – a small flower, a small prayer – it is not something for two thousand years. It goes to Jesus Christ, who – as the Gospel says – yesterday and today and tomorrow He is the same; He is here. And the myrh-bearing women are not only those women, it is you also, all of us, the Disciples and everything; for us Jesus is very, very alive.

I will also say something very important to you about death. Jesus love Lazarus, whose resurrection we celebrated yesterday, so much; he did not cry for anybody else other person other than Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, He did not go at once. He allowed him to die, and to remain dead for four days. Somebody could ask, “Why, where is His love?” How can I answer this? The only thing we can do is to humble ourselves and to understand that our love is not more than Jesus Christ. And the is a deep mystery as to why Jesus is working so late, so slowly, but He gives us very deep lessons and very precious gifts by working so slowly. He brought Lazarus and gave him life, not only life but the unique experience of knowing the condition of death. And he gives us the teaching that life is not that my heart is beating and I have some health, but life is Jesus Christ. And the tradition of the Church says that after this Lazarus was always putting too much sugar in his food because he had seen the pain and the bitterness of death.

Well, you may say, “Jesus resurrected Lazarus, but how many times have we prayed for our beloved ones and yet Jesus did not resurrect them? What about this? But in any case, Lazarus eventually died as bishop of Cyprus. So we should remember that even if He were to resurrect our beloved ones, they would die again. Yes, they could be with us a little bit more. But maybe God loved them too much. Maybe God found that their position was with him, much earlier that we were expecting.

But why do I speak of death since there is no death in the Church? This is why Jesus never spoke the word death when he met some dead person; He said sleep. And when we do the Liturgy, who is here? Yes of course we are here, but also there are so many angels and all the souls of our beloved ones, they are here. They are so happy to see us, and they help us in ways that God knows.

In my family we have an icon of a new martyr, St. George of Ioannana. This icon was given by his wife to my great-grandmother. He was a servant of a Turk, married, with one kid about one year old. The Turk forced him to convert to Islam and refuse the Orthodox Church. Of course he would not and so they killed him by hanging. For three days there was light coming from his body during the night. After they buried him, he did a lot of miracles until today. And his wife was finding one coin every day on the table, which she needed to buy some bread and feed her child since she had no job. So you see, even if Jesus is not doing what we want, to bring back our beloved ones from the dead, He helps us, and they help us by other ways that we don’t know but we will know when the time comes

So remember Jesus, and remember to see Him as He wants us to see him, not as the common people or as the Jews were considering him. He entered Jerusalem, as I said, as the one and only real king, but as a king of love, not as a king of power. The Jews were understanding only the power. We should accept him, and in every Liturgy when we have the entrance, to say that we are there, and for us He is the King of our heart, that he is our live and our life and our hope. May the Holy Jesus protect all of us. Amen.

 

John 11:1-52

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”  When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”  The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”  Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”  12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.  14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”  16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”  17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”  23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”  28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”  32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”  They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”  37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”  38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”  40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”  45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”  49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

 

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