John 約翰福音171-14

2013.6.16 sermon by Fr. Jonah

紀念第一次大公會議中的神聖教父 Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (中英文)

http://www.justin.tv/dao_love/c/2431546

今天的福音是教會最重要、最美的篇章之一,它收錄了我們最高的祭司耶穌基督被捕之前的祈禱,它對我們來說意義非凡,對於中國人尤其如此。每當我談到永恆的生命,總是有人對我說:「我不想要永恆的生命,我不想要永遠活著,我希望死了之後可以消失不見。」在今天的福音中,耶穌基督告訴我們,我們不用等到死後才擁有永恆的生命,此時此刻我們就可以擁有它。耶穌基督對他的父親說:「認識你獨一的真神,並且認識你所差來的耶穌基督,這就是永生。」這句話隱含了獨特的寓意:我們一直認為,永恆的生命代表的是死後靈魂繼續活著,其實,並非如此。我們每個人都是藉著上帝的恩典和愛而活著。福音告訴我們,永恆的生命就是認識父。

福音的教導並不屬於世間的知識,無法單純從閱讀而來,我們必須在許多事情上面用心體會才能真正瞭解。福音所教導的是一種「參與」。舉例來說:夫妻之間,丈夫應該以獨一無二的方式來瞭解妻子。而使徒保羅也是如此,他用一獨特的方式認識耶穌基督,真正融入上帝的生活。現代人往往把上帝當成是抽象的權力,他們說:「喔,上帝很抽象。」他們沒有把上帝當成父,也沒有想過可以參與上帝的生活。

認識父之前,我們要先認識子。除了書本的知識之外,我們還要知道,聖子成為人,我們透過領聖餐就能敞開自己接納祂。這是我們對上帝之子最深層的認識。或許有人會問:「聖靈在哪裡?為什麼都沒有提到聖靈?」藉由聖靈,我們才有能力與上帝合一。正如聖經所言:「在祢的光中,我們看見光。」唯有在聖靈之中,我們才能認識聖父,與聖子面對面。

上帝是誰?上帝就是三位一體,我們應該在教會中過這樣的生活。真正瞭解、融入聖三位一體,就是永恆的生命。這就是為什麼,在福音的另一個章節(第六章)耶穌基督說:「擁有耶穌基督的身體、認識並相信祂的人,不會嘗到死亡的滋味。」因為,在目前的生命中,他已經感覺並開始了永恆的生命。耶穌基督說:「感謝父,祢派我來到世間,祢要我做的一切我都做了,祢要我給的一切,我都給了。」「願你榮耀你的兒子,使兒子也榮耀你。」然後,耶穌基督榮耀了上帝之名。耶穌說:「父,願榮耀歸於祢。」耶穌所說的榮耀並非世間的榮耀。(例如:我有許多值得表揚的優點,所以將榮耀歸於我吧!)聖經中「榮耀」一詞,融合了認識、敬拜上帝,把光榮歸於上帝的意義。我們把榮耀歸於父:上帝的名字並不是上帝先生或者某先生,我們稱上帝為父。父就是榮光,是上帝非受造的能量,此能量遍及宇宙、無所不在。希伯來文thesikhina指的就是「上帝的榮耀」。上帝使摩西全身充滿光芒,此光就是thesikhina。耶穌基督顯聖容的時候,也充滿了此光,祂允許門徒看見真正的祂。

耶穌基督說「願你榮耀你的兒子」的時候,他指的是哪一種榮耀呢?是在十字架上受難的榮耀嗎?是復活的榮耀嗎?還是升天的榮耀呢?事實上,受難、復活、升天、第二次再來,這四個事件是不可分的,上帝的榮耀用這四種不同的面向來顯現。上帝的榮耀不僅僅為了上帝,還為了將我們與上帝結合,那就是三位一體的奧秘。下週日,教會慶祝聖三位一體的聖日,那時我再對此做深入的討論。讓我們回到今天的福音。耶穌說:「凡是我的,都是你的;你的也是我的。」耶穌為門徒們祈禱,從耶穌的祈禱文我們可以看出,耶穌不僅僅為門徒祈禱,也為我們祈禱。(約翰福音17:20-22)(我期望大家回家都可以好好的閱讀約翰福音第十七章,這是一段非常美麗而重要的經文。)耶穌為我們祈禱,我們看到了心中必定是充滿喜悅。耶穌說:「他們本是你的,你將他們賜給我,他們也遵守了你的道。……我與他們同在的時候,因你所賜給我的名保守了他們,我也護衛了他們;其中除了那滅亡之子(耶穌指的是猶大),沒有一個滅亡的…」為什麼耶穌這樣說呢?確實,一切都屬於上帝,然而,並非所有人都得救。上帝將宇宙萬物和我們所有人都給了祂的兒子,但是,我們不是物品,我們可以自由選擇接受或拒絕。這就是為什麼耶穌提到猶大,因為,即使耶穌多次勸阻,猶大還是做出了這個決定。

瞭解我們與上帝之間的合作也是很重要的。上帝總是給予我們回應、與我們在一起。我們應該做的,就是敞開心胸對上帝說:「是的,主,請進入我的心門。」讓我們認識上帝,懷抱永恆的生命。僅僅認識上帝是不夠的,我們還必須像福音說的那樣遵守上帝的誡命。在約翰福音中,耶穌說:「我與父將會去到那些遵守誡命的人身邊,在他們的心中打造一個家。」遵守上帝的誡命,並不像遵守法律那樣,而是以一種特別的方式,使上帝的生命,在我們的心靈和信仰中真實地實現。

耶穌還談到「合一」,對於我們現在的狀況來說,那是很重要的。他說:「父,讓他們合為一體,就像我們這樣。」耶穌所說的合一並非人世間的合一,例如:政黨的合一,或是種族、宗教團體的合一。耶穌所說的合一是存在的奧秘。上帝存在的方式就是合一,聖父、聖子、聖靈享有同一個本質、同一個意志、同一個力量來源。這種保有差異性的合一,就是我們應該仿效的生活方式。偏離了合一就是墮落,活在合一之中就是天堂。人類的生命充滿戲劇性,我們受到時、空的分隔。我們很早就認知了這層隔離,打從嬰兒從母親的子宮出生,就在哭泣中被剪斷臍帶。我們都渴望合一、渴望愛,渴望與某人緊密結合,擁有圓滿的合一,那就是婚姻。然而,死亡卻阻隔了我們,除了死亡之外還有許問題。上帝召喚我們追求的「合一的生活」,是一種非常重要而深刻的存在方式。在教會之中,我們就是以這種方式存在,這就是為什麼我們來參加聖禮儀。因為,在聖禮儀之中,耶穌基督聖體中的聖靈會使我們合一,就算我們保有自己的性格和缺陷,也能參與這合一。尤其,在St. Basil的禮儀文本中寫到:「上帝,願所有參與了祢的聖體的人合而為一。」就像是三位一體那樣,擁有三個位格,一個本質。人類也是如此,儘管每人都有自己的人格,卻共同分享一個本質,就是耶穌基督的聖體。究竟誰造就了這個奧秘?就是教會內的聖靈,聖靈並非肉眼可見。我們應該好好的守護並促進這樣的合一。

不幸的是,教會內有一些人或事破壞了這個合一。教會將異端視為非常嚴重的破壞,因為它會破壞我們在耶穌基督聖體內的合一。這就是為什麼,下週日我們慶祝三位一體的聖日(聖靈降臨節)之前,要先紀念參與第一次大公會議的教父們。因為教父們守護了教會,驅逐了異端(也就是那些破壞人們在上帝內的合一的人)。因此,我們的教會不僅僅是耶穌基督和聖靈的教會,也是宗徒和教父們的教會,他們守護了教會的信仰和合一。亞歷山大的主教St. Alexandros有一個神視。他看見耶穌基督的衣服在沒有外力破壞的情況下竟然被撕裂了,那是因為亞略(Arius)異端的出現。

很不幸的,這樣的分裂不僅僅發生在古代,目前,我們的教會也有這樣的分裂。今天誦讀的書信提到,使徒保羅死前、在以弗所和米利都的時候,曾經在書信中寫下:「我知道在我離開之後,兇猛的狼將會來到你們之中。」(我們可以看見狼從香港來到台北,想要破壞我們的教會,把教會中的弟兄姊妹帶走。)「我知道,我去之後必有兇暴的豺狼進入你們中間,不愛惜羊群。就是你們中間,也必有人起來說悖謬的話,要引誘門徒跟從他們。」(使徒行傳20:29-30)那些破壞教會的人,面帶笑容和大家一樣在小陽台那裡告解,然後張開嘴巴領受耶穌基督的聖體,卻試圖要分裂他,他們的行為就像猶大一樣。他們玩弄了耶穌基督所行的聖事。他們的領導者像猶大一樣自己主持聖禮儀。使徒保羅在書信中說的話,也應證了今日教會面臨的狀況。神聖的教父Chrysostom曾說:「沒有比分裂教會更大的罪。」即使一個分裂教會的人最後為了教會殉道,他的罪行也難以被原諒。分裂教會的罪與一般的缺失不同(我個人的缺失比任何人都多)。花了許多年來計畫、秘密進行、蓄意破壞教會的行為,絕不是一般的缺失而已。他們的笑容還留在我們的腦海中,這樣我們就可以瞭解是怎麼一回事。

我曾經說,教會是教父的教會。我之所以這樣說,是因為有些人告訴我:「我不需要來教會,因為,我的家裡就有聖像,我可以自己在家祈禱。」一位真正的東正教徒不會有這樣的想法,因為,正教會的信仰是合一,我們必須在聖禮儀中與一切合一。什麼是地獄?地獄就是分離。許多在荒漠中祈禱的教父都說,在地獄裡,每個人都是孤獨地活著、看不見其他人。我們應該好好地、深刻地瞭解什麼是「合一」。

祈禱的時候,我們不說「我在天上的父」,而是說「我們的父」。即使我隱居在深山裡,過著遺世獨立的生活,父還是所有弟兄姊妹的父,是所有人的父。父就是上帝。因此,在祈禱中我們應該試著與所有人合一。耶穌向聖父祈求:「叫他們心裡充滿我的喜樂。」這就是上帝的喜樂。儘管我們的生活充滿挑戰,然而,在內心深處,我們都應該保有這份喜樂,它並非來自於世間,而是耶穌基督的恩賜。願聖三守護我們。阿門。

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council    John 17:1-14

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.   “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.    “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world,I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.   20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

The Gospel for today is one of the most important and the most beautiful in the Church because it has the prayer of the High Priest, the prayer of Jesus Christ before he was arrested. This so important for us, and especially for people here, for Chinese people. Because many times when I teach here and I talk about eternal life, some people say to me, “I don’t want eternal life. I don’t want to live eternally, but to die and just disappear.” But Jesus Christ says to us today that eternal life is not something that starts after death, but it starts from now. It is so unique, what Jesus Christ says. And this is eternal life, He says to His Father, “To know You as the only God, the Father, and to know Him who sent Jesus Christ.” From this point of view we understand something unique: we had been thinking that eternal life is the soul, and when we die it lives forever. But it’s not this. Everybody, anyway, we all live by the Grace of God and the Love of God. But the Gospel says that eternal life is to know the Father.

         This knowledge is not an intellectual knowledge, like we study and we know by our minds so many things. This knowledge, as the Bible says, is a participation. It is like the husband knows his wife in a very unique way. It is as the Apostle Paul knew Jesus Christ, because he said, “It is not me who live, but Jesus, who lives in me.” It is this kind of knowledge, and it is to know God and to have this communion and participation in the life of God, to know God not as an abstract power, as many people think today, “Oh, God, something abstract.” [waving his hands in the air], but to know Him as Father, as Communion. And we cannot know him as Father without knowing the Son, and to know the Son, we know Him not only intellectually, but because He became human and we open our bodies to receive Him through the Holy Communion. And this is the deepest knowledge that the Son of God wants to have for Himself. Someone could say, “And where is the Holy Spirit, why doesn’t He mention it.” But the Holy Spirit is that which makes us able and possible to have all this communion with God. Because, as the Bible says, “In Your light we will see light.” And only in the Holy Spirit can we know the Father and can we face the Son.

         So this knowledge of God is the life of the Trinity that comes to us, and we should live this life, and we live this in the Church. So this is eternal life, to know the Holy Trinity. This is why in another chapter, in Chapter 6 Jesus Christ says, “He who has the body of Jesus Christ, He who knows and believes in Him, will not taste Death.” Because in this life already he already feels and starts the eternal life forever
        And He says also, “Thank you Father because You sent me to this world, and I give everything, I did everything You said to me to do.” He says, “Glorify the Father as you glorify Me when I am with you.” And to glorify the name of the Father, “Father, glorify Your name.” But what kind of glory is Jesus asking for? Is it human glory, like “Glorify me because I am so good?” Of course, absolutely not. The word glory, voxa in the Bible, always has the meaning of glorifying, and worshipping and knowing God. And it ios the glory of the Name of God, because the name is a presence: the Name of God is not Mr. God, or Mr. Abcd, or something, but it is the Father and it is the glory and it is the uncreated energy of God that goes everywhere. And this Glory of God, the sikhina in Hebrew, was in Moses when God made Moses full of light. And Jesus Christ in the Transfiguration was full of this, and He allowed the disciples to see Him once as He was.

         And when He says, “Glorify me Father,” what is the glory that He wants? It is the glory of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection and the glory of the Ascension. The Cross and the Resurrection and the Ascension and the Second Coming cannot be separated, but they are all different manifestations of the one Glory of God. And this Glory of God is not just for God, but to attract us and to unite us with God, with the mystery of the Holy Trinity. In the next Sunday, when our Church celebrates the Holy Trinity, we will say more about this; but today Jesus says, “Father, everything that is Yours is Mine, and everything that I have is Yours.” And He says “everything” because He prays for His disciples. And in praying for his disciples, He does not pray only for them, but in the same chapter (17:20-22), He prays for us. This why, please, when you go home, you should read Chapter 17. It is a prayer for us, and we must be very happy for this. And He says, “Father you gave to me these Disciples, and from you they were, and I kept them from the Word. And I did not lose any of them, except for the son of perdition (He means Judas.)” And why does he say this, because, yes, everything belongs to God – but it’s not everybody who is saved. God gives everything and everybody of us to the Son. But we are not just things. If we believe and we accept this, then we really belong to God. And this is why he mentions Judas, because Judas made his choice even though Jesus Christ many times told him not to do that.

        But it is also important to understand this cooperation that we have with God. God is always coming to us. What it is for us to do is to open ourselves and say, “Yes, Lord, come.” To know God and to have eternal life, it is not enough just to know, but [it is necessary] to keep the commandments of God, as the Gospel says. Because in the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “He who keeps the commandments, Me and my Father will come and make a home in the heart of this person.” So, when we keep the commandments of God, it is not keeping a law, but it is a special way to make the Life of God practically in my heart and in my faith.

         And Jesus says something that is so meaningful for our condition, He speaks about the unity. He says, “Father, make them One as We are one.” This unity, it is not a human unity, it is not like a unity of a political party or a nation or a religious group. It is the mystery of existence, It is the way of God, because God is a unity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one essence, one will, one power, and this unity in diversity is the way that we should live. But we don’t live in it, and this is the Fall. And when we live in it, this is Paradise. And we see the drama of human beings – that we are separated in space, in time. We understand ourselves by this separation, by coming out of the mother’s belly with cutting and crying, by a separation. And we want union, we want to love, to be united with somebody, a perfect union, and this is marriage. But death comes and separates us, and it is not only death that separates, but it is so many problems that we have. Now you understand how important and how deep is this way of existence that God is calling us to have. And this is what we are doing in the Church, and this is why we come to the Liturgy. Because in the Liturgy, finally, the Holy Spirit in the Body of Jesus Christ makes us One, even if we have human weaknesses and our own personalities with all the troubles that everyone has. And this is why, especially in the Liturgy of St. Basil, but in every Liturgy also, we say, “God, may all those who participate in Your Body to become One.”As the Holy Trinity – three Persons, one essence, humanity – many persons, one essence: the Body of Jesus Christ. And who is making this mystery? The Holy Spirit, which is in the Church, but we don’t see it, it’s invisible. From this point of view, it is so important to keep and to improve this unity.

        Unfortunately, in the Church we have had so many bad situations and bad people, who broke this unity. The Church is so concerned with heretics not because of what they believe, but because they break the unity of the Body of Jesus Christ. And this is why today the Church, before the Sunday of the Holy Trinity next week – the Pentecost, the Church celebrates the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. It is because the Fathers protected the body of the Church, and they told heretics to go out because their belief does not lead to the unity of God, and to the knowledge of God, but it is out of the Church. So the Church is not only the Church of Jesus Christ; it is not only the Church of the Holy Spirit. It is the Church of the Apostles, and it is the Church of the Holy Fathers, who gave us and protected the faith and the unity of the Church. St. Alexandros, the bishop of Alexandria, saw a vision and he was crying when he say the cloth of Jesus Christ, which had been one piece of cloth without any cutting, split because of Arius, the heretic.

         But we don’t talk only about these people [from the past]; we have the very sad privilege to see a split here, in our church. See what we read in the Epistle for today, Apostle Paul before he dies in Ephesus, in Miletus, he says, “I know that after my departure, fierce wolves will come among you.” (And we saw the wolf coming from Hong Kong to destroy our church.) “And from among you, from your own selves, will arise men speaking covert things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” [Acts 20:29-30] to take out the people from the Church. Now we read the Epistle for today, and we saw them here, smiling, confessing on this balcony, and opening their mouth to receive the Body of Jesus Christ, and trying to split him, like Judas did. They play with the sacraments of Jesus Christ. And their leader did Liturgy here as Judas; he is the new Judas. So Apostle Paul, when he says this, and when we read the Bible, it’s not only for those people; it is here today. And today they will read these same things from the Bible. They are directed to them, but they say the lies that they are trained to say in front of God. And there is no bigger sin than to split the Church, as Chrysostom says. Even if someone who splits the Church becomes a martyr, God will not forgive him because he split the Church. And because there is no need: it is different from somebody having a personal weakness (I have even more than you.) and even to quarrel with others, it is not so good, but it is a personal weakness. But to destroy on purpose, and to plan for years to do this to the Church, trying secretly. Now, you can see their smiles and you can remember and you can understand.

         But I also say that the Church is the Church of the Fathers, and I say this because some people say to me, “Oh, I don’t come to the church, but I have icons in my house and I can pray to God; that is enough.” This person who says these things is not an Orthodox person. He has some other religion, but not the Orthodox religion, because the Orthodox religion is a unity, all to be one in the Liturgy, and if you take this out then there is no other thing in the Orthodox Church. And what is Hell? It is separation. You see, many Fathers of the Desert say that Hell is not to see others, but just to live in individuality: this is Hell. So, from this point of view, it is very important to understand how deep is the unity.

        And when we pray, we don’t say, “My Father who art in Heaven,” we say “Our Father.” Because even if I am alone in the mountains and I don’t see anybody, still the Father is the Father of my brothers, the Father of my enemies; it is God the Father. So from this point of view, try to keep the unity. And if we have the unity, Jesus prays to the Father, “To have my joy in them.” This is the joy of God that every Christian should have in bottom of his heart. Yes, we may have a lot of troubles, but in the heart, in the very center, we should have always the joy that is not from this world, it is the gift of Jesus Christ. He says at the end of the Gospel today, “Father I want to have my own joy in their hearts.” And this joy that is Jesus Christ you should keep in your heart. May the Holy Trinity protect us all.