ST-John Ep 3 – In the Beginning – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 3 – John 1:  In the Beginning pt.1

What is your deepest identity?  As we begin our study of John, Sharon poses this fundamental question:  Who are you?  What is your identity?  The answer can be found in scripture:  you are a beloved son or daughter of God.  This powerful theme runs deep in this lecture.  Beginning at the beginning, Sharon focuses on John 1 and Genesis 1, illuminating the nature of Jesus, the Word, who was with God, was in God, and was God before the beginning of time.  Central to the nature of Christ is his humanity, and specifically his identity as a man.  Jesus’ maleness is inherent to his personhood.  Sadly, Satan attempts to distort the reality of who we are as male or female, and our current culture has been bombarded with so-called “gender identity ideology”, which Pope Francis describes as a negative trend, a profound falsehood, ideological colonization by wealthy countries, and demonic.  Gender used to be a binary choice:  male or female.  Now gender is used to describe social and cultural differences as opposed to biological.  With the fall, confusion entered the world and we lost our identity as beloved sons and daughters of God and the fatal wound of sin entered the world.  But, thanks be to God, with the Incarnation of Christ, we now have a way back to the Father.  Jesus has given us the power to be children of God and reclaim our truest identity.  Sharon then goes on to talk about John the Baptist, whose purpose was to bear witness to Christ.  The Jewish leaders venture into the desert and question John about his identity:   Are you Elijah?  Are you the prophet?  Are you the Messiah?  John explains that he is the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord as prophesied by Isaiah.    While not Elijah returned, John indeed is the new Elijah as predicted by the prophet Malachi, who the Lord will send before the anointed one.  Sharon focuses on typology:  John, the new Elijah and Jesus, the new Moses.  She concludes her lecture with the first of several examples of bridegroom imagery found in John’s Gospel.  John states he is unworthy to unfasten the ties of Jesus’ sandals.  More than a statement of humility, John is reaffirming his role.  He is not the bridegroom of redeemed Israel.  He is the witness, the best man of the marriage between Jesus, the groom, and the Church, his bride.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

ST-John Ep 1 – Overview – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 1 – The Gospel of John Overview

We begin our study of the beautiful Gospel of John with an overview lecture.  John the Evangelist wrote this powerful book for a specific purpose:  “So 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).”  Sharon starts off with some background information about John, son of Zebedee, who with his brother James, are surnamed by Jesus as the Sons of Thunder.  Salome, their mother, petitions the Lord on behalf of her sons that they be granted a seat beside him in heaven.  Salome is also one of the myrrh bearing women who prepare the crucified Lord’s body for burial.  John, the youngest of the Apostles, refers to himself as the one whom Jesus loved, illuminating the intimate relationship they shared.  John was an eye witness to the defining events of Christ’s ministry, including the Transfiguration as well as the resurrections of Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and, most importantly, Jesus himself.    John, the only Apostle present at the foot of the cross, was entrusted with the care of Mary, bringing her to safety in Ephesus where she lived until her assumption.  John’s Gospel differs from the synoptic Gospels, presenting a highly theological perspective of the life of Christ.  Unlike the synoptic writers who begin with historical facts surrounding the life of Christ, John begins at the beginning, drawing us back to Genesis and the creation of the world.  His Gospel is rich with imagery, irony, symbolic themes.  It contains the seven signs and the seven “I am” statements.  John’s Gospel contains unique stories not found elsewhere:  the Samaritan woman at the well, the wedding feast at Cana, the raising of Lazarus, the woman caught in adultery, the doubt of Thomas.  His bread of life discourse lays the foundation for our understanding of the Eucharist.  Highly sacramental, the Gospel of John reveals the nature of baptism, reconciliation, Eucharist, confirmation, matrimony and Holy Orders.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-9 – The Genealogy of Jesus Christ – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 9 –

Luke’s Genealogy Traces Jesus Back to Universal Adam, not discrepancies but theological distinctions with Matthew.  The Symbolism with St. Luke’s 77 Generations.

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ is recorded differently by Matthew and Luke.  Each unique author has a particular theological meaning behind their genealogies of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of God.

Matthew recognized three groups of 14 generations giving a total of 42 generations, which was also the number of Israel’s encampments as they exited Egypt for the promised land.  Jesus was the new Moses, out of Egypt I have called my son.

In contrast, Luke is gentile by birth, writing to a more universal audience.  He does not necessarily stress the Davidic line of Jesus nor does he begin with Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith.  Rather, he traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam, who Luke describes as Jesus, the Son of God, is the New Adam.  In addition, Luke lists 77 generations, which reminds us of the “seventy of sevens” or 490 years from Daniel to the arrival of Jesus, as predicted by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9.  Seventy-seven also reminds us of the need to forgive:  Jesus tells his apostles that they must forgive their brother “seventy times seven” times.  Jesus is the New David, the New Moses, the New Adam.  He is the perfection of forgiveness.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-8 – The Genealogy of Jesus Christ – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 8 –

The Messiah Must Come from King David’s Royal Lineage.  The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: comparing Matthew’s version to Luke’s.

In our last episode, we learned of the head crushing women of the Bible, which raises the question:  are there any head-crushing men in the Bible?  This brings us to the story of David.  We learn in 1 Samuel that through a miraculous conception, Hannah gives birth to Samuel, who she offers back to the Lord for service in the temple.  The Israelites at that time clamor for a king and the Lord appeases them by having Samuel anoint Saul as the first king of Israel.  Under the ineffective Saul, the Israelites are on the verge of being conquered by the Philistines.  Samuel enters the picture once again, and at the Lord’s direction, anoints David.  The spirit of the Lord comes upon the young David, who kills the Philistine giant Goliath with a single rock throw from his sling and then cuts off his head.  The Philistines flee and Israel triumphs.  Blessed be David, another head crusher of the enemy!

Before turning our attention to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, we spend some time looking at Mary’s lineage.  While scripture does not directly say that Mary was from the line of David, a number of clues are present that would lead us to believe she was.  In response to the Roman census, Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem, which Luke calls the “City of David” indicating the birthplace of the famous king of Israel.  Many of the Church fathers conclude that Mary is from David’s line, including Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr.

We then move to the proclamation of John the Baptist, the new Elijah predicted in Malachi 4.  John also fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  John preached a baptism of repentance, while Jesus baptizes into the Trinity. John’s purpose was to glorify Jesus, who in turn glorifies the Father.  From Their perfection of love; the Holy Spirit flows as a unique person as well.

We then dig deeper into the genealogies of Luke and Matthew.  How is it that they list different ancestors of Jesus?  The answer is these genealogies are much theological as historical.  Matthew is Jewish, speaks to a Jewish audience and stresses Jewish themes.  He describes three separate groups of 14 generations leading to Jesus:  Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile, the end of the exile to the birth of Jesus.  In the Hebrew gematria, David corresponds to the number 14.  In essence, by describing three groups of 14 generations, Matthew is proclaiming “David, David, David.”  Jesus is the new David.

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Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-7 – The Messiah Comes from King David’s Lineage – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 7 -The Messiah Must Come from King David’s Royal Lineage.  The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: comparing Matthew’s version to Luke’s.

In our last episode, we learned of the head crushing women of the Bible, which raises the question:  are there any head-crushing men in the Bible?  This brings us to the story of David.  We learn in 1 Samuel that through a miraculous conception, Hannah gives birth to Samuel, who she offers back to the Lord for service in the temple.  The Israelites at that time clamor for a king and the Lord appeases them by having Samuel anoint Saul as the first king of Israel.  Under the ineffective Saul, the Israelites are on the verge of being conquered by the Philistines.  Samuel enters the picture once again, and at the Lord’s direction, anoints David.  The spirit of the Lord comes upon the young David, who kills the Philistine giant Goliath with a single rock throw from his sling and then cuts off his head.  The Philistines flee and Israel triumphs.  Blessed be David, another head crusher of the enemy!

Before turning our attention to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, we spend some time looking at Mary’s lineage.  While scripture does not directly say that Mary was from the line of David, a number of clues are present that would lead us to believe she was.  In response to the Roman census, Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem, which Luke calls the “City of David” indicating the birthplace of the famous king of Israel.  Many of the Church fathers conclude that Mary is from David’s line, including Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr.

We then move to the proclamation of John the Baptist, the new Elijah predicted in Malachi 4.  John also fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  John preached a baptism of repentance, while Jesus baptizes into the Trinity. John’s purpose was to glorify Jesus, who in turn glorifies the Father.  From Their perfection of love; the Holy Spirit flows as a unique person as well.

We then dig deeper into the genealogies of Luke and Matthew.  How is it that they list different ancestors of Jesus?  The answer is these genealogies are much theological as historical.  Matthew is Jewish, speaks to a Jewish audience and stresses Jewish themes.  He describes three separate groups of 14 generations leading to Jesus:  Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile, the end of the exile to the birth of Jesus.  In the Hebrew gematria, David corresponds to the number 14.  In essence, by describing three groups of 14 generations, Matthew is proclaiming “David, David, David.”  Jesus is the new David.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-6 – The presentation of Jesus in the Temple – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 6 – Mary the Ark of the Covenant and “Do Not Touch the Ark”. The presentation of Jesus in the Temple means the true presence of God is back in the temple again.  Simeon and Anna rejoice.

We begin today’s podcast with St. John’s vision at Patmos in REV 11-12.

The contents of the ark are sacred and not to be touched. Everyone knew the rule; do not touch the ark.  Recall how in Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, offered unauthorized fire and were struck dead. David’s man Uzzah was also struck dead when he touched the side of the Ark to steady it (2 Sam 6). We also recall when the Lord slew 70 men who looked into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 6). We too become a tabernacle of meeting each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

The episode continues with the circumcision of Jesus, and Presentation of Jesus in the temple.  We remember from 2 Maccabees 2 that the true presence of God has been absent from the temple ever since Jeremiah sealed the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on the mountain of Moses.  As Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus for the purification ceremony, the true presence of God has finally returned to the temple, an event long anticipated and recognized by Simeon and the prophetess Anna. The Holy Family returns to Nazareth for the “hidden” years of Jesus as he grows in strength and wisdom with the favor of God upon him.  Luke 2 concludes with 12-year-old Jesus teaching in the temple:  the true presence of God has returned to the temple yet again, “Why are you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s House?” With the Eucharist present in every tabernacle of every Catholic Church, we have access to the true presence of God at all times.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-5 – The “Blessed” Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 5 – Mary, the Neck of the Mystical Body Gives Her Fiat.  The Visitation of Blessed Mary to Elizabeth and Mary the Head Crushing Woman, and Ark of the New Covenant.

In this episode we turn our attention to the visitation of Mary to her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist.  Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth “cries out” (anaphōneō in the Greek):  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  Anaphōneō, “to cry out” with shouts of joy, is only used in the Old Testament when the Ark of the Covenant is present.  Furthermore, only two women other than Mary in Scripture are called “blessed.”  The book of Judges tells the story of Jael, who kills the enemy Canaanite General Sisera by driving a tent peg into his head.  In celebration of the defeat of Israel’s enemy, Deborah the judge declares: “Most blessed of women be Jael!” (Judges 5:24).  In the book of Judith, another enemy of Israel falls at the hand of a blessed woman.  Judith cuts off the head of the Assyrian General Holofernes.  Upon seeing the severed head of Holofernes, King Uzziah proclaims: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth!” (Judith 13:18).  Both of these blessed women, Jael and Judith, help preserve the line of Messiah by crushing the head of the enemies of Israel.  Likewise, the Blessed Virgin Mary bears the Messiah himself, Jesus, who crushes the head of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15.

There are striking similarities between the Old Ark of the Covenant and Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant.  The Old Ark contained the stone tablets of the law (the word of God), manna (the bread of God) and Aaron’s rod (the authority of God’s High Priest).  These contents prefigure Mary, the New Ark, whose womb contains Jesus, who IS the word of life, who IS the bread of life, who IS the authority of God on earth, the final High Priest of Israel.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-4 – Mary, the New Ark of the New Covenant – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 4 – Mary the New Tent of the Meeting and Mary the New Ark of a New Covenant 

In this episode we look at Papal Infallibility and how it relates to Mary.  Beginning with our first Pope, Peter, there has been an unbroken succession of apostolic authority.  A dogma is declared infallible only when three criteria are met:  the pronouncement must be made by the lawful successor of Peter; the subject matter must be in the area of faith and morals; the pope must speak ex-cathedra, that is from the office and seat of Peter.  Papal infallibility has been invoked for only two dogmas of the Church:  the immaculate conception of Mary (Pius IX in 1854) and the bodily assumption of Mary (Pius XII in 1950).

We return to Luke 1 and the story of the Annunciation to Mary. When the angel declares to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son, she wonders how this could be since she had no relations with a man.  John Paull II explains her response by saying that Mary had the intention of forever being a virgin.  The angel replies by saying that Mary will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.  The Greek for overshadow is “episkiasei.”  This word is used only one other time in the New Testament in Matthew 17 when at the Transfiguration the when Jesus and the apostles were Moses and Elijah were overshadowed by a cloud from which the voice of God could be heard.  “Episkiasei” implies the divine true presence of God, and in the Old Testament, this word is only used in reference to the tent of the meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tabernacle, where the true presence of God was kept.  The Ark of the Covenant was powerful and could not be touched without dire consequences.   Just as the old Ark of the Covenant could not be touched, neither could the new Ark of the Covenant, Mary.  Mary was perpetually a virgin.  Like the Ark of the Covenant, Mary housed the true presence of God in her Womb.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-3 – The Angel Gabriel and Mary – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 3 – Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary and Protoevangelium of James’ Explanation of Mary’s Family History

Luke 1 continues with the Annunciation to Mary.  The angel Gabriel again appears, this time to Mary, greeting her: “Hail, full of grace!”  The Greek word for this phrase is “kecharitomene” which means that Mary was full of grace, is full of grace and will be full of grace, which is a reference to her life-long sinless nature.   The angel tells Mary, “Be not afraid.”  These words of encouragement were given to Joshua, Gideon and Moses as they prepared for battle, indicating that while Gabriel was comforting Mary, he was also preparing her for the battle yet to come.

We explore a glimpse into the early life of Mary, drawing from the extra-biblical source “The Protoevangelium of James.”   While not part of the canon of inspired scripture, this text tells us of the early years of Mary.  From this text, we learn the names of Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna.  According to “The Protoevangelium of James,” Joachim and Anna were childless and advanced in years when an angel appears in a vision, announcing that they will have a child.  In a singular act of grace, Mary is conceived without the stain of original sin.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:www.seekingtruth.net

ST-Luke-2 – John the Fore-runner to Messiah – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

SharonEpisode 2 – “John the Fore-runner to Messiah” – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 1 begins with an address to “Most excellent Theophilus,” who may be a specific high ranking official.  “Theophilus” also means beloved of God, and Luke might instead be writing an open letter the entire Christian community.  Luke provides the historical detail that Herod is king at the time Jesus’ birth.  Herod the Great, an Edomite, was not the legitimate ruler of Israel.  Rather, he was a puppet king propped up by the occupying Romans.  The Edomites were the descendants of Esau and the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob.  The two nations were forever in conflict ever since Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew and Jacob deceived his blind father, obtaining the blessing that was rightfully due to Esau.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:www.seekingtruth.net

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