Posted 十二月 15, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

喜悅報佳音

將臨期第三主日甲年讀經

依撒意亞先知書 35:1-6,10

荒野和不毛之地必要歡樂,沙漠必要欣喜,如花盛開,盛開得有如百合,高興得歡樂歌唱,因為它們將獲得黎巴嫩的光華、加爾默耳和沙龍的美麗。它們將見到上主的榮耀、我們天主的光輝。

你們應加強痿弱的手,堅固顫動的膝,告訴心怯的人說:「鼓起勇氣來,不要畏懼!看,你們的天主!報復已到!天主的報酬已到!他要親自來拯救你們。」

那時,盲人將會看見,聾子將要聽到;那時,瘸子必要跳躍如鹿,啞吧的舌頭,必要歡呼。上主所解救的人必要歸來,快樂地來到熙雍;永久的歡樂,有如冠冕,戴在他們頭上。他們將盡享快樂和歡喜,再沒有憂愁和悲哀。

雅各伯書 5:7-10

弟兄姊妹們:

直到主的來臨,你們應該忍耐。看,農夫多麼忍耐,期待田地裡寶貴的出產,直到獲得時雨和晚雨。你們也該忍耐,堅固你們的心,因為主的來臨已接近了。

弟兄們,不要彼此抱怨,免得你們受審判;看,審判者已站在門前。弟兄們,應以那些曾因上主之名講話的先知們,作為受苦和忍耐的模範。

瑪竇福音 11:2-11

那時候,若翰在獄中聽了基督所行的,就派遣他的門徒去問耶穌說:「你就是要來的那一位,或是我們還要等候另一位?」

耶穌回答他們說:「你們去,把你們所見所聞的,報告給若翰:瞎子看見,跛子行走,痲瘋病人得到潔淨,聾子聽見,死人復活,窮苦的人得聞喜訊。凡不因我而絆倒的,是有福的!」

他們走了以後,耶穌就對群眾講論若翰說:「你們出去到荒野,是為看什麼呢?為看隨風搖曳的蘆葦嗎?你們出去到底是為看什麼?為看一位穿細軟衣服的人嗎?啊!那穿細軟衣服的人,是在王宮裡。你們究竟為什麼出去?為看一位先知嗎?是的!我給你們說:而且他比先知還大。關於這人,經上記載說:『看,我派遣我的使者在你面前,他要在你前面,預備你的道路。』

「我實在告訴你們:在婦女所生的,沒有興起一位比洗者若翰更大的;但在天國裡最小的,也比他大。」

傳統上,將臨期第三主日又稱為「喜樂主日」(Gaudete Sunday);Gaudete是拉丁文,意即「喜樂」。依撒意亞先知以大地復甦茂盛、眾人康泰健强來描述以色列將獲得拯救後的情形。以色列因亞述入侵而滅亡,以色列人被迫四處流徙,但堅信上主必會解救他們,帶領他們回到國土。第二篇讀經中,雅各伯勸勉基督徒團體要忍耐,信賴上主必會能人所不能。因宣講上主話語而受苦的先知,正好是基督徒面對困難和迫害時的借鏡。今天的福音,着重默西亞的慈愛特質:衪使瞎子看見、瘸子行走、癩病者得潔淨、聾子聽見、死人復活,又把喜訊帶給窮人。經文接着論及洗者若翰,他是最後一位先知,為耶穌的來臨鋪路。我們基督徒經聖洗聖事進入「天主的國度」,在分享這些先知的神恩時,的確充滿驚訝喜樂。

今日的三篇讀經的意義,都表明天主教教義重視先知神恩。若翰洗者是舊約時代最後的偉大先知,他喚召眾人悔改,並指出通往默西亞 – 耶穌 – 的路。伯多祿宣稱:說預言的神恩,是天主聖神在五旬節那天傾注在門徒身上的(宗 2:14–21)。保祿也認為先知是聖神的恩賜,並指示格林多人應怎樣善用這神恩(格前 14:29–33)。所有基督徒領洗時,都分享基督的司祭、先知和君王三職:「天主的聖民也享有基督的先知任務,特別以信德愛德的生活,到處為基督作活的見證。又向天主奉獻讚頌的祭品,就是奉獻一切歌頌主名的唇舌之成果…」(《教會》教義憲章 第12條)。

作為領受了堅振後的基督徒, 「它賦予我們聖神的特別力量,為能傳播及維護信仰,以言以行作耶穌的証人,且勇於承認基督之名,絕不以十字架為一樁羞恥的事。」(天主教教理 1303) 。保祿宗徒也勸告我們: 「你們但要在心內尊崇基督為主;若有人詢問你們心中所懷希望的理由,你們要時常準備答覆,且要以溫和、以敬畏之心答覆,保持純潔的良心,好使那些誣告你們在基督內有良好品行的人,在他們誹謗你們的事上,感到羞愧。」(伯多祿前書 3:15-16)

「…也不要因為在你們中,有試探你們的烈火而驚異,好像遭遇了一件新奇的事;反而要喜歡,因為分受了基督的苦難,這樣好使你們在他光榮顯現的時候,也能歡喜踴躍。如果你們為了基督的名字,受人辱罵,便是有福的,因為光榮的神,即天主的神,就安息在你們身上。」(伯多祿前書 4:12-14)

求主賜給我們一顆和平的心,無論有萬般困難也好,能夠抱著一份喜樂和關懷的心情來共同宣揚耶穌基督的佳音。

這篇默想是以 Foundations in Faith – Catechist Catechumenate Manual 為根據,並獲得版權持有人 RCL Benziger, LLC 批准使用。

Third Sunday of Advent (Liturgical Year A)

Isaiah 35:1-6, 10

The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

James 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 11:2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

This third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “rejoice”. Isaiah describes the coming redemption of Israel in glowing terms of nature restored and human being made whole. The people scattered and sent into exile by the destruction of the kingdom through the Assyrian invasion, will be ransomed and brought back into their land. In the second reading, James counsels the Christian community to practice patience, trusting God for what human beings alone cannot provide. The trials the prophets suffered for bearing the Word of God and as models of faithfulness can be an inspiration to Christians in times of difficulty and persecution. Today’s gospel focuses on the qualities of mercy that mark the Messiah’s reign. He brings healing to the blind and lame, to lepers and the deaf. He raises the dead and preaches glad tidings to the poor. The passage goes on to reflect on John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, sets the stage for the coming for Jesus. We Christians, who are “born into God’s reign”, can reflect with awe and joy today on our own calling to share in the charism of these prophets.

Our doctrinal focus on the charism of the prophecy can help to illuminate the meaning of all three of today’s readings. As the last great prophet in the Old Testament, John the Baptist called the people to repentance and pointed the way to the Messiah, Jesus. The gift of God’s prophetic Spirit is proclaimed by Peter to have been bestowed upon the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21) Prophecy is named as a charism (or gift) of the Holy Spirit by Paul and he sets up regulations for the exercise of this gift (1Cor 14:29-33). By Baptism, all Christians share in Christ’s identity as priest, prophet and king. “The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 12).

As Catholics who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, it gives us “a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross” (CCC 1303). St. Peter also exhorts us: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame” (1 Peter 3: 15-16).

“…Do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4: 12-14).

May God grant us a peaceful heart so that even when faced with endless difficulties, we can remain in a spirit of joy and love to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

This material is adapted from the Foundations in Faith – Catechist Catechumenate Manual with the permission of the copyright holder, RCL Benziger, LLC.


FLL Editorial Team