ST-John Ep 36 – John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 36 – John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer part 2

The High Priestly Prayer of John 17 is the conclusion of the Farewell Discourse of Jesus.   Sharon begins her lecture with some additional insights on the Trinity, whose image is reflected in the marriage between man and woman and between Christ in both his Church and priesthood.  Because they image God and can bear eternal life, these spiritual marriages are targeted by Satan.  Because of the fall, we lost our immortality, and death entered the world, but through Jesus, death is conquered, and the prospect of eternal life is restored, which John discussed at least 19 times in his gospel.

In Chapter 17, Jesus proclaims that his hour of glory has arrived.  Yet, we also learn that the glory of Jesus was present before the creation of the world.  What is this glory?  John the Evangelist was an eyewitness to the glory of Jesus at the Transfiguration, yet he did not include this story in his Gospel.  Sharon shows how Revelation 11 is perhaps the Evangelist’s Transfiguration account in the symbolic language of the apocalypse.

Two witnesses are mentioned in Revelation 11, but 4 entities are mentioned.  Two olive trees and two lampstands have the power to shut the sky and the power to turn water into blood, which recalls the stories of Elijah (who foretold a drought to King Ahab) and Moses (who turned the waters of the Nile into blood).  Elijah, the Old Testament olive tree, prefigures John the Baptist; Moses, the Old Testament lampstand, prefigures Jesus.   These two witnesses experienced the glory of the Lord in their own lifetimes:  Elijah, in the silence of the cave at Horeb, and Moses, in the flame of the burning bush.  The synoptic gospels have them in glory with Jesus Christ as well.

Sharon goes on to focus on the priesthood.  The Levitical priesthood, born out of violence, was a temporary solution to the permanent problem of sin.  Jesus re-established a new priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.  The priesthood is the first priesthood mentioned by name in the bible in Genesis chapter 14 when Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, blessed Abram.  The Levitical priests offered yearly sacrifice for the atonement for sin.  Jesus, the eternal high priest and king, offers a once for all, perpetual sacrifice that is continually celebrated at mass on earth and in the heavenly wedding banquet of the New Jerusalem.  After completing the hour of glory of his death and crucifixion, Jesus ascends to the Father and sits down at his right hand, taking his rightful position on the mercy seat of the Trinity.

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 35 – John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 35 – John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer part 1

The High Priestly Prayer of John 17 is the conclusion of the Farewell Discourse of Jesus.   Sharon begins her lecture with some additional insights on the Trinity, whose image is reflected in the marriage between man and woman and between Christ in both his Church and priesthood.  Because they image God and can bear eternal life, these spiritual marriages are targeted by Satan.  Because of the fall, we lost our immortality, and death entered the world, but through Jesus, death is conquered, and the prospect of eternal life is restored, which John discussed at least 19 times in his gospel.

In Chapter 17, Jesus proclaims that his hour of glory has arrived.  Yet, we also learn that the glory of Jesus was present before the creation of the world.  What is this glory?  John the Evangelist was an eyewitness to the glory of Jesus at the Transfiguration, yet he did not include this story in his Gospel.  Sharon shows how Revelation 11 is perhaps the Evangelist’s Transfiguration account in the symbolic language of the apocalypse.

Two witnesses are mentioned in Revelation 11, but 4 entities are mentioned.  Two olive trees and two lampstands have the power to shut the sky and the power to turn water into blood, which recalls the stories of Elijah (who foretold a drought to King Ahab) and Moses (who turned the waters of the Nile into blood).  Elijah, the Old Testament olive tree, prefigures John the Baptist; Moses, the Old Testament lampstand, prefigures Jesus.   These two witnesses experienced the glory of the Lord in their own lifetimes:  Elijah, in the silence of the cave at Horeb, and Moses, in the flame of the burning bush.  The synoptic gospels have them in glory with Jesus Christ as well.

Sharon goes on to focus on the priesthood.  The Levitical priesthood, born out of violence, was a temporary solution to the permanent problem of sin.  Jesus re-established a new priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.  The priesthood is the first priesthood mentioned by name in the bible in Genesis chapter 14 when Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, blessed Abram.  The Levitical priests offered yearly sacrifice for the atonement for sin.  Jesus, the eternal high priest and king, offers a once for all, perpetual sacrifice that is continually celebrated at mass on earth and in the heavenly wedding banquet of the New Jerusalem.  After completing the hour of glory of his death and crucifixion, Jesus ascends to the Father and sits down at his right hand, taking his rightful position on the mercy seat of the Trinity.

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 34 – John 16 – The Holy Spirit part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 34 – John 16 – The Holy Spirit part 2

As we draw close to the passion, John 16 focuses our attention on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity.  Throughout John’s Gospel, we have read about the theme of “The Hour.”   Jesus tells his apostles that the hour is now here, not only for himself but also for them.

Before moving into John 16, Sharon shares additional insights on Jesus, the True Vine of Chapter 15.  From last week, we recall that Jacob gave his blessing to Judah and his birthright to Joseph and that these two “vines” point towards Jesus, the True Vine.  After the time of the kings, the kingdom of Israel divided into northern (descendants of Joseph) and southern tribes (descendants of Judah), with the northern tribes being scattered further through the diaspora.  So, how does Jesus reunite these two vines, bringing together the blessing and the birthright of Israel?  The answer can be found in Ezekiel 37 where the Lord tells the prophet that he will combine the sticks of Joseph and Judah into one stick, gathering them together into one nation. This prophecy is fulfilled on the horizontal and vertical wood of the cross, where Jesus becomes the king over not only a united Israel, but over the entire world.

Moving on to John 16, Sharon draws our attention back to the Trinity, a word never actually found in the Bible, yet present through all scripture.  In the 1st century AD, Tertullian first used the word “Trinity” and the doctrine was developed over the following centuries.  We learn that a controversy between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches stems from a disagreement over Trinitarian doctrine.  The Roman Catholic Church believes in the Nicene Creed “filioque” which states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, while the Eastern churches believe the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father.

We learn also that John 16 predicts the persecution of the early Church, when Christians were cast out of the synagogue and thrown into jail by Saul.  We also learn that unless Jesus left the world, the Holy Spirit would not come.  The Holy Spirit convicts (but does not condemn) the world, convincing us of sin, righteousness and judgement.  Finally, Sharon ends with a wonderful look at the famous Rublev icon of the Trinity, which depicts the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the setting of the three visitors to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre, where many of the mysteries of the Trinity are unveiled.

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 33 – John 16 – The Holy Spirit part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 33 – John 16 – The Holy Spirit part 1

As we draw close to the passion, John 16 focuses our attention on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity.  Throughout John’s Gospel, we have read about the theme of “The Hour.”   Jesus tells his apostles that the hour is now here, not only for himself but also for them.

Before moving into John 16, Sharon shares additional insights on Jesus, the True Vine of Chapter 15.  From last week, we recall that Jacob gave his blessing to Judah and his birthright to Joseph and that these two “vines” point towards Jesus, the True Vine.  After the time of the kings, the kingdom of Israel divided into northern (descendants of Joseph) and southern tribes (descendants of Judah), with the northern tribes being scattered further through the diaspora.  So, how does Jesus reunite these two vines, bringing together the blessing and the birthright of Israel?  The answer can be found in Ezekiel 37 where the Lord tells the prophet that he will combine the sticks of Joseph and Judah into one stick, gathering them together into one nation. This prophecy is fulfilled on the horizontal and vertical wood of the cross, where Jesus becomes the king over not only a united Israel, but over the entire world.

Moving on to John 16, Sharon draws our attention back to the Trinity, a word never actually found in the Bible, yet present through all scripture.  In the 1st century AD, Tertullian first used the word “Trinity” and the doctrine was developed over the following centuries.  We learn that a controversy between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches stems from a disagreement over Trinitarian doctrine.  The Roman Catholic Church believes in the Nicene Creed “filioque” which states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, while the Eastern churches believe the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father.

We learn also that John 16 predicts the persecution of the early Church, when Christians were cast out of the synagogue and thrown into jail by Saul.  We also learn that unless Jesus left the world, the Holy Spirit would not come.  The Holy Spirit convicts (but does not condemn) the world, convincing us of sin, righteousness and judgement.  Finally, Sharon ends with a wonderful look at the famous Rublev icon of the Trinity, which depicts the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the setting of the three visitors to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre, where many of the mysteries of the Trinity are unveiled.

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 32 – John 15 – I am the True Vine part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 32 – John 15 – I am the True Vine part 2

“I am the true vine.”  With this seventh and final “I am” statement, Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel focuses on our need to abide in Christ, remaining in His love.  The image of a vine reminds us of the many allegories in the Bible related to wine, grapes, and vineyards.

Sharon goes on to remind us that in the Old Testament, the oldest son did not always receive the blessing and birthright that was due to him.  In particular, Sharon focus on the story of Jacob and his 12 sons.  The blessing goes to Judah, the fourth-born son, and the birthright to Joseph.  Though his sons, Joseph received a double portion inheritance of the Promised Land.   The blessing given to Judah is fully fulfilled in Jesus, who was a member of the tribe of Judah.  And the birthright given to Joseph is also fully realized in Christ. God’s highly favored son Jesus, wins for us a double portion, God’s kingdom on earth (the church) as well as God’s heavenly Kingdom of heaven.   Joseph is a wonderful “type” of Christ, with numerous examples of striking parallels in their lives.  Genesis 49:22 describes Joseph as a fruitful bough or vine, which points towards Jesus, the true vine described in John 15.  In the Old Testament, the plentiful fruit of the vine would remind Israel of God’s promise for redemption, but unfortunately, Israel was often unfruitful, yielding wild or rotten grapes as described in Isaiah 5.  Jesus uses the same imagery in John 15 when he describes the blessings to those who abide in him and the destruction that occurs to those that do not.   God’s vine of Israel was meant to spread throughout the world but instead became an un-kept, disgraceful vineyard.   Israel was in need of a new and true vine, and Jesus fulfills that need.

Sharon then digs deeper into the imagery of John 15, showing us how God the Father is the husbandman of the vineyard, tending to the vines, pruning away the dead branches so that the vine may grow and flourish.  If we allow, God will cut out our sinful tendencies.  This discipline, while at times painful, is necessary for us to abide with Him.  The branches closest to the trunk of the vine bear the most fruit, encouraging us to always humbly remain as close as possible to God.  We recall the story of Solomon, who early in his life stayed close to the Lord, but as he grew more rich and powerful, he fell into the sin of pride, becoming increasingly self-sufficient and separated from the Lord.  Jesus tells us that without him, we can do nothing, but if we abide in him, our joy will be complete.  If we want to remain with Christ, we much follow his commands, which serve as a blueprint for our lives, bringing us to the fullness of joy that God desires for us. He wants us to bear eternal fruit that will last, and have a sober intoxication of His Holy Spirit, the sap that flows through the vine as we climb the trestle back to the Father.

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-Special – St. Joseph: Not Your Average Joe – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Joseph: Not Your Average Joe!

One can not speak about St. Joseph without also incorporating his beloved wife Mary. The chaste young spouses have a singular mission to bear Christ to the entire world. It is the same mission that we all have but they model it with great perfection. While Joseph is silent throughout sacred scripture, his actions speak volumes. His virtues of chastity, patience, and long-suffering win him a litany of wonderful and well-deserved titles.

Let your imagination sore as you consider this dearly loved Saint, a man for all times and all seasons and a spiritual father for all.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Sharon Doran is the Founding Teaching Director of Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study www.SeekingTRUTH.net.  She holds a MA in Educational Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a MA in Pastoral Theology/Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute.  Sharon is certified in Ignatian Spiritual Direction and retreat leadership from Creighton University.  She is co-author of the scripture commentary, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel.

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 31 – John 15 – I am the True Vine part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 31 – John 15 – I am the True Vine part 1

“I am the true vine.”  With this seventh and final “I am” statement, Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel focuses on our need to abide in Christ, remaining in His love.  The image of a vine reminds us of the many allegories in the Bible related to wine, grapes, and vineyards.

Sharon goes on to remind us that in the Old Testament, the oldest son did not always receive the blessing and birthright that was due to him.  In particular, Sharon focus on the story of Jacob and his 12 sons.  The blessing goes to Judah, the fourth-born son, and the birthright to Joseph.  Though his sons, Joseph received a double portion inheritance of the Promised Land.   The blessing given to Judah is fully fulfilled in Jesus, who was a member of the tribe of Judah.  And the birthright given to Joseph is also fully realized in Christ. God’s highly favored son Jesus, wins for us a double portion, God’s kingdom on earth (the church) as well as God’s heavenly Kingdom of heaven.   Joseph is a wonderful “type” of Christ, with numerous examples of striking parallels in their lives.  Genesis 49:22 describes Joseph as a fruitful bough or vine, which points towards Jesus, the true vine described in John 15.  In the Old Testament, the plentiful fruit of the vine would remind Israel of God’s promise for redemption, but unfortunately, Israel was often unfruitful, yielding wild or rotten grapes as described in Isaiah 5.  Jesus uses the same imagery in John 15 when he describes the blessings to those who abide in him and the destruction that occurs to those that do not.   God’s vine of Israel was meant to spread throughout the world but instead became an un-kept, disgraceful vineyard.   Israel was in need of a new and true vine, and Jesus fulfills that need.

Sharon then digs deeper into the imagery of John 15, showing us how God the Father is the husbandman of the vineyard, tending to the vines, pruning away the dead branches so that the vine may grow and flourish.  If we allow, God will cut out our sinful tendencies.  This discipline, while at times painful, is necessary for us to abide with Him.  The branches closest to the trunk of the vine bear the most fruit, encouraging us to always humbly remain as close as possible to God.  We recall the story of Solomon, who early in his life stayed close to the Lord, but as he grew more rich and powerful, he fell into the sin of pride, becoming increasingly self-sufficient and separated from the Lord.  Jesus tells us that without him, we can do nothing, but if we abide in him, our joy will be complete.  If we want to remain with Christ, we much follow his commands, which serve as a blueprint for our lives, bringing us to the fullness of joy that God desires for us. He wants us to bear eternal fruit that will last, and have a sober intoxication of His Holy Spirit, the sap that flows through the vine as we climb the trestle back to the Father.

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 30 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 2- The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 30 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 2

We continue our study of John’s Gospel with Chapter 14.  This beautiful chapter has an abundance of nuptial imagery.  God designed marriage as a way to image the Trinity.  Just as life flows from the one-flesh union of man and woman, the life of the Holy Spirit flows from the union of the Father and Son, who are one.

From the beginning in Genesis, to the end in Revelation, the story of salvation is the story of the marriage between God and His people.  To nullify the marital covenant between God and Israel, one of the parties needed to die.  As we learn in Romans 7, through Jesus’ death on the cross, the marital covenant with Israel ends, freeing Christ to take a new bride, the universal Church.   We learn, though, that in order for the wedding to take place, the bride must be pure and blemish-free.  As we learned last time, through Baptism we are purified of original sin, and through Reconciliation, we are purified of the sins of our lives.

Returning to John 14, Sharon gives us a wonderful teaching about first-century Jewish wedding customs, which helps us to better understand the rich symbolism found in this chapter.  In ancient Palestine, extended families lived together in an expansive house called an insula.  With each successive generation, the sons would build additional rooms to accommodate their own wife and children.  After the wedding, the young bride would leave her own home and move in with the groom’s family.  The groom’s entire family, especially the parents, had to be willing to accept the bride into the insula, and her virtue was valued even more than her wealth or beauty.  The marital ritual began when the groom and his father journeyed to the bride’s home and negotiated the terms of the marriage, with the best man (aka the shushbin) acting as an intermediary between the two parties.

Once the terms were set, the couple was now officially betrothed, though not yet married.  The son announces he will go and prepare a place for his bride, returning when all the necessary preparations were complete.  The son would return home and prepare the insula for the arrival of his bride.  The bride prepares herself for the return of the groom, but she does not know how long it will take for him to return.  After the necessary construction is completed, the father gives his son permission to return for his bride.

On the day of the wedding, the return of the groom to his bride is announced with the blowing of the shofar horn.  The shushbin stands by as the marriage is consummated, and then offers proof of the bride’s purity through the display of the marital bedding.  Knowing this, we now have a much better understanding of Jesus’ promise to return to us after he prepares a place for us in his Father’s house.  Jesus invites us into marital union with him, a blood covenant that was consummated with his death on the cross, the cup of acceptance of this New Blood Covenant that we drink from the chalice at Mass.  The Holy Spirit, the shushbin, guarantees the purity of the Church, the bride of Christ by keeping her pure and blemish-free through the sacraments.

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 29- John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 1- The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 29 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 1

We continue our study of John’s Gospel with Chapter 14.  This beautiful chapter has an abundance of nuptial imagery.  God designed marriage as a way to image the Trinity.  Just as life flows from the one-flesh union of man and woman, the life of the Holy Spirit flows from the union of the Father and Son, who are one.

From the beginning in Genesis, to the end in Revelation, the story of salvation is the story of the marriage between God and His people.  To nullify the marital covenant between God and Israel, one of the parties needed to die.  As we learn in Romans 7, through Jesus’ death on the cross, the marital covenant with Israel ends, freeing Christ to take a new bride, the universal Church.   We learn, though, that in order for the wedding to take place, the bride must be pure and blemish free.  As we learned last time, through Baptism we are purified of original sin, and through Reconciliation we are purified of the sins of our lives.

Returning to John 14, Sharon gives us a wonderful teaching about first century Jewish wedding customs, which helps us to better understand the rich symbolism found in this chapter.  In ancient Palestine, extended families lived together in an expansive house called an insula.  With each successive generation, the sons would build additional rooms to accommodate their own wife and children.  After the wedding, the young bride would leave her own home and move in with the groom’s family.  The groom’s entire family, especially the parents, had to be willing to accept the bride into the insula, and her virtue was valued even more than her wealth or beauty.  The marital ritual began when the groom and his father journeyed to the bride’s home and negotiated the terms of the marriage, with the best man (aka the shushbin) acting as an intermediary between the two parties.

Once the terms were set, the couple was now officially betrothed, though not yet married.  The son announces he will go and prepare a place for his bride, returning when all the necessary preparations were complete.  The son would return home and prepare the insula for the arrival of his bride.  The bride prepares herself for the return of the groom, but she does not know how long it will take for him to return.  After the necessary construction is completed, the father gives his son permission to return for his bride.

On the day of the wedding, the return of the groom to his bride is announced with the blowing of the shofar horn.  The shushbin stands by as the marriage is consummated, and then offers proof of the bride’s purity through the display of the marital bedding.  Knowing this, we now have a much better understanding of Jesus’ promise to return to us after he prepares a place for us in his Father’s house.  Jesus invites us into marital union with him, a blood covenant that was consummated with his death on the cross, the cup of acceptance of this New Blood Covenant that we drink from the chalice at Mass.  The Holy Spirit, the shushbin, guarantees the purity of the Church, the bride of Christ by keeping her pure and blemish free through the sacraments.

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 28- John 13 – Jesus: The Servant of Love part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 28 – John 13 – Jesus:  The Servant of Love part 2

“Chapter 13 of the Gospel of John marks the end of the Book of Signs and the beginning of the Book of Glory.  The hour of glory—the hour of the crucifixion—has started.

Chapters 13-16 are an extended discourse by Jesus, who is preparing his disciples for his exodus, his departure from this world back to his heavenly Father.  The washing of the disciples’ feet is laden with nuptial imagery, a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible.

Beginning with Adam and Eve, the story of salvation is the story of the marriage between God and His people.  God entered into a spiritual marriage with Adam and Eve, but this perfect union was shattered by original sin.  But through our bodily nature, God has given us a glimpse into the image of the trinity.  As John Paul II states in his Theology of the Body, “only the body is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.”  The eternal mystery is the union of the three persons of the Trinity. Man’s spiritual union with God, fractured by sin, is restored at the crucifixion, the wedding celebration of Christ and His Church.

Mary is the perfect model of spiritual marriage with Christ.  She and John the Evangelist stayed in communion with Jesus as he hung on the cross.   The message for us is to stay in communion with God and with each other, avoiding the temptation to run away from the messy crosses of our lives.  Over the years, a number of saints have experienced a spiritual marriage with Jesus, and Sharon tells us the story of Catherine of Siena who suffered from the invisible stigmata in her union with Christ.

Turning back to the foot-washing, Sharon shows us the spiritual meaning of this story.  Before a wedding, the bride must be blemish-free, washed free of the stain of sin.  Baptism cleanses us from original sin, while reconciliation removes the filth of all other sin in our lives.  When Jesus washes the feet of the apostles, he is spiritually washing away the guilt of sin, prefiguring the sacrament of reconciliation, “that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:27).”  Stripping down to his linen ephod, Jesus performs the intimate, yet priestly ritual of washing the apostles’ feet, preparing them to enter into the spiritual union of the crucifixion and to become the first priests of a new priesthood of which he is the Eternal High Priest. ”

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