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No one ‘deserves’ faith; it is a gift, pope says

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By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No one deserves faith and no one can buy it; faith is a gift that changes one’s life and allows people to recognize Jesus as the son of God with the power to forgive sins, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

Praise is the proof that one truly has faith and believes “that Jesus Christ is God in my life,” the pope said Jan. 15 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Jesus, he said, was sent “to save us from our sins, to save us and bring us to the father. He was sent for that, to give his life for our salvation.” However, the pope added that is “the most difficult point to understand.”

The Gospel for the day, Mark 2: 1-12, recounted Jesus’ healing of a paralytic in Capernaum and the tension that arose among those who followed Jesus when he told the ailing man that his sins were forgiven.

Many in the crowd had their hearts “open to faith,” but there were others, the pope said, who accepted Jesus as a healer but not his authority to forgive sins.

The day’s Gospel reading, the pope continued, is a call for Christians to ask themselves how strong their faith in Jesus is and to discern if their faith changes their lives and brings them closer to God.

“Faith is a gift. No one ‘deserves’ faith, no one can buy it; it is a gift,” he said. “Does my faith in Jesus Christ bring me to humble myself, to repentance, to the prayer that says: ‘Forgive me, Lord. You are God. You can forgive my sins?'”

Noting the crowd’s reaction after Jesus’ healing of the paralytic, Pope Francis said that is through praise that people prove their faith and belief that Jesus was sent to forgive sins.

“Praising is free. It is a feeling that is given by the Holy Spirit and brings you to say: ‘You are the only God,'” he said. “May the Lord make us grow in this faith in Jesus Christ, who forgives us, who offers a year of grace, and may this faith brings us to praise.”

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