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WE HAVE DIVINE LIFE THROUGH WATER AND BLOOD
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, after Epiphany, January 11, 2013
1 John 5:5-13, Ps. 147, Luke 5:12-16


"He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life" (1 John 5:12).


God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. The Father wants us to live through him, as St. John says, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him" (1 John 4:9). We draw life from the Son (John 1:16), for he is the means which the Father has sent man to have contact with God, to be united to God. The Son has divine life in himself and has the power to give this life to all who believe in him (John 5:21). So "he who has the Son has life" (1 John 5:12).


We have this life through his death on the cross, where he poured out his blood for us; and we receive this life through baptism in water by the action of the Holy Spirit, when we put our faith in him. So "there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree" (1 John 5:8).


St. John emphasizes the importance of the blood in this matter: "This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood" (1 John 5:6). In emphasizing the importance of the blood, St. John emphasizes the importance of the death of Christ for our new birth to divine life. The real source of our new life, of our participation in divine life, is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. This is the blood. Then by our faith, through water and the Spirit, we receive this new life when we are baptized.


It is the death of Christ-his blood poured out for our sins in reparation and satisfaction of divine justice-that justifies us, puts us right with God, paying our debt of sin. Then in his resurrection his own righteousness shines within us. And so "from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16). Christ's blood expiates our sins, for "he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). This expiation is applied to us when we believe in him and are baptized by water and the Spirit. That is, his blood (death) saves us through water (baptism) and the Spirit when we believe in him. There are three who work: the blood, the water, and the Spirit. And we receive this gift through faith.


Hence "God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life" (1 John 5:11-12). From this flows the mission of the Church. It is to share with all the peoples of the world the fullness of this gift of divine life that the Father gives to man through his only Son, incarnated only once for the entire planet. Through faith in him we can live in peace with God, liberated from the burden of guilt that depresses us. Through Christ we have the freedom of the children of God, for his blood paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins, and through his resurrection we are filled with the very righteousness of God himself, made truly righteous through our faith in him. Indeed to have the Son is to have life, and not to have the Son is not to have life. Christ told us that he wants all people to have the opportunity to hear this good news, this gospel, preached to them and to be able to respond to it so that they might come into the fullness of this life (Matt. 28:19-20). It is the mission of the Church to provide all peoples with this opportunity.

 

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