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

ST-John Ep 16 – John 7: Living Water part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 16 – John 5:  Living Water pt 2

As we transition from John 6 to John 7, Sharon teaches us about the significance of bread throughout the story of salvation history.  We learn that bread was first mentioned at the very beginning in Genesis 3, whereas a result of the fall, we will now toil to eat bread.  By choosing the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve turn their back on the free gift of the tree of life, which prefigures the Eucharist.  After the fall, the theme of bread runs deep throughout scripture, pointing towards Jesus, the bread of life.  We recall that Melchizedek (Gen 14) offered bread and wine, another typology of Eucharist.  The Lord rained down free bread from heaven in the form of manna, sustaining the Israelites as they traveled through the desert (Ex 16).  The theme of bread is intertwined with the theme of tabernacles.  God commanded Moses to build an ark to house a jar of manna, Aaron’s rod and the tablets of the law (Ex 26, Heb 9:4).  The tent of the meeting was the first tabernacle, and it housed the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies.  Just outside the Holy of Holies was a lampstand, an altar of incense and a table of 12 loaves of bread.  After the Israelites finally arrive in the Promised Land, they built a more substantial, yet still temporary tabernacle at Shiloh (1 Sam 1).  400 years later, the Lord admonishes David about the lack of a permanent tabernacle but forbade David from actually building it, leaving it to his son Solomon to complete the task (2 Sam 7).  Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was dedicated on the Feast of Tabernacles:  the Ark of the Covenant was brought from Shiloh and the Spirit of the Lord filled the temple (2 Chron 6-7).  Sharon then gives us an in-depth look at the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the three required pilgrimage feast days, along with Passover and Pentecost.  Also known as Sukkot or the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other six feast days were given to Moses (Lev 23).  A joyous celebration, the Feast of Tabernacles was meant to be a feast for all nations and all peoples.  Throughout salvation history, many important events occur on the Feast of Tabernacles:  the first temple of Solomon was dedicated (1 Kings 8); the second temple of Ezra and Nehemiah was dedicated (Ez 3); Jesus proclaims to be the source of living water and forgives the adulterous woman (John 7-8).  Sharon then paints a picture of the Feast of Tabernacles at the time of Christ, describing the week of endless night culminating in the water libation ceremony.  As Jesus declared himself the temple in John 2, he is the sanctuary from which the living water of the Holy Spirit will flow upon completion of the Father’s mission. The prophecies of Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 47 will be fulfilled:  with the coming of Messiah, living waters will pour forth from Jerusalem, renewing and refreshing the world.

 

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 15 – John 7: Living Water part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 15 – John 5:  Living Water pt 1

As we transition from John 6 to John 7, Sharon teaches us about the significance of bread throughout the story of salvation history.  We learn that bread was first mentioned at the very beginning in Genesis 3, whereas a result of the fall, we will now toil to eat bread.  By choosing the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve turn their back on the free gift of the tree of life, which prefigures the Eucharist.  After the fall, the theme of bread runs deep throughout scripture, pointing towards Jesus, the bread of life.  We recall that Melchizedek (Gen 14) offered bread and wine, another typology of Eucharist.  The Lord rained down free bread from heaven in the form of manna, sustaining the Israelites as they traveled through the desert (Ex 16).  The theme of bread is intertwined with the theme of tabernacles.  God commanded Moses to build an ark to house a jar of manna, Aaron’s rod and the tablets of the law (Ex 26, Heb 9:4).  The tent of the meeting was the first tabernacle, and it housed the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies.  Just outside the Holy of Holies was a lampstand, an altar of incense and a table of 12 loaves of bread.  After the Israelites finally arrive in the Promised Land, they built a more substantial, yet still temporary tabernacle at Shiloh (1 Sam 1).  400 years later, the Lord admonishes David about the lack of a permanent tabernacle but forbade David from actually building it, leaving it to his son Solomon to complete the task (2 Sam 7).  Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was dedicated on the Feast of Tabernacles:  the Ark of the Covenant was brought from Shiloh and the Spirit of the Lord filled the temple (2 Chron 6-7).  Sharon then gives us an in-depth look at the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the three required pilgrimage feast days, along with Passover and Pentecost.  Also known as Sukkot or the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other six feast days were given to Moses (Lev 23).  A joyous celebration, the Feast of Tabernacles was meant to be a feast for all nations and all peoples.  Throughout salvation history, many important events occur on the Feast of Tabernacles:  the first temple of Solomon was dedicated (1 Kings 8); the second temple of Ezra and Nehemiah was dedicated (Ez 3); Jesus proclaims to be the source of living water and forgives the adulterous woman (John 7-8).  Sharon then paints a picture of the Feast of Tabernacles at the time of Christ, describing the week of endless night culminating in the water libation ceremony.  As Jesus declared himself the temple in John 2, he is the sanctuary from which the living water of the Holy Spirit will flow upon completion of the Father’s mission. The prophecies of Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 47 will be fulfilled:  with the coming of Messiah, living waters will pour forth from Jerusalem, renewing and refreshing the world.

 

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 14 – John 6: I am the Bread of Life part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 14 – John 6:  I Am the Bread of Life pt 2  

As we begin our lecture on John 6, Sharon reminds us that Jesus came for all:  the common Jew, the Jewish aristocracy, the Samaritans, the Edomites and ultimately for the entire world.  We also recall from the end of John 5 that Moses wrote of Jesus (DEUT 18:15) who is the THEE prophet raised from his own people.  Moving on to the feeding of the 5000, Sharon teaches about the typology of Jesus, the new Moses.  The signs of Moses and the signs of Jesus are strikingly similar:  Moses turns the water of the Nile into blood and Jesus turns the water at Cana into wine and through the Eucharist, wine into blood; Moses receives the Law at Mt. Sinai and Jesus fulfills the Law; Israel receives manna, the bread from heaven and Jesus IS the Eucharistic bread from heaven; Moses battles Pharaoh, whose hardened heart embodies Satan and Jesus battles Judas, whose heart is entered by Satan.  Sharon then goes on to teach us about the harrowing of Hades, outlining the scriptural basis for this belief that we profess each time we recite the Apostles Creed.   Moving then into the heart of John 6, Sharon shows us the Old Testament prefigurement of the Eucharist, beginning with the animal sacrifices prescribed throughout the Torah.  We learn that animal blood was necessary for the atonement of sin, but consuming the animal blood was expressly forbidden (LEV 17:10) which helps us understand the scandal of Jesus’ word: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (JN 6:53).”  Even though the Israelites ate manna in the desert, they still died.  Jesus, the new Moses, is the heavenly bread that gives us eternal life.   Sharon transitions to a wonderful teaching about the Jewish feast days, showing us how Jesus fulfills the feast days that are law as described in Torah.  Beginning with Passover, we see how the blood of the Lamb that protected the Israelites from the angel of death prefigures the blood of the Lamb of God who saves us from death.  The feast of Unleavened Bread that follows is likewise fulfilled in Jesus, the sin-free bread that is broken, yet whole; the Eucharistic sacrifice that brings us into union with God.  Next, the Feast of First Fruits is realized in the risen Jesus, the first fruits of all that have died (1 COR 15:20).  The lecture concludes as it began, looking once again at the feeding of the 5000, showing us the symbolic importance of the barley loaves and the counting of the Omer, which connects the Passover with the Jewish Pentecost and then by extension, connecting the crucifixion of Christ with the descent of the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost.

 

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 13 – John 6: I am the Bread of Life part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 13 – John 6:  I Am the Bread of Life pt 1  

As we begin our lecture on John 6, Sharon reminds us that Jesus came for all:  the common Jew, the Jewish aristocracy, the Samaritans, the Edomites and ultimately for the entire world.  We also recall from the end of John 5 that Moses wrote of Jesus (DEUT 18:15) who is the THEE prophet raised from his own people.  Moving on to the feeding of the 5000, Sharon teaches about the typology of Jesus, the new Moses.  The signs of Moses and the signs of Jesus are strikingly similar:  Moses turns the water of the Nile into blood and Jesus turns the water at Cana into wine and through the Eucharist, wine into blood; Moses receives the Law at Mt. Sinai and Jesus fulfills the Law; Israel receives manna, the bread from heaven and Jesus IS the Eucharistic bread from heaven; Moses battles Pharaoh, whose hardened heart embodies Satan and Jesus battles Judas, whose heart is entered by Satan.  Sharon then goes on to teach us about the harrowing of Hades, outlining the scriptural basis for this belief that we profess each time we recite the Apostles Creed.   Moving then into the heart of John 6, Sharon shows us the Old Testament prefigurement of the Eucharist, beginning with the animal sacrifices prescribed throughout the Torah.  We learn that animal blood was necessary for the atonement of sin, but consuming the animal blood was expressly forbidden (LEV 17:10) which helps us understand the scandal of Jesus’ word: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (JN 6:53).”  Even though the Israelites ate manna in the desert, they still died.  Jesus, the new Moses, is the heavenly bread that gives us eternal life.   Sharon transitions to a wonderful teaching about the Jewish feast days, showing us how Jesus fulfills the feast days that are law as described in Torah.  Beginning with Passover, we see how the blood of the Lamb that protected the Israelites from the angel of death prefigures the blood of the Lamb of God who saves us from death.  The feast of Unleavened Bread that follows is likewise fulfilled in Jesus, the sin-free bread that is broken, yet whole; the Eucharistic sacrifice that brings us into union with God.  Next, the Feast of First Fruits is realized in the risen Jesus, the first fruits of all that have died (1 COR 15:20).  The lecture concludes as it began, looking once again at the feeding of the 5000, showing us the symbolic importance of the barley loaves and the counting of the Omer, which connects the Passover with the Jewish Pentecost and then by extension, connecting the crucifixion of Christ with the descent of the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost.

 

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 11 – John 5: Do You Want To Be Healed? part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 11 – John 5:  Do You Want To Be Healed pt.1  

Before an in-depth look at John 5, Sharon reminds us of some of the themes of John’s Gospel, including “the hour” and “the seven signs”.  Also, we recall Photina, the Samaritan woman at the well, who underwent a metanoia as she turned away from sin and back toward the Lord.  In addition, we learn an interesting detail about the royal official, who begs Jesus to heal his son.  While there is a parallel with the Synoptic Gospels’ story of the healing of the centurion’s son, the royal official is a different person.  Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was the ruling king over Galilee at the time of Jesus and this royal official would have served in the palace of Herod Antipas, who was an Edomite.  The clear message is that Christ offers salvation to all:  Jesus came for the common Jews at Cana, for the Jewish aristocracy with Nicodemus, for the Samaritans with Photina, and now for the Edomites with the royal official’s son.  Sharon raises a small but important detail.  Often when Jesus is addressing the Jews, he is referring to the Jewish leaders who opposed him, as distinguished from the common Jewish people, many of whom were among his followers.  Moving on to John 5, we hear the story of the man who lay paralyzed for 38 years at the pool of Bethzatha.  This number reminds us of the Israelites who needed 38 years to break free of the bondage of the Moses generation and into the Joshua generation that could enter the Promised Land (Deut 2:14).  Sharon then combines archaeology, mythology, scripture and theology to reveal the deeper meaning of this passage.  As Sharon beautifully teaches us, the pool of Bethzatha was actually a healing pool dedicated to the Greek mythological deity Asclepius, the god of medicine, health and healing.   Jesus does not use the pagan waters when he heals the lame man.  Rather, he simply commands him to get up, pick up his mat, leave, and abandon his misguided faith in the mythological god Asclepius.  Jesus is the true source of healing.   The paralyzed man had put his trust in a false god and Jesus warns him not to fall back into the sin of idolatry lest something worse happen to him.  Sharon concludes with the same question Jesus asked the man:  Do you want to be healed?  This is the question posed to us each time we receive the Eucharist.  Do you really want to be healed?  And if the answer is yes, then we just have to avail ourselves to the healing power of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the true source of healing.

 

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 10 – John 4: The Samaritan Woman part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 10 – John 4:  The Samaritan Woman pt.2  

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of John, Sharon looks back at John 3, showing how the bridegroom imagery flows into chapter 4.  With the fall of mankind, marital discourse entered the world and has persisted ever since, as demonstrated in the stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham and Sarah.  Living by the flesh, Abraham and Sarah conspire to preserve his heritage by having her servant Hagar bear a son, Ishmael.  As punishment, God is silent for 13 years until in an act of obedience, Abraham lives by the Spirit, trusting the Lord to bless his aged wife with a son, Isaac.  Sharon then teaches us about the Samaritans, whom the Jews consider to be apostates.  Believing they preserve the authentic faith, the Samaritans practice the ritual of circumcision and observe the Sabbath, but they only follow the five books of the Torah.  Contrary to the Jews who worship at the temple in Jerusalem, the Samaritans believe that Mt. Gerizim is the original holy place and center of worship.  The Samaritan faith traces its origins to the Assyrian exile of 722 BC.  After conquering the northern 10 tribes of Israel, the Assyrian king imported people from five different countries to live and intermarry with the people of the northern kingdom, which effectively diluted their culture and religious practices.  In 120 BC, the Maccabees from the southern kingdom destroyed the Samaritan temple at Gerizim.  In 9 BC, the Samaritans retaliate by desecrating the temple in Jerusalem at the required Passover time.  Clearly, there was bad blood between the Jews and the Samaritans.  This background sets the stage for the dramatic interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  Her story is an intimate encounter with the person of Christ, yet it can also be seen as symbolic of the story of the northern tribes.  She represents northern Israel, the unfaithful bride that intermarried with five different countries (husbands).   Later in John 8, we will hear the story of the adulterous woman in Jerusalem who represents the unfaithful southern tribes of Israel.  Jesus fully reveals himself as Messiah to this Samaritan woman, offering to her the living water that she thirsts for.   Through her spiritual betrothal to Jesus, her final, seventh, perfect, bridegroom, the Samaritan woman undergoes a radical transformation and brings Christ to her own people.  We learn more about this woman, who is identified by the Church as St. Photina:  she became a bold witness to Christ throughout the region, ultimately suffering a martyr’s death at the hand of Nero when she dies at the bottom of a well.

 

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 9 – John 4: The Samaritan Woman part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 9 – John 4:  The Samaritan Woman pt.1  

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of John, Sharon looks back at John 3, showing how the bridegroom imagery flows into chapter 4.  With the fall of mankind, marital discourse entered the world and has persisted ever since, as demonstrated in the stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham and Sarah.  Living by the flesh, Abraham and Sarah conspire to preserve his heritage by having her servant Hagar bear a son, Ishmael.  As punishment, God is silent for 13 years until in an act of obedience, Abraham lives by the Spirit, trusting the Lord to bless his aged wife with a son, Isaac.  Sharon then teaches us about the Samaritans, whom the Jews consider to be apostates.  Believing they preserve the authentic faith, the Samaritans practice the ritual of circumcision and observe the Sabbath, but they only follow the five books of the Torah.  Contrary to the Jews who worship at the temple in Jerusalem, the Samaritans believe that Mt. Gerizim is the original holy place and center of worship.  The Samaritan faith traces its origins to the Assyrian exile of 722 BC.  After conquering the northern 10 tribes of Israel, the Assyrian king imported people from five different countries to live and intermarry with the people of the northern kingdom, which effectively diluted their culture and religious practices.  In 120 BC, the Maccabees from the southern kingdom destroyed the Samaritan temple at Gerizim.  In 9 BC, the Samaritans retaliate by desecrating the temple in Jerusalem at the required Passover time.  Clearly, there was bad blood between the Jews and the Samaritans.  This background sets the stage for the dramatic interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  Her story is an intimate encounter with the person of Christ, yet it can also be seen as symbolic of the story of the northern tribes.  She represents northern Israel, the unfaithful bride that intermarried with five different countries (husbands).   Later in John 8, we will hear the story of the adulterous woman in Jerusalem who represents the unfaithful southern tribes of Israel.  Jesus fully reveals himself as Messiah to this Samaritan woman, offering to her the living water that she thirsts for.   Through her spiritual betrothal to Jesus, her final, seventh, perfect, bridegroom, the Samaritan woman undergoes a radical transformation and brings Christ to her own people.  We learn more about this woman, who is identified by the Church as St. Photina:  she became a bold witness to Christ throughout the region, ultimately suffering a martyr’s death at the hand of Nero when she dies at the bottom of a well.

 

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 8 – John 3: Born Again part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 8 – John 3:  Born Again pt. 2

Before focusing on John 3, Sharon gives us a teaching on how Catholics approach scripture study.  We are encouraged to use a canonical approach when studying the Bible; that is, we should consider the entire canon of the Bible whenever trying to understand a particular passage.  The Bible is not meant to be a collection of isolated stories.

In addition, we learn about the senses of scripture: literal and spiritual, with the spiritual sense further divided into allegorical (a foreshadowing of future events and people), moral (virtues that can be learned) and anagogical (referencing eternity or the eschaton).

We then turn our attention back to John 3 and learn about Nicodemus, whose spiritual journey is a beautiful example of progressive growth in faith.  Nicodemus was a member of the Great Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court of first-century Israel.  At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, the president of the Sanhedrin was Rabbi Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul.  Gamaliel also advised his fellow members of the Great Sanhedrin to reduce their scrutiny over Jesus’ followers lest they find themselves fighting against God himself.   Tradition holds that both Nicodemus and Gamaliel converted to Christianity.   Nicodemus and Deacon Stephen the martyr of Acts 7 were buried together at Gamaliel’s estate outside of Jerusalem.  Gamaliel and his son ultimately shared this same grave.  Turning back to John 3, Sharon then focuses on the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus, who struggles with understanding the meaning of being born from above by water and spirit.  Nicodemus, a teacher of the law, would have understood the significance of his earthly lineage, yet he failed to recognize the divine lineage of Jesus Christ, who was born from above, by the Holy Spirit overshadowing a pure earthly creature named Mary of Nazareth.  Being in the form of God, Jesus did not think equality with God was something to be grasped so he lowered himself and took on human form (Phil 2).  By taking on human form he showed us the face of God the Father and by His humble obedience made a way for us to get back to the Father and partake once again in our divine nature in the heavenly beautiful vision.

John 3 concludes with nuptial imagery, as John the Baptist identifies himself as the best man to Jesus, the bridegroom.  Sharon teaches us about a traditional Jewish wedding, shedding light on the significance of John as the best man, whose role was to bear witness to the consummation of the marriage.  Jesus the bridegroom had come and the best man’s job was done.  John would decrease and allow Jesus to increase.

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 7 – John 3: Born Again part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 7 – John 3:  Born Again pt. 1

Before focusing on John 3, Sharon gives us a teaching on how Catholics approach scripture study.  We are encouraged to use a canonical approach when studying the Bible; that is, we should consider the entire canon of the Bible whenever trying to understand a particular passage.  The Bible is not meant to be a collection of isolated stories.

In addition, we learn about the senses of scripture: literal and spiritual, with the spiritual sense further divided into allegorical (a foreshadowing of future events and people), moral (virtues that can be learned) and anagogical (referencing eternity or the eschaton).

We then turn our attention back to John 3 and learn about Nicodemus, whose spiritual journey is a beautiful example of progressive growth in faith.  Nicodemus was a member of the Great Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court of first-century Israel.  At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, the president of the Sanhedrin was Rabbi Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul.  Gamaliel also advised his fellow members of the Great Sanhedrin to reduce their scrutiny over Jesus’ followers lest they find themselves fighting against God himself.   Tradition holds that both Nicodemus and Gamaliel converted to Christianity.   Nicodemus and Deacon Stephen the martyr of Acts 7 were buried together at Gamaliel’s estate outside of Jerusalem.  Gamaliel and his son ultimately shared this same grave.  Turning back to John 3, Sharon then focuses on the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus, who struggles with understanding the meaning of being born from above by water and spirit.  Nicodemus, a teacher of the law, would have understood the significance of his earthly lineage, yet he failed to recognize the divine lineage of Jesus Christ, who was born from above, by the Holy Spirit overshadowing a pure earthly creature named Mary of Nazareth.  Being in the form of God, Jesus did not think equality with God was something to be grasped so he lowered himself and took on human form (Phil 2).  By taking on human form he showed us the face of God the Father and by His humble obedience made a way for us to get back to the Father and partake once again in our divine nature in the heavenly beautiful vision.

John 3 concludes with nuptial imagery, as John the Baptist identifies himself as the best man to Jesus, the bridegroom.  Sharon teaches us about a traditional Jewish wedding, shedding light on the significance of John as the best man, whose role was to bear witness to the consummation of the marriage.  Jesus the bridegroom had come and the best man’s job was done.  John would decrease and allow Jesus to increase.

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