Monday, November 30, 2009

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

新的禮儀年

昨天(十一月二十九日)是將臨期第一主日,標誌着聖教會一個新的禮儀年開始。今年為「丙年」,主日福音主要取材自「聖路加福音」。

主題

聖路加福音內容主題是表達福音喜訊的普世性,亦談及聖神、祈禱和天主的慈悲。

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)。

講故事的人

路加是出色講故事的人,或是善於敍述的人。他運用了總論、言詞、旅程和比對的方式,來精采他福音的內容。

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)」

首八章的路加福音,記下九篇言詞,佔了不同章篇的一半內容,當中的讚美詩章,為人津津樂道。

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)。

在不同的記載中,路加喜歡把一些人物和事端作比對。例如,他把匝加利亞和聖母兩人的領報比對、把洗者若翰的誕生與耶穌聖誕作比對。如果我們把他的福音和他所寫的宗徒大事錄并閱,不難發覺更多的比對:聖神降孕於聖母和聖神降臨於初生的聖教會;耶穌、伯多祿和保祿施行治病及復活死人的奇蹟;與及耶穌聖死和斯德望的致命等等。

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).

Storytelling

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:

http://fatheranthonyho.ca/4522.html