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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

ST-John Ep 27- John 13 – Jesus: The Servant of Love part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 27 – John 13 – Jesus:  The Servant of Love part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

ST-John Ep 26- John 12 – The Glory of the Lord part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 26 – John 12: The Glory of the Lord part 2

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

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

6 Spikenard was also used for burial anointing, but having just seen her brother rise from the dead, Mary knows Jesus will also rise and have no need for the burial anointing. Instead, Mary anoints Jesus now as her spiritual spouse. Sharon then moves on to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, showing how Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9, entering into his kingship riding atop a donkey. To reach Jerusalem, Jesus would have processed through Bethany and Bethphage. Sharon unlocks the importance of Bethphage, also known as the House of Un-ripened Figs. Despite being a few miles outside the city walls, Bethphage was still considered to be part of Jerusalem and was home to two members holding seats in the Sanhedrin. The irony of Jesus processing past this town is profound: any judicial order to execute a rebellious leader had to be made in Bethphage. Today Jesus rides triumphantly past Bethphage; in just a few short days, his execution will be confirmed in Bethphage. ”

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net

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

Episode 21 – John 10:  The Good Shepherd part 2

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

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

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

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

 

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net