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From: 1 John 5:5-13

Everyone Who Believes in Jesus Overcomes the World (Continuation)

[5] Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the
Son of God?

Testimony Borne to Christ

[6] This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water on-
ly but with the water and the blood. [7] And the Spirit is the witness, because the
Spirit is the truth. [8] There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the
blood; and these three agree. [9] If we receive the testimony of men, the testimo-
ny of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to
his Son. [10] He who believes in the son of God has the testimony in himself. He
who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in
the testimony that God has borne to his Son. [11] And this is the testimony, that
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He who has the Son has
life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.


[13] I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may
know that you have eternal life.


6. The “water” and the “blood” have been interpreted in different ways, depending
on whether they apply (following the more literal meaning) to events in the life of
Christ, or are regarded as symbols of particular sacraments. The water, if refer-
red to the life of Christ, would be an allusion to our Lord’s baptism (cf. Mt 3:13-
17 and par.), where the Father and the Holy Spirit bore witness to Christ’s divini-
ty; the blood would refer to the Cross, where Christ, God and true man, shed his
blood to bring Redemption. According to this interpretation, St John is answering
the Gnostics, who said that Jesus of Nazareth became the Son of God through
baptism and ceased to be the Son of God prior to his passion: therefore, only
the man Jesus, devoid of divinity, died on the Cross; which would be a denial of
the redemptive value of Christ’s death.

Understood as symbols of the sacraments, the water would refer to Baptism (cf.
In 3:5), where we receive the Holy Spirit and the life of grace (cf. Jn 7:37-39); the
blood would apply to the Eucharist, where we partake of the blood of Christ in or-
der to have life in us (cf. Jn 6:53, 55, 56). Jesus came on earth to give his life for
men (cf. Jn 10:10); we obtain that life in the first instance by means of the living
water of Baptism (cf. Jn 4:14; 7:37ff); and also by the application of the blood of
Christ, which cleanses us from all sin (cf. 1 Jn 1:7; 2:2; 4:10).

The two interpretations are compatible with one another, given that sacraments
are sensible signs of the supernatural effects of Christ’s redemptive death. Re-
ferring to Baptism, Tertullian wrote: “We have also a second laving, and it too is
unique — the baptism with blood. The Lord spoke of this when he said, ‘I have a
baptism to be baptized with’ (Lk 12:50), having had already been baptized once.
So, he did come ‘by water and blood’ (1 In 5:6), as John writes, in order to be
bathed by the water and glorified by the blood, in order to make us (who are
called by water) chosen ones through blood. These two baptisms spring from
the wound in his pierced side; so it is that those who believed in his blood would
be washed by the water; those who were washed in the water would also drink
of the blood” (”De Baptismo”, XVI).

7-8. The Sistine-Clementine edition of the Vulgate included an addition which left
the text reading as follows: “There are three who give witness [in heaven: the Fa-
ther, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three
who give witness on earth]: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three
agree.” The words shown in bracketed italics (known as the Johannine “comma”
or addition) were the subject of heated debate (around the end of the nineteenth
century) as to their authenticity. The Holy Office (as was) left theologians free to
research the matter (cf. “Declaration”, 2 June 1927) and in fact it has been shown
that the “comma” was introduced in Spain around the fourth century AD in a text
attributed to Priscillian, and therefore does not belong to the original inspired text.
The “comma” makes express mention of the Blessed Trinity; however, even with-
out it the text proclaims that mystery of faith fairly clearly: it makes mention of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God (vv. 5-6), and of the Holy Spirit (v. 7) and of the Fa-
ther, both of whom bear witness to the Son (v. 9).

According to the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament, the testimony of one
witness was insufficient at trials (Deut 17:6; cf. Jn 8:17). St John points to three
witnesses (the Holy Spirit, water and blood), thereby refuting the Gnostic tea-
ching; he is saying that the water and the blood, that is, Christ’s baptism and
his death on the Cross, are a manifestation of his divinity. Clearly the word “wi-
tness” is used here in a broad sense: namely, in the sense that at those two
important moments in his life, Christ makes known to us that he is true God.

The Fathers who interpreted these words as referring to the sacraments usually
comment on the fact that in the sacraments the grace of God is communicated
internally and is signaled externally. St Bede writes along those lines: “The Holy
Spirit makes us adoptive sons of God; the water of the sacred fount cleanses us;
the blood of the Lord redeems us: the spiritual sacrament gives us a dual wit-
ness, one visible, one invisible” (”In I Epist. S. Ioannis, ad loc.”).

9-12. In his characteristic style St John strings together a series of short phrases
(and their opposites, as contrasts) which are full of meaning. In a very few words,
he enunciates three important truths, which he expects Christians to be very fa-
miliar with: 1) God the Father has borne witness to his Son (v. 9); 2) this witness
brings an obligation with it; if one does not believe one is making God out to be a
liar (v. 10); 3) God has given us life in Christ (vv. 11-12).

Earlier the Apostle pointed out that faith in Jesus can be the object of reason be-
cause it is based on external proofs, and that its fruit is supernatural life (cf. 1 Jn
1 :1-5). Now he adds that in addition to the aforementioned witnesses — the Spirit,
the water and the blood (vv. 6-8) — God the Father bears witness. Although John
does not expressly say so, it is clear that God bore witness to Jesus throughout
his earthly life: Jesus’ words, miracles, passion and death, and his resurrection
are evidence God has supplied of Christ’s divinity. The believer “has the testimo-
ny [of God] in him” (v. 10), within him, insofar as he accepts and makes the
Christian message (Revelation) his own, convinced that it comes from God, who
cannot deceive or be deceived. In his turn, he who believes in Jesus Christ mani-
fests his faith to others, passing on to them the conviction that Jesus is true God.

Faith produces the fruit of supernatural life, which is the seed and first-fruit of eter-
nal life (cf. 11-12); that life can be given us only by Jesus Christ, our Savior. “To
those of us who are still making our pilgrim way in this life has been given the
hope of eternal life, which we shall only receive in its full form in heaven when we
reach Him” (”In I Epist. S. Ioannis, ad loc.”).

13-21. St John’s words in v. 13 are evocative of the first epilogue to his Gospel,
where he explains why he wrote that book: “that you may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name”
(Jn 20:31). In this verse of the letter, the Apostle stresses the efficacy of faith,
which is already an anticipation of eternal life (cf. notes on 1 Jn 3:2; 5:9-12).

His final counsels are designed to strengthen our confidence in prayer and to
urge the need for prayer on behalf of sinners (vv. 14-17); they also stress the
conviction and confidence that faith in the Son of God gives the believer (vv.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/07/2016 9:02:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

From: Luke 5:12-16

The Cure of a Leper

[12] While he (Jesus) was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy;
and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, “Lord, if you will,
you can make me clean.” [13] And he stretched out his hand, and touched him,
saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. [14] And he
charged him to tell no one; but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make
an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”
[15] But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great
multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. [16] But he with-
drew to the wilderness and prayed.


12. The words of the leper are a model prayer. First, they show his faith. “He did
not say, ‘If you ask God for it...’, but ‘If you will”’ (Chrysostom, “Hom. on St Mat-
thew”, 25). He rounds this off by saying, “You can” — an open confession of
Christ’s omnipotence. The psalmist expressed this same faith: “Whatever the
Lord pleases he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in the deep” (Ps
135:6). Along with this faith he shows confidence in God’s mercy. “God is merci-
ful; there is no need therefore to ask him; all we have to do is show him our need”
(St Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on St Matthew”, 8, 1). And St John Chrysos-
tom concludes: “Prayer is perfect when it is joined to faith and confession; the
leper showed his faith and confessed his need out loud” (”Hom. on St Matthew”,

“’Domine! — Lord — “si vis, potes me mundare” — if thou wilt, thou canst make me
clean.’ What a beautiful prayer for you to say often, with the faith of the poor leper,
when there happens to you what God and you and I know! You will not have to
wait long to hear the Master’s reply: ‘”Volo, mundare!” I will: be thou made clean!”’
(St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 142).

13. Jesus listens to the leper’s petition and cures him of his disease. All of us
suffer from spiritual ailments and our Lord is waiting for us to approach him: “He
is our physician, and he heals our selfishness if we let his grace penetrate to the
depths of our soul. Jesus has taught us that the worst sickness is hypocrisy, the
pride that leads us to hide our own sins. We have to be totally sincere with him.
We have to tell the whole truth, and then we have to say, ‘Lord, if you will’ — and
you are always willing — ‘you can make me clean’ (Mt 8:2). You know my weak-
nesses; I feel these symptoms; I suffer these failings. We show him the wound,
with simplicity, and if the wound is festering, we show the pus too. Lord, you
have cured so many souls; help me to recognize you as the divine physician
when I have you in my heart or when I contemplate your presence in the taber-
nacle” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 93).

16. The Third Gospel frequently draws attention to Jesus going off, alone, to pray
(cf. 6:12; 9:18; 11:1). By doing this Jesus teaches us the need for personal pra-
yer in all the various situations in which we find ourselves.

“Forgive me if I insist, but it is very important to note carefully what the Mes-
siah did, because he came to show us the path that leads to the Father. With
our Lord we will discover how to give a supernatural dimension to all our actions,
even those that seem least important. We will learn to live every moment of our
lives with a lively awareness of eternity, and we will understand more deeply man’s
need for periods of intimate conversation with his God, so as to get to know him,
to invoke him, to praise him, to break out into acts of thanksgiving, to listen to
him or, quite simply, to be with him” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 239).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 01/07/2016 9:03:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies ]

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