Tag Archives: Jesus

Ep12 Interpreting the Bible

Father Len describes the challenges of accurately interpreting the Bible and reveals what it takes to understand its full meaning.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Three levels of interpretation are essential to accurately interpreting the Bible: literal, symbolic, and contemplative.
  • Complete understanding of the Bible is impossible if you just interpret it literally because 50% of the Bible is poetry and it contains many allegories and parables. The full meaning of poetry, allegories, and parables is obscured or lost in strict literal interpretation.
  • Jesus teaches in parables because he wants us to think about the meaning of what he’s teaching.
  • Atheists love to interpret the Bible literally so they can mock it.
  • The New Testament was originally written in Greek which is more sophisticated than English. There are words in Greek that can only be interpreted literally. Like when Jesus says about the Eucharist, “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood. Do this in memory of me.”
  • Father Len reveals symbols contained in the gospel where Saint Peter walks on water to demonstrate how symbolic interpretation of the Bible is essential to understanding its full meaning.
  • Father Len explains the symbols present in the story of the prophet Elijah’s experience with God on Mount Horeb and how they reveal what is possible when we’re able to hear God in silence and how our knowledge of God grows over time.
  • Father Len demonstrates how knowledge of context at the time it was written and understanding the meaning of its original Greek and Hebrew language are vital to accurately interpreting the Bible. He uses this context and understanding to debunk the notion that the Bible says Jesus had siblings, brothers and sisters.

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Ep9 The Founding of Christ’s Church

Father Len traces the history and traditions of the Church Jesus founded back 4000 years and explains the relationship between Judaism and Catholicism.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The Catholic (Universal) Church Jesus founded is the longest running institution in human history.
  • History teaches us wisdom if we are open to it and willing to learn.
  • The Catholic Church is the branch of Judaism that believes that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah.
  • Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism.
  • Jesus came to reform religion and fulfill the prophecies of opening it up to the Gentiles.
  • Jesus wants a church that is a family that includes everyone.
  • Jesus starts an institution, a church, which “the gates of hell will not prevail against.”
  • Tradition, everything Christ handed on to his apostles, is a big deal in Catholicism.
  • Jesus picks 12 apostles from among his disciples to lead his church. He leaves them a structure, stories and a way of worshiping to guide them. These traditions and principles have continued unbroken for 2000 years.
  • Jesus commanded the 12 leaders of his church to go out and baptize the world in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus didn’t leave anything written. He didn’t write any books.
  • The Bible was written by the Church, the second-generation of disciples, as the 12 apostles began to die off. It’s written so Gentiles can understand the religion of Jesus.

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Ep7 What is a friend?

Father Len explores what Jesus and the Bible have to say about friends and friendship and why friends are vital to growth, survival, and discovering and becoming who we’re meant to be.

Ep4 What divides and unites us?

Father Len takes a deep dive into what divides us and what unites us. He introduces us to Communio, the one thing that can unite us forever and where to find it.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • Communio is this invisible union between us and God. It’s also the thing that makes us united with each other.
  • Communio celebrates the mystical communion that makes us one community.
  • Father Len illustrates the effect of Communio by telling the story of a former Nazi who became friends with a former member of the French Resistance that fought against the Nazis.
  • Communio is never based on externals like religion, race, politics, ideology or even superficial morality.
  • Real community at its very heart is spiritual. It’s a deep belief that we’re inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us. It’s rooted in love and compassion and can never be severed, even by death.
  • Facebook is a hollow substitute for real community.
  • The Book of Revelation in the Bible describes Heaven as ultimate communion. Like a city where everyone is wearing a wedding dress because they’re all in love. That’s true Communio.
  • We came from community, the Trinity. We are meant to live in community, the body of Christ. We end in perfect community, heaven.
  • The really big issue of life is God.
  • More and more people these days are sorting themselves into ideological bunkers. Nine times out of ten, the only thing these people have in common is they hate the same people.
  • If Christ is Communio, Satan is the opposite. The word devil means divider. Satan is always offering us a substitute communion based on who we reject.
  • Christ came to knock down the dividing walls that keep us separated.
  • At the end of our life, we’ll be judged on what we did to others and what we did for others. How united we were with other people. In the final judgment we’ll be judged on how strong our community was.
  • Perfect worship is done together because it’s in a community where our egos are always challenged. Community challenges us to be more loving.
  • Ego keeps us separated from each other and from our true selves.
  • The Bible tells us God will destroy our enemies because God will form us into a community of brothers and sisters.
  • Religion is supposed to be about community, but often times, people confuse conformity with community. The opposite of community is social conforming. There’s a difference between belonging and fitting in. Conformity is just the appearance of community. In conformity, there’s no communion. You just have to act and dress in a way that’s pleasing to the group.
  • Our deepest need is to be in community and be loved.
  • In the Bible, God is always working to save a community, not just an individual.
  • The book of Proverbs says, in a community we’ll develop new eyes. We’ll see the world differently by living in a community.
  • The Catholic Church celebrates Communio.
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Ep3 The Purpose of Prayer

Father Len explores two Bible stories about the purpose of prayer beginning with the time the disciples ask him to teach them how to pray.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares a fun story about his experience with a Protestant minister and his wife who have a very different idea than Jesus about the purpose of prayer.
  • The purpose of prayer is not to ask God for help getting something as if God is the big Santa Claus in the sky.
  • We don’t pray to get something. We pray to become something.
  • “If your definition of prayer is to get something you want, you better be careful. You may become a very self-absorbed person and then call it religion.” – Father Len
  • We pray for the bread of life so that our lives become bread for other people. We hand on the bread of life to other people in the way that we live our lives.
  • Becoming the bread of life for other people requires persistent prayer, day after day, year after year.
  • The Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Luke refers to the forgiveness God gives us when our lives become a force of forgiveness and we free ourselves from all grudges and resentments.
  • Becoming a constant force of forgiveness isn’t easy and takes a lifetime of prayer.
  • Prayer is a type of hospitality.
  • The prayer life of the prophet Abraham, the father of religion and hospitality, was all about welcoming and praying for the life of other people, not for himself.
  • True prayer is not being concerned about yourself. True prayer is this hospitality where your prayer life feeds other people.
  • “You have a choice. When you offer hospitality to other people, God grants you greater life. When you only care for your own life, God will take away the little life you have.” – Father Len
  • Prayer is a constant lifelong dialogue with God about becoming holy.
  • Bible stories explored in this episode:
    • Book of Genesis 18:20-32
    • Gospel According to Luke 11:1-13
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Ep2 The Religion of Jesus

Father Len explores the Bible story of a wealthy and powerful man and a bankrupt and outcast old woman. Both seeking healing from Jesus. The story reveals the essence of the religion of Jesus and puts our beliefs about religion on trial.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Jesus pushes us to take religion beyond just believing that He is the Messiah and being a good person obeying moral laws.
  • Jesus dismisses laws in the Book of Leviticus that reject or marginalize people.
  • “If the best that you can say about your life is that you’re a good person who obeys all the moral laws, you’re boring and lack spiritual depth.” – Father Len
  • The Book of Wisdom tells us that God is about love, life, and healing. God rejoices in welcoming and loving all people.
  • Jesus gives us a test of religion. Do we want a religion that is about rules, regulations, and moral laws that causes us reject or marginalize some people? Or, do we want the religion of Jesus that accepts and loves all people unconditionally?
  • “Let your heart be broken when people are marginalized, rejected, or treated as if they’re dead. Believe in the way of Christ. Believe in life and unconditional love for everybody.” – Father Len
  • Bible stories explored in this episode:
    • Book of Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
    • Gospel According to Mark 5:21-43
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Ep1 How to Love like Christ

Father Len unpacks three Bible stories about love and illustrates the traits God will help us develop, and we’ll surely need, if we are to love like Christ.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • When Jesus began preaching love and pushing the boundaries of love to include loving all people unconditionally, the people didn’t like it. All they wanted to hear was God loves me and people like me.
  • God tells the prophet Jeremiah, people “will fight against you” when you preach unconditional love, but I will “form you into a wall of brass, a pillar of iron, a fortified wall” so “they shall not prevail against you.”
  • “If you call yourself a follower of God, you need to push yourself to try to love everyone.” – Father Len
  • “Some religious people say they want to hear the word of God, but only if it agrees with everything they think and believe already.” – Father Len
  • “When I die and stand before Christ, the question won’t be, does God love me? The question will be, did I love like Christ?” – Father Len
  • Bible stories examined in this episode:
    • Book of Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
    • First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12:31-13:13
    • Gospel According to Luke 4:21-30
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