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愛是一把賜予生命的利劍,

斬斷期待,不求任何回報。

 

主日經文

「神的殿和偶像有什麼相同呢?因為我們是永生神的殿,就如神曾說:我要在他們中間居住,在他們中間來往;我要作他們的神;他們要作我的子民。又說:你們務要從他們中間出來,與他們分別;不要沾不潔淨的物,我就收納你們。我要作你們的父;你們要作我的兒女。這是全能的主說的。親愛的弟兄啊,我們既有這等應許,就當潔淨自己,除去身體、靈魂一切的污穢,敬畏神,得以成聖。」(哥林多後書6:16-18;7:1)

「你們願意人怎樣待你們,你們也要怎樣待人。你們若單愛那愛你們的人,有什麼可酬謝的呢?就是罪人也愛那愛他們的人。你們若善待那善待你們的人,有什麼可酬謝的呢?就是罪人也是這樣行。你們若借給人,指望從他收回,有什麼可酬謝的呢?就是罪人也借給罪人,要如數收回。你們倒要愛仇敵,也要善待他們,並要借給人不指望償還,你們的賞賜就必大了,你們也必作至高者的兒子;因為他恩待那忘恩的和作惡的。你們要慈悲,像你們的父慈悲一樣。」(路加福音6:1-36)

 

李亮神父講道:

 

今天福音書的內容很深奧,與基督信仰的所有面向都有關;因為耶穌基督是在教我們該如何行為、如何生活。耶穌不是單單指示我們該這樣做、那樣做,祂要告訴我們的是關乎生命。祂說的不是基於某些原則而產生的律法,如:經濟、社會、政治原則等,他要告訴我們的是:「你們願意人怎樣待你們,你們也要怎樣待人」

這是什麼意思?每個人都需要愛,誰不需要呢?倘若我需要愛,我就必須先去愛人。我在此討論「愛」,因為其他的主題比較容易理解。舉例來說,誠實,如果要別人對我誠實,這是每個人都想要的,那就要誠實待人。但我要繼續談論「愛」,因它是最美、最困難、也是最簡單的。多數人不知如何去愛,只要求別人愛他們;但他們仍不以此為滿足,認為這不是他們所要的愛。

但愛不是由別人給予,是要你向他人敞開自己。真愛不是一本目錄,向你的配偶一項項列出想要的東西,那只是在提出自己的要求。事實上,愛是:若我想要你愛我,那我也要愛你,如同我期待你愛我的方式那樣,熱切地愛你。

或許你認為對方達不到你的期待,他不夠愛你。首先,真正的原因,是因為你並未真的愛對方,你只是充滿期待。耶穌告訴我們,你們若只愛那愛你們的人,不就和稅吏等惡人一樣,那些人只不過是在互相包庇。但真愛是危險的,是要向對方敞開自己。當我說真愛是「危險」的,我的意思不是要人害怕去愛,因人若不去愛,就已身處地獄之中。

我們塑造這樣的愛,這是藉著奉獻與自由的選擇,去愛對方原本的樣子。但耶穌說到這樣的愛是不藏自私的愛,但對一般人而言這樣的愛並不合邏輯。祂說到:「你們若借給人,指望從他收回,有什麼可酬謝的呢?就是罪人也借給罪人,要如數收回。」(路加福音6:34)難道你覺得你這樣做是什麼偉大的事?耶穌告訴我們「借給人不指望償還」,但人無法接受這種想法,總擔心別人會把錢私吞不還。

但我們必須了解某件事,我們必須非常地愛神,並且擁有智慧,才能了解福音書的內容,特別是論及心智的內容時。而這種智慧是神所賜的,是非常崇高的德性,是十分高超的恩賜。舉例來說,若人向你借貸,要拿錢嗜毒,你知道他不可能還錢,而且向你一借再借。若你借他,就是幫他取得毒品自殺。再舉一例,若是小孩吵著父母買東西,若是父母缺少智慧屈服於孩子的吵鬧而購物,這就是在助長孩子養成自私自利的個性。這就是我的重點,我們需要智慧,但智慧不會自己出現,它來自禱告,來自領受聖餐,或是來自與屬靈父親的交談。

我們回到福音書中最重要的事,這是基督教最重要的特質。耶穌說:「你們倒要愛仇敵」。有人可能會問:「這是什麼啊?」,但這是基督信仰中最重要的特質。我們如何知道我們愛神?當我們能愛我們的仇敵時。有人會說:「神為何向我們說這些?」根據人的想法,愛仇敵是很不合理的舉動,敵人既想殺死我,為何我應該愛仇敵?因為這就是神存在的方式,祂是愛、是聖三一的共存,祂活在我們裡面,即使我們恨惡祂。神認識我們,依著我們的本像愛我們,祂將我們的「恨惡」與我們的「人格」分別開來。

例如,若你身為我的敵人恨我,試著在我身上行惡,但我會將你所行的惡與你本身分隔開來。我會將你所行的惡,視為魔鬼對你的掌控,而不是你本身;而我愛的是你。但如果你拿著刀朝我砍來,難道我要對你說:「殺我吧!」當然不是,我會自衛抵抗,為的是避免使你成為殺人犯。我會抓住你,試著讓你冷靜下來,並且我心中應該感到無限的憐憫,我會切切祈求神改變你想殺害我的態度。耶穌說我們應該愛他人,因為天父愛著你;即使你狡猾作惡,但天父仍然愛你。

這是很重要的,但如何能解釋神這種瘋狂的愛呢?神為何愛我們呢?我們各方面都沒有任何良善,但神看待我們,是將我們與我們的罪,兩者區分開來的。在我有限的經驗中,我明白這對華人來說,很難將人與事分開,將人與紛爭分開。但是對西方文化來說,公私分明是很自然的,工作上我們可以彼此不認同某件事,甚至為此激烈爭辯;但吃飯時間一到,我們可以不理會公事,還是單純愉快地和對方一起吃飯。我愛你,意見不同是另一件事情。

重要的是,請開始試著了解,如果我們能愛仇敵,就證明了我們真的愛神。有人可能會問,這是否表示我期待他對仇敵說:「明天我會在某處,你可以來殺我。」不,當然不是的。我們都知道面對仇敵時,必須面對很深的痛苦,我也多次感受這樣的痛苦。即使在阿陀斯聖山(Mt. Athos)也是如此,更不用說在這裡或是其他地方,我們每個人都需要面對仇敵,也都知道這樣的痛苦。因為理論上是可行的,所以我要來說明如何實際地去愛我們的仇敵。

首先你要拋棄任何你要對方去死的想法。我們要為對方禱告。我們試著,當有惡念出現時,就要為對方禱告;即使惡念沒有出現,也要為仇敵禱告,甚至要比為朋友禱告更多方多次地為仇敵禱告。我們可將他的名字遞給司祭祝禱,大家過去給我的祝禱紙片我都保存著,其中就有人寫著「為我的仇敵」禱告。我很受感動,因為這樣的人說明他是真正的東正教徒。這是我們應要做的第一個實際方法。

另個觀點,是奧秘,也是教會的牧靈方式。比如有時教會會對某人說:「因為你做了這樣的事情,所以你不可領受聖餐。」教會這樣做目的不在處罰,而是要藉此幫助他了解他所做的是錯誤的。教會的牧靈關懷並非為了報復,而是要讓他知道錯誤的行為。其次,是為了保護其他會眾。你們部分人知道我如何切切地向神祈禱讓我死去,因為我不想見到教會分裂。但我從未藉著禱告來反對任何人。事實上我切切地為對方的悔改、健康代禱,祈禱他不會對教會做出任何惡事。

有些人會說:「我沒有仇敵」,但我們今日的問題不全然在於如何愛仇敵,而是我們連如何愛我們的朋友都不知道。我們不知道如何愛我們的丈夫或妻子、男女朋友,甚至我們的孩子。我們能夠列出一長串期待對方要為我們做的事,但我們從沒想過列出要幫對方做些什麼的清單。若我們以為自己是國王,而不丟棄那長串期待,不去銷毀對方應該要幫我做些什麼的清單,那麼,別說「愛」了!

愛,從某個觀點看來是讓人痛苦的,但這是一把賜予生命的劍,因為我愛你,我斬斷了我期待你要為我做的事:不求任何回報。我愛你就好像是一種挑戰,像是從陽台上跳下去一樣,因為當我說我愛你時,我捨棄了自己孤立的個體性,我將自己的生命給了你;我為你這麼做,付出生命所有一切;沒有你,我的生命就沒有意義。

對於我們的付出,如果對方冷眼回應這又怎麼辦呢?那麼讓我們看看耶穌基督的作法,神降世為人,但我們有多少人真心信祂,有多人真的配得?我也不配得。但這就是愛的起點。

同樣這也是愛的終點,因為神明白這一切,即使對方的心硬如頑石,神也會漸漸將石心變為肉心。夫妻間若總是數落對方說這樣做不好、那樣不好,對方就會說你昨天的舊帳。然而我們要的是完全相反的狀況。

我們孩子也是同樣的道理,別將孩子視為我們生命的延續,孩童他們應是自由的。我不是指父母不要教育孩子,但父母不要把那些自己過去沒有機會的做的事,放在孩子身上,強迫孩子完成你的夢想。

有人可能會認為我所說的這些事情都太危險了。的確是危險的。這樣的愛,若不靠著聖餐禮,若不領受基督的聖體聖血,是無法產生功效的。因為我信任神,所以我願意向你、向我所愛的人敞開自己。耶穌會看見我們變得像祂,而祂會在對方身上行使神蹟,祂會破碎他們心門外的硬殼,使他們的心變得十分溫柔。

開始在你生命中嘗試,看看你能為別人做些什麼,而不是期待別人對你做些什麼,這就是生命的核心。有人會問我:「什麼是生命的意義?」生命的意義在於我們要賦予生命意義,Victor Frankl寫過許多生命意義的作品,若你問他生命有何意義,他會告訴你-生命的意義在於你為別人做了什麼。你會說:「這太瘋狂了!」是的,在神裡面,你領受寶貴無價的聖餐。因為如此,你當問問自己,你為別人付出多少,而不要期待別人為你付出。

而你總是能在教會的脈絡裡,透過領受聖餐及與屬靈父親的交談,得到智慧,知道如何好好處理這些事。講道在此將告一段落,但請記得這些教導。

今天是Pelagia的聖名日,我們會為她唱頌「年年喜樂」的詩歌,祝福她這許多年來出於對神的愛,在教會的服事,也包容了我個性中不好的部分。

 

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2014.10.05 路加福音第二主日

東正教會簡介:http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

紀錄: Timothy Baker教授

Photo: Alice Popkorn  https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/5495590116/

 

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2114.10.05 Second Sunday of Luke – How to Love?

 

St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1  BRETHREN, you are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.

The Gospel of Luke 6:31-36  The Lord said, “And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

 

Fr. Jonah’s Sermon

The Gospel today is very deep and it relates to almost every aspect of Christianity because Jesus Christ is telling us how we should behave, how we should live. And Jesus Christ is not giving simple directions like you must do this and you must not do that, but what He tells us is about life. He does not speak about a law that is based in some principles, like economic principles, or social or political principles, but he says that as you want other people to behave to you, behave in that way to them.

What does this mean? Each one of us has the need for love. Who does not have this? So, if I want love, I must love the others. I speak about love because I don’t want to speak about other things since it is easier, for example, if I want the others to be honest to me, because everybody wants this, to be fair to others. But I will continue talking about love because it is the most beautiful, the most difficult – and the easiest thing. Because most people do not know how to love, they want others to love them. And they are not satisfied, saying that maybe he or she does not love as I want him or her to love me.

But love is not what the other is giving to you; it is your opening to the other. Real love is not a catalogue, like what I want from my wife or husband, one, two, three, four things: just making demands. But it is: if I want love, then I will love you, and I will love you so strongly as I expect you to love me.

You may say that the other is not loving me as much as I expected. First of all, the first reason is that you don’t really love the other; you ar full of expectations. But we will say more about this thing to understand it. Jesus Christ says that if you love only the people who love you, then what are you doing more than bad people, who are just protecting each other? Real love is something dangerous, is an opening to the other. When I say “dangerous,” I don’t mean that somebody who loves is going to be afraid – because if he does not love then he is already in Hell.

We make this love. It is by our dedication and by our free choice to love the other as he is. But Jesus Christ speaks about this love that has no selfishness inside. He says something that does not make sense for ordinary human beings. He says that if you lend money to people that you expect will repay your loan, what is your virtue? Do you think you have done something great? But He says, “I say to you to lend money to the other even if you don’t expect the other to give it back.” This is very strange because somebody will say, “The other will eat my money.”

But we must understand something. To understand the things of the Gospel, especially things of the mind, requires us to love God very much and to have the wisdom, which is a very high virtue, a very high gift of God. For example, if somebody comes to you and says, “Lend me money,” and he is going to use it to buy drugs, you know he will not give it back. He will come again and again. So if you give him money then you will be helping him to get drugs and to die. We have kids here (and I’m sorry that they have left and will not hear this) but for example, the kids may tell their parents, “Buy this for me. I want this and this.” If the parents do not have the wisdom to say they will not do that, then the children will become very selfish people when they grow up. And this is my point, that we need this wisdom, but this wisdom does not come all by itself, it comes after prayers, and taking the Holy Communion, and talking about things with our spiritual father.

But we now we come to the most important thing in the Gospel, which is the most characteristic thing of Christianity. Jesus says, “I say to you, to love your enemies.” People may ask, “What is this?” But this is the most characteristic thing about Christianity. How do we know that we love God? It is we can love our enemies. Somebody will say, “Why does God say this to us?” According to human idea, it does not fit. Why should I love my enemy when he wants to kill me? This is because how God exists, as love, as coexistence as the three Persons, and he exists in us also, even if we hate him. God sees us and loves us as we are, separating our hatred from our personality.

For example, if you are my enemy, I think that this activity of being my enemy, hating me and trying to do something bad to me, but I separate that from you. I say that is the devil, it is something else. You, I love you. What will I say if you come at me with a knife, what will I say, “Kill me?” No, I will defend my life. And why? Because I don’t want you to become a killer. Yes, I will catch you, I will put you somewhere to relax, but in my heart I should feel the ultimate mercy and I will pray a lot to God to change your attitude of wanting to kill me. Jesus Christ says that we should love the others “because your Father loves you,” even though you are cunning people and not good people. But the Father loves you.

It is very important, how to explain this crazy love of God. Why does God love us? We don’t have any good aspects. But God sees me and separates my sin from me. From my humble experience here, I see that it is very difficult for Chinese people to separate the person from some matter, from some quarrels. But for example, at work we can disagree about something but later we can eat together because we separate our job and the other things. I love you, and differences are differences.

It is very important to start, and to understand how we can prove that we love God—if we love our enemy. Somebody may ask what do I expect him to say to his enemy: “Tomorrow I will be there so you can come and kill me?” And we know the very deep pain, and I have felt this pain many times when (I cannot say personal things, but trust me, very bad things, even on Mt. Athos, not to mention here and other places. But we know, everybody knows, how painful this is). But I will speak to you practically – because the theory is OK – how to love my enemy.

First you throw away any thought that you wish the other to be dead. We pray for the other. We try, when the bad thoughts come, to pray for him, and even when the bad thoughts don’t come, to pray for him even more than for our friends. We commemorate his name and give it to the priest. In the many of the pieces of papers that I have, and I have kept all the pieces of paper that people have given me, some people write, “For my enemies.” And I am very moved because the person who would write these things is a real Orthodox Christian. And so this is the first step practically in what we need to do.

Now, from another point of view, it is a mystery and it is the pastoral way of the Church. For example, sometimes the Church says to someone, “Because you did this, so you will not receive the Holy Communion.” The Church is not doing this to punish the person, but to help him to understand that this is wrong. And the pastoral care of the church is not to take revenge, but first to show that what you have done is wrong, and second, to protect the others. And some of you may know how much I prayed to God that I might die because I didn’t want this splitting of our Church. Because I never pray against anybody. Indeed, I pray very strongly for the others’ repentence and health and not to do bad things to the Church of God.

But somebody may say to me, “I have no enemies.” I think the problem today is not so much how to love our enemies; it is that we don’t know how to love our friends. We don’t know how to love our husband or wife, our boyfriend or girlfriend, even our children. We have a catalog of what we expect from the other. But we never make a catalog of what I want to do for the other. Because only if I throw away the catalog destroying my list of what the other should do for me because I am the king. If I don’t do this then forget about love.

Love, as I say, it can be very painful from one point of view. But it is a life-giving sword because I cut away what I expect you to do for me because I love you: I don’t expect anything. I love you, and this is a jump off the balcony. Why? Because I give up my individuality when I say I love you and I give my life to you: I will do this for you; I will spend all my life for you, and without you my life has no meaning.

You will say, “What? And how about if the other does not respond well?” But you see what Jesus Christ did? God became human. And how many of us really believe Him and how many of us really deserve this? Even me, I don’t deserve it. And so this is the beginning of love.

And it is the end of love also, because, you know, this power, because God sees this and then even if the heart of the other is like a stone gradually God will make it become like and egg. Or between husband and wife, because if we have this way of saying to the other, “You did not behave well to me; what you do is not good.” Then the other will say, “Yesterday you…” But it should be the opposite.

And the same happens with our kids. We cannot see our children as the continuation of our lives. The kids should be free: I don’t say not to educate your children, but don’t think to say, “You should study this because I wanted to study it and I did not have the opportunity, and now you will be what I wanted to be and did not succeed.”

Somebody may say, “But Father, all these things you are saying are very dangerous.” They are dangerous. But we have something, because these things don’t work without this [pointing to the chalice on the altar], without the Holy Communion. Because I trust God, this is why I can open myself to you, to the people that I love. And Jesus will see that we become like Him, and he will do his miracle to the other person, to break the difficult thing outside of their heart so their heart will be very gentle.

Try this, start to try it in your life, to see what you do for others, not what you are expecting the others to do for you. This is the center of life. Some people will ask, and I will finish with this, “What is the meaning of life.” The meaning of life is that we give meaning to life. If you ask Victor Frankl, who wrote a lot about this, what Is life doing for me, [he will tell you] it is what you do for the others. “Like crazy!” you will say. Yes, in God, and because you take this [pointing to the chalice], which is precious. (how much should we sell the Holy Communion for?) Because of this, yes, you do this and you ask yourself what do I do for you, and not what you expect me to do for you.

And always in the context of the Church, receiving the Holy Communion and talking with the spiritual father, you can have the wisdom to do these things properly. So, I will stop here to remember these things. And we will say many happy years to Pelagia, to bless her for working so many years here for the love of God and taking all the bad things from my character.

 

Recorder: Prof. Timothy Baker

 

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