In a new series of Deep in Scripture episodes, Marcus Grodi begins a focus on "memorable verses," ones that many Christians have memorized and Catholics would do well to commit to memory. In this first episode, Marcus and Matt Swaim discuss Proverbs 3:5-6, on trusting the Lord, and Galatians 5:22-23 on the fruits of the Spirit, and share why those two passages are significant to reflect upon when it comes to growing in a relationship with God.
As pastors, Marcus Grodi (Presbyterian) and Ken Hensley (Baptist) saw the Bible as their ultimate authority when it came to teaching the truths of the faith. However, the more each of them preached from the Scriptures, the more it became apparent to them that they were bringing their own prejudices, experiences, and denominational influences to the texts. And if the Bible wasn't a self-interpreting document, then what was the correct interpretation? Those questions and doubts led Ken and Marcus, independently of one another, to search out how the earliest Christians had interpreted the Scriptures. And they both found that early Christianity was much more resonant with Catholic thought than their Reformed and Baptist theologies.
After the initial joy of the Easter season begins to die down, how do we sustain the joy and strength necessary to continue in our walk with Christ? On this episode of Deep in Scripture, Marcus and JonMarc Grodi look at Hebrews 10:19-25, which contains not only a call to persevere in the faith, but also a road map of how to do so. In that, the writer of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of community; that no Christian is ever meant to go it alone. We are not merely called to follow Jesus as individuals; we are called to follow him as His Church.
With so many Christian denominations out there, how can a follower of Jesus know that they're a part of a congregation that has a historic claim to uphold the teachings of Jesus? Does it matter for a Christian to be connected to his or her own religious forbears, or are we meant to figure it out for ourselves in every generation? In this Deep in History podcast, Marcus and JonMarc Grodi look at the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10, and the thought of John Henry Newman, in regard to how the true Church of Jesus must maintain its core of fidelity, but also develop in continuity with that core.
For many who come from other Christian backgrounds, the Catholic practices that surround Holy Week can seem foreign, or even excessive. Some things, such as foot washing on Holy Thursday, are widely practiced by Christians. But the idea of venerating the cross, the fasting and silence, and the notion of a vigil on Holy Saturday to welcome Easter, can seem odd those who come from non-liturgical Christianity. Marcus and JonMarc Grodi reflect on coming to love these traditions as former Presbyterians who are now Catholic, and how these observances don't run counter to Scripture, but rather follow the devotional trajectory of Scripture.
What does it mean to sin against the love of God? We may not worship the false pagan gods that were popular in the early days of Israel, but our affections are pulled in a number of different directions if we don't take care to keep our focus on God. In paragraph 2094, the Catechism of the Catholic Church lists five sins against the love of God: indifference, ingratitude, lukewarmness, acedia and hatred of God. Marcus and JonMarc Grodi unpack these five sins and look at practical ways to combat them.
Marcus and JonMarc Grodi continue their discussion of St. Paul's wise counsel on how to seek godliness with contentment. In Part I of this discussion, they looked at Paul's joyful exhortation to the Philippians, and began to unpack a list of ten "ingredients" for spiritual fulfillment. This time around, they look at more practical ways to remember God's blessings in everyday life, and share the joy of our Catholic faith with all whom we encounter.
Philippians 4 contains one of the most robust calls to joy in all of Scripture. And yet when Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 that he has learned the secret of being content in every situation, he's saying so from inside a prison cell. How was St. Paul able to find joy and rest and contentment in the Lord, regardless of what life threw at him? And how can we, in our day and age, rest in Christ in a world that seems to be falling apart around us? Marcus and JonMarc look at some simple ways to practice contentment in everyday life.
Continuing on the theme of spiritual humility, Marcus and JonMarc Grodi look more at St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, and the advice Paul gives regarding pride and the sins connected with it. A desire for controversy leads to an air of superiority, and blinds us not only to the truth, but also to our own faults. Paul knew that this kind of pride was a major temptation in his time, and is certainly pervasive in our own time. Marcus and JonMarc dig into St. Paul's advice to Timothy on spiritual pride, and the universal call to holiness in spite of, and even in the midst of, scandal and dissent.
In St. Paul's first letter to Timothy, he gives a number of wise instructions about how Timothy should conduct himself as a spiritual leader, and how to avoid temptations that will derail not only his ministry, but his relationship with God. Love of money, an unhealthy interest in controversies, and a conceited heart -- all these things bring focus on the self instead of God, and replace humility with the sin of pride. But, as Paul reminds Timothy in the face of all these temptations, "Godliness with contentment is great gain."