Today’s episode provides clarity on the differences between three Jewish groups (the Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes). Our discussion then turned to the Sadducees and their scenario of the woman with seven husbands. We highlighted how this story helps us realize we must begin living our eternal life in the here and now. By following God’s commandments in our earthly life, we will be better prepared to continue in our life eternal to experience the joy and peace that comes with obedience to God.
We discuss St. Paul’s declaration of equality and what it means to be sons of God by adoption. Fr Aaron explained that we will be judged only by whether we followed the law of Christ and not preferentially based on our social status, our gender or ethnicity. In breaking down the barriers between Jew and Gentile, we were reminded that Christ brought His message so that all might be saved. To be a son of God by adoption, we are to be like Him in all things; to be gracious to all people; and to not allow our prejudices to cause us to stumble. And finally, in discussing Paul’s reference to our faith and our baptism, we were reminded that baptism is an act of grace. It is received, not acquired. It is symbolic of Christ offering us salvation, of a washing of our sins, of a spiritual death; all so that we may be raised to walk in newness of life.
In today’s episode we examine the Parable of the Talents and how it is often misunderstood. While Jesus refers to money in the parable, money is actually used as a metaphor for mercy. Jesus is instructing us to use the mercy he has given us and to spread that mercy to others. In doing so, he will provide us with even greater mercy. But to those who squander that mercy they have been given by Christ, and keep it to themselves, they will have that mercy taken from them, unto the resurrection of condemnation. For this is the basis of the final judgement: did you or did you not show mercy? For the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of mercy.
In today’s episode we discuss tax collectors in Jesus’ time and why the Pharisees were offended with Jesus sitting at table with them. In examining the passage, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” we learned that this teaching is actually found throughout the Old Testament. Yet, as is the case today among Christians, the Pharisees narrowly focused on their own external traditions with little attention paid to caring for the poor and showing mercy. Finally, we unpacked the quote of Fr John Romanides that, “Authentic Christianity is the cure to the sickness of religion.”
In this episode we discuss the Jewish expectations for a Messiah and how Jesus differed from their hopes. We also discuss the historical setting of the Gospel that will help its readers better understand some of the conflicts surrounding Jesus' ministry and teaching. Finally, we discuss Jesus' teaching not to be anxious and how we can balance that with thoughtful planning for the future.
In today’s episode, Fr Aaron emphasized the importance of seeking to understand Scripture in its totality and not within a very narrow context, separating isolated passages from the bigger, overarching picture. In responding to the question of what it means to be created in God’s image, Fr Aaron reminded us we are icons of God, created in His image, and we thus have a responsibility to present Him to all creation. In doing so, we are to live as Christ lived, to care for the poor and the weak, and to spread the message of God’s love and reconciliation for all creation.
A discussion of "the Lord's Prayer," specifically the confusing passage: “Lead us not into temptation.” Fr Aaron offers a better translation from the Greek that helps us understand the meaning of this prayer. He also provided a better question for us as Christians to ask in times of trouble. To ask, not “Why this or why that?” but rather “What now?” Knowing why is often not possible or useful. Discerning “what now?"—what we can do to help make God present in this world of suffering—is of far more importance.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." We discuss this controversial, yet misunderstood statement from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and why this entire passage actually places the heaviest burden on the husband. We also discuss the nature of "true love" and how that can only be achieved in marriage through shared struggle and perseverance.
The Lord tells His disciples: "freely you received, freely give" (or in some translations, "you received without paying, give without pay"). We discuss what that means. In addition, we discuss why the Lord tells his disciples: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." Didn't Jesus come to save all people? This episode helps to make sense of these passages.
In today's episode we discuss why faith is better translated as trust. We also highlight how faith is not an intellectual concept, but a deep trust that is rooted in the firm belief in God's promises and His coming Kingdom. With respect to the argument of "faith vs. works," the audience will be encouraged to re-frame their thinking of salvation as an inheritance: something that can never be earned, but can be lost. Finally, Fr Aaron shared a saying from Fr Paul Tarazi that we all would do well to remember: "Salvation is free of charge, but with a charge."