ST-Luke Ep 22- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 10 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 22 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 10 Part 2

Luke 10:  “The Good Samaritan”

This week’s lecture begins with encouragement to pray the rosary.  Many popes over the years have exhorted the faithful to depend on this powerful spiritual weapon in the battle against evil.  In Luke 10, Jesus referenced the battle between darkness and light, vividly describing how Satan fell like lightning from the sky.    Satan was “murderer from the beginning…and the father of lies” (John 8:44).  He disguised himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).  Satan deceived Adam and Eve, convincing them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  To prevent Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of life and living forever in a state of mortal sin, God banished Adam and Eve from the garden.  Satan was also thrown out and became the ruler of the world until his final defeat at the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Satan is known as Lucifer, a fallen angel whose name means bearer of light.  Angels are mentioned over 270 times in the Bible.  They are highly intelligent beings of pure spirit who God created before humans.  Revelation 12 describes the battle between Satan, the dragon, and Michael, the archangel.  Michael defeated the dragon who is thrown out of heaven, along with the other 1/3 of the angels who joined in the rebellion against God.  Lucifer and his minions revolted when God revealed his plan of salvation for humanity.  When they learned that God would become a man born of a woman, they refused to serve:  if God could take on human nature, then the lowly humans could take on a divine nature.  Their contempt for lowly humans was fueled by pride and jealousy.  Thomas Aquinas believed that before the angels were given the beatific vision, they underwent a time of testing, much like Adam and Eve.  Having failed their test of fidelity to God, they were cast out of heaven, just as Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.

From Aquinas we learn of the hierarchy of angelic:  Seraphim angels were the highest, followed in order by the Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels (which includes our Guardian Angels).  According to Peter Kreeft, both Lucifer and Michael were Seraphim Angels of the highest order.  Archangel can also mean a leader angel, and Michael as the leader of all the faithful angels, defeated Lucifer, the leader of all the rebellious angels.  God had created angels to serve, but their pride kept them from fulfilling their nature:  just like Adam and Eve, the fallen angels wanted to be like gods.  The cosmic battle between good and evil continued until Jesus ushered in a new kingdom to replace Satan’s temporary kingdom.

The kingdom of God is mentioned throughout the Gospel of Luke.  In Luke 9, Jesus sent the 12 apostles to proclaim the kingdom of God, and in Luke 10, Jesus sends 70 disciples to do the same.  The 70 disciples mentioned in Luke 10 recalls the 70 elders that Moses appointed to help govern the Israelites (Numbers 11).  These 70 men (along with two others outside the Israelite camp) received some of the spirit of prophecy that had been given to Moses.  These same 70 also went up Mount Sinai with Moses, where they ate and drank together in the presence of God (Exodus 24).   Luke is the only evangelist to mention the 70 disciples sent on mission.  Hippolytus of Rome (a follower of Irenaeus, who was a follower of Polycarp, who was a follower of John the Evangelist) listed the 70 disciples in one of his commentaries.  Included in this list were Mark and Luke, who Hippolytus said were among the disciples who left Jesus after the Bread of Life discourse (John 6).  Peter was responsible for evangelizing Mark, while Paul evangelized Luke back to the fold.

When the 70 return, they were full of joy because the demons were subject to them in Jesus’ name.  Jesus warned against becoming prideful, telling them their joy should come from their name being written in the book of heaven.  In Revelation 20, we learn that one of the books in heaven is the book of life.  The dead will be judged by their deeds on earth which are written in the books in heaven and “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will be allowed into the new and heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:27) and “if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15).”  We know from scripture that our names can be blotted out of the book of life: “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book (Ex 32:33).

Luke 10 continues with the story of the Good Samaritan, which is found only in Luke.  A lawyer wanted to put Jesus to the test, asking what it takes to inherit eternal life.  When Jesus asked him what is prescribed in the law, the lawyer responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).”  Wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?”  By the Levitical law, the Jews only counted other Jews as their neighbor (Lev 19:18).  However, Jesus expanded the definition of neighbor to include all humanity.  The roadside between Jerusalem and Jericho was known as the “Way of Blood” and is the same location where King David wrote Psalm 23 (Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil) Elijah was fed bread from ravens while hiding from the evil Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 17).

Using the spiritual sense of scripture, Augustine saw the wounded traveler as symbolic of Adam and humanity.  The wounding of sin is symbolized by the robbers who leave the traveler half dead.  The old covenant is represented by the priests and Levites who fail to save humanity.  Jesus is the Good Samaritan, who heals with the sacraments, as symbolized by the oil and wine poured into the wounds of humanity.  Like the inn, Jesus shelters wounded humanity the Church.  Like the Good Samaritan who paid two denarii for the traveler’s care, Jesus pays with his life to conquer sin and death.

The lecture concludes with the story of Martha and Mary.  Martha prepared the meal, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching.   Mary represents contemplative spirituality, while Martha represents active spirituality.  While both are important, Jesus emphasized that one thing is needed:  stay in relationship with the Lord.   Choose the eternal over the worldly.

©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 21- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 10 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 21 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 10 Part 1

Luke 10:  “The Good Samaritan”

This week’s lecture begins with encouragement to pray the rosary.  Many popes over the years have exhorted the faithful to depend on this powerful spiritual weapon in the battle against evil.  In Luke 10, Jesus referenced the battle between darkness and light, vividly describing how Satan fell like lightning from the sky.    Satan was “murderer from the beginning…and the father of lies” (John 8:44).  He disguised himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).  Satan deceived Adam and Eve, convincing them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  To prevent Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of life and living forever in a state of mortal sin, God banished Adam and Eve from the garden.  Satan was also thrown out and became the ruler of the world until his final defeat at the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Satan is known as Lucifer, a fallen angel whose name means bearer of light.  Angels are mentioned over 270 times in the Bible.  They are highly intelligent beings of pure spirit who God created before humans.  Revelation 12 describes the battle between Satan, the dragon, and Michael, the archangel.  Michael defeated the dragon who is thrown out of heaven, along with the other 1/3 of the angels who joined in the rebellion against God.  Lucifer and his minions revolted when God revealed his plan of salvation for humanity.  When they learned that God would become a man born of a woman, they refused to serve:  if God could take on human nature, then the lowly humans could take on a divine nature.  Their contempt for lowly humans was fueled by pride and jealousy.  Thomas Aquinas believed that before the angels were given the beatific vision, they underwent a time of testing, much like Adam and Eve.  Having failed their test of fidelity to God, they were cast out of heaven, just as Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.

From Aquinas we learn of the hierarchy of angelic:  Seraphim angels were the highest, followed in order by the Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels (which includes our Guardian Angels).  According to Peter Kreeft, both Lucifer and Michael were Seraphim Angels of the highest order.  Archangel can also mean a leader angel, and Michael as the leader of all the faithful angels, defeated Lucifer, the leader of all the rebellious angels.  God had created angels to serve, but their pride kept them from fulfilling their nature:  just like Adam and Eve, the fallen angels wanted to be like gods.  The cosmic battle between good and evil continued until Jesus ushered in a new kingdom to replace Satan’s temporary kingdom.

The kingdom of God is mentioned throughout the Gospel of Luke.  In Luke 9, Jesus sent the 12 apostles to proclaim the kingdom of God, and in Luke 10, Jesus sends 70 disciples to do the same.  The 70 disciples mentioned in Luke 10 recalls the 70 elders that Moses appointed to help govern the Israelites (Numbers 11).  These 70 men (along with two others outside the Israelite camp) received some of the spirit of prophecy that had been given to Moses.  These same 70 also went up Mount Sinai with Moses, where they ate and drank together in the presence of God (Exodus 24).   Luke is the only evangelist to mention the 70 disciples sent on mission.  Hippolytus of Rome (a follower of Irenaeus, who was a follower of Polycarp, who was a follower of John the Evangelist) listed the 70 disciples in one of his commentaries.  Included in this list were Mark and Luke, who Hippolytus said were among the disciples who left Jesus after the Bread of Life discourse (John 6).  Peter was responsible for evangelizing Mark, while Paul evangelized Luke back to the fold.

When the 70 return, they were full of joy because the demons were subject to them in Jesus’ name.  Jesus warned against becoming prideful, telling them their joy should come from their name being written in the book of heaven.  In Revelation 20, we learn that one of the books in heaven is the book of life.  The dead will be judged by their deeds on earth which are written in the books in heaven and “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will be allowed into the new and heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:27) and “if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15).”  We know from scripture that our names can be blotted out of the book of life: “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book (Ex 32:33).

Luke 10 continues with the story of the Good Samaritan, which is found only in Luke.  A lawyer wanted to put Jesus to the test, asking what it takes to inherit eternal life.  When Jesus asked him what is prescribed in the law, the lawyer responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).”  Wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?”  By the Levitical law, the Jews only counted other Jews as their neighbor (Lev 19:18).  However, Jesus expanded the definition of neighbor to include all humanity.  The roadside between Jerusalem and Jericho was known as the “Way of Blood” and is the same location where King David wrote Psalm 23 (Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil) Elijah was fed bread from ravens while hiding from the evil Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 17).

Using the spiritual sense of scripture, Augustine saw the wounded traveler as symbolic of Adam and humanity.  The wounding of sin is symbolized by the robbers who leave the traveler half dead.  The old covenant is represented by the priests and Levites who fail to save humanity.  Jesus is the Good Samaritan, who heals with the sacraments, as symbolized by the oil and wine poured into the wounds of humanity.  Like the inn, Jesus shelters wounded humanity the Church.  Like the Good Samaritan who paid two denarii for the traveler’s care, Jesus pays with his life to conquer sin and death.

The lecture concludes with the story of Martha and Mary.  Martha prepared the meal, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching.   Mary represents contemplative spirituality, while Martha represents active spirituality.  While both are important, Jesus emphasized that one thing is needed:  stay in relationship with the Lord.   Choose the eternal over the worldly.

©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 20- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 9 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 20 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 9 Part 2

Luke 9:  “Son of God Transfigured”

Luke chapter 9 begins with the mission of the twelve Apostles, whom Jesus gave power to cure disease and authority over all demons. They were instructed to take nothing for their journey and to “shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against” anyone who did not welcome them. To “shake off the dust” was a Hebrew idiom for Jews to separate themselves from the Gentiles. So in this context, Jesus was telling the Apostles to separate themselves from the Jews who rejected the Gospel. In a similar passage, Matthew took things a step further, warning “that it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town (Mt 10:15).” Knowing that Jesus gave the Apostles power over all demons helps us understand why Jesus chastised the disciples for their lack of faith when they could not drive out a demon from a boy (Luke 9:40-41).

The chapter continues with Herod’s perplexity. Herod knew that John the Baptist was dead, yet he heard some thought that John had been raised from the dead or that Elijah had returned. These stories led to Herod’s desire to meet Jesus, which finally occurs during the Passion. We learn from Josephus that John was imprisoned for two years prior to his execution at Machaerus, a Herodian fortress on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. John was imprisoned for criticizing Herod Antipas for his unlawful marriage to Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Phillip. Just as the evil Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah the prophet, so too did Herodias want to kill John the Baptist, the new Elijah.

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle (other than the Resurrection) that is found in all four Gospels. Luke was the only Gospel writer who specified that Bethsaida was the location of this miracle. Bethsaida was located at the inflow of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida was the home town of Peter, Andrew and Philip and was the location of many miracles, including the successive healing of the blind man as told in Mark 8. The city of Bethsaida was later renamed after Livia Drusilla, (aka Julia Augusta) the wife of Caesar Augustus, who was emperor at the time Jesus’s birth. Caesar Augustus had no male heir of his own, so at his death, he bequeathed 2/3 of his empire to Tiberius, Livia’s son by another man, and 1/3 to Julia herself. Julia was very popular among the people of the empire and was at odds with her son, Tiberius. She was declared a priestess and then later a goddess, and many temples were built in her honor throughout the empire. One of these temples was built in Bethsaida and the ancient Jewish fishing town was renamed Julias in her honor.

During the feeding of the 5000, Jesus told the people to sit together in companies of 50. This recalls the encampment of the Israelites in the Sinai desert. Moses divided the people into companies that surrounded the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the true presence of God. The companies were led by four of the twelve tribes as represented on banners with images of a lion (representing Judah), the face of a man (representing Ruben), an ox (representing Ephraim) and an eagle (representing Dan). Just as the companies in Sinai surrounded the true presence of God in the Tabernacle, so too did the companies of 50 surround Jesus, the true presence of God and Word made flesh, at the feeding of the 5000. The images on the Sinai banners were later seen in the description of the four living creatures in Ezekiel’s vision of heaven (EZEK 1) as well as in John the Evangelist’s vision of heaven in Revelation 4: the four living creatures surround the true presence of God in heaven. The four living creatures also symbolize the Gospel writers: Matthew the man, Mark the lion, Luke the ox and John the eagle. In many churches, images of the Gospel writers in the form of the four living creatures surround the tabernacle, which contains the true presence of God in the Eucharist. The feeding of the 5000 prefigures the Eucharist: the words take, blessed, broke and gave said by Jesus are the same words spoken by the priest during the Eucharistic prayer. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples recognized Jesus after he first opened the Word and then took, blessed, broke and gave bread to the disciples. At mass, both the Word and the Eucharist are equally venerated as both are Jesus. Through Moses, the Lord fed manna to the Israelites; through Jesus the new Moses, the Lord fed bread to the 5000; through the priesthood in persona Christi, the Lord feeds us the bread of life in the Eucharist.

Finally, we learn about the Transfiguration, which most ancient historians believed took place on Mount Tabor. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to the mountain top, where they saw Elijah and Moses visit with the transfigured Jesus about his coming exodus. The fear the Apostles felt when they saw the radiant face of Jesus reminds us of the fear of the Israelites when they saw the radiant face of Moses after he received the tablets of the law from the Lord. They were all overshadowed by a cloud, which brings to mind the Lord’s appearance to Moses on Mount Sinai as well as the annunciation to Mary, who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The apostles were heavy with sleep, which reminds us of Gethsemane when the apostles fell asleep while Jesus prayed. Jesus’ human nature was highlighted in his baptism, while his divine nature was transmitted through the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration marked the turning point in the ministry of Jesus, when he set his face towards Jerusalem and his passion, death and resurrection.

©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 19- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 9 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 19 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 9 Part 1

Luke 9:  “Son of God Transfigured”

Luke chapter 9 begins with the mission of the twelve Apostles, whom Jesus gave power to cure disease and authority over all demons. They were instructed to take nothing for their journey and to “shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against” anyone who did not welcome them. To “shake off the dust” was a Hebrew idiom for Jews to separate themselves from the Gentiles. So in this context, Jesus was telling the Apostles to separate themselves from the Jews who rejected the Gospel. In a similar passage, Matthew took things a step further, warning “that it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town (Mt 10:15).” Knowing that Jesus gave the Apostles power over all demons helps us understand why Jesus chastised the disciples for their lack of faith when they could not drive out a demon from a boy (Luke 9:40-41).

The chapter continues with Herod’s perplexity. Herod knew that John the Baptist was dead, yet he heard some thought that John had been raised from the dead or that Elijah had returned. These stories led to Herod’s desire to meet Jesus, which finally occurs during the Passion. We learn from Josephus that John was imprisoned for two years prior to his execution at Machaerus, a Herodian fortress on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. John was imprisoned for criticizing Herod Antipas for his unlawful marriage to Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Phillip. Just as the evil Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah the prophet, so too did Herodias want to kill John the Baptist, the new Elijah.

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle (other than the Resurrection) that is found in all four Gospels. Luke was the only Gospel writer who specified that Bethsaida was the location of this miracle. Bethsaida was located at the inflow of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida was the home town of Peter, Andrew and Philip and was the location of many miracles, including the successive healing of the blind man as told in Mark 8. The city of Bethsaida was later renamed after Livia Drusilla, (aka Julia Augusta) the wife of Caesar Augustus, who was emperor at the time Jesus’s birth. Caesar Augustus had no male heir of his own, so at his death, he bequeathed 2/3 of his empire to Tiberius, Livia’s son by another man, and 1/3 to Julia herself. Julia was very popular among the people of the empire and was at odds with her son, Tiberius. She was declared a priestess and then later a goddess, and many temples were built in her honor throughout the empire. One of these temples was built in Bethsaida and the ancient Jewish fishing town was renamed Julias in her honor.

During the feeding of the 5000, Jesus told the people to sit together in companies of 50. This recalls the encampment of the Israelites in the Sinai desert. Moses divided the people into companies that surrounded the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the true presence of God. The companies were led by four of the twelve tribes as represented on banners with images of a lion (representing Judah), the face of a man (representing Ruben), an ox (representing Ephraim) and an eagle (representing Dan). Just as the companies in Sinai surrounded the true presence of God in the Tabernacle, so too did the companies of 50 surround Jesus, the true presence of God and Word made flesh, at the feeding of the 5000. The images on the Sinai banners were later seen in the description of the four living creatures in Ezekiel’s vision of heaven (EZEK 1) as well as in John the Evangelist’s vision of heaven in Revelation 4: the four living creatures surround the true presence of God in heaven. The four living creatures also symbolize the Gospel writers: Matthew the man, Mark the lion, Luke the ox and John the eagle. In many churches, images of the Gospel writers in the form of the four living creatures surround the tabernacle, which contains the true presence of God in the Eucharist. The feeding of the 5000 prefigures the Eucharist: the words take, blessed, broke and gave said by Jesus are the same words spoken by the priest during the Eucharistic prayer. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples recognized Jesus after he first opened the Word and then took, blessed, broke and gave bread to the disciples. At mass, both the Word and the Eucharist are equally venerated as both are Jesus. Through Moses, the Lord fed manna to the Israelites; through Jesus the new Moses, the Lord fed bread to the 5000; through the priesthood in persona Christi, the Lord feeds us the bread of life in the Eucharist.

Finally, we learn about the Transfiguration, which most ancient historians believed took place on Mount Tabor. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to the mountain top, where they saw Elijah and Moses visit with the transfigured Jesus about his coming exodus. The fear the Apostles felt when they saw the radiant face of Jesus reminds us of the fear of the Israelites when they saw the radiant face of Moses after he received the tablets of the law from the Lord. They were all overshadowed by a cloud, which brings to mind the Lord’s appearance to Moses on Mount Sinai as well as the annunciation to Mary, who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The apostles were heavy with sleep, which reminds us of Gethsemane when the apostles fell asleep while Jesus prayed. Jesus’ human nature was highlighted in his baptism, while his divine nature was transmitted through the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration marked the turning point in the ministry of Jesus, when he set his face towards Jerusalem and his passion, death and resurrection.

©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 18- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 8 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 18 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 8 Part 2

Luke 8:  “Daughters of Israel”

This chapter begins with a list of women who accompanied Jesus and his apostles and provided for their needs:  Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.   Mary Magdalene, who had 7 demons driven out of her, is often erroneously thought to be a prostitute.  The Church Fathers saw these demons as a metaphor for the 7 deadly sins.   Scripture never calls her by this title, but beginning with Pope Gregory the Great, some have assumed this was the case.  However, much like the Eastern Church, many of the great saints of the early church did not apply this label to her.  Mary was from Magdala, a thriving fishing village on the Sea of Galilee.  Mary has been called “the apostle to the Apostles” as Jesus entrusts her with the mission of bringing the good news of the resurrection to the disciples locked away in the upper room (John 20).

Luke 8 marks a transition from Jesus’ direct approach to teaching (as seen in Luke 6 with the Sermon on the Plain) to the use of parables.  These simple memorable stories are rich in spiritual meanings and are often directed to the common people, as opposed to the Jewish aristocracy who seem unable to comprehend their meaning.  While used extensively by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, parables can also be found in the Old Testament.  In 2 Samuel 11-12, we read of the story of King David and Bathsheba.  King David lusted after Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David’s army.  After Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child, David attempted to cover his sin by encouraging Uriah to sleep with his wife.  When Uriah refused, David had him sent to the front lines to be killed, instructing Joab to draw back the other soldiers in the heat of battle, leaving Uriah exposed to the enemy.   Nathan the prophet then told David the parable of a poor man whose only lamb was taken by a wealthy neighbor who slaughters it to host a party for a guest.  When David heard the story, he declared that the wealthy man deserved to die.  When Nathan told David, “You are the man!” David repented of his sin, composing the Psalm 51 where he acknowledged his sin and begged the Lord’s forgiveness.

Much like Nathan, Jesus used parables to speak truth to those in power. Full understanding of these stories will come at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit brought the gifts of wisdom and understanding.  Beginning with the parable of the sower, Jesus taught the crowds about the importance of one’s receptivity to the Word of God.  The seed is the Word of God, and the ones on the path are those who have hear the Word, yet the devil takes it away from their hearts.  The ones on rocky ground are those who hear the Word with joy but have no root and then fall away in a time of testing.  The ones among the thorns hear the Word, but they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.  Finally, the ones in good soil hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. The mini-parable of the lampstand follows and is a warning to all that what is hidden will ultimately be revealed.  All secrets will eventually come to light.

When Jesus entered a boat, he was leaving the western Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee and was traveling to the eastern pagan side.  When a storm arose, the disciples panicked and begged for the Lord’s help.  After calming the storm, Jesus asked them a rhetorical question, “Where is your faith?”   This story recalls the story of Jonah, who was thrown overboard in a storm.  As Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the fish, so too did Jesus spend 3 days in the tomb.  As Jonah was expelled by the fish onto the shore, so too did Jesus break forth from the tomb.

Upon arriving on the pagan side of the lake (to the region of the Decapolis), Jesus encountered the Gerasene demoniac, who wandered naked amongst the tombs.  Jesus restored the man’s dignity, asking for his name and driving the legion of demons into a heard of swine, who promptly threw themselves off a cliff into the sea, which is symbolic of the abyss from which the demons came.  The healed man begged to follow Jesus, but instead Jesus instructed him to tell others what God had done for him.  This evangelization set the stage for the miraculous feeding of 4000 that occurred at a later date when Jesus returns to the Decapolis (Matthew 15, Mark 8).

When Jesus returned to the Jewish side of the lake, he was greeted by the news that the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus was near death, so he set off to see her.  Along the way, a woman afflicted with a hemorrhage for 12 years reached out to touch Jesus’ garment, in the hopes that her suffering would be put to an end.  This beautiful miracle within a miracle is steeped with spiritual significance.  Because of her bleeding, this woman would have been ritually unclean for 12 years as prescribed Leviticus 15.  Through her faith in Jesus, the woman was immediately healed by touching the fringe of Jesus’ clothes.  Because the healing was instantaneous, Jesus remained ritually clean and was not subject to the prohibitions outlined in Leviticus 15.  Upon arriving to Jairus’ house, Jesus was told that he was too late, and the child had already died.  Jesus replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.”  Taking Peter, James and John with him into the parents’ house, Jesus commanded the child to get up.  Her spirit returned and she immediately got up.

These two miracles have a deep spiritual meaning beyond the physical healing of the woman hemorrhaging for 12 years and the raising of the 12-year-old girl.  Recall that the number 12 is symbolic for “governance”:  the twelve tribes of Israel; the 12 apostles.   The woman represents old daughter Zion, who is no longer bearing fruit and the young girl represents new daughter Zion.  Before Jesus, Israel was subject to the laws of the Old Covenant.  Jesus brings healing to the hemorrhaging woman, just as he brings healing to Israel.  Jesus brings life to the young girl, just as he brings life to Israel, ushering in a new governance and a New Covenant.

©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-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-Luke Ep 17- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 8 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 17 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 8 Part 1

Luke 8:  “Daughters of Israel”

This chapter begins with a list of women who accompanied Jesus and his apostles and provided for their needs:  Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.   Mary Magdalene, who had 7 demons driven out of her, is often erroneously thought to be a prostitute.  The Church Fathers saw these demons as a metaphor for the 7 deadly sins.   Scripture never calls her by this title, but beginning with Pope Gregory the Great, some have assumed this was the case.  However, much like the Eastern Church, many of the great saints of the early church did not apply this label to her.  Mary was from Magdala, a thriving fishing village on the Sea of Galilee.  Mary has been called “the apostle to the Apostles” as Jesus entrusts her with the mission of bringing the good news of the resurrection to the disciples locked away in the upper room (John 20).

Luke 8 marks a transition from Jesus’ direct approach to teaching (as seen in Luke 6 with the Sermon on the Plain) to the use of parables.  These simple memorable stories are rich in spiritual meanings and are often directed to the common people, as opposed to the Jewish aristocracy who seem unable to comprehend their meaning.  While used extensively by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, parables can also be found in the Old Testament.  In 2 Samuel 11-12, we read of the story of King David and Bathsheba.  King David lusted after Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David’s army.  After Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child, David attempted to cover his sin by encouraging Uriah to sleep with his wife.  When Uriah refused, David had him sent to the front lines to be killed, instructing Joab to draw back the other soldiers in the heat of battle, leaving Uriah exposed to the enemy.   Nathan the prophet then told David the parable of a poor man whose only lamb was taken by a wealthy neighbor who slaughters it to host a party for a guest.  When David heard the story, he declared that the wealthy man deserved to die.  When Nathan told David, “You are the man!” David repented of his sin, composing the Psalm 51 where he acknowledged his sin and begged the Lord’s forgiveness.

Much like Nathan, Jesus used parables to speak truth to those in power. Full understanding of these stories will come at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit brought the gifts of wisdom and understanding.  Beginning with the parable of the sower, Jesus taught the crowds about the importance of one’s receptivity to the Word of God.  The seed is the Word of God, and the ones on the path are those who have hear the Word, yet the devil takes it away from their hearts.  The ones on rocky ground are those who hear the Word with joy but have no root and then fall away in a time of testing.  The ones among the thorns hear the Word, but they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.  Finally, the ones in good soil hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. The mini-parable of the lampstand follows and is a warning to all that what is hidden will ultimately be revealed.  All secrets will eventually come to light.

When Jesus entered a boat, he was leaving the western Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee and was traveling to the eastern pagan side.  When a storm arose, the disciples panicked and begged for the Lord’s help.  After calming the storm, Jesus asked them a rhetorical question, “Where is your faith?”   This story recalls the story of Jonah, who was thrown overboard in a storm.  As Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the fish, so too did Jesus spend 3 days in the tomb.  As Jonah was expelled by the fish onto the shore, so too did Jesus break forth from the tomb.

Upon arriving on the pagan side of the lake (to the region of the Decapolis), Jesus encountered the Gerasene demoniac, who wandered naked amongst the tombs.  Jesus restored the man’s dignity, asking for his name and driving the legion of demons into a heard of swine, who promptly threw themselves off a cliff into the sea, which is symbolic of the abyss from which the demons came.  The healed man begged to follow Jesus, but instead Jesus instructed him to tell others what God had done for him.  This evangelization set the stage for the miraculous feeding of 4000 that occurred at a later date when Jesus returns to the Decapolis (Matthew 15, Mark 8).

When Jesus returned to the Jewish side of the lake, he was greeted by the news that the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus was near death, so he set off to see her.  Along the way, a woman afflicted with a hemorrhage for 12 years reached out to touch Jesus’ garment, in the hopes that her suffering would be put to an end.  This beautiful miracle within a miracle is steeped with spiritual significance.  Because of her bleeding, this woman would have been ritually unclean for 12 years as prescribed Leviticus 15.  Through her faith in Jesus, the woman was immediately healed by touching the fringe of Jesus’ clothes.  Because the healing was instantaneous, Jesus remained ritually clean and was not subject to the prohibitions outlined in Leviticus 15.  Upon arriving to Jairus’ house, Jesus was told that he was too late, and the child had already died.  Jesus replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.”  Taking Peter, James and John with him into the parents’ house, Jesus commanded the child to get up.  Her spirit returned and she immediately got up.

These two miracles have a deep spiritual meaning beyond the physical healing of the woman hemorrhaging for 12 years and the raising of the 12-year-old girl.  Recall that the number 12 is symbolic for “governance”:  the twelve tribes of Israel; the 12 apostles.   The woman represents old daughter Zion, who is no longer bearing fruit and the young girl represents new daughter Zion.  Before Jesus, Israel was subject to the laws of the Old Covenant.  Jesus brings healing to the hemorrhaging woman, just as he brings healing to Israel.  Jesus brings life to the young girl, just as he brings life to Israel, ushering in a new governance and a New Covenant.

©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 16- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 7 Part 2 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 16 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 7 Part 2

“Resurrection at Nain”

In Luke 7, we read that John the Baptist sent word to Jesus, asking if Jesus was the one “who is to come”. We know from Matthew 14 that John was imprisoned for chastising Herod about his unlawful marriage to Herodias. In his desolation, John wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Having just performed many miracles, Jesus responded by saying “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah 35. Going further, Jesus told the crowd that John was not a “reed shaken by the wind.” That is, John was a man of serious conviction, the messenger sent to prepare the way for Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies of Malachi 3 and Isaiah 40. Jesus also said that “among those born of women no one is greater than John, yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Who is the “least in the kingdom of God”? We read in Philippians 2 that Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” Jesus, the most humble in the kingdom of heaven, was baptized by John, the greatest born of women.

Going further, we then look at the somewhat mysterious verses about the analogy of children in the marketplace, who played a dirge yet no one wept and played the flute, yet no one danced. This passage alludes to two major life events: weddings and funerals. John played the “funeral dirge” of repentance, while Jesus played the “wedding march” of salvation. Yet the Pharisees refused to listen to either.

Returning to the beginning of Luke 7, we read of the healing of the Centurion’s servant. We repeat the powerful words of the Centurion just before receiving communion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The Centurion understood the nature of authority, and willingly submitted to the healing power of Jesus’ Word. Reading about the Centurion reminds us that Israel was under Roman rule at the time of Jesus. Prior to his assassination in 44 BC, Julius Caesar appointed his nephew and adopted son, Octavius, to succeed him at his death. At the time of Julius’ death, a great comet appeared and was seen as a sign in favor of the deification of Julius, who was ultimately declared a god. Augustus reigned for 40 years, ruling at the time of Jesus’ birth as described in Luke 2. After expanding his empire, Augustus was able to maintain a period of political stability known as Pax Romana. Thus Augustus was not only titled the “son of god” but also the “prince of peace” at the time of Jesus’ birth and childhood. At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor and Herod the Edomite was the puppet king of Israel who collaborated with the occupying Romans. The Roman army was made up of legions of 6000 soldiers and a centurion was a veteran soldier in command of over 100 men. Commensurate with their position, centurions were paid well which explains why the centurion mentioned in Luke 7 would have the resources to build the synagogue at Capernaum.

The story of Jesus raising the son of the widow of Nain is found only in Luke. This recalls the resurrection stories of Elijah, who raised the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), and Elisha, who with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, performed double the Old Testament resurrection miracles. Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4). Also, a dead man was brought back to life when his body touched the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13). The city of Nain was in close proximity to Nazareth, the hometown of Mary and Jesus. We can imagine that at Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary may have recalled the raising of the widow of Nain’s son, giving her hope for the resurrection of her own son.

The lecture draws to a close with the story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus as he dined at the house of Simon, the Pharisee. Jesus was able to read the harsh heart of Simon and teach him a valuable lesson: he who is forgiven much loves much. Redeemed sinners have the grace to love lavishly.

©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 15- The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 7 Part 1 – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 15 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 7 Part 1

“Resurrection at Nain”

In Luke 7, we read that John the Baptist sent word to Jesus, asking if Jesus was the one “who is to come”. We know from Matthew 14 that John was imprisoned for chastising Herod about his unlawful marriage to Herodias. In his desolation, John wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Having just performed many miracles, Jesus responded by saying “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah 35. Going further, Jesus told the crowd that John was not a “reed shaken by the wind.” That is, John was a man of serious conviction, the messenger sent to prepare the way for Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies of Malachi 3 and Isaiah 40. Jesus also said that “among those born of women no one is greater than John, yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Who is the “least in the kingdom of God”? We read in Philippians 2 that Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” Jesus, the most humble in the kingdom of heaven, was baptized by John, the greatest born of women.

Going further, we then look at the somewhat mysterious verses about the analogy of children in the marketplace, who played a dirge yet no one wept and played the flute, yet no one danced. This passage alludes to two major life events: weddings and funerals. John played the “funeral dirge” of repentance, while Jesus played the “wedding march” of salvation. Yet the Pharisees refused to listen to either.

Returning to the beginning of Luke 7, we read of the healing of the Centurion’s servant. We repeat the powerful words of the Centurion just before receiving communion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The Centurion understood the nature of authority, and willingly submitted to the healing power of Jesus’ Word. Reading about the Centurion reminds us that Israel was under Roman rule at the time of Jesus. Prior to his assassination in 44 BC, Julius Caesar appointed his nephew and adopted son, Octavius, to succeed him at his death. At the time of Julius’ death, a great comet appeared and was seen as a sign in favor of the deification of Julius, who was ultimately declared a god. Augustus reigned for 40 years, ruling at the time of Jesus’ birth as described in Luke 2. After expanding his empire, Augustus was able to maintain a period of political stability known as Pax Romana. Thus Augustus was not only titled the “son of god” but also the “prince of peace” at the time of Jesus’ birth and childhood. At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor and Herod the Edomite was the puppet king of Israel who collaborated with the occupying Romans. The Roman army was made up of legions of 6000 soldiers and a centurion was a veteran soldier in command of over 100 men. Commensurate with their position, centurions were paid well which explains why the centurion mentioned in Luke 7 would have the resources to build the synagogue at Capernaum.

The story of Jesus raising the son of the widow of Nain is found only in Luke. This recalls the resurrection stories of Elijah, who raised the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), and Elisha, who with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, performed double the Old Testament resurrection miracles. Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4). Also, a dead man was brought back to life when his body touched the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13). The city of Nain was in close proximity to Nazareth, the hometown of Mary and Jesus. We can imagine that at Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary may have recalled the raising of the widow of Nain’s son, giving her hope for the resurrection of her own son.

The lecture draws to a close with the story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus as he dined at the house of Simon, the Pharisee. Jesus was able to read the harsh heart of Simon and teach him a valuable lesson: he who is forgiven much loves much. Redeemed sinners have the grace to love lavishly.

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

Episode 12 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 5 Part 2

“Let Your Nets Down for a Catch”

Duc in altum.”  Put out into the deep water.  These are the words that Jesus used to invite Peter to become his disciple.  The call of Peter and the other fisherman disciples (Andrew, James and John) took place on the Lake of Gennesaret.  Known also as the Sea of Galilee, this important fresh water lake was the location of many important events in Jesus’ ministry.  Tiberius Caesar later renamed the lake and adjacent town after himself. The northern and eastern borders of the Sea of Galilee is the modern day Golan Heights, which is the Israeli occupied border zone between Israel and the surrounding countries of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.  Within the Golan Heights is the Mount Hermon mountain range, and at its base is found Caesarea Philipi, named after Herod Philip, the tetrarch of this region during the time of Christ.  Caesarea Philipi is an imposing rock wall, into which was built a temple to the pagan god Pan.  At the base of the rock was a deep hole named the Gates of Hades and from this hole flowed the headwaters of the Jordan River.   With the Gates of Hades and the temple of Pan as a backdrop, Jesus declared that Peter would be THEE rock upon which He would build His church and the Gates of Hades would not prevail against it.

Many other important events occurred on or near the Sea of Galilee:  Jesus walked on the water (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:16-24); Jesus calmed a storm (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25); a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-11, John 21:1-6); the sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7); the appearance of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection and Peter’s reinstatement (John 21).

In Luke 5:4, Jesus told Peter to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  Already fatigued from a long night of fruitless fishing, Peter obeyed this request despite knowing that catching fish in deep water during the middle of the day would likely fail.  However, Peter and his partners caught more fish than their nets could hold, threatening to sink their two boats.  The Church Fathers saw the two boats as representing the Jews and the Gentiles:  Jesus came for all.  Fully aware that he was in the presence of God, Peter fell to his knees, begging the Lord to leave.  Peter was painfully aware of his sinful nature, yet the Lord chose this sinful man to lead his Church.  Jesus told Peter, “Do not be afraid.”  These words not only echoed the words of Gabriel to Mary and Zechariah, as well as the angels to the shepherd, but they also warned of an impending battle or mission.  Jesus told Peter to be a fisher of men, but at Peter’s reinstatement, Jesus commanded Peter to feed and tend His sheep.  Peter became the guardian of the flock, protecting it from the evil one who prowls about, looking to devour souls.

Jesus next cured a leper, who like Peter, fell to his knees in the presence of the Lord.  In the Bible, leprosy is often seen as a metaphor for sin.  When Jesus cured the leper, he instructed the leper to show himself to the priests, who alone could confirm the healing of the leprosy (as prescribed in Leviticus 13-14).  Leprosy is contagious, putting the entire community at risk, forcing the leper to live in isolation.  In the same way, sin puts others at risk, isolates us from the community and only the priest can declare a person to be free of sin.

Next Jesus cured the paralytic man, whose friends lowered him through the roof of a house to see Jesus, as the crowd kept them from entering it.  The man came in need for a physical healing, yet also receiving a spiritual healing by Jesus’ forgiveness of sin.  The four men who carried the paralytic represent the universal forgiveness of sin offered by Jesus.

Finally, we then learn the meaning behind the parable of the old and new wine skins.  Jesus tells his followers that “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”  In biblical times, the skin of a lamb was sewn to create a bag, into which grapes, yeast and sugar were placed.  As the wine fermented, the supple skin could expand and contract with the gases created during the fermentation process.  Over time, the skins became brittle and could burst during expansion.  The old skins represent the old covenant, while the new skins represent the new covenant poured out through the Holy Spirit.  This new wine of the Holy Spirit must be poured into a new creation of Christ.  The new skin is like the new garment of salvation we receive at our Baptism.  At Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus, who could understand each other despite each speaking in his native tongue, leading observers to think that they were drunk from too much wine.  In reality, at Pentecost, the followers of Jesus received the “sober intoxication” of the Holy Spirit.  Likewise, Jesus is calling us now to become a new creation, filled with the new wine of 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