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1 Jn 5: 5-13;

Ps 147: 12-15,19-20;

Lk 5: 12-16


John presents the message of today’s liturgy in the first reading by endeavouring to convince the readers of his first letter about the incredible importance and necessity of faith in Jesus as the son of God and saviour of the world. He goes on to list out, as if trying to prove something in a court of law, the impeccable witnesses to this truth – the Holy Spirit, the water and the blood. John is so insistent, because for him, believing in Jesus is not just following rules, fulfilling obligations or reciting prayers, but a change of life itself. “Who can overcome the world? Only the man who believes that Jesus is the son of God.” For John, faith is that which powers one’s life itself; there is no place for dichotomy and hypocrisy. And the one who believes, becomes a witness himself to the truth that he believes in.

In this light, the incident of the gospel is significant. The leper recognized his need to be cured, and therefore his faith in the Lord moved him to fall at Jesus feet and not ask, but surrender his request before him. “If you want to, you can cure me.” Faith shaped his attitude, his words and his actions. His was an active faith, a faith that John relentlessly urges us all to strive for. The leper represents our sinful selves. And tragically, our lack of personal prayer and humble and honest self-reflection can often turn us blind to our ‘leprosy’. How can he who sees no need ask for help? And how can he who doesn’t ask for help, experience the power of God’s grace?

Faith conquers the world and all its forces. But to experience its power one needs to recognize one’s sinfulness, and the dire need for grace. It is only then that faith can begin the process of influencing and transforming attitudes, words and actions. It is only then that it transcends from just being knowledge about truths, to becoming the food that powers life itself.

Responsorial Psalm: O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!

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