Chinese New Year Homily by Fr. Philip Chua (translated by Fr. Michael Chua)

龙年话龙-新春弥撒道理——2024

  1. 前言: 新年恭喜!去年關於兔年的吉祥成語很少,今年龍年倒是有不少吉祥的成語。 我小時候對於龍的印象,來自每一年新年的舞龍舞獅。我小時候並不是在教會長大的,所以只要看到舞龍舞獅,就會跑到路上去探個究竟,那時鞭炮聲四起,鑼鼓聲響,有著濃厚的過年氣氛。一般來說,基督徒對於「舞獅」並沒有什麼意見,/但對於「舞龍」,天主教徒卻頗有微辭。 因為許多人認為龍對於天主教教而言,不是吉祥的動物。因此在進入龍年的大年初一,我們來探討龍對於土生土長的马来西亚人,特别是天主教徒有什麼樣的意義。
  2. 聖經启示录中的“龍”是七头蛇﹐不是中國龍
    对圣经里“龍”的正确理解有二個來源﹐一個是希臘文化的背景﹐另一是聖經的背景﹐ 英文dragon這個字﹐是從希臘文δρακων翻译過來的﹐通常是描繪一些需要被降服或需要被殺死的怪物。 這些希臘神話的δρακων﹐跟中國龍的長相完全不一樣,有七个头,十个角,身子是蟒蛇身。中国龍只有一个头,两个鹿角,猪鼻子,鲇鱼须,还有四肢。中国龍多数是好的吉祥的尊贵的,也有少数坏的,称为孽龍或戾龍。所以龍通常是皇帝的图腾。皇帝被称为真龙天子。中国老百姓也都以龍为吉祥物,在家具衣物乐器等上面处处都是龙。所以δρακων 不是中国龍。
  3. 龍文化在中华民族中的分量
    对圣经翻译的历史有了比较清晰的了解之后,我们再来看问题的另一面,就是龍文化在中华民族中的感情分量。
    中国龍是中国古代先人创造的一种神奇动物,不是大自然中的真实存在。但是几千年来,龍的形象已经成了中华民族的图腾和象征,他基本上代表高贵,尊严,正义,威力,可以战胜一切神怪魔鬼,变幻莫测,翱翔腾挪于天地之间.
  4. 龍是皇權的象徵 : 因此龍又是皇权的象征。皇帝被认为是真龙天子。普通老百姓也以龍为荣为贵。
  5. 華人偏好以龍來命名: 父母给孩子取名喜欢带个龍字,如李小龍成龍等。
  6. 称赞别人,说他龙行虎步,龙马精神。贺人结婚,说龙风呈祥。中国的春节舞龙,元宵节挂龙灯,端午节龙舟竞渡等等,都是以龙图腾表示自己文化的认同。在宫殿上,龙袍上,牌楼上,华表上和王朝的国旗上以及普通人的礼服上到处都是龙图腾。可以说龍文化已经深入到中国文化的每一个角落,流入普通人的血液。在遠古傳說中,中华民族的先祖伏羲和女媧都是人首龍身的神人。所以中国人自认是龍族,是龍的传人。教会中一些不懂基督精神的人员把吉祥善良,威猛正义中国龍说成是伊甸园里唆使亚当夏娃犯下原罪的邪恶的古蛇,显然是把全世界的原罪栽脏于中华民族,把龍的传人说成是魔鬼撒旦的传人。在教会与十四亿中国人之间人为地制造种族对立,这是对天主的事业的亵渎,也是反对种族歧视法律的蔑视。
  7. 龙年祝福语与信仰生活化: 中國文化中的「龍」也有正面意思,我更鼓勵信徒可以以平常心去看與「龍」有關的文化和傳統,無需立志與龍為敵。
    **恩宠是天主所赐的礼物,恩宠的【宠】字,就是在【家】的下面有一条龙,家和万事兴。迎来辛福龙:辛福,不是物质享受的多寡,而是贡献的无有,履行【心】的义务,正是一种身心灵的滋养和提升。chǒng. “宠”是尊崇,宠爱。 商甲骨文的“宠”字,上边的“ 从宀( mián)”(读yǎn )是早期人类居住的岩崖形,也是简陋的房屋居所(广);里边是一“龙”形,“龙”是古人最尊崇的动物形象,也是图腾时期的崇拜物。 周金文的房屋形状有所改善,写作“ 宀”(宀,读mián),已是标准的房屋宫室形。
    --龙年吉祥话四个字成语有哪些?我将会引用龙成语融入天主圣言及如何信仰生活化,龙年祝福语四字成语有:
    --生龙活虎:形容活泼矫健,富有生气。 愿大家在新的一年可以像龙一样,生龙活虎,健康的生活。罗马15:13 “願賜望德的天主,因着你們的信心,使你們充滿各種喜樂和平安,使你們因着聖神的德能,富於望德。”
    -龙腾虎跃: 像龙那样飞腾,像虎那样跳跃。①形容姿态威武雄壮,动作矫健。②比喻奋起行动,有所作为。聖詠3:3 “上主,是維護我的盾牌,是我的榮耀,常使我首昂頭抬。” 当我们面临挑战或感到沮丧时,我们可以找到安慰,因为我们知道天主是我们的盾牌,是我们的支柱。祂鼓舞我们,赐予我们力量、勇气和希望。正如盾牌的保护一样,天主也会保护我们,并赋予我们克服逆境的能力。
    -龙马精神: 意思精神依然健旺,旺盛奋发的精神。人格通过修身实现自我完善的激励意象; 龙马精神:龙马,古代传说中形状像龙的骏马,比喻人精神旺盛。斐4:13 “我賴加強我力量的那位,能應付一切” ;厄弗所书6:10 “你们务要在主内,藉他的能力作坚强的人。”
    -龙腾四海: 字面意思是龙征服海洋,寓意是祝福——祝你在各个领域都优秀、出类拔萃。斐4:13“我赖加强我力量的那位,能应付一切。”
  8. **龙年祝福词:切望新的一年,在圣神领导下,人人都能发挥龙马精神,齐心努力於福传工作,以祈祷生活深耕灵性生命,以单纯,信赖,交托的心,祈祷的心,恒常祈祷,时时感恩,事事喜乐;期许龙年新岁,我们日日与主同在,做个有天主伴行的【龙的传人】。
    a. 祝福生意者:龍年行大運,幸福龍(攏)乎你! 生意興龍(隆)!龍(榮)華富貴!
    b. 读书学生,工作者:心想事成,好運龍(攏)總來!炮聲龍龍(隆隆)新年到,步步高升好徵兆!
    c. 祝福所有的主内的姐妹们:美的出水福龍(芙蓉)!
    d. 祝福所有的家庭:闔家其樂龍龍(融融)! 吉祥富貴,全家龍(攏)平安!
    e. 祝福夫妻们:恩愛常伴,永遠你龍(儂)我龍(儂)!
    在这里,我代表圣心堂本堂神父:Stanislaus 蒙席、加影圣家堂本堂神父蔡锦华,副堂博纳神父,恭贺各位新年蒙福,新年身心灵安康,新年快乐,恩宠上加恩宠,灵修福传俱丰收获!
    铎末:蔡钊发

Chinese New Year Homily_2024_Year of Dragon
In comparison to last year’s zodiac animal which was the timid rabbit, there is no lack of Chinese idioms for this year’s candidate - the majestic dragon. As you are aware, I was not born into a Catholic family and my first impressions of how Catholics viewed dragons came from the way Catholics celebrated the Lunar New Year. They didn’t seem to have taken issue with the lion with the abundance of lion dances, but the same could not be said about the dragon. Only later, did I come to realise that the dragon, in the eyes of your average Catholic, was not regarded as an auspicious animal, even though it is considered the most auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac.

How did the dragon get such a bad rap? Well, let’s be clear that the “dragon” in the Book of Revelation is a seven-headed ancient serpent, and nothing like the benevolent Chinese dragon. This is a case of mistaken identity. The word “dragon” in scriptures comes from two sources, one in its original Greek and the second from Old Testament sources. The English word dragon is translated from the Greek δρακων. It usually describes something that needs to be subdued or conquered; monsters that need to be killed. These δρακων in Greek mythology look completely different from the Chinese dragons. They have seven heads, ten horns, and the body of a python. The Chinese dragon has only one head, two antlers, a pig's nose, catfish whiskers, and four limbs. Something that would most likely end up on your Chinese New Year menu. If you were to juxtapose the pictures of the two beasts, they won’t even look like distant cousins.
Most Chinese dragons are regarded as good, auspicious and noble, but there are also a few bad ones, called evil dragons or violent dragons. Due to its esteemed nobility, the dragon is usually regarded as the totem of the emperor. The emperor was called the True Dragon Emperor. Chinese people have also regarded the dragon as their mascot, and dragon motifs can be found everywhere, ranging from furniture, clothing, to musical instruments. For thousands of years, the image of the dragon has become a symbol of the Chinese nation. It basically represents nobility, dignity, justice, and power. For this reason, Chinese parents like to name their children with the character dragon, such as the Chinese names of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. So, let’s set the record straight - δρακων is not a “long” or a Chinese dragon.

It is interesting to note that the character for the Chinese character for “Grace”, has the character of a dragon placed beneath the roof of a home or family. This weekend, being World Day of Marriage, it would be good to pray for God’s graces to enter into your homes, literally welcoming the dragon under your roof.

As is customary, I would like to share four auspicious idioms for the Year of the Dragon and attempt to integrate these cultural sayings within the practice of our Catholic faith.
--生龙活虎 “Live like a dragon and a tiger”. Describing a life full of vigour and vitality. I hope everyone can live a healthy and vigorous life like a dragon in the new year. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
-龙腾虎跃 Dragon Rise Tiger Leap: Fly like a dragon, jump like a tiger. I know this sounds like the famous martial arts movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but that’s a different idiom. This particular saying describes a majestic posture and vigorous movements. It is a metaphor for taking action and making a difference. The Psalmist proclaims that the “Lord (is) a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”(Psalm 3:3). When we face challenges or feel discouraged, we can find comfort in knowing that God is our shield, our fortress, our strength. He inspires us and gives us strength, courage, and hope. Just as a shield protects us, God protects us and gives us the ability to overcome adversity.
-龙马精神 Dragon Horse Spirit: The Dragon-horse was a mythological horse shaped like a dragon in ancient legends, and thus it has become a metaphor for a person's strong spirit. One is inspired to achieve self-improvement through self-cultivation. It is with this conviction that St Paul can boldly declare: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13) and as he exhorts us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10).
-龙腾四海 The dragon rises over the four seas: The implication of this last idiom is a blessing - I wish you success and excellence in all areas of your life.
****Blessings for the Year of the Dragon: I sincerely hope that in the new year, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, everyone can exert the spirit of the dragon and horse, work together to evangelize, deepen spiritual life with a life of prayer, and with a heart of simplicity, trust, and trust, With a praying heart, always pray, be thankful at all times, and be happy in everything; looking forward to the New Year of the Dragon, we will be with the Lord every day, and be "descendants of the Dragon" with God accompanying us.
Finally we come to the special blessings for the year of the dragon. All the idioms and couplets associated with this season boils down to four important principles - prosperity, good fortune, success and good health. It’s just that the Chinese gets to say it in a hundred different ways. The direct translations of these sayings may sound strange, but in Chinese, the play on puns, similar sounding words, are music to the ears of those who understand. The English translation does not do sufficient justice to the original, but here we go:
Congratulations to those who are doing business: Good fortune will come in the Year of the Dragon, and happiness will be with you! May your business be prosperous! May your wishes come true!
For students and workers. May all your wishes come true! Good luck is coming! The New Year is here, and may you ascend the ladder of success one step at a time.
To brothers and sisters in Christ, may the beautiful dragon (a euphemism for the hibiscus flower, something of beauty) emerge from the waters of your life.
Blessings to all the families: May your family life be abundantly happy!
Blessings to couples: May your love grow stronger with each passing year as you share God’s grace with each other!
Here, on behalf of our parish priests: Fr Michael Chua, Fr Bonaventure, Wishing you a blessed and happy Chinese New Year, grace upon grace, spirituality and evangelization will be fruitful!
Original Homily in Mandarin prepared by Fr Philip Chua, translated by Fr Michael Chua

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