Posted 十二月 8, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

真正的皈依

將臨期第二主日甲年讀經

依撒意亞先知書 11:1-10

那一天,由葉瑟的樹幹將生出一個嫩枝;由它的樹根將發出一個幼芽。上主的神,智慧和聰敏的神,超見和剛毅的神,明達和敬畏上主的神,將住在他內。【他將以敬畏上主為快慰。】

他必不照他眼見的,施行審訊,也不按他耳聞的,執行判斷。他將以正義,審訊微賤者,以公理,判斷世上的謙卑者,以他口中的棍杖,打擊暴戾者,以他唇邊的氣息,誅殺邪惡者。正義將是他腰間的束帶,忠誠將是他脅下的佩帶。豺狼將與羔羊共處;虎豹將與小山羊同宿。牛犢和幼獅一同飼養;一個幼童即可帶領牠們。母牛和母熊將一起牧放;牠們的幼雛將一同伏臥。獅子將與牛一樣吃草。吃奶的嬰兒將遊戲於蝮蛇的洞口;斷奶的幼童將伸手探入毒蛇的窩穴。在我的整個聖山上,再沒有誰作惡,也沒有誰害人,因為大地充滿了對上主的認識,有如海洋滿溢海水。

那一日,葉瑟的根,將成為萬民的旗幟;列邦必將尋求他;他駐節之地,將是輝煌的。

保祿宗徒致羅馬人書 15:4-9

弟兄姊妹們:

其實,凡經上所寫的,都是為教訓我們而寫的,為叫我們因經典所教訓的忍耐和安慰,而獲得希望。願賜忍耐和安慰的天主,賞賜你們仿效耶穌基督的榜樣,彼此同心合意,一心一口,光榮我們的主耶穌基督的天主和父。

為此,你們要為光榮天主,而彼此接納,猶如基督也接納了你們一樣。我要說:基督為了彰顯天主的信實,成了「割損」的僕役,為實踐那向先祖們所作的恩許,也使外邦人因天主的憐憫,而光榮天主,正如所記載的:「為此,我要在異民中稱謝你,歌頌你的聖名。」

瑪竇福音 3:1-12

那時候,洗者若翰在猶太曠野出現,宣講說:「你們悔改吧!因為天國臨近了。」這人就是那藉依撒意亞先知所預言的:「在曠野裡有呼號者的聲音:你們該當預備上主的道路,修直他的途徑。」

這若翰穿著駱駝毛做的衣服,腰間束著皮帶,他的食物是蝗蟲和野蜜。

那時,耶路撒冷、全猶太,以及全約但河一帶的人都出來,到若翰那裡,承認自己的罪過,並在約但河受他的洗。他見到許多法利塞人和撒杜塞人,來受他的洗,就對他們說:「毒蛇的種類!誰教你們逃避那即將來臨的憤怒?那麼,就結與悔改相稱的果實吧!你們自己不要想:我們有亞巴郎為父。我給你們說:天主能從這些石頭,給亞巴郎興起子孫來。斧刀已放在樹根上,凡不結好果子的樹,必被砍倒,投入火中。

「我固然用水洗你們,為使你們悔改;但在我以後,要來的那一位,比我更強,我連提他的鞋也不配,他要以聖神及火洗你們。他的簸箕已拿在手中,他要揚淨自己的禾場,將他的麥粒收入倉內,至於糠秕,卻要用不滅的火燒掉。」

在今日的讀經裡,依撒意亞先知描述未來的默西亞君王,顯示一個正義與和平的景象,這景象包括了以色列、全人類及所有受造物。第一篇讀經是有關末世的,以普世均可獲得救恩作結。聖詠則强調在天主揀選的君王的神國內,正義與和平是無遠弗屆,了無休止的。在瑪竇福音中,若翰洗者標誌着聖祖和先知時代的終結,並為以耶穌開始的新時代作好準備。若翰宣告新時代的來臨,强調承襲的特權或表面奉行法律都不能取代真正的皈依,亦不能使人逃過天主的審判。

隨着基督的來臨,默西亞時代已經開始,並應驗了天主在依撒意亞先知時代許下的諾言。這默西亞時代就是天主的國度,將在世界末日、耶穌臨駕一切時圓滿終結。默西亞時代的標記是正義與和平。正義是天主的子民與子民之間、推而廣之,以至所有受造物與受造物之間應有的正確關係,特別是要關懷照顧貧苦和弱小的人。和平不單指沒有戰爭,更指與天主建立友好關係而達致全面的神形康泰。天主教教會教導我們:信友效法基督,按基督的心意而生活,會加速天主神國的來臨 (教理2046)。

怎樣效法基督呢?古語有云:「修身齊家治國平天下」。由「修身」開始,我們應先改善自己。而改善自己最佳的方法便是懺悔,承認自己過往的種種過錯,從而修補跟天主和他人的關係。這就是洗者若翰所宣揚的「真正的皈依」。內心深深歸向上主而獲得真正的平安。

而在這將臨期,我們的主耶穌基督已經為我們準備了最好的聖誕禮物:教會的修和聖事。願我們能好好把握這個機會,將來能踏入天國光輝燦爛的家園。

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。

Second Sunday of Advent (Liturgical Year A)

Isaiah 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Romans 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters:

Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.

Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

In today’s Scripture of the coming of the Messianic King, the prophet Isaiah gives us a vision of justice and peace that will embrace not only Israel but the whole humanity. This eschatological passage ends on a note of universality with its promise extended to all creation. God’s Word, inspiring all who hear it, will ultimately bring its own fulfillment. The psalm implores justice and peace from God with the reign of His chosen king who will attend to the poor and the needy. John the Baptist’s first appearance in the Gospel of Matthew is a herald of the Messiah but he is also the last prophet of the Old Testament. He proclaims the coming of a new age in which no inherited privilege or external legal observance is sufficient for entering the kingdom of God. True repentance and conversion is demanded.

With the coming of Christ, the messianic era has begun. The promise God made at the time of Isaiah is brought to fulfillment. This messianic era, known as God’s kingdom, will be brought to completion at the end of the world when Christ has dominion over everything. The sign of the messianic era is justice and peace. Justice is the right relationship between and among God’s people and indeed all creation, with particular care for the poor and weak. Peace, more than the absence of war, is the total well-being grounded in friendship with God. The Catholic Church teaches that by putting on Christ, and living as Jesus would live, believers hasten the full advent of the kingdom of God (CCC 2046).

How do we model Christ’s way of living? As an old Chinese saying goes, “When one’s personal life is cultivated, one’s family will be regulated and then one’s state will be well governed; and when all the states are well governed, there will be peace and harmony throughout the world” (source). To “cultivating our personal lives”, we must first examine ourselves. Admitting our faults with a contrite heart is the first step to reconcile ourselves with God and others. This “true conversion” which will bring interior peace is what John the Baptist was preaching.

The season of Advent is the time for recollection and reflection of our personal relationship with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the best Christmas gift: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We should make use of this great gift.

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