St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY
Shortly after Jesus begins His ministry, John the Baptist is arrested and Jesus begins to ramp up His ministry, proclaiming a message of repentance, and in fact manifesting His power with the very intimate healing of a leper and the healing of a Gentile centurion's servant.

Jesus has some very strong teaching on mission, telling men that they must leave behind all earthly things if they wish to become His disciples. The mission is difficult work, and involves relying on the hospitality of towns to allow Jesus and His disciples to enter and work miracles there. Even after He heals a demoniac, the Gadarenes beg Him to leave the area because His healing disturbs them.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: Matthew3a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:45am EST

Matthew and the other synoptic gospels emphasize Jesus' mission in Galilee, where most of the Gospel was spread. Jesus sought to keep this ministry moving slowly so that the ministry would not be derailed. In this part of the ministry, He healed people of physical and spiritual illnesses and preached a compassionate message to the poor, including the Beatitudes. This compassion is not simply being nice to each other, but requires action on our part. We must be pure-minded in seeking out God, we must forgive people and not hold grudges, and we must not make a show of our faith.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: Matthew2b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:19am EST

The Gospel that Jesus preaches is recounted as being preceded by John the Baptist, who came in the mode of Elijah and preaching a baptism of repentance. John was a fairly ascetic man, and his coming as a voice crying in the wilderness heralds the time of the Christ. John's message is quite stark, warning that the God will soon make a harvest of souls.

Jesus comes to John to be baptized, but John objects, declaring that he needs to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus allows Himself to be baptized to ''fulfill all righteousness,'' and in doing so, blesses the waters and transforms them into the waters of the sacrament. At this point, the Spirit of God descends like a dove and a voice declares, ''This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.''

Jesus then leaves for the wilderness to be tempted or tested for forty days and forty nights. Satan tests Jesus, but He beats the devil back on all counts. When John is imprisoned, Jesus begins to proclaim the Gospel and seeking out apostles.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: Matthew2a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41am EST

According to the Targums, we know that the prophecy that a ''young woman'' or ''virgin'' would bear a son was translated by the Alexandrian scholars as meaning ''virgin,'' and that there was an implication that this was an unusual sign, as high as Heaven or as low as Sheol. A young woman having a son would not be such a significant sign.

The fact that the sign appears as a star to pagans tells us that God wants to give his message to those who are seeking Him out. The fact that the Christ comes from Bethlehem is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah that Bethlehem is 'not the least, for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people.' There is similarly a notion in John that the Christ must come from Bethlehem.

Mary was going into labor and so the Holy Family sought out any shelter they could. Finding a stable in which she could give birth, shortly thereafter they sought out family in Bethlehem and stayed in that house. This is where the Magi find Christ. This event surely must have come after the Presentation in the Temple, since it would have been difficult to journey to Egypt and back in secrecy within the short span of 40 days.

Like Pharaoh of old, Herod sought to kill the entire male population, and the similarities to Pharaoh are very strong.  There is a prophecy about Rachel, who died looking to Bethlehem, and Jeremiah delivered a prophecy about a cry going up from Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children, which is fulfilled by Herod's slaughter of children in that same city. The prophecy that ''He shall be called a Nazarene'' seems to be a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:1, as there is a similarity between the root of the words ''branch'' and ''Nazareth.''

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: Matthew1b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02am EST