Monday, November 30, 2009

Pax Sinica: 新的禮儀年 The advent of a new year





聖路加在其福音,十七次說及聖神(在「宗徒大事錄」中則共五十七次),在路加福音, 聖母領報時因聖神受孕,而成為天主之母;在宗徒大事錄, 五旬節時聖神降臨,聖母成為教會之母;在福音末段,聖史更引述耶穌稱聖神是「我父所恩許的(24:49)」。

聖路加特別提到耶穌,每遇重要時刻都祈禱(3:21; 5:16; 6:?12; 9:18,28; 11:1; 22:32,41; 23:46);他又記載了匝加利亞的讚主曲(1:68-79)、瑪利亞的謝主曲(1:46-55),與及西默盎的讚美詩(2:29-32)。所有這些頌詞,均用作我們「每日頌禱」內的早禱、晚禱和夜禱的經文。福音最後以記載耶穌門徒們「常在聖殿裏稱謝天主」作結束。

聖路加強調耶穌對罪人的關愛 —— 罪婦親吻耶穌的腳(23:39-43)、稅吏長匝凱的皈化(19:1-10)、加爾瓦畧山上右盜的悔改(23:39-43)、亡羊的比喻(15:1-7)、失錢的比喻(15:8-10)和浪子回頭的比喻(15:11-32)。



在福音中、不同時段內,路加採用總論方式,清淅分段(1:80; 2:52; 13:22; 19:47),讓讀者感受到時間的流過;例如他在終結耶穌童年的時段,寫下「耶穌在智慧和身量上,並在天主和人前的恩愛上,漸漸地增長。(2:52)」


聖路加福音的中段,描述耶穌前往耶路撒冷(第9章-第19章)的旅程。聖史多次提醒讀者: 先知耶穌在向耶城進發(13:22; 13:33; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11; 19:28);敍述到期間祂所給眾人的訓導,則可概分三部份:基督徒應有的精神(第9章-弟14章)、天主的仁慈(第15章),和門徒面對的困難和挑戰(第16章-第19章)。


聖路加為「德敖斐羅Theophilus」—— 意即「愛主之人」—— 而寫下他的福音。聖師安博St. Ambrose說:「如果你愛主,聖路加福音是為你而寫的。」

The advent of a new year

Yesterday, Nov. 29, was the First Sunday of Advent; we have just begun a new liturgical year! This is Year C for the Sunday Readings, and the Gospel readings will mainly be taken from St. Luke.

Spirit, prayer, and mercy

The major theme of St. Luke's Gospel is the universality of the Gospel message. Other subthemes are the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the mercy of God.

St. Luke mentions the Holy Spirit 17 times in his Gospel. At the end of it Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as "the Promise of My Father" (24:49). St. Luke mentions the Holy Spirit 57 times in the Acts of the Apostles. At the Annunciation, the Holy Spirit came to Mary, and she became the Mother of God. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit again came to Mary, and she became the Mother of the Church.

St. Luke was careful to show that Jesus prayed before every important step (3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18,28; 11:1; 22:32, 41; 23:46). The Canticles of Zechariah (1:68-79), of Mary (1:46-55), and of Simeon (2:29-32) are from the infancy narratives.

These canticles have the place of honour in the Divine Office at Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer. The Gospel concludes with the disciples "continually in the temple praising and blessing God" (24:53).

St. Luke reports Jesus's deep concern for sinners. He includes the incidents of the sinful woman kissing Christ's feet (7:36-50), of the conversion of Zacchaeus (19:1-10), and of the repentance of the good thief (23:39-43). Luke records the parables of the lost sheep (15:1-7), the lost coin (15:8-10), and the prodigal son (15:11-32).


Luke was a wonderful storyteller, or narrator. He employed narrative devices such as summary, speech, journey, and parallelism.

Luke uses summaries (1:80; 2:52; 13:22; 19:47), which provide critical spacing for the narrative and give the reader a sense of elapsed time. For example, Luke summarizes the childhood of Christ in the words, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men" (2:52).

In the first eight chapters of St. Luke's Gospel there are nine speeches. The length of these speeches constitutes about half of the narrative in these chapters. The most famous of these speeches are the Gospel canticles.

The central portion of St. Luke's Gospel is Jesus's journey to Jerusalem (Chapters 9 to 19). From time to time Luke reminds his readers that Jesus, the Prophet, is on His way to Jerusalem (13:22, 13:33, 17:11, 18:31, 19:11, 19:28). The teachings of Jesus during this journey can be divided into three parts: the qualities of discipleship (Ch. 9-14), God seeks out the lost (Ch. 15), and the difficulties and challenges of discipleship (Ch. 16-19).

Luke draws parallels between persons and events in different parts of his writing. Some examples are the annunciation to Zacharias and the annunciation to Mary, as well as the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus.

Putting the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles together we can see more parallels: the coming of the Holy Spirit to Mary and to the Church, miracles of healing and of raising the dead by Jesus, Peter, and Paul, and the deaths of Jesus and of Stephen.

St. Luke wrote the Gospel for Theophilus. His name means lover of God. St. Ambrose wrote, "If you love God, it was written for you."

Link to my other Pax Sinica articles: