ST-John Ep 25- John 12 – The Glory of the Lord part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 25 – John 12: The Glory of the Lord part 1

“John 12 begins just six days before Jesus’ final Passover on earth. Gathering with some of his disciples, Jesus is dining at the house of Lazarus, who had just been risen from the dead. Sharon gives us the background of typical Greco-Roman dining, where guests would recline at table to eat their meal, and afterward, would be entertained by musicians and sometimes even prostitutes. We recall King Herod, married illicitly to Herodias, who promised even half his kingdom to Herodias’ daughter Salome after she performed a seductive after-dinner dance. Prompted by her mother, Salome demands the head of John the Baptist, who had publicly criticized the marriage between Herod and Herodias. In some paintings, Salome is pictured with a vial of spikenard, a rare, expensive, richly aromatic oil.

Sharon goes on to explain the significance of spikenard for a first-century Jewish girl. Spikenard was kept in an alabaster jar, and on her wedding night, the virgin bride would break open the jar, anoint her new groom, and consummate the wedding. With this background, we now better understand the beautiful meaning behind the actions of Mary of Bethany, who breaks open an enormous jar of spikenard, anoints the feet of Jesus, and then dries them with her hair. Mary desires to give everything to Jesus and enter into a spiritual marriage. She wants to lavish him with not only her most precious earthly gift, but even more, with the priceless gift of her total self: heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Clarifying a common misconception, Sharon explains that Mary of Bethany is not the same person as Mary Magdalene or one of several other Mary’s found elsewhere in the Bible. Spikenard was also used for burial anointing, but having just seen her brother rise from the dead, Mary knows Jesus will also rise and have no need for the burial anointing. Instead, Mary anoints Jesus now as her spiritual spouse. Sharon then moves on to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, showing how Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9, entering into his kingship riding atop a donkey. To reach Jerusalem, Jesus would have processed through Bethany and Bethphage. Sharon unlocks the importance of Bethphage, also known as the House of Un-ripened Figs. Despite being a few miles outside the city walls, Bethphage was still considered to be part of Jerusalem and was home to two members holding seats in the Sanhedrin. The irony of Jesus processing past this town is profound: any judicial order to execute a rebellious leader had to be made in Bethphage. Today Jesus rides triumphantly past Bethphage; in just a few short days, his execution will be confirmed in Bethphage. ”

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 24- John 11- I AM the Resurrection part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 24 – John 11:  I AM the Resurrection part 2

“And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead.” With these words, we conclude our profession of faith at mass each week and today’s lesson is a very important teaching on this fundamental Catholic belief. In John 11, we read about the 5th sign (the raising of Lazarus) and the 7th “I Am” statement: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

The resurrection of Lazarus not only foreshadows the resurrection of Christ, but it is also a confirmation of the universal resurrection of the dead. Sharon reminds us of other resurrections found in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Elijah raises the son of the Zarephath widow, Elisha raises the son of the Shunammite woman and a dead man comes to life when he is buried next to the bones of Elisha. In the New Testament, Jesus raises not only Lazarus but also the daughter of Jarius and the son of the widow of Nain. In Acts of Apostles, Peter raises Tabitha (aka Dorcas) and Paul raises Eutychus.

The raising of the dead, particularly Lazarus, confirms our hope for the universal resurrection of the dead prophesied in Ezekiel 37. Sharon emphasizes a fundamental tenant of our faith: at the second coming of Jesus Christ, we will all experience a bodily resurrection, either to the resurrection of life in heaven or to the resurrection of condemnation in hell. We will be reunited with either our glorified or condemned bodies.

Looking more closely at the story of Lazarus, Sharon teaches us that John is theological and not necessarily chronological in how he presents the life of Jesus. The theme of the resurrection of the dead is found elsewhere in John’ Gospel: “the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment (5:28-29).” As when he healed the man born blind, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead so that God will be glorified. This miracle is deeply personal for Jesus. He could have chosen to spare Lazarus from death, healing him from afar, just as he did with the royal official’s son in John 4. Instead, he enters into the suffering of Mary and Martha, weeping for the friends he loves so dearly. As a result of the fall, death entered the world, separating humanity from the Father.

Through the death and resurrection of Christ, death no longer separates us from the Father; death becomes the gateway back to the Father. When Christ comes again, those dead in Christ will rise first and their glorified bodies will be reunited with their souls in heaven and so we can with great hope profess at mass: “And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come!”

 

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 23- John 11 – I AM the Resurrection part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 23 – John 11:  I AM the Resurrection part 1

“And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead.” With these words, we conclude our profession of faith at mass each week and today’s lesson is a very important teaching on this fundamental Catholic belief. In John 11, we read about the 5th sign (the raising of Lazarus) and the 7th “I Am” statement: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

The resurrection of Lazarus not only foreshadows the resurrection of Christ but it is also a confirmation of the universal resurrection of the dead. Sharon reminds us of other resurrections found in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Elijah raises the son of the Zarephath widow, Elisha raises the son of the Shunammite woman and a dead man comes to life when he is buried next to the bones of Elisha. In the New Testament, Jesus raises not only Lazarus, but also the daughter of Jarius and the son of widow of Nain. In Acts of Apostles, Peter raises Tabitha (aka Dorcas) and Paul raises Eutychus.

The raising of the dead, particularly Lazarus, confirms our hope for the universal resurrection of the dead prophesied in Ezekiel 37. Sharon emphasizes a fundamental tenant of our faith: at the second coming of Jesus Christ, we will all experience a bodily resurrection, either to the resurrection of life in heaven or to the resurrection of condemnation in hell. We will be reunited with either our glorified or condemned bodies.

Looking more closely at the story of Lazarus, Sharon teaches us that John is theological and not necessarily chronological in how he presents the life of Jesus. The theme of the resurrection of the dead is found elsewhere in John’ Gospel: “the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment (5:28-29).” As when he healed the man born blind, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead so that God will be glorified. This miracle is deeply personal for Jesus. He could have chosen to spare Lazarus from death, healing him from afar, just as he did with the royal official’s son in John 4. Instead, he enters into the suffering of Mary and Martha, weeping for the friends he loves so dearly. As a result of the fall, death entered the world, separating humanity from the Father.

Through the death and resurrection of Christ, death no longer separates us from the Father; death becomes the gateway back to the Father. When Christ comes again, those dead in Christ will rise first and their glorified bodies will be reunited with their souls in heaven and so we can with great hope profess at mass: “And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come!”

 

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 22 – John 10 The Good Shepherd part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 22 – John 10:  The Good Shepherd part 2

In this next chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus reveals two more “I am” statements:  I am the gate, and I am the good shepherd.  To help us better understand this beautiful imagery, Sharon teaches us about shepherding in Biblical times.  Many of the great figures of the Bible were shepherds, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.  We recall the interesting story of Jacob who used his expertise in animal husbandry to breed a line of sheep that exists to this day.

Throughout scripture, we see a multitude of references to shepherds, and how a good shepherd protected his sheep, binding wounds, rescuing from danger, gathering together, seeking the lost.  Psalm 23 is a wonderful example of imagery that describes the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, a clear metaphor of our relationship with the Lord.  The shepherd carried a rod to ward off predators or count sheep and staff to draw his sheep close. As our shepherds, the Bishops carry a crosier staff, which is a visual reminder of their duty to provide the proper teaching necessary to ward off sin.  The shepherd carried a horn filled with oil to soothe wounds and ward off insidious diseases.  Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and at the Chrism Mass, the bishop breathes the Holy Spirit into the oil that will be used for anointing.  Oil is also a reminder of the bishop’s duty to identify the prevalent sins of current times and treat these diseases quickly, preventing infection from spreading throughout his flock.

To help us understand Jesus as “the gate” Sharon teaches us more about the nature of shepherding.  At night, the shepherd guided his flock into an enclosed pen and would sleep at the entrance, acting as the gate through which no predator or thief could enter.  Jesus is the singular gate to the Kingdom, through which is the sure way to salvation.  The shepherd would literally lay down his life to protect his flock, unlike the hireling who would abandon the sheep at the first sign of danger.  The hirelings at the time of Christ were the corrupt Jewish leaders who conspired with the worldly powers to maintain their power and influence.

Sharon concludes with a history lesson that puts this in proper context.  During the Greek occupation of Israel, a civil war broke out between Jews faithful to Mosaic law and the apostates who abandoned their faith to curry favor with the Greeks.  Led by the Hasmonean’s, the faithful Jews were victorious over their unfaithful countrymen and also successfully drove out the Greeks.   Building upon their success, the Hasmoneans forced conversion to Judaism upon the surrounding gentile nations.  One of these nations was Edom, the descendants of Esau.   A notable Edomite was Herod the Great, who married a Hasmonean princess, only to slaughter her remaining kinsmen, establishing a dynasty in servitude to the world power of Rome.  The Sadducees, who followed only Torah and did not believe in the resurrection, came into existence during this period, and became a powerful influence at the time of Christ, only to fade into oblivion after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

 

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 21 – John 10 The Good Shepherd part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 21 – John 10:  The Good Shepherd part 2

In this next chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus reveals two more “I am” statements:  I am the gate, and I am the good shepherd.  To help us better understand this beautiful imagery, Sharon teaches us about shepherding in Biblical times.  Many of the great figures of the Bible were shepherds, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David.  We recall the interesting story of Jacob who used his expertise in animal husbandry to breed a line of sheep that exists to this day.

Throughout scripture, we see a multitude of references to shepherds, and how a good shepherd protected his sheep, binding wounds, rescuing from danger, gathering together, seeking the lost.  Psalm 23 is a wonderful example of imagery that describes the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, a clear metaphor of our relationship with the Lord.  The shepherd carried a rod to ward off predators or count sheep and a staff to draw his sheep close. As our shepherds, the Bishops carry a crosier staff, which is a visual reminder of their duty to provide the proper teaching necessary to ward off sin.  The shepherd carried a horn filled with oil to soothe wounds and ward off insidious diseases.  Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and at the Chrism mass, the bishop breathes the Holy Spirit into the oil that will be used for anointing.  Oil is also a reminder of the bishop’s duty to identify the prevalent sins of current times and treat these diseases quickly, preventing infection from spreading throughout his flock.

To help us understand Jesus as “the gate” Sharon teaches us more about the nature of shepherding.  At night, the shepherd guided his flock into an enclosed pen and would sleep at the entrance, acting as the gate through which no predator or thief could enter.  Jesus is the singular gate to the Kingdom, through which is the sure way to salvation.  The shepherd would literally lay down his life to protect his flock, unlike the hireling who would abandon the sheep at the first sign of danger.  The hirelings at the time of Christ were the corrupt Jewish leaders who conspired with the worldly powers to maintain their power and influence.

Sharon concludes with a history lesson that puts this in proper context.  During the Greek occupation of Israel, a civil war broke out between Jews faithful to Mosaic law and the apostates who abandoned their faith to curry favor with the Greeks.  Led by the Hasmonean’s, the faithful Jews were victorious over their unfaithful countrymen and also successfully drove out the Greeks.   Building upon their success, the Hasmoneans forced conversion to Judaism upon the surrounding gentile nations.  One of these nations was Edom, the descendants of Esau.   A notable Edomite was Herod the Great, who married a Hasmonean princess, only to slaughter her remaining kinsmen, establishing a dynasty in servitude to the world power of Rome.  The Sadducees, who followed only Torah and did not believe in the resurrection, came into existence during this period, and became a powerful influence at the time of Christ, only to fade into oblivion after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

 

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 20 – John 9 The Man Born Blind part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 20 – John 9:  The Man Born Blind part 2

As we begin our study of John 9, the man born blind, Sharon reminds us that John’s Gospel contains 7 signs:  water changed to wine (John 2), healing of the royal official’s son (John 4), healing of the lame man (John 5), feeding of the 5000 (John 6), walking on the Sea of Galilee (John 6), healing of the man born blind (John 9) and the raising of Lazarus (John 11).  Some scholars add an 8th sign, the resurrection of Jesus (John 20).  Focusing then on John 9, Sharon shows how the disciples were passing moral judgment against the man born blind, asking if it was his or his parent’s sin that caused his blindness.
If we are honest with ourselves, we tend to do the same:  we assume lung cancer is related to smoking or cirrhosis of the liver is related to alcohol abuse.  Sharon then takes us to the story of Job, who lost his possessions, his health, and his children, yet never sinned by cursing God.  As with the man born blind, Job’s sufferings were not without meaning but instead was an opportunity for the Lord to be magnified.  As we so often see, John’s Gospel is intimately connected with the book of Genesis:  the pre-incarnate Jesus created, while the incarnate Jesus recreated.  Recalling how Adam was created from the dust, the Church fathers believed that the man of John 9 was born without eyes and that Christ recreated this man by fashioning new eyes out of dust and spittle.
In another wonderful connection with Genesis, we recall that Gihon was one of the four rivers that flowed from Eden.  A river named by the same title Gihon or “Gush Forth” supplied the pool of Siloam, where the blind man washed away the mud, completing the restoration of his sight.  We also remember that after forming man from the dust of the ground, the Lord breathed His own divine breath of life into man, imparting an eternal soul into Adam.  The soul and body unite in a single nature, separated only at death, but to be reunited at the resurrection of the dead.  Jesus uses all things for his good, including death.  The curse of death resulted from the fall, yet Jesus conquered death on the cross and now our own death becomes our only avenue back to the fullness of the Trinity through Jesus!  Death used to separate us from God, but now death is our way back home.   As St. Paul said: “Where, O death, is your sting now?” (1 Cor. 15:55b).

Sharon gives several examples of various types of blindness in this chapter, including the blindness of the Pharisees who failed to see the glorification of God through this healing.  But blindness does not have to be a terminal condition.  Saul, Pharisee of Pharisees, was spiritually blind as he persecuted the early Christians.  Then the Lord rendered him physically blind for three days, resulting in the most magnificent of conversions.  A blind, sinful Pharisee was recreated into one of the most powerful witnesses ever to the glory of God.  Jesus came for all, the righteous and the sinners.  Baptismal waters gush forth to recreate all believers and fill us with His Holy Spirit.

 

 

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 19 – John 9: The Man Born Blind part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 19 – John 9:  The Man Born Blind part 1

As we begin our study of John 9, the man born blind, Sharon reminds us that John’s Gospel contains 7 signs:  water changed to wine (John 2), healing of the royal official’s son (John 4), healing of the lame man (John 5), feeding of the 5000 (John 6), walking on the Sea of Galilee (John 6), healing of the man born blind (John 9) and the raising of Lazarus (John 11).  Some scholars add an 8th sign, the resurrection of Jesus (John 20).  Focusing then on John 9, Sharon shows how the disciples were passing moral judgment against the man born blind, asking if it was his or his parent’s sin that caused his blindness.
If we are honest with ourselves, we tend to do the same:  we assume lung cancer is related to smoking or cirrhosis of the liver is related to alcohol abuse.  Sharon then takes us to the story of Job, who lost his possessions, his health, and his children, yet never sinned by cursing God.  As with the man born blind, Job’s sufferings were not without meaning but instead was an opportunity for the Lord to be magnified.  As we so often see, John’s Gospel is intimately connected with the book of Genesis:  the pre-incarnate Jesus created, while the incarnate Jesus recreated.  Recalling how Adam was created from the dust, the Church fathers believed that the man of John 9 was born without eyes and that Christ recreated this man by fashioning new eyes out of dust and spittle.
In another wonderful connection with Genesis, we recall that Gihon was one of the four rivers that flowed from Eden.  A river named by the same title Gihon or “Gush Forth” supplied the pool of Siloam, where the blind man washed away the mud, completing the restoration of his sight.  We also remember that after forming man from the dust of the ground, the Lord breathed His own divine breath of life into man, imparting an eternal soul into Adam.  The soul and body unite in a single nature, separated only at death, but to be reunited at the resurrection of the dead.  Jesus uses all things for his good, including death.  The curse of death resulted from the fall, yet Jesus conquered death on the cross and now our own death becomes our only avenue back to the fullness of the Trinity through Jesus!  Death used to separate us from God, but now death is our way back home.   As St. Paul said: “Where, O death, is your sting now?” (1 Cor. 15:55b).

Sharon gives several examples of various types of blindness in this chapter, including the blindness of the Pharisees who failed to see the glorification of God through this healing.  But blindness does not have to be a terminal condition.  Saul, Pharisee of Pharisees, was spiritually blind as he persecuted the early Christians.  Then the Lord rendered him physically blind for three days, resulting in the most magnificent of conversions.  A blind, sinful Pharisee was recreated into one of the most powerful witnesses ever to the glory of God.  Jesus came for all, the righteous and the sinners.  Baptismal waters gush forth to recreate all believers and fill us with His Holy Spirit.

 

 

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 18 – John 8: I Am the Light part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 18 – John 8:  I Am the Light part 2

The Feast of Tabernacles continues as we enter John 8.  Also known as Sukkot or the Feast of Booths, Tabernacles is a joyous feast of endless light.  On the climatic final day of the feast, Jesus declares that he is thee light of the world.  Before continuing with the story of the woman caught in adultery, Sharon gives us a fascinating look into the feast of Tabernacles and raises the intriguing question:  was Jesus actually born on this feast day?  Working backward from that date, Jesus’ conception would have taken place at the time of Hanukah, which then leads Sharon to teach us about this feast day which celebrates the rededication of the Temple.

Around 330 BC, Alexander the Great of Greece conquered Israel along with much of the Mediterranean, and at his death, his kingdom was divided into four quadrants, one of which was the Seleucid Empire that ruled over Israel.  In 167 BC as an act of retribution, Antiochus Epiphanes attacked Jerusalem, inflicting 80,000 casualties and captives.  Under the threat of death, the Jews were forced to adopt Greek religious practices:  a statue of Zeus was placed in the temple and the altar was desecrated by pagan sacrifices.  In an uprising led by Judas Maccabees, the Seleucids were expelled and the temple rededicated.

The feast of Hanukah, also known as the Feast of Lights, commemorates this event.  Was Jesus, the Light of the World, conceived on the Feast of Lights?    Was Jesus, the Light of the World, born during the feast of endless light of Tabernacles?  What evidence might support this idea?  Theologically, it would make sense:  Jesus, the light of the world conceived and born on feast days that celebrate light.  Chronologically, it would make sense:  depending on the year, Hanukah and Tabernacles are separated by 40 weeks.  Yet, the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus on December 25th, approximately two months after Tabernacles.  Why?  Pope Benedict XVI explains.

For the first 500 years of the Church, March 25th was celebrated as the day of the cross and Easter was an immovable feast day.  In addition, ancient traditions also held that March 25th was the day of the creation of the world, and March 28th, the day of the creation of the sun.  The creation of the cosmos was seen as the pre-annunciation of Christ, which led to the theological conclusion that the dates of Jesus’ conception and passion were the same day:  March 25th.   Therefore, nine months later we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th.  The dates of Jesus conception, birth and passion have a cosmic significance.

Sharon then returns to John 9.  The morning after the final day of the feast of Tabernacles, a woman caught in the act of adultery is brought before Jesus.  Attempting to trap Jesus, the elders are actually convicted of their own sin by failing to uphold the judicial laws that they so rigidly observed.   Sharon then unveils the meaning of Jesus’ writing in the dust.  On the Day of Atonement, which is celebrated just prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, the High Priest reads Jeramiah 17:13:  those who turn away from the Lord will be written in the dust.  Convicted of their own sin and reminded of the familiar words of Jeremiah, the elders walk away in shame.  Sharon goes further into the spiritual meaning of the adulterous women of John’s Gospel.  The Samaritan woman of John 4 symbolizes the wayward northern tribes and the woman caught in adultery in John 8 represents the southern tribes.

Jesus, the light of the world, the living water, comes to unite the separated tribes of Israel and the entire world in preparation for the final cosmic battle against Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning.

 

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 17 – John 8: I Am the Light part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 17 – John 8:  I Am the Light part 1

The Feast of Tabernacles continues as we enter John 8.  Also known as Sukkot or the Feast of Booths, Tabernacles is a joyous feast of endless light.  On the climatic final day of the feast, Jesus declares that he is thee light of the world.  Before continuing with the story of the woman caught in adultery, Sharon gives us a fascinating look into the feast of Tabernacles and raises the intriguing question:  was Jesus actually born on this feast day?  Working backward from that date, Jesus’ conception would have taken place at the time of Hanukah, which then leads Sharon to teach us about this feast day which celebrates the rededication of the Temple.

Around 330 BC, Alexander the Great of Greece conquered Israel along with much of the Mediterranean, and at his death, his kingdom was divided into four quadrants, one of which was the Seleucid Empire that ruled over Israel.  In 167 BC as an act of retribution, Antiochus Epiphanes attacked Jerusalem, inflicting 80,000 casualties and captives.  Under the threat of death, the Jews were forced to adopt Greek religious practices:  a statue of Zeus was placed in the temple and the altar was desecrated by pagan sacrifices.  In an uprising led by Judas Maccabees, the Seleucids were expelled and the temple rededicated.

The feast of Hanukah, also known as the Feast of Lights, commemorates this event.  Was Jesus, the Light of the World, conceived on the Feast of Lights?    Was Jesus, the Light of the World, born during the feast of endless light of Tabernacles?  What evidence might support this idea?  Theologically, it would make sense:  Jesus, the light of the world conceived and born on feast days that celebrate light.  Chronologically, it would make sense:  depending on the year, Hanukah and Tabernacles are separated by 40 weeks.  Yet, the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus on December 25th, approximately two months after Tabernacles.  Why?  Pope Benedict XVI explains.

For the first 500 years of the Church, March 25th was celebrated as the day of the cross and Easter was an immovable feast day.  In addition, ancient traditions also held that March 25th was the day of the creation of the world, and March 28th, the day of the creation of the sun.  The creation of the cosmos was seen as the pre-annunciation of Christ, which led to the theological conclusion that the dates of Jesus’ conception and passion were the same day:  March 25th.   Therefore, nine months later we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th.  The dates of Jesus conception, birth and passion have a cosmic significance.

Sharon then returns to John 9.  The morning after the final day of the feast of Tabernacles, a woman caught in the act of adultery is brought before Jesus.  Attempting to trap Jesus, the elders are actually convicted of their own sin by failing to uphold the judicial laws that they so rigidly observed.   Sharon then unveils the meaning of Jesus’ writing in the dust.  On the Day of Atonement, which is celebrated just prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, the High Priest reads Jeramiah 17:13:  those who turn away from the Lord will be written in the dust.  Convicted of their own sin and reminded of the familiar words of Jeremiah, the elders walk away in shame.  Sharon goes further into the spiritual meaning of the adulterous women of John’s Gospel.  The Samaritan woman of John 4 symbolizes the wayward northern tribes and the woman caught in adultery in John 8 represents the southern tribes.

Jesus, the light of the world, the living water, comes to unite the separated tribes of Israel and the entire world in preparation for the final cosmic battle against Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning.

 

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

A Message for Our Times – A SPECIAL Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study with Sharon Doran Podcast

A SPECIAL SEEKING TRUTH CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY FOR OUR TROUBLED TIMES

GENESIS 48, 49 and 50

Our final lesson of Genesis begins with an in-depth look at the typology between the Joseph of Egypt and Joseph of Bethlehem.  In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph as the patron saint of the universal Catholic Church.  In that document, Pope Pius recognized the connections between the two men.  Just as Pharaoh made Joseph the lord of his household,  prince over all his possessions, protector of all the grain in the land, so too did the Lord choose another Joseph, the earthly guardian of Jesus, to be the lord and chief of his household and possessions and guardian of his choicest treasures.  Joseph, the husband to Mary, was the father of the beginning of the Church on earth.  He was the foster father to Jesus and the defender and protector of the Holy Family.

From his many roles come many other titles for Joseph of Bethlehem.  He was also Joseph of Nazareth, indicating the Holy Family’s home when they return from Egypt.  As instructed in a dream (Matthew 2:13-15), he became Joseph the Immigrant, fleeing to Egypt with Mary and infant Jesus, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet Hosea: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  Other titles for St. Joseph include Joseph most just and Joseph most chaste.  He is also called mirror of patience, the model of obedience, the model of artisans, the illustrious son of David and the Terror of Demons.   Scripture does not record a single word of Joseph and his presence is missing during the public ministry of Jesus, leading most scholars to assume he must have died before then.  Artists have depicted Joseph being comforted by Mary and Jesus on his death bed, which explains why Joseph is the patron saint of a happy death. Like Mary, no one claims to have the relics of Joseph.

There are many other examples of typology between Joseph of Egypt and Joseph of Bethlehem.  Both are sons of Jacob and both are models for the virtue of chastity.    Joseph protected Jesus, the Bread of Life, enabling Him to accomplish His plan of salvation for the world.  Likewise, Joseph of Egypt stored up grain, protecting the bread of life the world needed during the famine.

Dreams were important to both.  In his dreams, angels help Joseph understand his role as the earthly foster father of Jesus and husband to Mary.  Joseph had four dreams:  Joseph was told to take Mary as his wife as she had conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20-21); Joseph was warned to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13); Joseph was told to return to Israel  (Matthew 2:19-20); Joseph was told to return to Galilee instead of going to Judea (Matthew 2:22).  As we have seen in earlier chapters of Genesis, Joseph of Egypt was himself a dreamer (Genesis 37) but also had the gift to interpret dreams by the power of God (Genesis 40, 41).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, this particular lecture was given before an empty room.  By order of civil authorities, no more than 10 people could be gathered in one location.  The empty shelves at the supermarkets bring to mind the empty grain bins during the famine in Genesis.  Just as the Lord allowed the famine, He too has allowed the 2020 pandemic.  But as we have been reminded throughout this study of Genesis, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Joseph acknowledged that his brothers intended to harm him, but that God intended it so that many lives could be saved.  As Jacob lay on his death bed, Joseph presented his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.  Jacob claimed them as his own sons, future offspring would belong to Joseph.  Ephraim and Manasseh were given the same status as the brothers of Joseph.  As he prepared to impart his blessing, Jacob’s eyes were dim with age, just as the eyes of his own father, Isaac, were dim when he gave his blessing to Jacob instead of firstborn Esau.  When Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, he crossed his arms such that his right blessing hand laid upon the younger Ephraim and his left hand upon the older Manasseh.  Joseph tried unsuccessfully to correct his father.  Just as the younger Jacob received the blessing instead of the older Esau, so too did the younger Ephraim receive the blessing instead of the older Manasseh as it was with other brother pairings in the book of Genesis.

Jacob then pronounced blessings over the remaining brothers.  Despite being the firstborn, Reuben did not receive the blessing of birthright because he had slept with Bilhah, the maid of Rachel.  Simeon and Levi were criticized for their excessive vengeance against Shechem.  Judah, the fourth born, was praised by Jacob, who describes him as a lion, whose lineage will include King David and Jesus.  Jacob then went on to describe the future for each of the remaining sons.  Before breathing his last, Jacob requested to be buried at the cave at Machpelah, alongside the body of his wife Leah (recall that Rachel died during the birth of Benjamin and was buried along the roadside near Bethlehem).  The tomb at Machpelah also holds the graves of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah and was purchased outright. Joseph traveled to Machpelah accompanied by a large funeral procession of Egyptians who shared in his grief. Joseph’s brothers tried to claim that on his death bed, Jacob commanded Joseph to forgive them.  However, Joseph forgave them on his own accord, knowing that God would be the one to judge them.

At the end of Genesis, Joseph died at the age of 110 years.  His body was transported back to Canaan for burial.  In Genesis 33, Jacob purchased a plot of land in Shechem and from Joshua 24:32, we read “The bones of Joseph which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried at Shechem, in the portion of ground which Jacob bought.”  The tomb of Joseph is found in modern-day Nablus, very close to the well where Jacob first met Rachel.  At this same well, Jesus encountered the sinful Samaritan woman (John 4) who to this day is revered as St. Photina.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Catholics around the world are unable to attend mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  In this time of famine from the body of Christ, we can still be nourished by His Word:  “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body. She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God Himself without change and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently, these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture: “For the word of God is living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and “it has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13) (Dei Verbum 21).

 

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