ST-Luke Ep 7 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 3 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 7 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 3 Part 1

A Voice Cries Out

“Nothing is impossible with God.” Our lecture this week opens with this reassuring statement, taken from Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary. We recall from last week that Mary was the singular blessed woman of the New Testament who, through Jesus, fulfills the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, and crushes the head of Satan. Mary’s power against Satan is also present in the Rosary, whose mysteries are meditations on the life of Christ. Many popes and saints have attested to the power of the Rosary: as described by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the power of the Rosary is beyond description. At the famous Battle of Lepanto, victory against the invading Ottoman empire is attributed to the power of the Rosary.
Through her fiat, Mary displays her great humility, which stands in stark contrast to the pride of Satan. It is no surprise, then, that the lowly shepherds are the first to hear the angels’ announcement of the Messiah’s birth.

Last week, 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.

As 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.

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. Also, three groups of 14 generations gives a total of 42 generations, which is the number of Israel’s encampments as they leave Egypt for the promised land. Jesus is the new Moses.

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 to Adam, who Luke describes as the son of God. 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.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 6 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 6 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 2

Jesus is Born

The lecture this week begins with a 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).

Picking up where we left off last week, 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.

We then 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. As mentioned, the contents of the ark are sacred and not to be touched. Recall how Uzzah was struck dead when he touched the side of the Ark to steady it (2 Sam 6) or when the Lord slew 70 men who looked into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 6).

The lecture continues with the 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. Copyright 2019 @ Seeking Truth

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 5 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 5 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 2 Part 1

Jesus is Born

The lecture this week begins with a 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).

Picking up where we left off last week, 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.

We then 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. As mentioned, the contents of the ark are sacred and not to be touched. Recall how Uzzah was struck dead when he touched the side of the Ark to steady it (2 Sam 6) or when the Lord slew 70 men who looked into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 6).

The lecture continues with the 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. Copyright 2019 @ Seeking Truth

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 4 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 1 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 4 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 1 Part 2

Gabriel’s Announcement

The Virgin Mary is at the center of the beginning of our lecture covering Luke 1. The church fathers, including Ambrose and Augustine, realized that Mary’s perpetual virginity was anticipated by the Old Testament prophets.  In Ezekiel 44, we read about the locked eastern gate of the sanctuary, which could only be entered by the messianic prince.  Mary is ever inviolate, even while giving birth to Jesus:  like light passing through glass, Jesus was born of Mary, whose virginal integrity remained preserved.  Mary serves as the gateway to heaven, through which passes Jesus.

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.

Many Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Luke 1, most notably the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, which announces that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel.  In addition, the mission of John the Baptist is foretold by the final prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Eli′jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers (Mal 4: 5-6).”  Jesus himself describes John as “Elijah who is to come” (Mt 11: 14).

Luke 1 begins with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John.  Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before the Lord, yet they had not yet been blessed with children.  Zechariah, a priest, was chosen by lot to pray within the Holy of Holies.  Ironically, during the time of Zechariah, the Ark of the Covenant is no longer present in the Holy of Holies, having been hidden by Jeremiah the prophet, never again to be found (2 Maccabees 2).   The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and echoes the words of Malachi, predicting the birth of John the Baptist, the Elijah yet to come.  Zechariah doubts Gabriel and is struck mute.  The last time Gabriel appeared was during the Babylonian exile when he told Daniel that it would be “70 weeks of years” of atonement for Israel.  Indeed, 490 years later, Jesus the Messiah ushers in the end of atonement for Israel.

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.

Finally, the lecture concludes with 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.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 3 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 1 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 3 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 1 Part 1

Gabriel’s Announcement

The Virgin Mary is at the center of the beginning of our lecture covering Luke 1. The church fathers, including Ambrose and Augustine, realized that Mary’s perpetual virginity was anticipated by the Old Testament prophets.  In Ezekiel 44, we read about the locked eastern gate of the sanctuary, which could only be entered by the messianic prince.  Mary is ever inviolate, even while giving birth to Jesus:  like light passing through glass, Jesus was born of Mary, whose virginal integrity remained preserved.  Mary serves as the gateway to heaven, through which passes Jesus.

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.

Many Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Luke 1, most notably the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, which announces that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel.  In addition, the mission of John the Baptist is foretold by the final prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Eli′jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers (Mal 4: 5-6).”  Jesus himself describes John as “Elijah who is to come” (Mt 11: 14).

Luke 1 begins with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John.  Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before the Lord, yet they had not yet been blessed with children.  Zechariah, a priest, was chosen by lot to pray within the Holy of Holies.  Ironically, during the time of Zechariah, the Ark of the Covenant is no longer present in the Holy of Holies, having been hidden by Jeremiah the prophet, never again to be found (2 Maccabees 2).   The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and echoes the words of Malachi, predicting the birth of John the Baptist, the Elijah yet to come.  Zechariah doubts Gabriel and is struck mute.  The last time Gabriel appeared was during the Babylonian exile when he told Daniel that it would be “70 weeks of years” of atonement for Israel.  Indeed, 490 years later, Jesus the Messiah ushers in the end of atonement for Israel.

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.

Finally, the lecture concludes with 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.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 2 – The Gospel of Luke – An Overview Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 2 – The Gospel of Luke – An Overview Part 2

We begin our study of the Gospel of Luke with an overview lecture, beginning with what we know about the author himself.  From the historian, Eusebius, we learn that Luke was a physician from Antioch, an ancient Greek city located in Asia Minor.  Antioch was the center of the early Church, and it was here that the followers of Jesus came to be known as “Christians.”  Luke, a companion of St. Paul, is responsible for the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, which comprise the greatest percentage of the New Testament.

The word “Gospel” means “Good News” and comes from the Greek word, “euangelion.”   During the first century, the fastest growing religion was the imperial cult of Roman emperor worship. The word “euangelion” took on religious significance with the announcement of the “good news” of a new emperor, a new “god.”  For Christians, however, the “euangelion” meant the “good news” of the new King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

As a physician, Luke wrote his Gospel to bring the medicine needed for our wounded souls.  The new medicine came from the new tree of life, the cross, and the medicine of immortality is the Eucharist.  “Every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on” and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ (CCC 1405).”

Through the incarnation, Christ joined in our humanity and introduced His kingdom to the world.  As the final High Priest, Jesus completes the perfect sacrifice on the cross.  God desires that we cooperate with His plan of salvation, joining in His suffering, to complete “what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church (Col 1:24).”  “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Eph 5:25-27).”

Christ has cleansed the Church, making her holy, yet we know that the Church is made up of sinners in need of healing.  Jesus, the divine physician, has left us with the healing sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.  What is hidden in shame and secrecy needs to be brought to the light so that healing can take place:  “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3:20-21).”
Further details about St. Luke come from the Church Father St. Hippolytus, a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp who followed St. John the Evangelist. Hippolytus tells us that Luke was one of the 70 disciples mentioned in Luke 10 who were sent out to spread the Good News to the surrounding countries.  These 70 were also the same disciples who walked away from Jesus when they could not understand Jesus’ command to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6: 66).  Later, St. Mark was persuaded back to the fold by St. Peter and it was St. Paul who encouraged Luke to return as a follower of Jesus, and the two became great friends.
As we will learn this year, despite being one of the Synoptics that “see together”, the Gospel of Luke has many unique stories not found in the other Gospels.  Luke likely personally interviewed Mary, bringing us the beautiful infancy narratives.  The stories behind the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, can all be found in the first two chapters of Luke.  From Luke, we receive the Canticles of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon.  Only in Luke are found the stories of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.  The Gospel of Luke is the Gospel of joy, mercy and the Holy Spirit.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 Ep 1 – The Gospel of Luke – An Overview Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 1 – The Gospel of Luke – An Overview Part 1

We begin our study of the Gospel of Luke with an overview lecture, beginning with what we know about the author himself.  From the historian, Eusebius, we learn that Luke was a physician from Antioch, an ancient Greek city located in Asia Minor.  Antioch was the center of the early Church, and it was here that the followers of Jesus came to be known as “Christians.”  Luke, a companion of St. Paul, is responsible for the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, which comprise the greatest percentage of the New Testament.

The word “Gospel” means “Good News” and comes from the Greek word, “euangelion.”   During the first century, the fastest growing religion was the imperial cult of Roman emperor worship. The word “euangelion” took on religious significance with the announcement of the “good news” of a new emperor, a new “god.”  For Christians, however, the “euangelion” meant the “good news” of the new King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

As a physician, Luke wrote his Gospel to bring the medicine needed for our wounded souls.  The new medicine came from the new tree of life, the cross, and the medicine of immortality is the Eucharist.  “Every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on” and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ (CCC 1405).”

Through the incarnation, Christ joined in our humanity and introduced His kingdom to the world.  As the final High Priest, Jesus completes the perfect sacrifice on the cross.  God desires that we cooperate with His plan of salvation, joining in His suffering, to complete “what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church (Col 1:24).”  “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Eph 5:25-27).”

Christ has cleansed the Church, making her holy, yet we know that the Church is made up of sinners in need of healing.  Jesus, the divine physician, has left us with the healing sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.  What is hidden in shame and secrecy needs to be brought to the light so that healing can take place:  “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3:20-21).”
Further details about St. Luke come from the Church Father St. Hippolytus, a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp who followed St. John the Evangelist. Hippolytus tells us that Luke was one of the 70 disciples mentioned in Luke 10 who were sent out to spread the Good News to the surrounding countries.  These 70 were also the same disciples who walked away from Jesus when they could not understand Jesus’ command to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6: 66).  Later, St. Mark was persuaded back to the fold by St. Peter and it was St. Paul who encouraged Luke to return as a follower of Jesus, and the two became great friends.
As we will learn this year, despite being one of the Synoptics that “see together”, the Gospel of Luke has many unique stories not found in the other Gospels.  Luke likely personally interviewed Mary, bringing us the beautiful infancy narratives.  The stories behind the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, can all be found in the first two chapters of Luke.  From Luke, we receive the Canticles of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon.  Only in Luke are found the stories of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.  The Gospel of Luke is the Gospel of joy, mercy and the Holy Spirit.

©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study

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 44 – John 21 Part 2- The Reinstatement of Peter – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 44 – John 21 Part 2 –The Reinstatement of Peter

We conclude our amazing journey through the Gospel of John with chapter 21.   Sharon begins her lecture with the question Jesus asks of Peter and of each of us:  Do you love me?  This particular chapter is packed with an abundance of symbolism and profound theological truths.

We can date the writing of John’s Gospel to a clue found in this chapter.  The Sea of Galilee was known by a variety of other names, including the Sea of Chinnereth (meaning harp-shaped) and the Sea of Gennesaret.  However, John calls it the Sea of Tiberius, indicating that John wrote his Gospel sometime after 20 A.D. when Herod Antipas built the city of Tiberius in honor of the reigning Roman emperor and also renames the lake in honor of Caesar Tiberius.

Having seen the risen Christ on two occasions, Peter and the other disciples decided to go fishing and encounter Jesus for the third time in John’s Gospel.  John 21, the reinstatement of Peter, is best understood in relation to Luke 5, the call of Peter.  In Luke 5, Peter has been fishing all night, catching nothing.  Jesus invites Peter to put his nets out into the deep waters and he catches a great number of fish, causing his nets to tear.  Peter is immediately aware of the power of Jesus as well as his own sinful nature and he leaves everything to follow Christ.  In John 21, once again Peter has been fishing all night, catching nothing.  Jesus appears on the shore, inviting him to cast out the right side of the boat.  Once again, Peter catches a super-abundance of fish and jumps out of the boat to greet the Lord.  This time, the nets do not tear, symbolizing the enduring nature of the Church, which will prevail against all threats.  Jesus and the disciples share of a meal of five fish, symbolic of the Torah, and two fish, symbolic of the Jews and Gentiles, indicating that Jesus fulfills the covenant with Israel and establishes a new universal covenant for all.

Sharon then goes on to explore the meaning behind 153, the number of fish that are caught in this chapter.  The church fathers have proposed a variety of explanations, including Augustine’s realization that 153 is the sum of the integers from 1 to 17.  However, Sharon shows us an even more intriguing explanation.  Pythagoras, who lived centuries before Jesus, described himself as the first philosopher, or literally “lover of wisdom.”  Pythagoras was a great mathematician and discovered a number of still famous theorems.  He discovered that only four numbers exist, whose sum of the cube of the digits equals that same number.  The first of these numbers is 153:  (13+ 53+ 33= 153).  The symmetry of this number is a reminder of the beautiful symmetry of the desert tabernacle in Exodus, the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings, and the heavenly tabernacle in Revelation.

Sharon concludes her lecture by drawing from Pope Benedict’s insights into the three-fold acquittal of Peter in Chapter 21, absolving him of his three-fold denial.  Peter acknowledges the weakness of his human love for Jesus, realizing he does not yet have the perfect agape type of love that he so desires.    However, Jesus welcomes whatever love Peter has to offer, and reinstates him as vicar, charging him and his successors to shepherd the flock of the Church.

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 43 – John 21 Part 1- The Reinstatement of Peter – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 43 – John 21 Part 1 –The Reinstatement of Peter

We conclude our amazing journey through the Gospel of John with chapter 21.   Sharon begins her lecture with the question Jesus asks of Peter and of each of us:  Do you love me?  This particular chapter is packed with an abundance of symbolism and profound theological truths.

We can date the writing of John’s Gospel to a clue found in this chapter.  The Sea of Galilee was known by a variety of other names, including the Sea of Chinnereth (meaning harp-shaped) and the Sea of Gennesaret.  However, John calls it the Sea of Tiberius, indicating that John wrote his Gospel sometime after 20 A.D. when Herod Antipas built the city of Tiberius in honor of the reigning Roman emperor and also renames the lake in honor of Caesar Tiberius.

Having seen the risen Christ on two occasions, Peter and the other disciples decide to go fishing and encounter Jesus for the third time in John’s Gospel.  John 21, the re-instatement of Peter, is best understood in relation to Luke 5, the call of Peter.  In Luke 5, Peter has been fishing all night, catching nothing.  Jesus invites Peter to put his nets out into the deep waters and he catches a great number of fish, causing his nets to tear.  Peter is immediately aware of the power of Jesus as well as his own sinful nature and he leaves everything to follow Christ.  In John 21, once again Peter has been fishing all night, catching nothing.  Jesus appears on the shore, inviting him to cast out the right side of the boat.  Once again, Peter catches a super-abundance of fish and jumps out of the boat to greet the Lord.  This time, the nets do not tear, symbolizing the enduring nature of the Church, which will prevail against all threats.  Jesus and the disciples share of meal of five fish, symbolic of Torah, and two fish, symbolic of the Jews and Gentiles, indicating that Jesus fulfills the covenant with Israel and establishes a new universal covenant for all.

Sharon then goes on to explore the meaning behind 153, the number of fish that are caught in this chapter.  The church fathers have proposed a variety of explanations, including Augustine’s realization that 153 is the sum of the integers from 1 to 17.  However, Sharon shows us an even more intriguing explanation.  Pythagarus, who lived centuries before Jesus, described himself as the first philosopher, or literally “lover of wisdom.”  Pythagarus was a great mathematician and discovered a number of still famous theorems.  He discovered that only four numbers exist, whose sum of the cube of the digits equal that same number.  The first of these numbers is 153:  (13+ 53+ 33= 153).  The symmetry of this number is a reminder of the beautiful symmetry of the desert tabernacle in Exodus, the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings, and the heavenly tabernacle in Revelation.

Sharon concludes her lecture by drawing from Pope Benedict’s insights into the three-fold acquittal of Peter in Chapter 21, absolving him of his three-fold denial.  Peter acknowledges the weakness of his human love for Jesus, realizing he does not yet have the perfect agape type of love that he so desires.    However, Jesus welcomes whatever love Peter has to offer, and reinstates him as vicar, charging him and his successors to shepherd the flock of the Church.

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 42 – John 20 Part 2- I Am Alive: The Resurrection – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 42 – John 20 Part 2 – I Am Alive: The Resurrection

This week we study John 20, the resurrection of Jesus.  This is THE event of the life of Christ, the pivotal moment when death was conquered.  Sharon begins her lecture with a look at Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, two of the individuals who played important roles after the crucifixion.  Nicodemus brings 100 pounds of myrrh and aloe to anoint the body of Jesus in a manner truly fit for a king.  Jesus’ body is placed in the newly hewn tomb gifted by Joseph of Arimathea, which recalls that just as the infant Jesus was carried in the virginal womb of Mary, he was laid to rest in the untouched tomb near Golgotha.

As Jesus passed through the walls of Mary leaving her ever-virgin, he can walk through locked doors as well. Sharon goes on to tell us more details about myrrh and the burial customs of first-century Israel.  The Catholic Chrism oil of today, prefigured in Exodus 30, contains myrrh as one of its ingredients.  Myrrh was used not only to anoint Jesus’ body, but it was also a gift of the Magi, showing how this oil was used at Jesus’ birth and when he was born again at the resurrection.

Sharon then focused on additional details of this passage, including how John notes that the linen facecloth was rolled up separately from the burial linens.  Had the body of Jesus been stolen, these valuable linens would also have been taken by grave robbers.  We then learn more about Mary Magdalene, a woman of means who traveled with Jesus, providing assistance to him and the apostles.  Mary Magdalene becomes the apostle to the apostles, being the first to proclaim to them the event of the resurrection.  At first, mistaking Jesus for a gardener, Mary recognizes him as he calls her name. By eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the old Adam was banished from the garden by disobedience.   Jesus is the new Adam who, through obedience to the Father, provides entry into the new garden where we now eat from the new tree of life, the Eucharist.

Later, Jesus appears to the ten apostles (Thomas and Judas are missing), where they experience a private Pentecost.  As the Father breathed the spirit of life into Adam, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into the apostles, giving them the authority to forgive sins, something only God can do.  Because they are acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, the apostles and their successors become the permanent solution to the permanent problem of sin, replacing the Jewish high priest who once a year offered sacrifice for the atonement of sin, a temporary solution to the permanent problem of sin.

Finally, Sharon concludes this lecture by comparing Jesus’ reaction to Mary Magdalene and Thomas. Jesus does not want Mary to touch and cling to him, yet he invites Thomas to intimately touch his wounds.  Why?  Thomas, as well as the other apostles, are the new priesthood and Jesus invites Thomas to enter fully into the mystery of his humanity and divinity.  Priests are called to immerse themselves into the suffering of Christ in a special way, whereby they become conduits of grace and bring us the sacraments.   This mystery helps us understand the words of St Paul:  “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations (Col 1: 24-26).”  By entering into the sufferings of Christ, the priesthood replaces what is lacking (the physical presence of Christ) and makes the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations.

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