将临故事中的客栈店主

可彬于此文章,分享将临故事中客栈店主的角色,试问我们是否有时也以客栈店主的身份对待圣家三口。

“他们在那里的时候,她分娩的日期满了,便生了她的头胎男儿,用襁褓裹起,放在马槽里,因为在客栈中为他们没有地方。”(路2:6-7)

我常想,当若瑟从客栈店主口中得知那里“没有地方”容纳他与身怀六甲的聘妻时,究竟有何感受?行路数日、历经坎坷的若瑟,必然气愤心烦,无比失望。我猜想,他甚至慌张失措。他有后备计划吗?夫妻俩总不能露宿街头吧?那怀有身孕的玛利亚呢?这样的生理状态下,仍要长途跋涉,肯定使她疲惫不堪,痛苦不已。听到一句“没有地方”,她是否也一时不能自己,无助痛哭?不知若瑟与玛利亚可曾感到消极、绝望?有时想想,也不禁感慨:我们熟悉的将临故事——那充满欢腾、盛满喜乐、灌满消费主义的故事——竟源于一次冷漠的拒绝。回首望之,倘若客栈掌柜知道自己拒绝的是圣家三口,他是否会腾出空间,让耶稣、玛利亚和若瑟三人入住?

诚然,我就是客栈店主,客栈就象征我的心房——一个满是担忧、顾虑,没有为圣家腾出空间的心房。无可否认,我在日常生活中,确实无数次拒绝了圣家。就因交际往来、因个人抱负、因名望声誉、因事业野心,我多少次将心房填得满满的,根本不留丝毫空间让他们住下。不好意思,若瑟。我没有地方容纳你们一家,因为我的心充满了自我、充满了种种自私的意图,种种世俗的欲望。玛利亚,我也得拒绝您,因为我没时间念什么玫瑰经、参与什么九日敬礼。而祢呢,圣母腹中的耶稣,赎世主,我灵魂的拯救者!也请祢让开,到较宽敞的地方生活去吧。如此一来,荣福童贞玛丽亚期待已久的耶稣诞辰,在我心里没有空间实现。

为了迎接圣诞,我思考着客栈店主在将临故事中扮演的角色。以下几个反思点浮现于我的脑海中:在日常生活中,我曾拒绝了哪些人?在工作环境里,或校园内,我又有意或无意地忽视了谁?圣本笃会规第53章写道:“该如接待基督似的接待众来宾,因为他将来要说: ‘我作客,你们收留了我。’” 天主正叫唤我们接纳哪些人?对于这些“作客”之人,我们是否反而选择了回避与拒绝?我是否没有认出爱的面孔,忽略了在生活中创造空间的使命?毕竟,我们需先认出耶稣、玛利亚与若瑟,方能将其迎入我们的生活。

耶稣于玛窦福音25:13提醒我们:“你们该醒悟,因为你们不知道那日子,也不知道那时辰。” 确实,时辰何时到,你我皆不知。耶稣、玛利亚与若瑟何时将敲打我们的心房,你我都不晓得。因此,让我们在享受佳节喜乐的同时,且在欢腾、珍爱与宽恕的当儿,认出并实现圣家三口的邀请,在心中腾出空间来。让我们沉心深省,开始除去一切无谓霸占空间的事物——一切使我们与天主逐渐疏远的担忧与顾虑。让我们也祈求天主赐予我们一份意识能力,得以在生活中认出圣家三口,并接纳他们。这个圣诞期,愿我们增加爱德,成为有地方容纳圣家三口的客栈店主。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,我把我心、我灵、我生命,全献给你们。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,扶助我于临终时。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,赐我能在你们中得平安去世之恩。

立于耶稣、玛利亚及若瑟庇佑之下,并以圣十字为护:因父及子及圣神之名,阿门。

© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Gregory Adrian Gunawan

© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Clarence Lee

Angels, We Have Heard from High! Now What?

Greg talks about the shepherds in the Christmas narrative: the necessary faith and openness needed to respond to the praises of the angels.

Picture the scene with me. You’re a night security officer. You’ve just come back from dinner and are intently trying not to fall asleep at your station. It’s quite late at night but you remain faithful to your job. And then, all of a sudden, a bright light begins to shine in front of you and you squint, trying to see who on Earth would switch on such a bright light at night. And lo and behold, you see this figure standing in front of you, apparently emanating this strong light that is blinding you. You are terrified. But as soon as you feel this fear, the figure says, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12). With that, more and more figures appear and they began to chant and sing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:14). And this goes on and on until, slowly, one by one, the figures leave and you’re alone in your station once again. How would you react?

Continue reading “Angels, We Have Heard from High! Now What?”

Playing Herod: An Advent Reflection

Garrett reflects on what we can learn from Herod’s bad example as we move into the Advent season.

Last December, I went with a group of Catholic university friends on a mission trip to Cambodia, to an education centre run by the Marist brothers. I remember vividly one item on the agenda in particular: to put up a Nativity play to entertain the kids. It was at our lodging one night when the director of the play announced the roles, after discussing with the trip leader. And lo and behold, the director revealed, yours truly was to play Herod.

Now, I admit I’ve always been somewhat thin-skinned and sensitive, so my first instinct was hurt and shock at being asked to play the ‘villain’ of the Nativity story. But as I prepared for the role, and looking back on that time with the benefit of hindsight, I find myself having to accept an uncomfortable truth – that old Herod and I may have more than a little in common. As we draw nearer to Advent once again, I offer this short reflection in the hope that it may provide some insight into the common pitfalls that may occur as we prepare ourselves spiritually for the birth of Our Lord.

Continue reading “Playing Herod: An Advent Reflection”