Salt of the Earth

If an author writes the words, “red lead,” is she directing a person named Red to lead a group of people or is she referring to a lead based substance that is colored red, as in, “red lead?” If she is speaking and we cannot see the spelling of her words, is she informing her audience that she read a book about leadership, or was it an essay about lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan’s water supply? You get the point. Context is paramount for understanding.

When Jesus says, “you are the salt of the earth,” and then talks about a loss of flavor, what does he mean? Actual salt cannot lose its flavor, but according to Jesus, his followers are definitely at risk of losing their flavor. If we can lose our saltiness, that means that whatever made us the “salt of the earth” was put into us. How are we to discern what this thing is and how it works? How are we to understand the phrase, “you are the salt of the earth?” The answer is context.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 5:13-14.

This week’s episode is presented in honor Fr. Paul Tarazi’s 75th birthday. May God grant him many years.


Episode 246 Matthew 5:13-14; Subscribe:; “Thinking Music” Kevin MacLeod ( ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Scripture as a Totality

Fr. Paul reviews interconnected terminology, geographic references, and narrative themes in the Bible that point to Scripture as a totality. (Episode 34)

This week’s episode falls on the occasion of Fr. Paul’s 75th birthday. Happy Birthday, Abouna!


Blessings and Insults

The suffering of others should make us feel ashamed. When we see a neighbor in need, in poor health, overcome by calamity or besieged by violence, their burden is both a call to action and a check on our ego. Honestly, what right have we to complain about anything in the face of our neighbor’s misfortune? Regrettably, we routinely appropriate such shame as a means of influence. Politicians spin suffering to promote anger and a spirit of self-righteousness while victims point to misfortune as an excuse for cruelty. So what are we to make of the words of Jesus, “Blessed are you when people insult you?”

“Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)

According to St. Paul’s sternly-worded instruction, the question as to which suffering is worthy of Christ’s blessing cannot be determined before the judgment. In Matthew, the criterion for this final test is not whether or not you suffered, but whether or not your suffering was for the right reason.

You may want to hold off cashing in your blessings before the time.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 5:9-12.Listen:

Episode 245 Matthew 5:9-12; Subscribe:; “Zap Beat” Kevin MacLeod ( ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0


Fr. Paul provides an overview of the term shamar in the book Genesis. (Episode 33)Listen:

Clarity of Purpose

Hunger and thirst are clarifying. When you are desperate for a drink of water, or you have not eaten in days, your biological needs control your actions. In turn, your actions reorder your thoughts, and you acquire clarity of vision—you know what you want, you know it when you see it, you know what you need to do, and you see the world around you in these terms. Now imagine that your biological need for food and drink is co-opted by the obligation to hear and obey God’s teaching. Your hunger and thirst for this teaching lead you to act with mercy toward others, which, in turn, organizes your mind. Your mind, now clear of distraction (a phrase usually translated as “purity of heart”) is wholly conformed to this teaching, allowing you to see God in the world around you.

“Blessed [indeed] are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 5:6-8.


Episode 244 Matthew 5:6-8; Subscribe:; “Mystery Sax” Kevin MacLeod ( ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Chicken or the Egg?

Fr. Paul explains the terms flock and sheep and the problem individualism poses for our hearing of Scripture. (Episode 32)


The Fruit of the Spirit

When we hear the Beatitudes for the first time, it’s tempting to philosophize—about poverty, humility, sadness, etc.—as though the Beatitudes themselves are a bunch of Greek platitudes. But if you’ve been with our podcast from the early days, you know a couple of things: 1) that Scripture refers to itself, interprets itself, and does not look outside of itself for meaning, and 2) that Scripture is written in opposition to Greek Philosophy. To treat Jesus like a philosopher who spouts philosophical platitudes is anti-Scriptural. So what is Jesus talking about in the Beatitudes? What is he teaching? The very same thing everything in the Bible teaches and refers to: the Law of Moses.

Richard and I discuss Matthew 5:1-5.


Episode 243 Matthew 5:1-5; Subscribe:; “Twisting” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: B.y Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Who is the Adversary of Whom?

Fr. Paul explains the meaning of the name Job. (Episode 31)


Direct My Footsteps

When we talk about behavior, we imagine that a degree of separation exists between our thoughts and our actions—as the saying goes, between mind and body—but this is incorrect. Just as a muscle integrates with fat and bone, our thoughts (themselves biological) fully integrate with our behaviors. In the Bible, there is no distinction between mind and body; both are flesh. As such, Biblical healing comes not from discussion but through obedience. Like a chiropractor, the Lord’s commandment corrects the position of your bone, and your muscle falls in place. That’s why the priority of biblical wisdom is to correct, protect, and direct your footsteps. If you can do what the Lord instructs you to do, the rest will take care of itself.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 4:23-25.


Episode 242 Matthew 4:23-25; Subscribe:; “Werq” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: B.y Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Maskilim

Fr. Paul explains the meaning of the term maskilim in the Bible. (Episode 30)Listen: