[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

 

你在聖禮儀中領受神的種子,

先是祂的話語,後是祂的聖體,

而這種子必須成長,成為在你裡面的基督。

 

jesus maria

 

 

主日經文:

 

提多書3:8-15「這話是可信的。我也願你把這些事切切實實的講明,使那些已信神的人留心做正經事業(或作:留心行善)。這都是美事,並且於人有益。要遠避無知的辯論和家譜的空談,以及紛爭,並因律法而起的爭競,因為這都是虛妄無益的。分門結黨的人,警戒過一兩次,就要棄絕他。因為知道這等人已經背道,犯了罪,自己明知不是,還是去做。我打發亞提馬或是推基古到你那裡去的時候,你要趕緊往尼哥波立去見我,因為我已經定意在那裡過冬。你要趕緊給律師西納和亞波羅送行,叫他們沒有缺乏。並且我們的人要學習正經事業(或作:要學習行善),預備所需用的,免得不結果子。同我在一處的人都問你安。請代問那些因有信心愛我們的人安。願恩惠常與你們眾人同在!」

 

路加福音8:5-15「有一個撒種的出去撒種。撒的時候,有落在路旁的,被人踐踏,天上的飛鳥又來吃盡了。有落在磐石上的,一出來就枯乾了,因為得不著滋潤。有落在荊棘裡的,荊棘一同生長,把他擠住了。又有落在好土裡的,生長起來,結實百倍。耶穌說了這些話,就大聲說:有耳可聽的,就應當聽!門徒問耶穌說:這比喻是什麼意思呢?他說:神國的奧祕只叫你們知道;至於別人,就用比喻,叫他們看也看不見,聽也聽不明。這比喻乃是這樣:種子就是神的道。那些在路旁的,就是人聽了道,隨後魔鬼來,從他們心裡把道奪去,恐怕他們信了得救。那些在磐石上的,就是人聽道,歡喜領受,但心中沒有根,不過暫時相信,及至遇見試煉就退後了。那落在荊棘裡的,就是人聽了道,走開以後,被今生的思慮、錢財、宴樂擠住了,便結不出成熟的子粒來。那落在好土裡的,就是人聽了道,持守在誠實善良的心裡,並且忍耐著結實。」

 

 

李亮神父講道:

 

今天所讀的福音書內容眾所周知,是耶穌說到關於撒種的巧妙比喻。這段經文一開始祂說「有一個撒種的出去」,但中英文譯本的內容並不準確,希臘原文的意思是「出來了一個播種者」。句子從「出來」這個動詞開始,是因為神的兒子從祂自己出來,成為我們的一份子。這是一種出離(exodus),就像是出埃及記(the Book of Exodus),我們從自己裡面出來。神向我們指出一條人生道路,這人生道路就要我們走出自我,不要封閉自我。這不單是屬靈生命的根基,也是健康人生的根基。例如:夫妻要走出自我,才能與對方相遇,將自己獻給對方。地獄不是某個病態或異端想像出來的虛幻火焰,地獄是指人關閉自己,反而要別人依照他的期待而改變。

 

聖金口若望(John Chrysostom)說:「那人正在撒種,持續地撒種」(he who is sowing is sowing continuously)。經文的希臘原文很清楚,這是持續發生的動作,而非一次性的事件。撒種者將種子撒出去,因著人將種子撒向各處,以至於撒種看起來像是任意揮撒的動作。但事實不然,因在古時以色列及其他村落,他們的風俗習慣就是先撒種後,再用器具鋤地。所以撒向四處是很自然的動作,撒種者並沒有做錯任何動作。撒完種後,才開始鋤地,種子也就順勢埋進土中。因為這樣的觀點,我們也就能明白耶穌後來解釋這比喻的意思,也就是神要不斷地把祂的話語傳遞給每個人。耶穌並非只把種子傳向好人,也同樣傳給惡人; 神並未將好人、惡人分開來,並沒有在我們中間分門別類。

 

然而從福音書看來,似乎只有四分之一的種子是順利種下。第一次撒出去的種子落在田間的路旁,人們走來走去踩在種子上面,飛鳥看見便叼食。其他的種子雖然落入土中,但在生長時,它們的根碰到土中的石子無法深深扎根,於是它們一長出來就枯乾。為此,耶穌解釋有人一開始明白基督信仰的好,也接受了,但日後當基督信仰在心中深入,人必須為此做出種種抉擇時,人就必須面對自我;這時神的話就扎到人心,像石頭一樣堅硬的心。

 

請容我先解釋一下石心,有些人上教會是希望能獲得東西,但卻不想付出,這狀況在華人社會尤其明顯。當我說付出,所指的不是金錢物質,因此我們並未收什一奉獻。你們明白很多人在選擇教會時,優先考量的是在家附近的教會、有停車場、有適合孩子的活動,也就是說他選教會的條件並非基於教會教導狀況,他要的是利用神來得到優質的生活或其他的目的。你也能明白這樣的人,他的石心並不在乎神,他也用同樣的方式對待配偶和孩子。他總是先向別人要求:「給我給我」,總是在問:「你能給我什麼」,這就是石心。當我們禱告時,特別是進行心禱時,要祈求神賜予我們柔軟的心,使心成為一畝好土。今日我們讀到耶穌基督的比喻不只關乎信仰或祂所做的事。人心若硬如頑石,他也會以石心對待妻子和眾人。這樣的人不明白何謂愛,無法真正地去愛人。

 

在我繼續說明之前,我應該先解釋何謂種子。就如同耶穌基督祂自己的解釋,種子就是神的道(word of God)。當我們提及神的道,是從福音的教導開始;之後神的道成為真實,就是成了神的兒子耶穌自己。你能在聖禮儀中明白這事,在聖禮儀中我們聆聽神的道。之後當我們獻上餅酒、舉起聖杯,神的道就成為那愛的食糧。

 

所以我們所說的不是理論,如果只是理論我只需要問你聽到什麼。但不僅如此,是神親自進入你的裡面,成為你裡面的人,成為你裡面的生命(inner human being),這種子是真實的。今日你在聖餐中領受了種子,這種子就必須生長。

 

除此之外,耶穌基督還說另外有些種子落在小路旁,這些路面上的種子沒有被土蓋住,所以魔鬼像鳥一樣,飛來啄食種子。我們必須明白人在世界上不是獨自存在,還有許多其他看不見的力量,等著攻擊我們。許多人低估魔鬼的力量,主禱文在結束時說「救我們脫離兇惡」,這兇惡就是魔鬼,牠像心理學家,知道我們的軟弱,利用軟弱來摧毀在我們心中神的話語。

 

另外重要的部分,是有關屬靈生命的教導,也就是會發生在你我基督徒身上的事。我們接受基督信仰後,神的話便在我們裡面生長,從聖餐中、在我們所領受的教導中成長。但同樣的「其他的事」也會長大;這些其他的事情是指用不好的方式顧念肉體,像是壞思想、情慾念頭,或是其他我們先謀算然後接著去做的惡事等。

 

如同使徒保羅說:「立志為善由得我,只是行出來由不得我。故此,我所願意的善,我反不做;我所不願意的惡,我倒去做。若我去做所不願意做的,就不是我做的,乃是住在我裡頭的罪做的。」(羅馬書7:18~20)。因此,我們的屬靈生活和培育過程,就是在每一天的生活中,都控制自己,讓自己的注意力集中在神身上,而不是在壓抑這些惡念上。持續這麼做,直到我們離世。

 

我多次說過,這些是過去我由Saint Porphyrios所習得的智慧。我們不是專心修剪荊棘,而是專心讓種子發芽茁壯,長成大樹,不留空間讓其他雜物殘留生長。就像是我們不會希望有雜草與我們所種的花一起長大。

 

我們想要明白這些道理,但不要只從信仰的觀點出發,也要應用於其他層面。例如為何夫妻二人之間的愛,為何他們一開始如此相愛,卻會在三年後勞燕分飛。這是因為他們不呵護培養他們的愛,不走出自我,進入對方,於是荊棘與其他惡事便在其中開始生長。當夫妻中的一方,說:「工作是我最重要的事」,或說:「與朋友在一起勝於一切」,又或者說:「我要做這做那」。這些人都是只看到「我」,他們沒想到「我們」。當這些例子在我們生活中愈變愈多,愛就漸漸死去。

 

這觀點為說明神話語的重要性,我們要留心聽從。但不是每個人都明白,雖然為數不多,但照福音書內容大概有四分之一的人,心中是畝好土。然而神不是這樣數著人數,神給我們祂的兒子不只是為了好人,也為惡人。

 

好人心中的種子將會成長,結實纍纍。我希望在我們這間台灣的小小教會,神讓那些接受神話語的人,和為主所做的事工,也能結實纍纍。

 

當使徒保羅去雅典時,當地願意相信他的人很少,經上說「但有幾個人貼近他,信了主,其中有亞略巴古的官丟尼修,並一個婦人,名叫大馬哩,還有別人一同信從」(使徒行傳17:34)。從某種觀點,有人會說保羅是失敗的。但至今,教會持續傳承發展,從未中斷。

 

當種子種下、生長、成為一棵大樹,非常重要的是,這大樹將會長出新的種子,愈長愈多;而你們就是種子。你被撒落在台灣的土地上,愈發成長。或者像我這樣,越過太平洋。這是每個人的責任,成為一個宣教士。他/她的身體就是那要成長的種子,所以請記得每個人都可成為一顆種子。

 

使徒們起初不明白耶穌的比喻,有少數的人把耶穌拉到一邊,請祂解明祂的比喻是什麼意思。耶穌說:「天國的奧祕(mysteries)只叫你們知道。」在英文譯本中誤譯為秘密(secrets),教會是沒有秘密的,但奧秘這個字則出現多次。舉例來說:基督與教會的結合是件大奧秘。男人與女人在婚姻中的連結也是件大奧秘。但這都不是秘密,這樣的連結是奧秘,就像是人與神之間的關係。

 

所以有人無法了解耶穌基督的意思,因為這和聰明智慧無關。它不像是教數學,人若不懂數學就無法瞭解任何那些數字公式的意思。這是為何耶穌說神國奧秘「只叫你們」知道,只讓他親近的門徒知道。這是因為門徒與耶穌基督有個人化的接觸和關係。對於其他人,祂用以賽亞的話說:「你們聽是要聽見,卻不明白;看是要看見,卻不曉得。」人不願意聽,他們的心會變得和石頭一樣堅硬冰冷。

 

在出埃及記中,你讀到神使法老的心,硬如頑石,以致摩西和他說得愈多、行愈多神蹟,法老反而愈發硬心。事實上,經文的意思並不是神使人變得比本來的狀況更糟。讓我舉例說明,如果心是一顆生雞蛋,當神的火,當神的非受造神光,當神的溫暖靠近我們的心,將會使原本柔嫩流動的蛋黃和蛋白,變成煮熟的、硬梆梆的蛋。這與我們內在的培育過程和態度有關,倘若我們的態度和培育過程出錯,那麼當神愈靠近,我們就變得愈有侵略性、愈挑釁。但若你的心像是我手上的蜂蠟,當蠟燭靠近火,反而會融化、會柔軟。這也是教會放置蠟燭的原因,透過燭光,教會變得溫暖,並且在神面前、在教會的愛中融化。

 

你們當記得今日心中領受的種子,今日我們要慶祝St. Simeon the New Theologian,他說世人就好像是孕婦,因為他們有耶穌在他們裡面,耶穌在他們裡面長大。聖母懷抱耶穌的聖像具有深刻的意義,所表達是你也能像聖母般,將耶穌懷抱在你的裡面,雖然你無法像她那樣生出耶穌,但你仍可在你的裡面讓基督誕生。如同使徒保羅說的:「我的孩子們!我願為你們再受產痛,直到基督在你們內形成為止。」(思高譯本,迦拉達書4:19)。

 

最後願你我每個人都能成為整個華人世界中的基督種子,願 聖三一的神保守我們眾人。

 

*******************

2014.10.12 第七次大公會議紀念主日

東正教會簡介:

http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

 

紀錄: Timothy Baker教授

翻譯:張奉書

 

Photo: orthodox icon of Mother Mary and Jesus

Mount Athos

 

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”http://youtu.be/lqLpAIBdBI8″][vc_column_text]

2014.10.12 Sunday of the 7th Ecumenical Council – The Seed Within Us

St. Paul’s Letter to Titus 3:8-15  TITUS, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.   When I send Artemas or Tychicos to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.  All who are with me send greeting to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Luke 8:5-15  The Lord said this parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.” As he said these things, he cried out “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

Fr. Jonah’s Sermon

 

Today’s Gospel is the very famous and wise parable of Jesus Christ about the sower. He says, “He came out;” the Gospel starts with the word [in Greek] (I am sorry to say, but there are many problems with the English translation.), meaning “Came out the sower.” Because starting from this verb, to come out, it is the Son of God who comes out of Himself and he becomes us. This is an exodus, like the Book of Exodus, coming out of ourselves. And in all of human life God shows to us the way of human life; and what is the way of human life? To go out of our individuality, not to be closed to ourselves. And this is the basis not only of the spiritual life, but of a healthy life. For example, the husband or the wife comes out of himself to meet the other, to give himself to the other. Hell is not some imaginary fires created by the sick or heretical imagination of some people, but it is to be closed in to oneself, and I want the other to be this, this and this for me. This is Hell.

Now the Gospel says that [Greek], and John Chrysostom says that he who is sowing is sowing continuously – it is not just once – because in the original language it is clear that it is something that is happening continuously, not just once. So, to throw his seeds. It seems that he was not careful because he threw his seeds everywhere. But actually not, because the custom in ancient Israel, and even in other villages in the past, was that first we sow the seed and later we use another tool to dig the field. So this was natural, not that the sower made a mistake, since later they will dig and the seed will go into the earth. So from this point of view, we also see as Jesus himself later explained this parable, that actually He continues to send His word to everybody. He does not say that He will give his seed to just the good people, no, it goes to good and to bad, there is no separation between them. God does not distinguish between us.

So, it seems from the Gospel that only one fourth of the seed was successful. The first fell near the roads that ran between the fields, where people are passing and press on the seed, and the birds see it and eat it (like the birds here on our window sills). Other seed where it fell, after it had started growing, under the soil there were stones. Then when it started growing, the roots reached down to the stones and then could not grow further and the plants were destroyed. For this, Jesus gave the explanation that there are people who at the beginning say that Christianity is so good and they accept it. But when Christianity goes deeper and you have to make choices, then we meet ourselves, and the Word of God meets a heart that is like a stone.

And allow me to explain here what is meant by a heart like a stone. Especially in the Chinese world, some people go to the church to receive, not to give. When I say give, it is not for material things, since here we never give money. But you see when most people choose a church, this person goes to the church, which is close to his house, has parking places, has activities for his kids; he does not care what the church teaches. So he does not really care about God, he just wants to use God for a good life or any other things. And you cans see that this person who does not care for God with his heart of stone, in the same way will he behave to his wife or his husband or his children. He will ask first, “Give me. What is it that you do for me?” This is the heart of stone. It is very important when we pray, especially the Prayer of the Heart, to make this stone so sweet, to make it like good soil. So, don’t think that what Jesus Christ says today is only concerned with religion, is only concerned with His work. He who has a heart like a stone will have that heart to his wife, he does not know what is love, and he can’t really love.

And before I go on, I should explain what the seed is. As Jesus Chris himself explains, it is the word of God. But when we talk about the word of God, we start from the teachings of the Gospel. But later this word of God becomes real, becomes Jesus the Son of God Himself. You can see this in the liturgy, where we hear the word of God. And later, when we bring the chalice here [pointing to the altar] the word of God becomes the food of love.

So this is not a theory, for which I could examine you and ask you, “What did you hear of this?” It’s not like this. But it is God Himself who enters yourself, the inner human being, and then this seed is real. Today you took this seed today [in the Holy Communion] and this seed must grow.

And Jesus Christ told of another situation, where the seed was uncovered and next to a small way and so the devils came like birds and ate it. We must understand that we are not alone in this world, that there are so many other invisible powers, and they can really hit us. Many people want to underestimate the strength of the devil, But actually in the Lord’s Prayer we say at the end we say “Protect us from the Evil One,’ which is the Devil, who is like a psychologist and he sees my weakness and he sees your weakness and he tries to take advantage of this to destroy the word of God in your heart.

And there is also something else, which relates to the spiritual life, which is very important and which happens to me and many Christians. Yes, we accept Christianity, the word of God of grows in us, grows from the Holy Sacraments and the teachings we receive. But in parallel other things also grow. And what are these other things? They are the bad way of caring for life. It is my bad thoughts, my adulterous thoughts, my other things that I think first and then I do.

It is what apostle Paul says, that I want to do the good thing but I see some other human being inside me who wants to do bad things. And here is the spiritual life and cultivation: every day of our life, until we die, we try to control – not to suppress these things – but to concentrate on God. As I have told you many times, this is what I know from Saint Porphyrios. We don’t concentrate to cut the thorns, but to make the [sprout from the] seed become very big, like a tree, to grow and then there is no space for the other things to grow up and they will die. It is impossible if you are growing flowers for example, not to have something else growing up in parallel.

And I would like to understand this not only from a religious point of view. Why is it that the love between the husband and the wife, who in the beginning loved each other so much but got divorced after two or three years get divorced. It was because they did not take care to cultivate their love by each one making themselves go out from inside and to the other; they don’t do this. So the thorns and other bad things start to grow. For example, they may say, “My priority is my job,” or “My priority is to go with my friends’” “or “I want to do this.” He is still an “I;” he does not think “we.” So these parallel things become more and more, and love dies.

From this point of view the words of Jesus Christ are very important for us and we must be very careful about this point. But also it’s not that everybody is like this; there are some people who have very good hearts, although not so many. It seems from the Gospel today as if there are one fourth. But God does not count like this He gave his Son for the good people and the bad people, alike.

But one seed in the heart of a good person can become very big and yield a lot of grain. And I hope in our small church in Taiwan that God will give to those who are here and those who have accepted the word of God and the work of God to be so fruitful. And if we see, for example, when Apostle Paul went to Athens, how many people there believed” There were so few people Dionysius, Heirosius and one woman named Damaris. And from one point of view someone might say that he failed. But until now, the Church continues without having stopped.

It is very important to understand that when the seed grows and becomes a large plant, that it will make new seeds, which will grow even more. You are the seeds. You will fall down in the earth of Taiwan and then we will grow more. Or across the Pacific Ocean, like me. Initially it is the duty of everybody to become a missionary. His body actually is the seed to grow. So, remember that everyone can be a seed.

And it is very interesting that the Apostles did not initially understand Jesus in this parable because a few people took Jesus aside and asked him to explain what he meant. Jesus said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries,” (the English translation is wrong here in saying the “secrets”.) because the Church has no secrets and the word mysteries appears in many other places. For example the unity of Jesus Christ and the Church is a great mystery. And also the union of man and woman in marriage is also a great mystery. It is not a secret, but it is a mystery, this union, the personal contact with God.

So the people could not understand what Jesus Christ meant since it was not a matter of intellectual study. For example, it was not like teaching mathematics, where people who do not understand mathematics will not understand anything. This is why Jesus Christ said “to you” to his deep apostles, even the seven: it is given by God to know the mysteries of God. Why? Because they had personal contact and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But to the others he quotes Isaiah, who said that God and the prophets speak in order that the people will not listen and their hearts will become even more like stones. Actually, I should explain that God does not say something to us to make us even worse than we already are. You can see that God made the heart of the Pharaoh like a stone so that the more Moses talked to him and the more miracles he saw, the more his heart became like a stone.

I will give you an example to explain the meaning: If your heart is like an egg, then when the fire of God, the uncreated light, when this warmth comes to us your heart will become thick like a hardboiled egg. It is our internal cultivation and attitude: if our attitude and cultivation are bad then the more God is coming to us, the more we will become aggressive to him. But if your heart is like this wax [picking up a candle] that comes from bees, then when we put it near fire it will melt. And this is why we have candles in the church, because with our light it will become warm and melts in front of God or the love of the Church.

So I will say to you to remember that the seed you received today in your heart, and today we celebrate St. Simeon the New Theologian, who says that human beings who receive the body of Jesus Christ are like a pregnant woman because they have Jesus inside of them and Jesus must grow in them. And this is the deep meaning of the icon of the Holy Mother holding Jesus: it says that you also are like the Holy Mother and you hold Jesus inside yourself, and though you do not give birth to Him as she did, still you give birth to Him inside yourself. As the Apostle Paul says, I am struggling to have Him grow in me.

And finally I wish that all of you and all of us may become seeds of Christianity in all the Chinese world. May the Holy Trinity protect all of us.

 

Recorder: Prof. Timothy Baker

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]