在教堂裡面,我們總是看見聖母懷抱著襁褓中的耶穌。這個畫面是我們每個人的寫照。我們也要像聖母一樣,成為耶穌基督的母親,孕育耶穌基督在我們體內,守護在懷中,直到我們獲得真正的轉化,變成耶穌基督的形象。

 

李亮神父 講道

 

首先,我想要告訴大家一個訊息,教會每天都有舉行聖餐禮,歡迎各位踴躍參加。

本週教會慶祝八月十五日「聖母長眠紀念日」,我想與各位談談聖母馬利亞對於教會和世界的意義。在歌頌聖母馬利亞的禱文中提到:「喔,聖母,妳是純潔無罪的。在妳之內,超脫了一切人性的限制與束縛。生產之後,妳仍然保持童貞。藉由死亡,妳成為生命之母。懷胎的童貞女死後得到了永生。喔,上帝的母親,我們祈求妳,拯救我們每一個人,妳的後代子孫。」這是一段非常深刻、美麗又富有神學意義的祈禱文。這祈禱文原文希臘文,在座各位可能不太懂希臘文,但是,如果用希臘文來讀誦,更能表現出其中深刻的哲學涵義。

聖母是上帝創造宇宙萬物的「因」,宇宙萬物都是上帝所創造的。上帝創造萬物,不只是要他們存在而已,而是希望他們可以成長、擴展,最後,共同造就聖母馬利亞。這是什麼意思呢?上帝創造各式各樣的受造物,受造物組成了我們的世界。然後,上帝也進入這個世界,並且與世界合而為一。然而,上帝並非強行進入,祂用尊重的方式與世界合作。上帝耐心等待著世界的回應,期待有一天有人對祂說:「來吧!」

聖母馬利亞是世界共同創造的傑作,在她身上整合了全世界,她對上帝說:「來吧!」上帝進入她的體內。我們可以說,聖母馬利亞圓滿了上帝當初創造世界的初心。在聖母身上,包容了從世界誕生的那一刻起人類擁有過的一切「分別」(divisions)。我們都知道,宇宙萬物的物種、性質不盡相同,這些差異也導致了彼此的分離。即使在同樣的物種中,也存在了更細微的差別,例如:性別的差異,公與母,男與女。然而,在聖母之內,超脫了世間的一切分別與差異。

我們擁有時間的觀念,必須經歷出生和死亡。舉例來說:我們認為女孩的童貞一定在先,懷孕生產一定在後。然而,聖母超越了時間的概念,。她雖然產下一名嬰孩,然而,她仍然保有童貞。八月十五日那一天,聖母馬利亞的兒子不捨讓她死去,所以又讓她復活,並且把她接到天國。從此之後,聖母馬利亞就一直在天國裡面。

聖母馬利亞成就了一項奧秘,她超越了萬物之間的分別與差異。儘管萬物天生有許多相異之處,然而,聖母馬利亞將這些「分別」轉化為「關係」。這種關係就是所謂的「合一的關係」,亦即「與上帝合一,也與其他受造物合一。」上帝成為人類,也就是耶穌基督。上帝道成肉身,以「男性」的樣貌誕生在世上。儘管,上帝取了「男性」的性別,然而,它的意義不同於世間對「男性」的觀念(例如:負起成家立業、供養妻兒的責任)。同樣地,聖母馬利亞以女性人類的樣貌與本質接納了上帝,然而,在她身上「女性」的意義也不同於世間的看法。在耶穌基督和聖母馬利亞身上,我們可以看出「性別」的深刻奧秘。事實上,「性別」代表的不是一種差異,而是一種合一。上帝是沒有性別的。我們雖然稱上帝為父,然而,這不表示上帝就是男性。事實上,在《雅歌》中,上帝一度被稱為女性。

我們也知道,聖母代表教會,她的形象象徵了教會。教會對耶穌說:「主,來吧!請來我這裡。」由此,我們可以察覺上帝、聖母、耶穌、教會之間的關係,也可以看出萬事萬物之間都是緊密相連。的確,耶穌為世界做了許多刻意的安排,例如:祂召喚門徒,他們傳承了教會。門徒舉行了許多聖事,讓教友都能領受聖餐。然而,讓我們仔細思索,領受聖餐的究竟是誰?我們會發現,是馬利亞代表教會領受了聖餐、領受了上帝。是馬利亞建立了我們與上帝之間的關係,並且讓此關係落實在日常生活之中,讓它們變得活潑又真實。

馬利亞並非祭司,她並沒有舉行任何特別的聖事,然而,她將自己完全獻給上帝。她所做的事情已經包含了祭司所有的工作,沒有人比聖母更愛上帝,沒有人能夠像聖母一樣,完全向上帝開放她的心,讓上帝進入她的體內。我們每個人都應該以聖母為典範,因為,聖母開啟了一個新的方式,讓上帝可以來到她裡面,也讓我們真正與上帝合一,這個方式連天使也不曾聽聞。

馬利亞提出的方式是耶穌所接受的。在福音中曾經提到,馬利亞和親友們等候著耶穌基督,然而,耶穌基督卻說:「誰是我的母親?能夠遵守上帝的聖言的人,才是我的母親。」還有,馬利亞懷孕的時候,有婦女為她祈禱,說:「孕育著祢並且將祢產下的子宮,是有福的。那餵養祢乳汁的乳房是有福的。」所以,耶穌告訴我們,能夠遵行上帝的教導,並且完全信賴上帝的人,才是他的母親、他的兄弟姊妹,也是最有福的人。我們每一個人,都是耶穌基督的母親和兄弟姊妹。

正如St. Symeon the New Theologian所言:「在教堂裡面,我們總是看見聖母懷抱著襁褓中的耶穌。這個畫面是我們每個人的寫照。我們也要像聖母一樣,成為耶穌基督的母親,孕育耶穌基督在我們體內。」我們應該像聖母一樣,將耶穌孕育在體內、守護在懷中,直到我們獲得真正的轉化,變成耶穌基督的形象。St. Symeon the New Theologian的教導,傳遞了非常美麗的神學,然而,很不幸的,在台灣有些基督徒無法接受這樣的思想。前幾天,我向一位新教教會的女牧師提起這件事情,她有點不悅,因為她無法接受這樣的觀念。

聖母深愛著耶穌,她沒有經歷任何產痛就生下耶穌,然而,就在耶穌基督的心臟被長矛刺穿的那一刻,她的心也被刺穿了。(神父手拿著聖餐禮用來切麵包的刀子,指向自己心臟的地方。)耶穌在十字架上的時候對他的母親說:「婦人,這是妳的兒子。」然後,耶穌將馬利亞交付給約翰。藉由約翰,耶穌讓聖母馬利亞成為眾人的母親,馬利亞也接受了這樣的身份。然後,耶穌基督對約翰說:「這是你的母親。」耶穌基督透過這樣的方式,讓眾人知道,他讓聖母馬利亞成為眾人的母親。從這一刻起,聖母馬利亞就真正成為我們每一個人的母親。

正如St Epiphanius of Cyprus(Salamis的主教,卒於西元403年)所言:「創世紀第3章第20節告訴我們,上帝召喚亞當成為人類的父親,召喚夏娃成為人類的母親。這只是一則象徵性的預言、並非事實,它預言了聖母馬利亞將成為所有人的母親,而新亞當—耶穌也將出現。耶穌才是我們真正的父親,他是所有在聖水和聖靈中重生的人的父親。因此,我們並非亞當的後代,而是新亞當—耶穌基督的後代。」

在《啟示錄》中,聖母與教會關係密切。《啟示錄》提到了,有一位婦女去到荒漠之中,遇見一條龍想要吃她的孩子。的確,這位婦女就是我們的教會,她也是聖母馬利亞。聖母的形象代表了教會。聖母完全開放自己的心,將自己奉獻給上帝,這就是神父職位最重要、最核心的意義。聖母總是為了眾人、為了一切受造物(我們全部都是她的孩子)向耶穌祈禱、懇求。她生活在世間,卻從未犯下任何罪,只有一些微不足道的小地方沒有達到完美。(例如:耶穌十二歲的時候自己跑去聖殿,那時馬利亞並不理解其中的意義。)她的心靈如此純潔,她是上帝真正的聖殿。

舊約中有許多地方,象徵性地提到了這一切。在猶太文化中,「約櫃」(Tabernacle)具有很高的重要性。「約櫃」是什麼呢?它是一個裝有猶太律法的盒子,象徵了聖母馬利亞的子宮,承載了上帝真正的聖言。這就是為什麼在我們教會的聖餐禮中,祭壇是開放性的,每個人都可以看到祭壇上如何準備聖餐。我們把祭壇上的麵包稱為羔羊。用刀切開麵包,象徵了耶穌基督的身體。我們將麵包分割為許多小塊,其中一塊象徵了聖母。我們會說:「此時,女王就在你的右手。」在獻祭之後,我們召喚聖靈改變麵包與酒,之後緊接著,猜猜看我們為誰獻上讚美詩?就是聖母瑪利亞。

我們向聖母獻上聖餐禮,因為聖餐禮代表了天國的喜悅,聖餐禮也是聖母的喜悅。我們共同讚頌聖母,她的榮耀比任何天使還高,即使是那些在上帝身邊服侍的天使,他們的榮耀也比不過聖母。正教會為聖母獻上了非常美麗而帶有深刻神學意義的祈禱文和讚美詩。各位若是能夠好好研讀、唱誦這些作品,一定可以得到許多收穫。

聖母馬利亞在我們的生命中暗藏了許多恩惠。她總是給我們某些提示、某些保護,不斷為我們行一些小小的奇蹟。在世界的許多角落,聖母都以深刻又動人的方式顯現在人們面前。我們應該要向聖母馬利亞祈禱,常常思維她所行的奇蹟,這是愛上帝最好的方式。在每一個東正教教堂裡面,在祭壇上方,都會有一個很大的聖母馬利亞的聖像,她展開雙臂給所有人一個大大的擁抱。我們的教會也有,只是比較小。在聖母懷中,我們可以看見耶穌基督。可見,聖母不斷召喚我們,將耶穌好好安置在內心深處。聖母希望我們接納耶穌在我們內,然後好好地孕育他。

此外,關於今天誦讀的福音書,我簡短地講解一下。福音提到,當時,許多飢餓的人沒有東西吃,耶穌基督告訴他的門徒:「給他們一些食物吧。」然而,門徒卻跟耶穌說:「我們只有五個小麵包和幾條魚,這些東西我們自己吃都不夠了,怎麼分給別人呢?」耶穌祝福了這些食物之後,命令門徒把食物分享出去,但是,這些食物怎麼分都分不完,不但每個人都吃飽了還有剩餘。

我們常常覺得工作是一種換取金錢、養活家人的義務。有時候,我們會對上帝說:「上帝,我沒有工作,我只有一點點錢,一點點財產…」不要害怕,上帝會把這一點點變成足夠。上帝絕對會把現有的一點點東西,變成比「足夠」更多,我們絕對有充足的東西可以分享給摯愛的人和整個社會。這就是我們的信仰。遭遇挫折的時候,記得要向上主說:「我只有這一點點。」(神父張開雙手)上帝會知道這一切,祂會幫助你。

最後,我想要請各位、我的孩子,也是上帝的孩子,將自己擁有的那一點點東西和一點點心意獻給上帝,上帝一定會讓它們加倍成長,使你們變得更豐饒。

願聖三守護我們每一位。阿門。

 

2013.8.18 sermon by Fr. Jonah 

First, I should remind you that every day we have liturgy at 10:30, so if anybody wants to come, you are very welcome.

        This week we celebrated the death and ascension of the Holy Mother on the 15th of August, and I will say to you a few things about the Holy Mother. The very beautiful song for the Holy Mother that we sing that day says, “Oh Virgin, who are completely without any sin, the bounds and restrictions of human nature have been overcome in you, for even when you gave birth, you remained virgin, and through death you became the mother of life. A virgin after bearing a child and alive after death, Mother of God, save all of us and your inheritance.” It is such a deep, beautiful and theological song. [Says a few words in Greek.] If I say it to you in the Greek language you cannot understand, but it is such deep philosophy, because the Holy Mother is the reason that God created everything because everything was created, not just to exist, but to grow and finally to open and become the Mother of God.

        So all the world was created from the different creatures until finally God entered and was united with the world. But God is not abusing the world. God wants the world’s cooperation, wants the world to say, “Come!” And finally the product of the world, the integration of the world – the Holy Mother – said to God, “Come!” And God came to her and He fulfilled the reason that He made the world.

        So in the Holy Mother, now we can understand the different divisions that we have had since the beginning of the world: in your Mother everything is overcome. The thesis, the nature, the benzhi of things is divided, it is separated. We see the separation in gender: we have men and women. We have time; we have life and death. We have, for example, virginity, and then afterwards, giving birth. But the Holy Mother overcame these things. She gave birth but she remained virgin. She died (on the 15th of August, as we celebrate) but her son could not allow his mother to be dead, so He resurrected her and He took her to Heaven, where she is now.

        The Holy Mother fulfills, as I say, the mystery of the death of gender because nature, which is divided, in the Holy Mother becomes a relationship. The relationship, this ‘oneship’ between each other and the relationship with God overcomes any division of nature. God became human, Jesus Christ, who is man but in this manhood there is no idea of man as we know to have children and a family. But also the Holy Mother, as a woman, is the acceptance of God in human nature. So now we understand the deep mystery of this gender, which is not divisions but is integration. And we also understand that God, of course, has no gender. And when he is called Father, this does not mean he is a man. Actually, in the Song of Songs, God once is called female.

        But we understand also that the Holy Mother represents the Church, and she is the picture of the Church. And the Church says to the Lord, “Come Jesus, come to me!” So, again we see the relationships, how everything becomes related. Yes, Jesus arranged all these ways: how to come to the Church: how every time to be asked by some group of people: the Apostles and the successors to the Apostles, who do the sacraments, who give you the Holy Communion. But, who accepts, who receives the Communion? It is the Holy Mother, the image of the Church, who receives God and makes a relationship with God to be practical, to be active, to be dynamic.

        So Mary is not a priest, she does not do this special service in the Church, but she has the total priesthood to offer herself to God completely, because nobody loved God more than the Holy Mother, and nobody opened themselves to God to allow God to enter than the Holy Mother. And this is the way that each of us should follow, because the Holy Mother started a new way, unknown even to the angels, to be with God and God to come to her.

        And you see, this is the way that Jesus accepted the celebrations of the Holy Mother. In the Gospel that we read today, Mary and Martha were waiting for Jesus Christ and Jesus said, “Who is my mother? She who keeps the word of God.” When a woman prays to the Holy Mother prays, she said, “Blessed is the womb from which you came out and the breasts that gave you milk.” This shows the nature, because Mary is the mother of God. Jesus also said about the relationship, “More blessed are those who keep the word of God and believe in Him. These are my mother and my brother and my sister.” We – you – are the brothers and the mothers of Jesus Christ. And as St. Simeon the New Theologian says, “When we see the Holy Mother, as we have in the churches, holding the baby Jesus, we must understand that she is the picture of each of us. We must become the mother of Jesus Christ and take Him inside me.” We must grow Jesus inside us, and finally to transform us into her, His image on us.

         I say this because this is the beauty of the theology which unfortunately in Taiwan is completely not accepted. This week I was in a meeting with other Christians and when I said this, one woman – a Presbyterian minister – scolded me because she does not accept that we are images of God, images of Jesus Christ, who must grow inside us.

        The Holy Mother loved Jesus so much, and she gave birth without pain, but when this spear hit the heart of Jesus Christ [gesturing toward his heart with the knife used to cut the bread for Communion], it hit her heart as well. And it is very important that Jesus said to her from the Cross, “Woman, here is your son.” So He gave her John, and through John, he made her our mother. And Mary accepted this motherhood. And he said to John, and through John to each one of us, “This is your mother.” She is our mother because Jesus raised her to be our mother.

        As St Epiphanius of Cyprus [bishop of Salamis, d. 403] says, “When it says in Genesis 3:20, when God made Eve to be called mother of all the human beings, it was not really Eve who was the mother of all of us: this was prophecy of the Holy Mother, who is the mother of all of us. Also, it is not really Adam who is our father because Jesus is the new Adam, and He is really our father, to those who are born again by the water and the spirit. So we are not children of Adam, but we are children of the new Adam: Jesus Christ.

        We see in the”Revelation” that the Holy Mother is deeply identified with the Church. The woman who goes to the desert and a dragon wants to eat her children: yes it is the Church of course, but it is the Holy Mother, is the image of the church. The Holy Mother is not only opening herself, and this is the center and the deepest meaning of the priesthood. But she is always praying, asking her son for all of us, for all her children, for all the creatures. Living without sin in this world, with only just a few mistakes, like she did not understand that when Jesus was only twelve years old he went to the temple. But having such a clean mind, she became the real temple of God.

        And these are all symbolized in the Old Testament. What was the Tabernacle, the most important thing of the Jews? It was a box, and inside the box was written the law. That was a symbol of the womb of the Holy Mother, who received the real Word of God. In the Liturgy, you see (and this is why I have here the altar open so everyone can see how we prepare the Liturgy) when we see that after we cut the bread, which is called the Lamb and symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ, then we cut the small piece of bread that represents the Holy Mother. Then we say, “The queen starts in your right hand.” And you see in the liturgy, after the consecration, after calling the Holy Spirit to change the bread and the wine, then who do we praise? The Holy Mother.

        We offer the Liturgy for the Holy Mother also, for this is joy of Heaven, and this is her joy. And we praise her as more honorable than the angels, greater than any angelic creature that is so close to God. In the Orthodox Church we have such beautiful and theologically deep prayers and songs for the Holy Mother. It is very good to study them by yourselves and sing them to the Holy Mother.

        And we see how many time the Holy Mother is doing something to our lives. Some sign, some protection, some small miracle. In so many places, all over the world, she made her presence so strong to be there. And so, remember and pray to the Holy Mother, and meditate on her mystery , which is the way to love God. In every Orthodox church, above the altar is a huge, though here it is small, Holy Mother with outstretched hands, giving a big hug to everybody. Of course, we see insider her is Jesus Christ, so she is calling us to put Jesus inside each of us.

        I will say only a few words for the Gospel today. In it the people had nothing to eat, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Give them something to eat.” And the disciples said, “We don’t have enough, just five small loaves and a few fish. It’s not enough for so many people.” But Jesus blessed the food, and it multiplied and was more than enough.

        And remember, in our work, we feel our obligation is to find a job, give money to your family. But you may say, “God, I don’t have a job. I have only a little bit of something.” Don’t be afraid. God can multiply the small things that we have. He will definitely multiply them to be more than enough for our beloved people and for society. This is our faith. So when you have difficulties, remember, say to the Lord, “I have only this.” [Gesturing with open hands.] He knows what He will do. And in the Epistle today, we saw about those who divide the Church. I wish that the people who tried to split this church would read this epistle, which is to their condemnation. But for you, my people and my children, my children of God, always give to God your small things that you produce, and your small thoughts and your good heart, and God will multiply them.