Posted September 8, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

Legality vs. Morality

在一個安息日,耶穌進了會堂施教。在那裏有一個人,他的右手乾枯了。經師和法利塞人窺察他是否在安息日治病,好尋找藉口控告他。他看透了他們的心思,就對那枯了手的人說:「起來,站在中間!」他遂站了起來。耶穌對他們說:「我問你們:安息日是許行善呢?還是許作惡呢?是救命呢?還是喪命呢?」他環視眾人一週,就對那人說:「伸出你的手來!」那人照樣一做,他的手便復了原。他們狂怒填胸,彼此商議,要怎樣來對付耶穌。
路加福音 6:6-11

man-with-withered-hand在今天的福音中,記述了耶穌和法利塞人再次在安息日中起了衝突。在會堂裡有一個枯手的人,這人的病不是急性的,耶穌本來可以在另一個時間治好他;但耶穌很清楚法利塞人心中所想,祂不但要在安息日治好這枯手的人,還特別叫他站在中間,叫眾人都看見祂所要行的事。

在治病以前,耶穌問:「安息日是許行善呢?還是許作惡呢?是救命呢?還是喪命呢?」這問題的答案明顯不過。對法利塞人來說,重要的是另一條問題:「什麼是對的呢?應該守法律還是違反法律呢?」法律中的每一個細節對法利塞人都無比重要。耶穌就是要藉著這個機會教導眾人,合法的事不代表合乎道德。合乎道德的事有時超越法律,甚至跟法律相反。

聖奧思定曾說過:「不公正的法律根本不能稱為法律。」作為基督徒,我們應懷著仁愛面對一切;若我們被迫要在守法和仁愛中二擇其一,求主賜我們勇氣選擇仁愛,因為耶穌當年也是這樣選擇。

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
Luke 6:6-11

In today’s Gospel, we read that Jesus and the Pharisees had another conflict on a Sabbath day. In the synagogue, there was a man with a withered hand. The man was suffering from a chronic disease. Jesus could have healed him the next day, but Jesus was fully aware of what the Pharisees were thinking. Not only did He heal the man on the sabbath, He even asked him to stand out in the middle. He wanted everyone to see what was about to happen.

Before healing the man, Jesus asked: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” The answer to this question is so obvious. But for the Pharisees, they only concerned about the other question: “Is it right to obey the Law or to violate it?” For them the Law, even the letter of the Law, was paramount. Jesus used this opportunity to teach everyone that what is legal may not necessarily be moral. What is moral sometimes transcends the law and may even contradict the law.

St. Augustine had once said: “An unjust law is no law at all.” As Christians, we should do everything with charity. If we are forced to choose between charity and obeying the Law, may the Lord grant us courage to choose charity. That was what Jesus chose as well.


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