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

Christ calls the Pharisees a "Brood of vipers!"; the lament over Jerusalem; glory departing; The Olivet Discourse and the end of the age; wise and foolish virgins; the talents; separating the sheep from the goats.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

Direct download: Matthew7b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:36am EST

In Jerusalem, Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees, who send their disciples and some Herodians to see Jesus. These disciples ask Jesus if it lawful to pay taxes in an attempt to ensnare Jesus, knowing that He will lose popular support if He pulls His punches and favors taxes and that the Herodians will take offense if He does not. Jesus tells them that civil authority has its place, but that the affairs of God take precedence.

The Sadducees later confronted Jesus on the matter of the Resurrection of the Body, which is strongly expounded in the New Testament. They present an implausible case of a woman who is widowed seven times and remains childless. Whose wife would she be in the Resurrection? Jesus tells them that there is no marriage in Heaven and that the Resurrection must be accurate, since God is the God of the living, and those who have died are still described in the present tense in the book of Exodus.

The Pharisees send in another to challenge Jesus: what commandment is greatest? Jesus responds that the first is ''You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,'' and the second is ''You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'' The implication is that you cannot love God unless you love your neighbor. Both of these are part of the Jewish tradition, but after this, the two are very commonly linked.

Jesus then asks the Pharisees whose son the Messiah is. When they answer that he is David's son, Jesus asks them why David calls the Messiah ''Lord'' if a father would not call his son "Lord." The Pharisees leave and do not dare to ask Jesus any more questions.

Jesus then speaks out against those who would claim titles like rabbi, teacher, or father for themselves. Some of these people lay burdens on others but do not act to move their own burdens. These have turned the law into a system of punishment, turned the things of devotion to God into things of ostentation, and turned gifts of God into personal aggrandizement. This is a strong argument against a certain type of clericalism, but it should not be considered the end of clerics. Indeed, there are clear examples of teachers and fathers in the Scriptures. Instead, all the teaching is the teaching of God and should be identified as such.

Jesus then lists several woes for the Pharisees. The Pharisees are locking people out of Heaven, stop others from going into Heaven, and the converts that they attract are twice the children of Hell than the Pharisees. Those who swear oaths liberally will be held liable to God. Those who obey the minutiae of the law or purify the visible but ignore the weightier matters or fail to purify the inner structures are ignoring what is truly important.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

Direct download: Matthew7a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:21am EST

When Jesus is preparing to go to Jerusalem, the mother of James and John asks Him to appoint her sons to prestigious positions in the kingdom. Jesus responds that this is not His to give, but only from the Father. He then goes on to say that those who want to be great should aspire to serve others.

Jesus then goes up to Jerusalem, meeting large crowds making a pilgrimage for the Passover. Along the way, He heals two blind men who recognize Him as the Son of David, a messianic title. This recognition becomes even more vivid as He comes into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people rush out to greet Him as a prophet, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah.

After arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus drives out the money changers from the temple, and even continues His healings during this time, which leaves the scribes and priests indignant. Then we see a living parable of Jesus' power of judgment when Jesus curses a fig tree, which withers instantly. When the people ask by what authority Jesus does these things, He asks them what authority John the Baptist baptized. When they refuse to answer Jesus, Jesus refuses to answer them. Jesus continues by giving several parables about who will be chosen in the time to come, and the Pharisees, sensing that Jesus was talking about them, plot a way to entrap Him in what He says.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

Direct download: Matthew6b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:06am EST

Jesus is asked again about marriage and divorce. He says that when two are married, they become one flesh, and incapable of separation. This is a difficult teaching and Moses allowed divorce because the people were hard-hearted. Jesus then goes on to say that there are men who are eunuchs from birth, who are made eunuchs by others, and who become eunuchs by devoting themselves to the kingdom. This includes not only priests, but others who are working for the kingdom.

Some children are brought to Jesus, but the disciples speak out against those who brought them. Jesus asks that the children be brought and He blesses them because their devoted parents have brought them, similar to how parents speak for their children in baptism.

After this, a rich man asks what he must do to have eternal life. The man already follows the commandments, but Jesus asks him to give up his possessions and follow Him. The man is not capable of showing such devotion, since he has many possessions and is not willing to give them up.

Jesus then tells another parable, about laborers in a vineyard. Some laborers work the whole day, but others are contracted later; all receive the same pay, causing the ones who worked longer to complain. The master tells them that they all have been paid fairly. God's grace is similar: those who have been faithful all their lives receive the same reward as those who become faithful late in life.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

Direct download: Matthew6a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:19am EST

The Pharisees and Sadducees again ask for a sign, shortly after Jesus has performed many miracles, and Jesus refuses, calling them an evil and adulterous generation, and likening the Pharisees and Sadducees to yeast, which was a symbol of contamination.

Jesus names Simon Peter for his profession that Jesus is the Son of God, but then rebukes Peter for failing to realize that Jesus must suffer and die; Jesus also says that any one who wishes to follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross.

Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a mountain, where He is transfigured and shines with an intense light and Elijah the prophet and Moses the lawgiver appear next to Him. A cloud overshadows Jesus and a voice proclaims Jesus as the Son. This gives these three stronger faith in the coming kingdom.

After this, Jesus rejoins the rest of His disciples and tells them that they must become like children. Jesus also tells the people that they must seek out those who are lost, and forgive those who have sinned against 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: Matthew5b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:58am EST