Show cover of Life Lessons from Jesus

Life Lessons from Jesus

Father Len unpacks stories from the Bible and explores 2000 years of traditions and rituals in the Church Jesus founded to reveal God’s intentions for our lives and what to worship and how to worship.

Tracks

Ep12 Interpreting the Bible
Father Len describes the challenges of accurately interpreting the Bible and reveals what it takes to understand its full meaning. Support Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions 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. We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to More Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
16:32 9/26/23
Ep11 Lessons from Jesus on the Dangers of Fear
Father Len explores Christ’s teachings on fear and how it controls all of us in not such good ways without us even knowing it. Support Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom Fear and anger are identical cousins. We don’t always recognize when we’re being controlled by fear. Martin Luther King trained his followers in the civil rights movement to pray, pray, and pray and never react with fear or anger no matter what opponents would say to them. Jesus taught his apostles to have no secrets and not to be controlled by fear. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28 “If we’re going to be a church that helps change the world, we can’t be controlled by fear of rejection, suffering, gossip, criticism, and standing up for our convictions.” – Father Len If we want love to control us, we first must deal with our fears. The phrase, “do not be afraid,” appears 365 times in the Bible. In God, there is only truth. There’s nothing hidden that won’t be revealed. Jesus cautions us not to lose our souls for fear of pain, rejection, or standing up for truth. We can’t be authentic, honest, or loving with each other unless we can conquer our fears. Heaven is a place of pure light where there are no secrets. Everything will be revealed. So, why not live courageously in truth now. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how you are being controlled by fear. Litany of Humility Prayer: https://tinyurl.com/mts3da2v We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to More Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
21:17 7/12/23
Ep10 The Bread of Life
Father Len dives into the sacred mystery of the food Jesus gives us to feed and fortify our souls on the journey to our heavenly home that he's prepared for us. Support Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom The biggest theme in the Bible is that of a meal. Access to the divine happens through a meal. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, God provides food for our souls and our physical bodies. Bread and wine are huge themes in the Bible. Not just symbols, but food that has both physical and spiritual effects. Jesus identifies himself as the “bread from heaven, the bread of life” saying, “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood or you have no life within you, for my body is true food and my blood is true drink.” Jesus institutes a mysterious meal with food for eternal life. It looks like ordinary bread and wine, but he insists that it is his true flesh and blood. Catholics take Jesus at his word and believe in the real presence of his body and blood in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to More Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
10:10 6/30/23
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. Support Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions 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. We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com Life Lessons from Jesus and the Church He Founded: http://LifeLessonsfromJesus.org A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
15:17 4/13/23
Ep8 Why God Chose to Take on Human Flesh
Father Len explains that God became one of us to establish a different religion because 2000 years of religion based on laws, regulations, and teachings from the prophets on how to love wasn’t working so well. Support Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom Father Len shares a fun story about a student’s reaction to his teaching in a class on Jesus and the point of God taking on human flesh. Christmas celebrates the love that created the universe taking on human flesh and becoming one of us to establish a different religion to help us love like God. God’s standards for life and the religion of Jesus are unconditional forgiveness and sacrificial love. The only way for us to live God’s standards for life and love is to let Christ live in us. Father Len explains how “religion” kept everyone in Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem from opening their hearts and homes to Mary and Joseph in their time of need at the birth of Jesus. Religion based solely on laws and regulations doesn’t create love in the world. In the Eucharist, Holy Communion, we feed on the love and life of Christ so that Christ’s influence and power grow in us more and more. Father Len tells the story of Grandmother Spider to illustrate how the light of Christ should inspire each of us to form a web of light and love over the earth to protect everyone’s life. Father Len explains the meaning of the symbols swaddling and army of angels present in the story of Christ’s birth. Father Len explains why in spite of all the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah only the humble showed up for the birth of Christ. We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com Life Lessons from Jesus and the Church He Founded: http://LifeLessonsfromJesus.org A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
19:15 1/4/23
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. Donate to Wrestling with God Productions here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions We welcome your questions and comments: Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738 Links to Additional Podcasts from Wrestling with God Productions Wrestling with God Show: http://WWGShow.com A Priest’s Life: https://idahovocations.com/resources/video-podcasts/
46:15 9/9/22
Ep6 Trees, Food, Worship, and Eternal Life
Father Len explains why trees are so prominent in the Bible and how they symbolize and reveal the path to eternal life including the choices we need to make and the food we need to eat along the way. He also clarifies what food we’re really praying for in the Lord’s Prayer.  Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom The English translation of the Lord’s Prayer is incorrect. When we pray “give us each day our daily bread,” we are not praying for daily bread. What Jesus taught us to pray for is the bread of super substance, the bread of life, which is the Eucharist. Trees are a big part of worship and the third most common symbol in the Bible. Trees, in the Bible, symbolize and reveal the path to eternal life including the choices we need to make and the food we need to eat along the way. From the very beginning of the Bible, there are two types of food. There’s ordinary food that keeps our bodies strong and divine food that feeds our souls. We need both. Ordinary food comes from the earth and divine food comes from heaven and the tree of life. The cross is the tree of life. When we eat the fruit from the tree of life, the Eucharist, we’re eating the presence of Christ and part of God’s spirit. When human beings are cut off from being fed with God’s life, they’re cut off from the source of life. Eternal life is connected to eating the fruit from the tree of life. The tree of life is a place where humanity gathers to meet God and be fed on God’s life. All of life is a choice between eating the fruit from the tree of life or eating the fruit from the tree of good and selfishness. Eating the fruit from the tree of good and selfishness brings about a death. It kills the relationship between us and God. To get to the tree of life, we have to walk past the tree of good and selfishness. We have to sacrifice our egos, obey the will of God, and see the world as God sees it in order to eat the divine food from the tree of life. Eating from the tree of life demands a moral code. God is the only source of true morality. We don’t get to define goodness. We need to see and live as God does. In every major moral event in the Bible there are trees present that symbolize the choice between going the way of the tree of life or the way of the tree of selfishness. The tree Catholics gather around at every mass is the cross. We gather around that tree to make a commitment to follow the morality of Christ and see the world the way God does. To eat from the tree of life is to accept self-sacrifice as our morality. Christ shows us the way by offering himself as a sacrifice. He accepts the cup of suffering. To receive the Eucharist is to accept the teachings of Christ. The tree of life is this connection between us and God. Religion is this connection between us and God. When we’re making the right moral choices, the Bible gives us a little glimpse of the tree of life. When we’re making the wrong choices, it gives us a glimpse of the tree of selfishness. Biblical worship is all about eating the right food. Eating the divine meal from God that gives us eternal life.
27:44 8/11/22
Ep5 The Purpose of Worship
Father Len explores the history of worship and reveals that all worship and its purpose come from the Bible. Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom The word liturgy means worship or how to worship. We worship not to get something, but to become aware of something. We worship and go to church to remember many things. The past, the present as it truly is, who we’re meant to be and what we’re supposed to become. God tells us in the book of Genesis to keep the Sabbath, gather together as a community, and remember what it means to be a true human being. Worship is not about keeping the status quo, but about remembering to become something. Liturgy is a judge and a criterion on how we’re supposed to order our lives. We go to Mass to see the future. The whole Mass is a liturgy of heaven and getting us ready for heaven. “Today, more than ever, we need a framework for our lives. A pattern of holidays and rotating seasons. Without it, we’re like somebody in a speedboat over a trackless sea with nothing to indicate where we are. You’re moving fast, but you have no way of noticing what the changes are.” – Alan Toffler, author of “Future Shock” God gives us symbols in the Bible as a way to study and understand the Bible and to use in worship and prayer to help us drink in wisdom and put the Bible into action. We don’t worship symbols. We use symbols to worship God. All worship comes from the Bible. The Eucharist began before any of the Bible was written. The Eucharist didn’t rise in the Bible, the Bible rose from the Eucharist. There’s a difference between being a spectator and biblical worship. Worship is not supposed to be entertaining. The Eucharist is not about entertainment. It’s about conversion. Liturgy is supposed to subvert the way the world works. Liturgy is supposed to subvert the way we think. Liturgy is about how we conquer the world by sacrificing ourselves in love for other people. Many people in the United States confuse worship and entertainment. Worship is supposed to give us a vision of the kingdom of God, the order of heaven. Liturgies are commitment ceremonies. The Eucharist is us making a commitment to be like Christ and sacrifice ourselves in love for other people. The lifeblood of Wrestling with God Productions comes from generous donors who support our mission. If you’ve benefited from one of our podcasts, please consider making a financial donation here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
33:23 7/12/22
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. The lifeblood of Wrestling with God Productions comes from generous donors who support our mission. If you’ve benefited from one of our podcasts, please consider making a financial donation here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
25:41 6/15/22
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 Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of Wrestling with God Productions by making a financial donation here: GiveSendGo.com/WWGproductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
13:49 5/6/22
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 Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of Wrestling with God Productions by making a financial donation here: GiveSendGo.com/WWGproductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
12:34 5/3/22
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 Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of Wrestling with God Productions by making a financial donation here: GiveSendGo.com/WWGproductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: irish@wwgproductions.org Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
17:22 4/26/22