shutterstock_2482862982013年4月7日 Sermon by Father Jonah

Gospel reading: Mark 馬可福音 8:34-38

今天,教會要讚美神聖十字架對我們的意義。十字架對我們有什麼意義呢?第一、到目前為止大齋期已經進行到一半。在大齋期的期間,我們禁食並且施行各項靈修,這樣做會消耗許多體力,十字架可以給予我們力量。就像摩西和猶太人在Marah的時候,那裡的水源非常苦,無法供應人們飲用,摩西拿了一塊木頭(它象徵了神聖的十字架)放入水中,水就變成甜的。同樣的,十字架也可以讓我們的生活變得甜美。

基於許多種理由,我們要讚美十字架。我們應該謹記在心,古早以前,十字架並不如今日一般是一個珍貴的符號。相反地,它象徵了最令人痛苦、挫敗、折磨的死亡。然而,耶穌基督卻在十字架上受難,他是最無辜的犧牲者。羅馬的統治者彼拉多心知肚明,所以他說:「他是無辜的,我在他身上無法定任何的罪,我也想要釋放他。但是,人民不希望他被釋放,就政治的角度來說,也不該釋放他。」所以最後,他並沒有釋放耶穌。儘管羅馬士兵聽見了長官說耶穌基督是無辜的,卻仍然必須聽從命令處決他。之後,猶太教的一位大祭司以法律之名將他處決,所有的人民也一起高喊:「把他釘在十字架上!」諷刺的是,一週之前,這位大祭司才稱讚耶穌:「大衛之子,我們向你致敬。」

最終,所有人好像都裝作無辜的樣子,認為自己只是遵守法律和長官的命令,然而,長官卻說,這是依照民意來辦理。從這個角度來看,十字架象徵了不公平的正義,當我們舉起十字架時,我們就會想起這個世界沒有真正的正義,總是有一個好人無辜地被處決。我們把十字架當作是一個離我們很遠的符號,我們遠遠地記得,這些人處決了耶穌基督,他們並非野蠻人,他們就像我們一樣,就是平凡的人,他們只是服從領導者(無論是政治上、軍事上或是宗教上)的命令。假設我們生在耶穌的時代,並且身在事情發生的現場,我們真的無法阻止這一切嗎?你們看,耶穌基督一個人孤獨地死去。每個人都遺棄了他。沒有人(除了他的門徒Nicodemus之外)為他辯護,沒有人敢說:「他是一個好人,他沒有做任何壞事。」

我們應該瞭解,十字架與我們多麼接近。它不是一個美麗的飾品[神父手握著胸前的十字架],而是一個譴責惡的標誌,是一個喚起人們的責任感的標誌。或許有人會說:「我生在今日的時代,我又沒有將上帝送上十字架。」事實上,我們往往將上帝送上十字架而不自知。在台北,有許多人的性生活不檢點,或者,做了其他不好的行為,他們的所做所為等於是把耶穌基督送上十字架。

「上帝的教會」代表什麼意義?對於現代人而言,它似乎代表了某種交易:上帝愛我們,祂給予而我們接受。我們向上帝祈禱、表達敬意,祂必須有所表示。如果祈禱了一次、兩次、三次…上帝都沒有回應,那麼,我們就不再去教會了。好像耶穌基督的工作就是要為我們而犧牲。犧牲是他的工作而不是我們的工作。我們只看見耶穌在十字架上,卻從來不曾想像自己在十字架上。我們應該謹記在心:教會和世俗的生意並不相同。

耶穌基督說:「想要跟隨我的人…」而不是說「應該要跟隨我的人…」首先,我們可能會說:「為什麼我要跟隨你?」人們追隨民主政治、法律、愛國主義或其他信念。然而,耶穌基督是真理,在基督宗教中,真理並不是抽象的概念,真理就是一位真正的人物,就是耶穌基督。不幸的是,許多人為了政治的因素利用耶穌基督,利用教會來散播宗教上的種族歧視。

耶穌說:「如果有人想要跟隨我…。」「跟隨耶穌」的確是一個困難的抉擇,也是一個容易的抉擇。困難在於,我們或許想要跟隨某人、某個政治人物或某種信念。有些人想要追隨父母、同伴或其他社會地位。因此,這是一個困難的抉擇。然而,同時它也是一個容易的抉擇。我們可以透過領聖餐來接受耶穌。我們不僅追隨他,還讓他進入我們體內。這是我們的選擇。

我們不能說:「我的屬靈父親要我成為一位神父和傳教士。」因為,這完全是自己的選擇,必須自己決定了再去告訴屬靈父親,尋求他的同意。有時候,我沒有適當地使用我神父的職權,把我的「自由意志」強加在別人身上,這時候我會向上帝致歉。上帝告訴我們,我們每一個人都應該要「isaparnome」(拒絕)「自己」。在希臘文中「isaparnome」是一個意義強烈的字,它代表的不止是「拒絕」,還有完全切斷聯繫的意思。我們應該很清楚,「拒絕」代表了什麼意義,就好像我們拒絕其他人、拒絕朋友、拒絕家人、拒絕同事、拒絕責任,我們對於「拒絕」的意義應該很清楚。對於拒絕別人,我們很有經驗,對於拒絕自己,我們卻非常陌生。耶穌基督不要我們拒絕別人,而是要我們拒絕自己。

亞洲的哲學家常常提出拒絕自我的信念。「無我」代表的意義,就是除去自己對於自己的虛妄不實的想法。我也有許多虛妄不實的想法,我常常自以為是一個高尚的人,自我感覺非常良好。想要去除這些妄想確實非常困難。「無我」是一切靈修生活的基礎。因為,如果我們將自我放大,心中就容不下耶穌基督。耶穌不僅僅要我們拒絕自我,還要我們扛起十字架,因為,拒絕自我並非紙上談兵,還必須有實際的行動。

舉例來說:在婚姻生活中,丈夫可以拒絕自己,然後跟妻子說:「你想吃什麼我就吃什麼。」他不會對妻子說:「我想吃這個,快去煮。」在婚姻當中,男人並非享有比較高的權力,而是必須優先承擔家庭遭遇的困境,第一個扛起十字架。一對還沒結婚的戀人,或許一方會想要先享有性生活,而另一方不願意(即使他的生理機能、神經系統想要),然而,我們必須提醒自己,性關係必須在婚姻的祝福下才能發生。這是扛起十字架最實際的方式。

我們可以挪出一點娛樂和休息的時間,向教會、向他人表達我們的愛。在場有一些教友,常常在寒風和大雨中為我們帶來熱騰騰的食物,這就是背起基督的十字架,也是排除萬難跟隨上帝的律法。我們常常有許多藉口,無法「排除萬難」來完成。

耶穌說,拿起十字架跟隨祂。這種「無我」的精神,並不是要我們變成空洞的人,而是要在心中裝滿無私的愛。正如宗徒保羅所言:「活在體內的並不是我,而是耶穌基督。」我們可以隨身帶著十字架,無論是便宜的或昂貴的,小的或大的,我們應該時常反省自己是不是有配戴真正的十字架,我拿起十字架跟隨耶穌是心甘情願的還是痛苦萬分的?或許有人會問:「難道成為基督徒一定要如此辛苦?難道我們都要追求痛苦、成為受虐狂?」並非如此。我的意思是,我們每個人天生下來就帶有「自私」的病,只想優先佔得一切好處。

耶穌說,想要保住生命的人,必須先拋棄「自我」(或翻譯成「靈魂」)(psyche),然而,究竟什麼是「自我」?它指的當然不是柏拉圖所說的「心智」(psyche),依據柏拉圖的思想,「心智」獨立於身體而存在。上帝的愛在我們體內,讓我們永遠活著,這份愛會一直陪伴我們直到復活的那一天,我們的「靈魂」會與身體再一次結合。我是誰?對於東方哲學家而言,「自我」是一個妄念,我們應該去除它。對於基督教而言,自我是一種關係,是一個答案。因為,上帝賜給我們這個「我」,上帝愛我所以我存在。自我將永遠存在,因為上帝永遠愛我。上帝召叫我們,自我就是對上帝的回應。上帝並沒有問我們:「你是誰?」而是問我們:「你在哪裡?」因為,上帝知道我們是誰,而我們自己卻不知道。我們本身就是答案。上帝問亞當:「你在哪裡?」亞當躲了起來,回答上帝:「不」。另一方面,上帝問亞伯拉罕:「你在哪裡?」亞伯拉罕說:「主,我在這裡,這就是我。」上帝常常問我們每一個人:「你在哪裡?」我們應該回答:「我在這裡。」在詩篇中我們可以讀到:「主,我在這裡,你賜給我的孩子們也在這裡。」「我」不是孤獨一人,永遠都有其他兄弟姊妹陪伴著。即使身在地獄,上帝還是愛著我們,只是在地獄的人,拒絕了上帝的愛,不做任何回應。罪也是拒絕愛的表現,因為犯罪的人愛自私的小我勝過愛上帝。

我們應該在聖禮儀中齊聚一堂,為了所有人建立全新的自我。自我必須建立在合一之中。我們就像是聖三一樣,聖三並不是單一的,而是三位一體的。十字架象徵了合一,象徵了耶穌基督在我們體內。我們不該犧牲別人,我們每日的生活都應該實踐這樣的生活藝術。我們應該犧牲自己,扛起十字架。儘管這條路並不輕鬆,然而,為了愛上帝、愛我們的兄弟姊妹,我們要拿出勇氣。

我們應該回應上帝:「主,我在這裡,這就是我。」我們就是答案,就像Holderlin所言:「我們都是一小段旋律,合在一起,就成為一首動人的鉅作。」讓我們回應上帝:「是的,主,我來了!」

願聖三守護我們。阿門。

The Church today praises the Holy Cross for us. One meaning is that because we are in the middle of Great Lent, and during the Great Lent we fast and do all the spiritual exercises we should do, so we are tired. The cross gives us power. This is like when Moses and the Jews were in Marah, where the waters were very bitter and the people could not drink it. So Moses put a piece of wood – which a symbol of the Holy Cross – into the water and it became sweet, so the people could drink. Like this, the Cross sweetens our life.

And also there are many reasons that we praise the Cross. We must remember that in ancient times, the Cross was not a precious symbol as it is today. Indeed. It was the symbol of the most terrible, painful and dishonorable death. But we see on the Cross Jesus Christ, the most innocent one. Pilate, the Roman governor knew this and he said “He is innocent and I don’t find anything bad about Him, and he wanted to release Him, But the people did not want this and to be OK with the politics so Pilate did not release him. The Roman soldiers heard their boss say that Christ was innocent, but they had to follow orders, so although they knew He was innocent, they had to crucify Him. And the Jewish high priests in the name of the law crucified Him. And all the people who now were saying, “Crucify him, crucify him,” just one week before had been saying, “Hosanna, son of David.”

Everybody at that time finally seems to have been innocent, some because they were obeying orders, some because their leaders were saying it: everybody was “OK”. So from one point of view, we see that the Cross is a symbol of unjust justice, and when we raise the Cross, we remember that in this world there is no justice and that there will always be good people who are crucified. Because we see the Cross as a far-away symbol, we remember that these people who crucified Christ were not monsters, they were like us, they were common people, they had orders, they obeyed their leaders, spiritual or political leaders. We must understand, always, that if we presuppose that if we were in that time we could do nothing about it. But are we sure about this? You see, Jesus died alone. Everybody denied Him. Nobody – except Nicodemus, who was not one of His followers – said, “He was a good person, he did nothing bad to me.”

So, it is very important to understand how close the Cross is, and how we should see the Cross, not as the beautiful thing we have today [holding up the crucifix hanging on his chest], but always as a condemnation of evil and as a call to our personal responsibility. Because somebody can say, “But today I did not crucify

God.” But we know that many times, really, we crucify God inside us and outside of us. Even today in Taipei there are people who have crucified Christ in obedience to their spiritual leaders, and many others crucify Jesus Christ inside themselves because their boyfriends told them to have sex or to have sex part way, or to do other bad things.

What is the concept of the Church, of God that we [tend to] have today? It is that God loves us; He gives and we receive. It is like doing some kind of business. We pray to him and we respect him, so he has to give us things. And if he does not give, of course, after praying one, two, or three times, I do not go to the church again. The job of Jesus Christ, as we understand it, is to be crucified for us. This is his job, it’s not our job: this is what we think today. In the churches we see Jesus on the Cross and we never think, or don’t think so much, me on the Cross. But we must remember a few things: that the Church is not the same as a business

Jesus Christ says, “He who wants,” He does not say he who must, “follow me.” First of all, someone can say, “Why should we follow you?” [Generally] people follow great truths. They follow democracy, they follow law, they follow patriotism or other things. But because Jesus is the truth, in Christianity the truth is not an abstract concept; it is a person, it is Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many people use Jesus Christ for political reasons and they use the Church for religious racism.

So the first one is, Jesus Christ says, “If someone wants to follow me.” There is some message here and some choice: a difficult choice and an easy choice. From one point of view it is difficult because we want to follow people or to follow political or other kinds of ideologies. Or another follows his parents or he follows any other kind of social status. So this is the difficult thing.

The easy thing is to receive him through the Holy Communion. Not only do we follow him, we take him inside of us. So he says this, and once more we have a choice

I cannot say, “My spiritual father told me to become a priest. My spiritual father told me to be a missionary.” It is also my choice, and then I take permission. And I will apologize to God, when he judges me, for how I used my priesthood, and if I obeyed the law of God or if I obeyed somebody else because I had given my freedom this somebody else. What freedom? I always have the freedom

So He says, a person must “refuse” himself.” The Greek word is aparnome, which is a very strong word; it’s not just refuse: I split completely. But before I say to you the deep meaning, I will say to you something practical: what it means to refuse myself, as we know to refuse others, as we refuse friends, as we refuse our family, as we refuse co-workers, as we refuse our duty, which we know very well. We have the experience of many refusals, except for one, that of refusing ourselves. But Jesus Christ did not say to refuse others, but to refuse ourselves, just as we know so well how to refuse others and to refuse out duty.

All the Asian philosophy is concerned with refusing the self. This wu-wo [no-self]  is to refuse the illusion of what I think I am. And I have a lot of illusions, that I am good, of course (who dares to say the opposite?) I am educated, respectable, all the good things that I am. And this refusal is practically very difficult, practically, if we really want to do this. This wu-wo is the basis of all spiritual life. Because if we have a very big self, then there is no room for Jesus Christ in our heart. And Jesus says not only to refuse one’s self, but to take the Cross, because this refusal is not a theoretical or philosophical refusal, it is a very practical refusal.

I can give you some examples. For example, if there is a married couple, the husband can refuse himself and say to his wife, “What you prefer, what you want to eat.” He will not say to his wife, “I want to eat this. Cook it.” People don’t understand that the man’s primacy in marriage, the priority that he has over her, is not priority of power, it is the priority that I will take the difficulties of the household, I will carry the Cross first.  Or when two people love each other but they are not married but love one another, the boyfriend or the girlfriend may say to the other that they want to have sex now, and the other must say no, even if their body also wants it, and even if it is not complete sex, but just a kind of sex. Because even if my strength wants, even if my nervous system wants, we must understand that this must take place inside the blessed marriage. This is also a very practical and real way to carry the Cross.

To dedicate some time and to sacrifice my own pleasure and my own rest for the love of the others and the love of the Church, and instead of using this time to sleep, like somebody here who many times comes here in the cold and the rain to bring food. And this is to carry the Cross of Christ. It is also to obey the Law of God no matter what – I say, no matter what – because we can say, “I wanted to obey, but….” You know always there is always some “but…”

So He says to take his Cross and to follow Him. So this emptiness of the self, this wu-wo, is not to become completely empty, with nothing inside. It is to become full of love. It is to say, as Apostle Paul says, “It is not that I that live; it is Jesus living in me.” So having this Cross, cheap or expensive, small or big, we must always remember and we must always search, do I really carry the Cross, which means difficulty, or do I have it for pleasure? You could say, “Why should Christianity be so difficult? Do we like to suffer? Are we masochists?”  We are not, but we are born with a disease, and this disease is selfishness It is that I put myself in front of everything.

Jesus says that everyone who wants to keep his life must lose it (or the soul, the Greek word psyche). But what is myself? Because this term, psyche, is not the Platonic term, a Platonic ideal where the soul is independent of the body. It is something in us that God loves and keeps to live forever, and this consciousness will wait for us to be resurrected and be reunited with our body. So who am I? What is myself? For Eastern philosophy, the self is an illusion and it must be destroyed. But for Christianity, the self is a relation. The self is the answer. Because the self is something that God gives me and I exist because God loves me. And the self will exist forever because God loves me forever, no matter whether I am good or bad. The self is the answer to the call of God: “Who are you?” And actually, He is not asking, “Who are you,” but “Where are you?” Because he knows who I am; I don’t know; He knows. And we are an answer. Adam answered, “No.” Because, you know, God said, “Where are you?” and Adam was hiding. But from the other point of view, when he asked Abraham, “Where are you?” Abraham said, “Here I am, Lord, this is what I am.” And in many other places, God is calling, “Where are you?” And He is calling all of us, “Where are you?” And we say, “Lord, I am here.” So we see the bad answer and the bad self, like Adam, and we see the good answer and the good self in front of the body of Jesus Christ. And taking the body of Jesus Christ, we say, “.”Lord, here I am, Come.” We see in the Psalms, “Here I am, Lord, me and the children you gave to me.” Because the self is never alone; I am with my brothers and without my brothers I don’t exist. Hell is individuality God loves us, continues to love us. Hell is the lack of response, the rejection of this love. Even sin is the rejection of this love because someone prefers to love his small I.

So we must altogether, as we altogether in the Eucharist we build a new self for everybody, and together with our brothers. And this self is built in this unity. We are like the Holy Trinity from one point of view, and our God is not individuality, it is Trinity. Jesus Christ says, “As we are one, everybody to be one.” Not one as in politics, but one as the Holy Trinity is. So the Cross must remind us of this unity, this self that is not the individuality, but it is Jesus inside of me, must remind us that we must not crucify others, though it is an art that we know very well and we practice every day. But we should crucify ourselves by carrying this [holding up his crucifix], which should be painful, not good and easy, not a decoration, but for the love of God and for the love of our brothers.

“Here I am, Lord, this is myself.” And we are an answer, and as Holderlin says, “We are in a small song, and we can be a big song, althogether,” to say “Amen, Lord. Come!”

May the Holy Trinity protect all of us.