Friday, August 11, 2017

2017-18聖經研討會接受報名

2017-18年度聖經研討會將查考《希伯來人書》。主耶穌的祭獻與耶路撒冷聖殿內的祭獻有何不同?這聖祭和彌撒聖祭有何關係?為甚麽忠實奉行因洗禮而領受了的司祭職是人生命的滿全?歡迎參加聖經研討會,和我們一起在聖言內成長。詳情如下:

聚會日期: 由今年九月廿二日起至下年六月九日止
聚會時間: 每月第四個星期五晚上7:45至10:00
聚會地點: 中華殉道聖人堂土庫。用粵語進行。
領航員: Edmond Lo, 神學碩士、慕道班導師、講者
講義費: 每位$10
報名: 請往堂區詢問處登記。
網上報名: cmccbsp.org
聯絡人: Louisa Lam louisalam2002@gmail.com

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT: Fountain of Love and Life Spiritual Formation Program 2017-2018

Hope everyone is enjoying the nice summery weather while it is here! With the temperatures trending down and the green foliage of summer shedding its luster ever so slightly, summer is quietly slipping out the back door like a guest too embarrassed to announce his departure. This means a new school year for our children is about to begin. Here at Fountain of Love and Life (FLL), it’s also time for us to gear up for a new year of spiritual formation.

The FLL Spiritual Formation Program (FLL SFP) meets on the second Monday of every month from September to June. Our meeting takes place in the FLL studio from 8:00 to 10 p.m.. Hosted by Edmond Lo (MTS, speaker and RCIA catechist), the program’s objective is to provide the FLL volunteers, staff members, and supporters with an opportunity for spiritual enrichment and fellowship. Using DVDs produced by renowned Catholic speakers and scholars, it helps the participants to acquire a better understanding of the Catholic faith and appreciate more the riches of the tradition of the Catholic Church.

After taking a brief, 2-month summer break, the program is scheduled to resume on Monday, September 11, 2017. For 2017-2018, the focus of our attention will shift from Symbolon – the DVD series that we studied in the last two years - to Bishop Robert Barron’s exciting and brand-new DVD series – The Pivotal Players. Four pivotal players of the Church have been selected for our study this year, namely, Blessed John Henry Newman (The Convert), St. Catherine of Siena (The Mystic), Michelangelo (The Artist), and St. Thomas Aquinas (The Theologian). In addition, two of the Symbolon episodes that remain unviewed, namely, “Building a Civilization of Love”, and “Protecting the Dignity of the Human Person”, have also been included in this year’s program.

Please take a moment to read the time schedule of the 2017-2018 program copied below this announcement. We invite you to mark the meeting dates in your calendar and do your best to join us. If you cannot commit to attending every month, you are welcome to attend only the topics that are of interest to you. As usual, we will send you a reminder before every meeting.

We would also like to welcome back our beloved brothers and sisters of the Vancouver Chapter who joined us through tele-conferencing last year. Kindly pass along the information to those who may not be on our list.

“The presence of Christ is embodied in the lives of real people” (Bishop R. Barron, The Pivotal Players Study Guide). Together with Bishop Barron, let’s meet these distinguished men and women of the Church who have not only shaped the life of the Church but changed the course of civilization. Let’s pray that their lives, which truly exemplify the meaning of holiness, will inspire us to accept the universal call to holiness.



Fountain of Love and Life
Spiritual Formation Program
2017-2018 Schedule

Mon, Sept 11, 2017 - Pivotal Players - Blessed John Henry Newman (The Convert), Part I: Anglican and Catholic Times
Mon, Oct 16, 2017 - Pivotal Players - Blessed John Henry Newman (The Convert), Part II: Major Works
Mon, Nov 13, 2017 - Symbolon - Catholic Social Teaching: Building a Civilization of Love
Mon, Dec 11, 2017 - Pivotal Players – St. Catherine of Siena (The Mystic), Part I: Her Life
Mon, Jan 8, 2018 - Pivotal Players – St. Catherine of Siena (The Mystic), Part II: Her Theology, Visions and Ecstasies
Mon, Feb 12, 2018 - Symbolon – Catholic Social Teaching: Protecting the Dignity of the Human Person
Mon, Mar 12, 2018 - Pivotal Players – Michelangelo (The Artist), Part I: Life and Times
Mon, Apr 9, 2018 - Pivotal Players – Michelangelo (The Artist), Part II: The Sistine Chapel
Mon, May 7, 2018 - Pivotal Players – St. Thomas Aquinas (The Theologian), Part I: Life and Times
Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Pivotal Players – St. Thomas Aquinas (The Theologian), Part II: His Theology

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Is Jesus "the Son of Man"?

Last year the CMCC Bible Study Program celebrated 15 years of studying the Bible and growing together in the word of God. The book we studied to commemorate this special year was Daniel. As usual, the program ended in June, but it will begin anew in September together with my other programs and activities. The two summer months in between provide me with a cushion not only to take a break but also to rejuvenate, study, plan, and get ready for next year.

With the fascinating and sometimes frightening images of the Book of Daniel still fresh in my head – the statue of four metals being smashed by a pulverizing stone, three young men worshipping God safely in a burning fiery furnace, Daniel being protected by God’s angel in the den of lions, the visions of the four beasts, etc. – I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Church would use one of the most well-known Danielic images – the enthronement in heaven of “the Son of man” – as a key theme that connects all three readings of the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

The influence that the Book of Daniel has on Christianity is profound and indisputable. The New Testament books, particularly some of the Pauline epistles and the Book of Revelation, often take symbols, images, and phrases straight out of Daniel to demonstrate that the Danielic prophecies have come to fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus himself also refers to Daniel on numerous occasions, including calling himself the “Son of man” and linking his own eschatological glory to Daniel’s vision of the Son of man riding on the clouds of heaven (Mt. 24:30, 26:64).

The Church Fathers are quick to recognize the theological significance of the “Son of man” in Daniel’s vision. Ancient Jewish tradition identified this title with a heavenly Messiah (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, comment on Daniel 7:13, p.32). In addition to its messianic implication, the Church Fathers see in this unusual title the mystery of God taking on human nature, and in doing so perfecting and elevating it to a lofty height inconceivable to the human mind and unreachable by mere human efforts. This gives us a more profound understanding of why our “hope in the Lord” will enable us to “soar as with eagles’ wings” (Isaiah 40:31). St. Athanasius explains this overpowering mystery of the divinization of humanity in the most succinct way possible: “The Son of God became the Son of man so that the sons of men could become the sons of God” (CCC 460).

Of all the experiences that Peter encounters on Mount Tabor (generally believed to be the holy site of Transfiguration), he remembers one in particular: the Father’s confirmation of Jesus as “my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (2 Pt 1:17). For Peter, the confirmation is a powerful assurance that enables him to believe “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” cannot be one of those “cleverly devised myths” (2 Pt 1:16).

Finally, we can’t blame Peter for appearing a little overwhelmed, if not downright disoriented, when he proposes to make three tents on the Mount of Transfiguration: “one for [Jesus], one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mt. 17:4). After all, revealed for the eyes of Peter, James and John to behold at the Transfiguration is “a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth” that have proven too much even for Elijah and Moses to see (BXVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, n.35; 1 Kgs 19:13; Ex 33:20-23).

Marriage in the Scriptures

I'd like to forward Bishop Robert Barron's article on marriage for your reading pleasure. It's not long; it's essentially his homily for a married couple. Please follow this link: A Bride and Groom; THE Bride and Groom

Marriage is one of the most prominent and beautiful theme of the Bible, if not the most prominent and beautiful. Coming from Bishop Barron, the reflection is nothing short of eloquent, beautiful and inspirational. But then again, the scriptural theme of marriage is in itself full of eloquence, beauty and inspiration; which is why it continues to capture my imagination and stimulate my deepest yearning for God. After reading so many eloquent and beautiful discourses on marriage by various theologians, among them von Balthasar, St. JPII, Pope Benedict XVI, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Bishop Barron, it's become very clear to me that the true source of their eloquence and beauty is God himself, who is the real author of the Bible and is somehow able to "write history" the way a poet writes poems. I am convinced that the Bible is the most beautiful and eloquent literature ever written in human language. The theme of marriage alone and how it unfolds and navigates beautifully through the Old and New Testament books is sufficient to support my position.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada 150

Born to a Chinese family in the British colony of Hong Kong, I spent my teenage years in an oriental and patriarchal culture that was conditioned, on the one hand, by traditional Confucius and Buddhist values, and shaped, on the other, by the western and Christian way of living due to the influence of the British. At 19, I left the colony to receive university education in Canada. Without knowing it at the time, my departure from my place of birth, meant to be a 4-year hiatus for higher education and better future, turned out to be a permanent exodus that determined not only where I would reside and raise my family for the rest of my life, but also what country my children – and my children’s children – would be proud to call home: Canada.

On this 150th anniversary of my country – the country that extended its welcoming arms and embraced me lovingly 35 years ago when my place of birth rejected me in so many ways, my heart is filled with jubilation and thankfulness: jubilation because this wonderful country of 35 million people is a land uniquely adorned with incredible wonders of nature, enormous resources, polite and pleasant people whose diverse origins are the reason for mutual respect, not conflict, and a constitutional architecture that protects diversity, promotes freedom, and ensures justice and equality under the law; thankfulness because my Canadian citizenship - the immense good and human dignity that it garners - is in the final account not the result of my personal pursuit or anybody's kind assistance but God’s special grace.

Some people see a person’s ethnic and cultural characteristics as the overriding factors that define his national identity, i.e. his country. The absurdity of this view, which we shall call “nationalism of ethnic and cultural identity”, is that, when taken strictly it means Canada is not a real country! With the exception of the aboriginal peoples, the ethnic and cultural origins of the 35 million people in this country are not Canadian, which according to this view means Canada is not their country! To the people who see me in the light of this position, my response is this: as an ethnic Chinese, I pledge my personal allegiance to my Chinese heritage, including my ancestors and 5,000 years of Chinese culture; the former is in my DNA and the latter my heart and sentiments. But as a human being who treasures freedom, dignity, and constitutional rights, as a family person who seeks to marry and raise children, and as a national subject who entrusts his livelihood, health, education, and personal well-being to the governance of a state, I do not hesitate to identify myself wholeheartedly and unreservedly as a Canadian.

The newspaper this morning is like a Charles Dickens novel – a tale of two cities or two places. As celebrations of 150 years get underway here across Canada with fanfare and jubilation, Hong Kong, which is 12 hours ahead in time zone on the other side of the globe, has just finished a solemn remembrance of 20 years of British handover of the colony to China. At this watershed moment of the two places, my heartbeat rises and falls with every jubilation of my country and anxiety of my birthplace….

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Family – a Sweet and Safe Home Base or a Battle Ground?

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Mt 10:37).

“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that…we too might live in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).

If there’s a common thread that connects the above statements from this Sunday’s gospel and second reading, it is the severity of what each demands of us - one seeking the subordination of family relationships to those in God’s Family, the other commanding in us a complete rebirth of self.

As years go by and my relationship with God continues to deepen, it has become more and more obvious – sometimes painfully obvious – to me that the way I live and the values I seek are becoming more and more difficult to fathom, to put it mildly, for many members of my biological family. It isn’t that our relationships have turned sour or adversarial because of my Catholic beliefs. Far from it. If anything, we are only getting closer as we age, sharing a deeper and deeper appreciation of our unique family bond. In fact, for many of them, my determination to live a life with meaning and purpose is something that commands their respect, even if such meaning and purpose are things they cannot relate to or share completely. But there is no denying that our different religious beliefs, or lack of it for some, are causing us to approach life and see things in very different ways.

Growing up from an oriental, patriarchal culture where traditional Confucius family values are dominant and the parent-child relationship of sacred and supreme importance, it’s hard for some family members to understand my Christian disposition that sees my relationship with God as central and all-encompassing. My parents, to whom I’m forever indebted, had always respected my religious beliefs and continued to love me even if such beliefs and theirs did not always jive. Still, looking back so many years later after their departures from this world, I must admit that their respect and love for me were not without some regrets – regrets that somehow some things were less than ideal in our relationship because certain values and expectations of ours were different.

St. John Paul II said, “The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family” (Letter to Families, n.23). Family is in many ways a “training camp” where we learn to iron out our differences with love and tolerance so that we are better prepared to live in love in the heavenly Family of God, the Father. Sometimes the “training process” has become so rough and rigorous that our family may even begin to look more like a battle ground filled with “shell-shocked and injured soldiers” than a sweet and safe home base as it should be. But persist we must where God’s revealed truths and values are at stake, trusting that the willingness of all family members to submit themselves to God’s guidance will somehow bring understanding, respect, and love powerful enough to overcome all conflicts and differences. Let’s “battle on” as family members - with love; persist in our family way - in faith; and look forward to joining God’s Family in heaven one day – out of hope.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

痛苦是「耶穌的吻」

為天主的國度而受苦是極崇高的事,讓人得到像領受了使命般的力量,而願意披荊斬棘,努力堅持下去….

前香港特區行政長官曾蔭權在保釋出獄後的早上,立刻前往教堂參與彌撒,隨行的是保護他的便衣警察。

讓我們先弄清楚:在這裡我們的工作,是為復活節第四主日彌撒讀經做一點反思,我們並非要評論曾蔭權受到的審判是否公平,或他在執政期間是否稱職,也沒有支持或批判他的意思。我們提起香港前領導人這段消息,是因為在這事情上,我們看到一個非常重要的神學議題:在經歷了長期痛苦的煎熬之後;在多次的禱告都好像石沉大海,得不到天主的回應之後;在政治和法律上的爭持和訴訟皆全數敗北,並且被公開羞辱,最後從高位墮下之後,為什麼曾蔭權仍然忠信於天主呢? 天主似乎已經多次離棄了他,為什麼他仍不離不棄地堅守自己的信仰呢?其實這不僅是曾蔭權的問題,而是每一個受苦的信徒的問題 。然而,試問誰人不受苦痛煎熬呢?

雖然這個主日的彌撒讀經的目的,不是要用痛苦作主題來做詳盡的神學講論,但在讀經一中以強而有力的福音宣講來說服了「大約三千人」悔改和受洗的聖伯多祿(宗徒大事錄2:41),在讀經二用同樣深遠的訓誨,使我們明白為什麼這麼多像曾蔭權的基督徒,在苦海沉淪幾乎沒頂時,仍然能繼續信靠天主。聖伯多祿說,因行善而受苦,是中悅天主的事(參閱伯前2:20);然後他總結說:「你們原是為此而蒙受召叫的,因為基督也為你們忍受了痛苦」 (伯多祿前書2:21)。換句話說,對基督徒來說,勇於接受為義而受苦涉及一種個人的信念 -- 一個為了仿傚基督為我們所做的一切而奉行的崇高的召叫。為天主的國度而受苦是極崇高的事,讓人得到像領受了使命般的力量,而願意披荊斬棘,努力堅持下去;那堅信不移的意志,幾近於殉道。

有趣的是,一生生活在極度貧困中,受盡痛苦的煎熬的德蘭修女,同樣地將痛苦視為「耶穌的吻」; 對她來說,痛苦是「天主的恩賜」(M. Gaitley,33 Days to Morning Glory,第69頁)。

如果這領悟聽起來令人不安 - 因為說到底,沒有人會喜歡受苦 - 這個主日的福音這樣安慰我們:耶穌是我們的牧者,我們是祂牧養的羊; 有祂在我們身邊,我們「不怕兇險」(參閱聖詠集23:4)。

(這文章英文原版同日在此網誌刊登。鳴謝《生命恩泉》翻譯組幫助中文翻譯。)