死&愛 Death & Love 講道 Sermons

富有的少年:如何得永生?The Rich Young Ruler: Eternity

 

 

當你與神和他人連結,你才會發現真實的自我;
當你愛神勝過愛一切,你才能真正愛身邊的人。

 

 

主日經文:

「有一個人來見耶穌,說:『夫子(有古卷:良善的夫子),我該做什麼善事才能得永生?』耶穌對他說:『你為什麼以善事問我呢?只有一位是善的(有古卷:你為什麼稱我是良善的?除了神以外,沒有一個良善的)。你若要進入永生,就當遵守誡命。』他說:『什麼誡命?』耶穌說:『就是不可殺人;不可姦淫;不可偷盜;不可作假見證;』當孝敬父母,又當愛人如己。」那少年人說:『這一切我都遵守了,還缺少什麼呢?』耶穌說:『你若願意作完全人,可去變賣你所有的,分給窮人,就必有財寶在天上;你還要來跟從我。』那少年人聽見這話,就憂憂愁愁的走了,因為他的產業很多。耶穌對門徒說:『我實在告訴你們,財主進天國是難的。我又告訴你們,駱駝穿過針的眼,比財主進神的國還容易呢!』門徒聽見這話,就希奇得很,說:『這樣誰能得救呢?』耶穌看著他們,說:『在人這是不能的,在神凡事都能。』」(馬太福音19:16-26)

 

李亮神父講道:

 

今天福音書內容從哲學觀點來看非常特別,書中說到耶穌走在街上,他在民間必定有不錯的名望。有名年輕人跑到他面前跪下,問他說:「良善的夫子,我該做什麼善事才能得永生呢?」實際上福音書原文「善」arapos這是哲學中的重要概念。年輕人用了二次這個字,分別是「良善的夫子」和「做善事」。有人可能會問為何他要說二次呢?他是否想要在所有人面前諷刺耶穌呢?從他之後的表現可以看出,不是為了諷刺,否則他就沒理由要在耶穌基督面前跪下,表演這齣戲。

 

但我們應該要了解他在耶穌面前扮演這個角色的原因究竟何在。在耶穌基督面前,我們都會被審判。在耶穌基督面前,我們必須揭露自己。在聖餐禮前,面對真實的耶穌基督,我們都被審判,審思自我意念及內在自我。事實上,這個年輕人想要證明他是最好的,他是良善的人。耶穌了解這年輕人不是故意做出這樣的舉動,而是他無法以真正的樣子站立在耶穌面前,他開始偽裝,但他並未察覺他自己正在偽裝。

 

耶穌對他說:「你為什麼稱我是良善的?除了神以外,沒有一個良善的」。也許有人會說,這顯示出耶穌並不知道祂自己是神。事實不然,祂當然是知道的。而你在後面也會看到這個年輕人否認了耶穌就是那位獨一的神。耶穌非常溫柔地不願這年輕人難堪,試著引導他了解自己。祂告訴他「你若要進入永生,就當遵守誡命」。這樣的答案讓這年輕人感到訝異,因為他沒想到居然是這麼簡單又深奧的答案,他期待的當然不會只是這樣的答案。

 

所以他問「什麼誡命?」,即使他應該知道答案。耶穌以相反的順序告訴他上帝的誡命。他先說不可殺人、不可姦淫、不可偷盜、不可作假見證、當孝敬父母。直到最後他才說「又當愛人如己。」事實上這應該是第一條的誡命,耶穌總是說律法的最高誡命就是要愛主你的神,並要愛人如己。因為這年輕人什麼都不懂,因而耶穌在此並未提到任何有關最高的誡命的內容—愛主你的神。只提到的其次的誡命—要愛人如己。這年輕人跪在祂面前說:「這一切我從小就遵守了,還缺少什麼呢?」真的是如此嗎?因為你我所有人,心裡都充滿不好的想法、情慾的思想和許多不好的念頭。聖者St. Basil就曾說:「雖然我從未和女人交往過,但我並非處子。」

 

這個年輕人什麼都不明白,就像許多基督徒會說「我是個好基督徒,我有殺人嗎?當然沒有。偷錢嗎?從沒偷過。犯姦淫嗎?(大部分人會說)沒有。所以我很不錯的。」這個人活在他自己的世界。他如同正面對一面巨大的鏡子孤芳自賞。但是耶穌非常溫柔的教導他一些更深層的道理,讓他明白他的自我到底是怎樣的光景,什麼才是基督信仰的全部。祂並未用像我這樣的方式詰問年輕人:「這一切你真的從小都遵守了?你確定?少來!」唯一沒犯罪的只有耶穌基督,是吧?我們全都有罪,而且因著軟弱,還會繼續犯罪。但耶穌並未羞辱這個年輕人,但祂試著把信仰交給他、教導祂。

 

耶穌告訴他:「你若願意作完全人…」,因為這個年輕人說他已遵守一切的誡命了,並詢問還有什麼缺漏的項目。因為他要做完全人,耶穌便用偉大的話語帶他進入真實狀態,主說:「你若願意作完全人,可去變賣你所有的,分給窮人,就必有財寶在天上;你還要來跟從我。」耶穌是說要把一切給窮人,而不是給祂。祂也不是說要把一些小錢給管錢的猶大。祂說的是去把一切給窮人並說:「來跟從我」。祂提供這個人一個做使徒的機會,這是極大的光榮,耶穌不只呼召十二個人,祂也呼召了這個年輕人。

 

為了讓這個年輕人可以更容易做出決定,祂對他說:「就必有財寶在天上」,而耶穌當初並未對其他的使徒說這些。其他的使徒都是窮人,他們必須放棄他們的家庭才能跟隨主,但祂卻沒有對他們說這樣的話。而耶穌所說在天上的財寶是怎樣的寶藏呢?那就是聖靈,就是神的恩典,就是成為使徒的恩典。

 

但是這年輕人的反應是什麼呢?他就不說一句話便憂憂愁愁的走了。他並沒有說:「雖然你要求的這麼困難,但我仍跟隨祢。也許給你一成或二成我的財富,請讓我跟著祢學道。也許未來我能做得更好。」他在他自己和眾人面前演的這齣戲已經落幕了,他現在滿是憂傷,他充滿信心的自我形象已被摧毀。他之前告訴耶穌他愛人如己,但如果他真是愛人如己,把錢給別人對他應該不困難,對吧?但是他選擇保持富有,即使是別人飢餓缺食時候。

 

第一誡命是你要盡心、盡性、盡意,愛主你的神,但是當神呼召這人成為使徒,這人卻寧願選擇他的財富。我了解這個人他的心就在他的口袋裡,和他的錢待在一起,他才不愛其他人,他只愛他的錢。我也能想像,等他長大了娶妻結婚後,他能多愛他的妻子?他只是在利用她的身體而已,他的心不在妻子那裏,他的心在在口袋裡,和皮夾和錢待在一起。但耶穌並非要求他或我們奉獻出我們所有的錢,這樣會使我們的家庭難以為繼,我們需要錢維生。例如亞伯拉罕就是個慷慨接待他人的富人,他也有尊榮和至高的福份來接待聖三一,並獲得聖三一的祝福,如同聖壇上的聖三一聖像畫所描繪的。但亞伯拉罕擁有對神的真愛,神因此要他給更大的祝福。亞伯拉罕得到了應許之子以撒,神應許要從這個孩子建立世上偉大的國度。然而某天,神卻要亞伯拉罕將孩子獻上為祭。有孩子的父母就知道孩子對他們的意義。想像一下假如神對你說將你的孩子獻上為祭,你會怎麼做呢?這是很深奧的問題。哲學家Kierkegaard對於這個主題寫了不少,雖然他其中的論點有些許的誤解。

 

如同聖經所說:「上主賜的,上主收回」(約伯傳1:21,思高譯本),他獻上孩子因他愛神勝於一切。當他預備好獻祭時,神顯明對他說:「不可在這孩子身上下手,一點也不可害他,現在我知道你是敬畏神的了。」正因為亞伯拉罕愛神勝過愛自己的孩子,因此他才能真正愛他的孩子,因此這孩子得以蒙受神更大的祝福;也因此直到今日,所有的基督徒都得以成為神的以色列子民。這正是由於亞伯拉罕愛神甚於愛他的獨生子,所以至今我們仍然尊崇他。

 

那不是相互矛盾的愛,是一種真實的愛。舉例來說,在夫妻之間的愛,若非建立在愛上帝的基礎上,便會逐漸消失殆盡。我們每天必須要面對的困難、日常生活無盡的瑣事,再加上魔鬼不時的引誘,就會使夫妻關係日漸瓦解。這也是為何二個人要在教會中結婚,這使婚姻不只是人類的愛情,還有神的愛。

 

別以為你愛你的孩子更甚於神愛他們。神愛他們更甚於你。如果祂對亞伯拉罕說:「給我你的孩子」;如果神要我們愛祂,超過我們的配偶、或我們的孩子或任何我們所愛的人,祂自已首先這樣做了。如同約翰福音所說,因為神先給了我們祂的獨生子耶穌。是神先給了我們祂的兒子,而不是出於我們的要求,我們並沒有要求神降世為人。這是沒有原因的,根據哲學思想這裡是找不出其他原因的,為何神如此瘋狂地愛?這愛讓祂給予我們祂的獨生子?

 

我們需知道真實的自我並不是自我封閉的,真實的自我必須是敞開的,在神和他人的關係中才能找到真實的自我。我們愈靠近自己,就能明白週日到教會參加聖禮儀是非常好的,也會非常想要來教會。若我不能將全心獻給神,那就會把全心保留給自己,而這就意味死亡。這也是全人類的問題,太自我中心、太靠近錢 、太顧念我小小的家。人若是只有自我封閉的關係,死亡正等著你我,人類的各種麻煩也在那等候,等候著要逐漸摧毀各種關係。

 

這是為何那個有錢的年輕人離開後,耶穌對門徒說說:「我實在告訴你們、財主進天國是難的。我又告訴你們,駱駝穿過針的眼,比財主進神的國還容易呢。」而你可能會說反正我們又不有錢。但你知道你擁有好的家庭和聽話的孩子,在很多事上富足,更甚於金錢的豐足。你若不能明白愛的根本是源於主耶穌,那麼這些事也終會成為自私自利,並逐漸瓦解。這就是為何門徒會問,如果連富人不能得救,這樣誰能得救呢?耶穌說得非常深奧,這對我們都很重要: 「在人這是不能的,在 神凡事都能。」耶穌要我們的生命是一種奉獻的生命。若你是敞開的,這就是一個真實的生命。若你不知道如何敞開,你就不會對你的妻子、孩子敞開,你將成為變成一個封閉而自私的人。

 

為何你要來教會?你知道原因嗎?[神父舉起聖杯],我在聖禮儀中向神祈禱:我們獻上屬於祢的禮物,因為我們獻上的是來自神,這餅與杯代表我們自己,是神的禮物,也代表我們的孩子、妻子、工作。我們將神賜給我們的禮物獻給神。藉著司祭的手,我們在教會獻上祭物。這不只是我們所穿的衣服[神父指著自己的衣服]和其他關於教義的事。這獻祭是我們生命的核心。神接納這樣的獻祭。耶穌是第一個獻上祂自己的,否則我們也不知道該如何獻祭。 沒有人要求祂,祂卻降世為人,這是神至高的愛。

 

今日的福音書教導我們方法,但我們所要決定的是將我們自己奉獻給神,透過神也將自己奉獻給他人。我們敞開自己,不然我們便會像那個年青人一樣憂憂愁愁的離開,無論是我們的生活、愛情、家庭、人際關係、工作、生命都會使我們滿是憂愁而失敗。因為你不知道什麼是奉獻,你不知道真正的奉獻是始於聖三一神極致的愛。這就是基督信仰的真諦。

 

在教會我們曾看見有些受洗過的人,卻選擇離開教會,他們為什麼要離開呢?他們抱怨教會沒有給他們錢。我會反問你又為教會做了什麼呢?事實上我像個傻子,教會給了些放棄教會的人一些金錢,其中有個人後來竟成了穆斯林。從今天的這個觀點思考,別只會喊:「給我、給我、給我」,記得問問自己為教會奉獻了什麼?為神奉獻了什麼?你是否分別為聖將生命獻給神。如你所明白,神謙卑自己降世為人。為了我這個不配的人成為了餅和酒。

 

這是奉獻嗎?這是神至高的愛,神至高的中保(mediation)?是的。所以要明白首先要獻上自己的生命給神,如果你不這樣做,也別無它法。所以記得我們向祂獻上,是來自祂所賜的福。為了一切的事而奉獻,不只是少數的事奉獻,為了我的工作 、我的飲食、我的孩子 、我的愛情、我的親友 、為一切的事。無論是我們的軟弱或是難處,在神沒有難成的事。有人會對你說你的生命毀了,但不是這樣的,在神可成就萬事,願聖三一的神保護我們。阿們。

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2014. 08. 31  馬太福音第20主日

東正教會簡介

 

講道翻譯:張奉書

Photo:Carrie Eberhardt

 

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2014.08.31 – Giving and Love – Twelfth Sunday of Matthew

http://bambuser.com/v/4891566

Gospel of Matthew 19:16-26  At that time, a young man came up to Jesus, kneeling and saying, “Good Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you call me good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Fr. Jonah’s Sermon:

The Gospel today is very special from a psychological point of view. It says that Jesus was walking in the street, and of course he had a very great reputation among the people. But one young person went in front of Him and he knelt down in front of Him and asked, “Good teacher, what good thing do I need to do in order to attain eternal life.” Actually, it is important that in the original language of the Gospel it is the word translated as “good” is arapos, which is a very great concept in philosophy. The young man used this word twice: “good teacher,” and “good things to do.” Somebody may ask, why did he say this two times, was it a is kind of irony that this person displayed in front of all the people. There was no reason, as we will see later, to kneel down in front of Jesus Christ and to play a theater in front of Him.

But we should understand why he was playing a role in front of Him. In front of Jesus Christ, we all are judged. In front of Jesus Christ, we have to expose our real selves. And in front of the Holy Communion, because that is the real Jesus Christ, we really are judged: our intentions, our inner selves. So this person had something forcing him to prove that he is the best, that he is good. Jesus understands that this is a kind of act that the other person is playing, but not on purpose. The person felt that he could not stand in front of Jesus Christ as he really was, so he started pretending, without understanding that he was pretending.

Jesus said to him, “You call me the good one? But there is only one who is the good one.” Somebody might say that this shows Jesus did not know He was God; but of course He knew. And you will see later whether this person was really considering Jesus to be the one and only God. Jesus very gently, without causing the young man to be embarrassed, tries to bring him to see how he was, but very gently. He said to him, “If you want to have eternal life, keep the Commandments.” The young man was surprised by this answer from Jesus Christ, because he was not expecting such a simple and deep answer when he had been expecting something else.

So he asked, “Which ones?” even though he should have known the Commandments. Then Jesus told him the Commandments of God, but he said them in the opposite order. He started with don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your parents. And finally he said, “Love your brother as yourself.” Actually, this commandment was the first one; always Jesus says that the highest commandment of the Law is what? To love the Lord your God and your brother as yourself. Actually, here Jesus did not say anything about the love of God, the highest commandment, and only mentioned the lower commandment to love your brother because this wealthy man would not understand anything. The young man kneeling before him said, “All these things I have done since my childhood.” Really? And I say, really? Because for all of you, and me even more than you, in my mind at least is full of bad thoughts and adulterous thoughts and so many bad things. And St. Basil the Great said, “I have not been with a woman, but I am not a virgin.”

But this young man did not understand anything. He was like the Christians who say, “I am a good Christian. Did I kill anybody? No. Did I steal money from anybody? No. Commit adultery? (Most of the people,) No. So I’m good.” This person lives in his own world. He is looking in a big mirror and admiring himself. But Jesus very gently wanted to teach him something higher, to teach him what is the real self, and what Christianity is all about. He did not ask the young man, as I asked you, “Did you really do these things from childhood? Really? Come on, the only sinless one is Jesus Christ, right?” All of us have sins, and we continue to have them. Jesus did not humiliate the young man, but he tried to give him faith, to teach him.

Then Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect…” because the young man had said he had done all of these things and asked what was missing. Then because he wanted perfection, Jesus brought him to reality with a very great word, saying, “If you have done all of these things and you still want perfection, you should sell all your property and follow me.” He said to give it to the poor, not to give it to Him. He did not say to give them some small money, to Judas, who was keeping the money. He did not say that, He said to give it to the poor. He said, “Follow me.” He offered to make this man an apostle, which was a very great honor, because Jesus did not call only the twelve, he called this man also.

And He said to the young man, to make it easier for him to decide, in a way that he did not do for the other disciples, saying, “You will have treasure in Heaven.” The other apostles were poor people and had to almost destroy their family to follow Jesus, but he did not say anything like this to them. But what was the treasure in Heaven that Jesus Christ was referring to? It is the Holy Spirit, Grace of God, the grace to be an Apostle.

But what was this young man’s reaction? He left without saying a single word. He left full of sorrow. He did not say, “What you ask is very difficult, but I will follow you and maybe give you ten percent of my money, twenty percent, but I will follow you to learn and maybe in the future I can do something better. The theater that he was playing to himself and to others was over because, now full of sorrow, his self image of his faith was destroyed. He had told Jesus that he loved his neighbor as himself, and if he truly loved the others as himself it would be no problem to give his money to them, right? So how did he love his brothers as himself because he kept everything for himself, so he remained rich while the others did not have enough to eat.

And what about the highest Commandment, to love the God from all your heart; and God had just called this man to be an Apostle but the man preferred to stick with his money. And I understand that this man’s heart was in his pocket with his money, and he did not love anybody – just his money. And I can imagine that when he grew older, when he was married, how would he love his wife? He would just take advantage of her body because his heart is in his pocket, in his wallet, with his money.        But Jesus did not really want to say to him and to all of us to destroy your family by giving away your money, because you need it to live. He did not really want this. For example, Abraham, who was a rich person but he had the honor, the highest blessing of the Holy Trinity to come to his hospitality and give him their blessing, like the icon here of the Holy Trinity. But Abraham had something and God wanted something, Abraham had the promised son, Isaac, and God promised that from this child God would build a great nation in the world. Then, one day God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. I see children here and I say to the people who have children and who know what the children mean to them. Imagine if God were to say to you to sacrifice your child, what would you do? This is a very deep thing. Kierkegaard, the philosopher wrote a lot about this thing, although he had a little bit of misunderstanding.

Anyway, Abraham said, “The Lord can give and the Lord can take away.” And he went to sacrifice his child because he love God more than anything, more than his child, more than anything, and he was ready to sacrifice when God revealed himself and said, “No, don’t do this.” He said, “Now I know that you love Me more than anything.” Abraham had real love for this child and this child was blessed; even today, we are the Israel, all the Christians are the children of God in Israel. But because Abraham loved God more than his only son we still honor him.

That love was not a contradictory love, it is a real love. For example, the love between husband and wife, if it is not based on the love of God, will gradually be dissolved. The everyday problems, the things that we have to face plus the temptations of the devil, they will dissolve this relationship. This is why two people are married in the Church, so that it is not merely human love, but it is the love of God.

And don’t think that you love your kids more than God loves them. God loves them more than you do. And if He dares to say, as He did to Abraham, “Give me your kid,” as he did first to Abraham, if God dares to ask us to love Him more than our wife or our kids or anybody else that we love, He is doing this because first God gave, as the Gospel of John says, He gave his only begotten Son for us. God first gives us His Son, without asking us; we did not ask God to become human. And there is no reason, according to philosophy there is not any reason why this crazy love of God would make him give his only child, like this kid.

We must understand that the real self is not to be closed to myself, but to be open and find myself in a relationship with God, and in relationship with others. The more we close ourselves and say that the Church is a good place to go on Sundays, but it is too much to ask me to come here more. If we don’t give our whole heart to God, then we give our whole heart to selfishness, which means death. This is the problem of all human beings, the selfishness to be close to myself, to my money, to my small family. The death is waiting and the human problems are waiting to gradually destroy these relationships if they are just self-closed relationships.

This is why the disciples when they heard this that the rich guy was leaving and Jesus Christ did not even say OK I will follow you,” he said nothing of this. Then Jesus Christ said “ How difficult is it for people who are rich or who have self confidence, how difficult it is for them to be saved, for them to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” You may say, “We are not rich,” and I know that you are not rich. But you may be rich in things other than money, in a good family or in good children. If you don’t understand that the basis of all the love is Jesus Christ, then these things will become selfish and gradually they will dissolve. This is why the apostles asked, “If the rich person who has everything cannot be save, what about us?” Then Jesus Christ says something very deep, which is important for us to remember: “What is impossible for human beings is possible for God.” Jesus wants us to have a life of giving. If you open, then this is the real life; if you don’t know how to open, you will not be open to your wife or to your kid, and you will become a closed and selfish person.

Why do you come to the church? Do you know why? It is as I say, [taking up the chalice], “To give of Your own gifts. We offer these gifts from your own gifts, the bread and the wine, which is also our self, the gifts of God, which are your children, your wife, your job. We offer to God the gifts of God. This offering becomes what we do in the church, with the hands of the priest. It is not just the clothes that we wear [pointing to his hat] and other dogmatic things. So this offering is the center of our lives. And God accepts this offering. Jesus was the first to offer himself. Otherwise, we would not know how to offer. He became human without anybody asking Him to do this. This is the ultimate love of God.

So the Gospel for today teaches us how to be, but all we will decide to offer ourselves to God and through God to the others, and we will open, or we will leave full of sorrow, like this rich young man, out of our lives, out of our love, out of our family or our relationships, or out of our job; and our life will be full of sorrow and defeat…because you don’t know what is giving, you don’t know that it starts with the real giving, which is the ultimate love of God, the Holy Trinity. This is the real Christianity.

And we see this in the Church. I have people that I baptized, and they have left the Church. And why do they say that they left the Church? Because they say that the Church did not give them money. And I will ask, what did you do for the Church? And actually this Church gave money. Like a stupid person I gave to those people who abandoned the Church. One is a Muslim now. And from this point of view, remember to ask yourself, what is it that you do for the Church? What do you do for God? It is not only, “Give me, give me, give me.” How are you engaged to this separation and to this life-giving God. Because, as you see, God became so humble, not only that he came as a human being. He obeys me, an unworthy human being, and He becomes the bread and the wine.

Is this giving? Is this the ultimate love and the ultimate mediation of God? Yes! So, understand, give your life, first, to God and from this love all the other loves will come, and they will be incarnate, and they will make you really happy. If you don’t do this, then there is no other way. So, remember, we offer to You, Your gifts from Your own gifts. For everything, for everything, right? Not just for a few things, for everything. For my job, for my cooking, for my kid, for my love, for my boyfriend, or for everything. And God will make the impossible things, our weakness, our hardship. Other people may say to you that your life is over; but it is not over, God can do everything. May the Holy Trinity protect all of us. Amen

 

Recorder: Professor Timothy Baker

 

 

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