主日的聖言與反省 : 甲年常年期第二十三主日 – 愛不加害於人

常年期第二十三主日

厄則克爾 33:7-9

上主這樣說:「人子,我要立你做以色列家族的警衛;你聽了我口中的話,應代我警告他們。

「為此,當我告訴惡人:『惡人,你必喪亡!』你如果不講話,也不警告惡人離開邪道,那惡人雖因自己的罪惡而喪亡,但我要由你手中,追討他的血債。

「你如果警告惡人,叫他離開邪道,但他不肯歸正,離開邪道,他必因自己的罪惡而喪亡,而你卻救了自己。」

羅馬書 13:8-10

弟兄姊妹們:

除了彼此相愛外,你們不可再欠人什麼,因為誰愛別人,就滿全了法律。其實「不可姦淫,不可殺人,不可偷盜,不可貪戀」,以及其他任何誡命,都包含在這句話裡:就是「愛你的近人如同你自己」。愛不加害於人,所以愛就是法律的滿全。

瑪竇福音 18:15-20

那時候,耶穌對門徒說:「如果你的弟兄得罪了你,去,要在你和他獨處的時候,規勸他;如果他聽從了你,你便賺得了你的兄弟;但他如果不聽,你就多帶一個或兩個人同去,為叫任何事情,憑兩個或三個見證人的口供,得以成立。如果他仍不聽從他們,你要告訴教會;如果他連教會也不聽從,你就將他看作外教人或稅吏。

「我實在告訴你們:凡你們在地上所束縛的,在天上也要被束縛;凡你們在地上所釋放的,在天上也要被釋放。

「我實在告訴你們:如果你們當中有兩個人,在地上同心合意,無論為什麼事祈禱,我在天之父,必要成全他們,因為那裡有兩個或三個人,因我的名字聚集一起,我就在他們中間。」

愛不加害於人
May Tam
Aid

Aid

乍看之下,今天的兩篇讀經似乎是相互矛盾的。 厄則克耳認真地要求我們必須指出他人的錯誤行 為,但保祿卻清楚地告訴我們要愛近人如同自己。 我們當然也不希望別人直接面斥自己的缺 點。 此外,「愛」,不是要求容忍和寬恕嗎? 在福音中,耶穌親自告訴我們三個步驟來解決這 個疑難。

從私下的規勸,到帶同證人的談判,至最後由團體的公開判決 – 許多聖經評論家認為這篇話語 是為了制定一個在瑪竇時代的社群內解決糾紛的方法。 然而,如仔細地看這個過程,不難 注意到一個基本準則,那就是愛的原則。

責備,不是因為憤怒,也不旨在羞辱犯者。 它不關乎瑣事或個人嫌惡。 它是關於(或由於行為導 致)冒犯和違背天主的誡律。 它是關於危害個人與天主的關係的可能性。 其實是基於愛,而給予 警告, 申延寬容,且必需紀律。是由於犯者自身的固執和傲慢,才招至不必要的被逐出團體和開 除的最終判決。

在我們的日常生活中,這三步曲能否應用到? 在家庭裡,在工作場所或在所屬的團體 中,我們常常會遇到類似的情況: 對於別人的過失, 我們應否指出錯誤, 或是選擇保持 緘默。 這肯定會是一個微妙和困難的選擇。 指出錯誤, 是否便等於批判別人? 耶穌不 是曾教導我們要對別人包容和慈悲嗎? (參照路6:36-38,瑪7:1-5) 畢竟,每一個人都希望 能對別人和善,和得到別人的讚賞。

當耶穌說「不要批判」,並不是意味著對於錯誤視若無睹,完全不作出修正。 有些情況下, 我們必須作出批判, 但是必須記著, 這些批判, 不是出於譴責或對別人作出不實的指控。 而事實上,耶穌鼓勵門徒們互相指出不足而能改進(參照路加福音17:3)。最重要的一點是在於作出批判的人動機是甚麼,和批判後的態度。在緊貼這段福音後,耶穌告訴伯多祿必需原諒別人七十個七次(參照瑪18:21及路加福音17:4)。這便是所指的包容和慈悲,絕對不是為了想做「好好先生/小姐」 而保持緘默或無原則性的容忍。

朋友,在我們指出別人的錯誤時,出發點必需純粹是基於愛。 聖保祿說:「愛不加害於 人」,它真正的意思是我們要愛我們的近人,關心他們的福祉,願他們一切都美好。所以當他們偏離正道的時候, 我們必需採取嚴正措施來改正, 而不是縱容或息事寧人而置之 不理。

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 33:7-9

Thus says the LORD:

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, ” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

Romans 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Isn’t that “love” calls for tolerance and forgiveness?
May Tam
At first glance, the first two readings of today seem to be conflicting. Ezekiel seriously demanded that we have to voice out our neighbors’ wrongdoings but Paul clearly told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Surely as ourselves, we would not want others to point straight to our face our flaws and besides, isn’t that “love” calls for tolerance and forgiveness? In the Gospel, through Jesus’ mouth, a three-step process was advised to solve this dilemma.

From a private confrontation to a contained negotiation with limited witnesses and finally a public adjudication from the community, many of the biblical commentators see that this discourse was meant to lay out a formal procedure for settling disputes within the Matthean community at that time. However, if one looks closely at this process, one cannot but notice an underlying principle, the principle of Love.

The reproof was never meant to be anger nor aimed to humiliate the offender. It was not about trifle or personal dislike. It was about offence and violation of God’s laws (or action that leads to that). It was about the possibility of jeopardizing one’s relationship with God. It was out of love that warning was given, leniency was extended and disciplinary act was needed. It was the offender who by his/her own obstinacy and arrogance that unnecessarily brought forth the ultimate judgment of excommunication and expulsion.

How about in our own daily encounters, does this three-step process apply? In our families, workplaces or in any communities that we belong, we often face similar situations: to point out or to be silent of the others’ errors. It is certainly a very delicate and difficult choice. Would “pointing out” mean judging others? Does not Jesus teach us to be merciful? (rf Lk 6:36-38, Mt 7:1-5) After all, we all want to be nice to others and to be commended as nice too.

When Jesus said “stop judging”, it does not mean to be totally inactive of making corrections. There are instances we have to exercise judgment as long as the judgment is not a condemnation or unjust labeling of others. In fact, Jesus encouraged His disciples to make fraternal corrections when necessary (rf Lk 17:3). The importance lies in the intention of the corrector and what follows afterward. Referring to the same Gospel passage that follows immediately, Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy seven times (rf Mt 18:21), the same in Lk 17:4. This is what it means by being merciful, not that of keeping silence or misguided tolerance under the name of “Mr./Ms. Nice”.

Dear friends, we can always rely on that principle of Love when pointing out errors of others. When St Paul said “Love does no wrong to a neighbor”, it truly means that when we love our neighbors, we care for their well being and wish for their very best. So instead of pampering them or avoiding their possible objections, tough measures may be needed when they deviate from the right path.

化解衝突的啟示
吳智勳神父
瑪竇福音講論教會,比其他三部福音詳盡。今日的福音可從教會的角度去看。瑪竇福音編寫時,大概是耶穌復活後幾十年的事。教友人數多了,教會也複雜起來,而且人多很易發生磨擦。如果連兩大宗徒伯多祿和保祿也會意見不合,保祿甚至出口指斥,何況其他教友?今日的福音把基督徒團體發生爭執時的具體解決辦法列出來:
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神修話語 Spiritual Talk
何庭耀神父
甲年 常年期第二十三主日,何庭耀神父給我們講解瑪竇福音中耶穌對於改正他人的教導。我們得以愛的語言勸戒他人,指出他們錯誤、罪過的行為,希望他們能悔改和改善自己。何神父也提醒我們祈禱和犧牲對於勸善的效力。
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May Tam

 
May Tam, Bachelor of Social Science (University of Hong Kong), Master of Theological Studies (University of Toronto)