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“Finding Hidden Treasure in the Gospels” (with Fr. Walshe)

In this episode Trent sits down with Fr. Sebastian Walshe to uncover connections, clues, and pieces of wisdom hidden in plain sight within Jesus’ parables.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Council of Trent podcast, a production of Catholic Answers.

Trent Horn: Have you ever gone to look for buried treasure? I’ve had friends who’ve gone to look for buried treasure, specifically the Fenn treasure and alleged treasure buried by Forrest Fenn somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Maybe I’ll talk about it sometime on a free for all Friday, but until then we’re going to talk about looking at a much more important kind of buried treasure and the treasure of sacred scripture and the word of God. There is meaning. There are stories within it for us to discover by studying and contemplating the word of God. That is what we’re going to get into today and today we have a very reliable and wonderful guide to help us do that.

Trent Horn: He is Father Sebastian Walshe. Happens to be in today doing a tour of Catholic Answers and I roped him in to come here on the podcast to talk about this. Father, welcome to the Council of Trent podcast.

Fr. Walshe: Thanks so much man. I appreciate it.

Trent Horn: Now I was really excited to hear that you were coming in because I had the chance to review a manuscript you have been working on that kind of goes over this territory of looking at the parables and finding the deeper meaning within them and how to use that to evangelize. Can you tell us a little more about that project?

Fr. Walshe: Oh yeah, sure. So the origin of that was some years ago. I’ve been asked to, habitually now, to give retreats for priests. I’ve given retreats to a priest for the Archdiocese of St Paul, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, all the way up in Canada, Kamloops, many other places, Gallup, I think. And I thought to myself, what should I present to a group of priests that will really help them and benefit their ministry? And I thought, I want to make it based on scripture, because a priest, every day, he reads the gospels, he reads the scriptures. I want it to be based on scripture and I want it simultaneously to be edifying and nourishing for their spiritual life so that it strengthens their own priestly identity. But I also wanted to give them a fresh look at sacred scripture because knowing, myself as a priest, you’re reading the same gospels, the same passages over and over, and you’re preaching four or five times a year on the same gospel, and then you do it for 20, 30 years as a priest. Eventually you start to feel like you’ve got, you’re stale.

Trent Horn: Sometimes when I give talks, I give the same talks over and over again, I start to feel like an audio animatronic figure at Disneyland. You’re basically kind of doing the same bit and you don’t want it to be reduced to a bit.

Fr. Walshe: Right, exactly. And when you do that, when you’re just starting to rehash old homilies, you’re rehashing your old accounts of scripture, it loses the spirit in it, you know?

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And so I thought, I want to give them a new look, a fresh look at scripture. As you said, finding the hidden treasure is there.

Trent Horn: There was a phrase in the manuscript that I liked. And so when I was speaking with our editor here, because we’ve discussed, like, we might want to do something with this manuscript. I said, well, I’ll throw a title out there for it. And the title I liked for your manuscript was The Spirit is in the Details, because you used the phrase when they say the devil’s in the details. Really the spirit is in the details. The little things in scripture that are just so easy for us to gloss over because I think sometimes we’re used to reading things and we live in a society where we read a lot. We read blog posts. We read articles. We read text messages. So I think we’re kind of conditioned to read things to get the gist of it.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah.

Trent Horn: And that’s not good when we take that approach to scripture.

Fr. Walshe: Oh, no. No. The word of God, every word… This is a great quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas. He’s commenting on the passage of John 5:46 when Jesus says, Moses wrote about me.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And if you had believed him, you would have believed me. And St Thomas says, commenting on that passage, he says, every word of scripture is a participation of the eternal word of God. It’s a striking statement. And really, when I read that I understood there’s infinite riches and treasures within the word of God, and I’m not reading the word of God well-

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: … if I’m getting the gist of it.

Trent Horn: Yeah.

Fr. Walshe: It’s just not enough. Right.

Trent Horn: So we have to go deeper and what we’re going to talk about today are five principles that you’ve used, going through this manuscript, on how to teach priests and others to understand scripture. Five principles for how to uncover that kind of hidden treasure, those details to really illuminate scripture.

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: Let’s jump in with them. Principle number one, pay attention to all the details. This is something, when I was doing my master’s work in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, this is advice one of my theology professors gave me, was that when you read scripture in the comments, if you have a little margin on your page, you should just write a question about anything you can think of. It was morning and they went out to… Well, why was it morning? Why did they go out?

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: It was four miles. Well, why is it four miles? How is it this? And you may not answer all the questions, but when you just ask about every single detail that comes up, it can make things come about so that coincidence is aren’t really coincidences. I remember, there’s a quote from Agatha Christie, Miss Marple in the Agatha Christie mystery series says, any coincidence is always worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: And we can take that same approach by looking at details and coincidences and scripture.

Fr. Walshe: Sure. Well, okay. Jesus himself said, the eternal word of God said this, you will be judged for every idle word. Now, Jesus himself is not going to use idle words, is he?

Trent Horn: Right? Not if he judges others for doing that. He makes us words count.

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely. And so it is what the whole word of God, every word has meaning.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: Even if you don’t notice it yet, it’s got a meaning. It’s waiting to be uncovered by you. So you have to come to the scriptures with that mindset right from the beginning. Every word is filled with meaning. So that’s the first step. So let’s take some examples. Okay?

Fr. Walshe: You have the case in the Gospel of Luke. It’s also found that some of the other gospels as well, the Synoptics, but in the Gospel of Luke, for example, you have the account of a Jairus’ daughter. So Jesus coming down from the Mount of the Transfiguration and then Jairus comes, there’s a big crowd, Jairus comes and says, please come heal my daughter. She’s at the point of death. And so Jesus, he agrees to follow him along and he keeps on going along and on the way, and this is included on all the different accounts of the story-

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: … on the way a woman with a hemorrhage touches him.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And she’s healed. And then after she’s healed, they go on and in the meantime Jairus’ his daughter has died and Jesus raises her from the dead. That’s the gist of the story.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: But then look at the details. It says specifically that Jairus had a daughter who was 12 years old and then it adds, the woman had a hemorrhage for 12 years.

Trent Horn: Right. So there’s like details you don’t need in the story. And yet there’s a coincidence.

Fr. Walshe: Right.

Trent Horn: It’s the same amount of time.

Fr. Walshe: What’s it doing there? So you should ask yourself that question. Then the next thing that happens is you notice another detail. Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue. Ah. He’s a ruler of the local synagogue. And this woman has a hemorrhage, huh? If I’m a first century Jew, what does hemorrhage mean for a woman?

Trent Horn: It means unclean.

Fr. Walshe: Unclean. And Jairus is a ruler of the local synagogue. And then you start putting two and two together and you start thinking, I wonder if Jairus, being a little bit… You know, that that ritual on uncleanness obviously excluded from temple worship.

Trent Horn: Right?

Fr. Walshe: But it didn’t say anything in the Levitical law about the synagogue, but maybe Jairus is a little overzealous. And he basically said, you’ve got a hemorrhage. I don’t want you in our synagogue making people unclean so you stay out of the synagogue.

Trent Horn: And so that would fall into Jesus’s common critique of the Pharisees, that they lay heavy burdens on people that the Torah never laid upon them. That you may be unclean for the temple, but now Jairus had gone too far. If that’s what happened. Because in the synagogue, you weren’t practicing worship in the form of sacrifice. You were there to teach and to listen.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. And then I think the real clincher, that really kind of clinches that understanding of what’s going on-

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: … is the fact that Jesus, when the woman is healed, he says to her, daughter, your faith has saved you. It’s the only time in the scriptures Jesus calls someone his daughter. That’s remarkable, isn’t it?

Trent Horn: I did not know that.

Fr. Walshe: And then it says while he was speaking, someone came to Jairus and said your daughter is dead. So listen to how it actually sounded. Daughter, your faith has saved you. Your daughter is dead. That’s literally what happened when the woman touched Jesus. Now Jairus hears all that. He hears Jesus call her daughter and says, she saved. He hears his daughter is dead, and there must have awakened in the soul of Jairus a new realization at that moment where he said, oh my gosh, I was not the only one with a sick daughter.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And I had excluded God’s daughter from his house for 12 years while I had my daughter at my house for 12 years. And maybe a new compassion arose in Jairus, and maybe that was exactly what he needed in order to be converted. But you would have never noticed that beautiful lesson of the spiritual life that St Peter has a beautiful homily where he talks about that. He says, if you want God to see your fasting, notice the hunger of your neighbor. We tend to refuse to God the things we want from him, and we refuse to God’s children the things that we want from God. We want forgiveness from God, but we won’t forgive our neighbor.

Trent Horn: Well, it’s just the same as when Jesus tells the parable of the unworthy servant, you know? he asked the King for forgiveness, but then refuses to give forgiveness to the other servant. In a much milder form, as well.

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: And it’s so funny that we’ll ask God to do these big things for us, but we won’t even do the small variants of it for other people.

Fr. Walshe: Yes. That’s right.

Trent Horn: That’s a wonderful lesson to take from that. I also like in this story that when we look in the details to show that scripture is both fully divine and fully human.

Fr. Walshe: Yes.

Trent Horn: That you see the attitudes of the evangelists, even in their descriptions of the story. For example, with the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage, Mark says that the woman went to many physicians and not only was not healed, but was made worse.

Fr. Walshe: That’s right.

Trent Horn: Whereas Luke merely says the physicians were unable to heal her.

Fr. Walshe: Yes. That’s right.

Trent Horn: And I think there, Luke was kind of saying, Mark, give my profession a break, a little bit. It’s the first century where… because Luke is a physician.

Fr. Walshe: Of course, yeah.

Trent Horn: So he doesn’t want to bad mouth his other colleagues saying we’re doing the best we can in the first century and Mark is demanding more out of them. So even just those little things are, like you said, notice the details. Both of what is written and then also what’s not there, which is a principle we’ll get to here shortly.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. Yeah.

Trent Horn: So let’s go to the second principle. Notice the parallels. You notice the parallels? What do you mean by that?

Fr. Walshe: So when you read the word of God, you’ll notice very frequently that you’ll see parallelisms throughout the scriptures. And if there’s one or two parallels between things, you might chalk that up for a coincidence, you know, the Agatha Christie thing or something.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: As soon as I noticed three or more parallels, I immediately say no, there’s something else deeper going on here.

Trent Horn: The rule of threes.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah.

Trent Horn: God likes to work in threes. Yeah.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. So that’s usually my rule of thumb there. And I’ll give two quick examples. One is with regard to the parable, the prodigal son, and then the patriarch Joseph in the old Testament in Genesis, notice these parallels. Both Joseph and the prodigal son have envious older brothers. Both of them leave their father to go to a far off land. In both cases, there’s a famine.

Trent Horn: Right?

Fr. Walshe: In both cases, they receive a robe from their father, and in both cases, they receive a ring.

Trent Horn: Oh, yeah. That’s right.

Fr. Walshe: So there’s all these parallels, at least five. In fact, there’s more than that. And their reunion, this is a really striking one, when Joseph is reunited with his father, it says Joseph threw his arms about his neck. It’s the exact same language just used in the prodigal son when the father embraces, throws his arms around the neck, fell upon the neck of. That’s what it says in-

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: … fell upon the neck of the son. So, even the reunion between father and son is described in the identical terms. So that tells you the sacred author wants you to compare the persons Joseph and the prodigal son. Now I have a whole theory about that, about exactly how that goes.

Trent Horn: Yeah, because I’m wondering because we usually look at these two characters very differently. That Joseph is someone who’s upstanding, who’s always done something right and had bad luck gone against him for no fault of his own. And the prodigal son, we always kind of say, well he got what was coming to him with his attitude, and yet they’re reunited. Why do you think that parallel is there?

Fr. Walshe: Yeah, I think… So, every once in a while you get something that’s, say, it’s kind of like an anti-type in scriptures, but it’s not exactly the same thing as an anti-type. You get someone who is a type of Christ who you don’t expect to be a type of Christ. The prodigal son is an example of that. You just have to read the text in a spiritual way.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: So when it says about the prodigal son, for example, that he spent everything on prostitutes, you can apply that to Jesus.

Trent Horn: All gave his time and his friends-

Fr. Walshe: His whole life for the to salvation of sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes. He really did give himself in a spiritual way. So the way I read the text is that the likenesses tell you these are supposed to be the same story in some way. The significant differences tell you it’s a story from a different perspective.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And my reading is that the story of Joseph in the Old Testament is speaking about Joseph as an image of Christ according to a sacred humanity. But the prodigal son is an image of Christ according to his divinity.

Trent Horn: So it’s like looking at a photo and a negative.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah.

Trent Horn: That if I take a picture of something and I look at the negative image of it, it looks almost the same, but the lightness and darkness are switched. So that way there are things that are sins or vices, like there’s things the prodigal son does, we ought not imitate. But even in those vices, in the darkness or absence, we can see the light of Christ in that kind of redemption.

Fr. Walshe: And Jesus himself indicates things like that. For example, in the parable about the steward, he says, I should’ve gotten my money back with usury. Do you remember that?

Trent Horn: Yeah. With interest. With usury.

Fr. Walshe: With interest. Which, and usury of course is vicious, right? It’s a bad thing. Or the unjust steward who goes off and writes off his master’s debts, right? And Jesus commends him, right? So those are objectively bad acts, you know, like giving away someone else’s money or lending money at usury or something like that.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And yet they’re supposed to spiritually signify something good. Right? And the same way with the parable, the prodigal son, you can interpret the prodigal son as Christ, as long as you understand what seems to be an assertion of [Isis 00:15:35] understood in the spiritual sense as something positive.

Fr. Walshe: Right? And, and that gets bolstered once you start putting them together. For example, it says in the Greek… And we’ll get to this as a later principle. It says in the Greek in the parable, the prodigal son, it says that he rose up, it says… The English translation says he got up and returned to his father. But it literally says in the Greek he resurrected and returned to his father.

Trent Horn: Okay. I guess it’s either anastasis or egeiro.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah, I think it’s egeiro, if I’m not mistaken.

Trent Horn: He rose up egeiro.

Fr. Walshe: He literally rose up. But it’s the same word that would be used for to say resurrection.

Trent Horn: That’s right.

Fr. Walshe: For example. Okay. And then it says he received… His father divided his substance and he received his life from his father. And when you look at the Greek and the parable of the prodigal son, [beon 00:16:22] right?

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And, and so those are some elements where, when you start reading it that way, we’re like, this is Jesus.

Trent Horn: Yeah.

Fr. Walshe: The prodigal son is Christ.

Trent Horn: Anyway, we don’t want to rush too far ahead, but we will get to that. Well, you said there are other parallels as well.

Fr. Walshe: There’s one. Let me give you one other example.

Trent Horn: Go right ahead.

Fr. Walshe: So this is a beautiful parallel in the opening chapters of St Luke’s Gospel. In the opening chapters of Saint Luke’s Gospel, clearly a parallel is being drawn between Jesus and John the Baptist because you’ve got the annunciation for John the Baptist, the annunciation of Jesus, conception of John the Baptist, conception of Jesus, birth of John the Baptist, birth of Jesus, public life, beginning of public life of John the Baptist, et cetera for Jesus. Clear parallel. What’s not as obvious, but as soon as you notice it, it’s clear, there’s a parallel being drawn between Mary and Zachariah.

Trent Horn: Oh, okay.

Fr. Walshe: Because you have an annunciation by the angel Gabriel to Zachariah. He asks the question of the angel. Similar to Mary’s question, but not identical. Very… It’s important. There’s an important distinction. Then Zachariah goes to the house, his own house, the house of Elizabeth, and then he sings a Canticle when it’s all said and done.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And then you’ve got Mary, so they’ve got four parallels. Mary, there’s an annunciation to Mary and then she asks the question, but she asks the right question. Her question does not reflect doubt, but faith. Faith seeking understanding. And then she goes to the house of Elizabeth and then she sings a Canticle. Now the key question is, what are they doing at the house of Elizabeth? Isn’t that fascinating?

Fr. Walshe: Zachariah? We know exactly what he was doing. He went to his home so that John could be conceived. He knew his wife, and John then was conceived at that moment. Mary goes and she speaks a word of greeting, and Elizabeth and John are filled with the Holy spirit, and now what you see is that Mary has come to be an agent of supernatural life. She in a certain sense, begets the life of God in John the Baptist. Whereas Zachariah was only able to beget a natural life. Mary comes and becomes an instrument of supernatural life.

Trent Horn: Fills them with God’s joy. The joy of God and the presence of the Lord.

Fr. Walshe: Exactly. And the angel had said about John, he’d be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. And that’s the moment. That’s the moment he’s filled with the Holy Spirit. He’s sanctified in the womb at Mary’s word.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: So you see the parallel. Zachariah is there to beget natural life, Mary, to beget supernatural life. And that manifests even in the early scriptures, they understood Mary as a Mediatrix of grace, you know?

Trent Horn: Oh, and the example I wanted to tag on that, and I love that it’s a great set up for, is the obvious parallel between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant.

Fr. Walshe: Yes. Absolutely.

Trent Horn: The parallels there are undeniable. And Luke 1:43 Mary says, or Elizabeth says, why is this granted me, the mother of my Lord should come to me? Whereas in Second Samuel 6:9 David asks, how can the Ark of the Lord yes come to me?

Fr. Walshe: Yes.

Trent Horn: And then talks about Mary residing there for three months. The Ark resided in Obed in the Gittite house for three months.

Fr. Walshe: Exactly.

Trent Horn: So you’re right. When you see like more than two. Three or four parallels, they’re very specific like three months, this house-

Fr. Walshe: Or exactly repeated language. Things like that. Those are parallels that you can’t ignore.

Trent Horn: Exactly. And another thing, I remember in my theological studies of what I’ve told other people, when we talk about the literal and the spiritual sense of scripture, to understand scripture describes, you know, what the human author is describing was described in that literal sense. Then in the spiritual sense, there’s different ways to cash out the meaning between the two. I like to say that human beings communicate with words. And God can communicate with words.

Fr. Walshe: Sure.

Trent Horn: But God can also communicate with events.

Fr. Walshe: That’s right. Real historical events.

Trent Horn: But that’s the thing that we write… When we try to say something, we write out a bunch of words and we tell people, but because God is provident over all of history, it’s creation, the universe-

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: … he can tell us stuff with events.

Fr. Walshe: Oh, absolutely. In fact, sometimes you see that misconception. You see, when people write about the spiritual senses of scripture, they think it’s like any other human texts with a double entendre or some double meaning. No.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: The spiritual sense of scripture is not the meaning of the words. It’s the meaning of the things signified by the words.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And only God is the Lord of history. So only God can make real historical events clearly signify other realities, right? The whole Exodus story, for example, is a story of a soul being freed from bondage to sin, crossing through baptism, going across this life to the promise land, but going back for 40 years, which is purgatory, and entering into heaven-

Trent Horn: Wandering before you can enter the promised land.

Fr. Walshe: Exactly. Those are all real events and only God can organize history that way.

Trent Horn: Let’s look at the third principle. Notice what is left unsaid when it should be said. So we talked about this a little with the details noticed, when I’m reading scripture, why this? Why that? It’s also important to ask why not to this. What about that? Tell us about that.

Fr. Walshe: Jesus, even his silence spoke. Is really beautiful. The silence spoke. And when the Lord doesn’t say something that you expect him to say, you should ask questions about that. You should ponder that. One place where you see that is when Jesus explains his own parables. And very often he gives a few cases and scriptures where he explains his own parables. Very often he leaves out explanations of certain parts.

Fr. Walshe: So one famous example is a parable about the wheat and the weeds. And he says there was a man and he owned his field and then he planted this good wheat and then an enemy came and sowed weeds, and then the servants find that the weeds are coming up and they go back to the master. And they say, should we pull out the weeds? And the master says, no, lest you tear out the wheat with them. Let them grow until harvest time. And then gather them and then throw the weeds into the furnace and then gather the wheat into my barn.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And then Jesus goes and explains the whole thing. Except one part. He says, well, the the master is a son of man. He comes and he sows his good wheat in the field. That’s the world. And then the weeds are sown by the devil, who is the enemy? And then the harvesters are the angels and they gather up the good people and bring them into heaven, and the bad people get thrown into the furnace. Hell.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: But he leaves out the part, why is it that gathering up the weeds early might end up pulling up the wheat?

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: I mean, is it really reasonable to suspect that angels would mistake a good person for a bad person and throw them into hell by mistake? I don’t think that’s a theologically helpful interpretation. It doesn’t make any sense. So Jesus wants you to know, why didn’t I say anything there? And one reason is because maybe there’s multiple ways of interpreting it and he wants you to think of all those.

Fr. Walshe: One way might be this. Well, in this life, so long as there are challenges and trials, we can’t grow fully in the spiritual life unless we face many difficulties. Where would be the virtue of the martyr if there were no tyrants? So maybe in that sense the wheat isn’t growing because the evocations of their goodness are not present. But actually I think a more profound reading goes like this. Unlike natural wheat and weeds, we can go from being one to the other.

Trent Horn: Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah. The parable has a dis-analogy there I’ve taken to account.

Fr. Walshe: Exactly. And so because of that, it might happen that we’re a weed for awhile in our life. And if the angels had come and gathered us up at that point when we were a weed, we would have never had the chance to repent and become a wheat. So the wheat would be pulled up together with the weed.

Trent Horn: Right. Because, but then at the time of harvest, they’re mature. We can liken that to upon death when our wills are fixed.

Fr. Walshe: Absolutely.

Trent Horn: That then we can know. It won’t be mistaken here-

Fr. Walshe: Exactly.

Trent Horn: … when they’re pulled apart.

Fr. Walshe: And again, that comes from meditating upon Jesus’ silence. And that’s a profound reading of the text. And you would have never thought about it if Jesus had not left that unexplained, it seems.

Trent Horn: Well, that’s something I’ve also thought about as well. People have asked me the question, this is a common apologetic question we receive, and it’s a difficult one, which is why… It deals with what I would call the soteriological problem of evil. So I think that, you know, there’s the problem of evil, which is a vexing problem more so emotionally than philosophically for people. The soteriological problem of evil would be, why did God make someone knowing that they were going to go to hell?

Fr. Walshe: Yes.

Trent Horn: And so it’s like, why? Why would you do that? And then, and I always preface it saying, well, if first we have to admit that there’s a bit of a mystery there as to why God would create some… We may not have all the answers to that, but we can come up with some things that are reasonable.

Trent Horn: And one proposal I’ve offered as a possible reason is that if God were not to create certain people who were damned, that could impose a veto on other people who could enjoy eternal life with God. That you have the cases of the person who is the wretch who curses God and rejects him, but yet has three children who then see the barreness and the emptiness of that wretched life and choose to accept God. But if that person were never created, those other three would never be able to inherit eternal life.

Fr. Walshe: Sure. Yeah.

Trent Horn: And that’s just a part of it, but it reminded me a bit of the wheat and the weeds because it’s like if you pulled up that wretch, then the other image where we would would come with it or never it never come to fruition.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. That’s another possible interpretation there. Yeah. So you see that the silence there is intentional and there’s hidden treasure.

Trent Horn: He wants you to think about it.

Fr. Walshe: Exactly.

Trent Horn: We don’t think that as much that, you know, we’re used to this life of… We want things all spoonfed to us. Whereas, it’s harder for us to think that the master wants us to reflect on these things.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. No, I agree.

Trent Horn: We call it Jesus is called master, you know, Rabboni the master. Kind of reminds you of those old Kung Fu movies. Sometimes you want the Kung Fu master, he says you have to think about this for it to come to you or, sort of like that. Let’s go to principle number four. Strange facts.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah.

Trent Horn: Strange facts. Things to look for. What do you mean by a strange fact?

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. Well, as you go through the scriptures, the gospels in particular, but in the scriptures as a whole, you should find strange facts there and it should cause you to think, huh? I’ll give you two examples. One from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament. Here’s a strange fact, in the seven days of creation, the sun is created on the fourth day. Strange fact, right?

Trent Horn: Right. Because we had light on day one.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. And there’s been days that have been going on, the first three days. How did that happen? And therefore that’s supposed to tell you something. Maybe the word “day” should not be taken in the sense of one revolution of the sun around the earth. The sun hasn’t been created yet. Maybe the sacred author intended you to mean day in a different sense. So there is a strange fact and you see something neat.

Fr. Walshe: How about the new Testament? Here’s a strange fact in the New Testament. John, chapter nine, the man born blind is healed by Jesus. And the way Jesus heals and miss telling. He spits on the earth. Makes mud and smears the mud into his eyes. And then when he’s questioned by the Pharisees, he’s very patient. But at some point he’s had enough and he says, you know, never has it been known from the foundation of the world that one born blind was healed. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing and he’s done something that no prophet in any age has ever wrought. That should strike you. Now for us, that’s a strange fact. I mean, Moses parted the Red Sea. Elijah called down fire from heaven. Elisha, with his bones, raised someone from the dead.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: These seem to be greater miracles than just curing a man born blind. What’s the big deal?

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: But then you go back and you look at it in context and you realize the very beginning of that passage of John, chapter nine. Was it for his sin or his parent’s sin that he’s blind? And then you realize blindness in the scriptures has a spiritual significance for sin.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: Blindness from birth signify sin from birth or original sin. And now you understand why it is that someone born blind could never be healed. Because there was no one who could heal the wound of original sin. And how does Jesus heal the wound? He makes mud from the earth just like he created human nature in the beginning-

Trent Horn: It’s being remade.

Fr. Walshe: … He recreates human nature again, and all of that comes out when you notice a strange fact. Why was it that no one could heal a man born blind?

Trent Horn: And that’s another strange fact. The fact that Jesus uses a spittle and mud because Jesus has the capacity to heal people just by his command.

Fr. Walshe: Yes. Absolutely.

Trent Horn: He can just command that people be healed.

Fr. Walshe: Why in that case did he not just say, see, just like he did another cases with other people who were blind, not born blind, but…

Trent Horn: Yeah. He heals blind people by command. He tells the man with his palette, rise and walk, take your palate.

Fr. Walshe: Yes.

Trent Horn: He doesn’t have to do it.

Fr. Walshe: Yes.

Trent Horn: He just commands it. But he makes a point of using a particular method to reflect this. And then it draws everything full circle because the Pharisees have… You know, there’s this false dichotomy with those who approach Jesus. Well, whose fault is either this guy sinned, or his parents sinned, right? And so we’re challenged to say, well, it’s kind of a both/and thing here. It’s like we all sin, but our sin also comes from sin before us that we’ve received. And Jesus is capable of healing both of these kinds of sins.

Fr. Walshe: That’s right. That’s correct.

Trent Horn: Now let’s look at the last one then. The last principle that uncover the hidden treasure and scripture is notice the Greek, if you can.

Fr. Walshe: If you can, yeah.

Trent Horn: Go into the deepest level yet.

Fr. Walshe: Not everyone can study Greek, but you know what everyone can get interestingly, is a little Greek interlinear Bible, or something.

Trent Horn: Yeah.

Fr. Walshe: Anyone can get that, you know? And all the better if you can study some Greek on your own. Now this isn’t for everyone, but some people can and it’s amazing. And the same thing with Hebrew. You can get a Hebrew interlinear Bible for the old Testament.

Trent Horn: Yeah.

Fr. Walshe: And just seeing the different Greek words or the different Hebrew words is helpful and beneficial. I gave the examples from the parable, the prodigal son, already about how the same word that is used when it says the prodigal son rose up and returned to his father can be used to translate the word resurrect.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: There’s a great example. Or that he divided his substance with his father, consubstantial with the father, and so forth.

Trent Horn: Yes.

Fr. Walshe: But here’s another example. In John chapter eight, there is the account of the woman caught in adultery. And at one point it says that Jesus bent down and began to write in the earth, and then he stood up again, and then he bent down and started writing again. Well, that English translation doesn’t really capture the Greek there because the first time Jesus bends down and begins to write, the Greek word there is katagraphine and graphine means to write. That’s actually what’s used in the Greek for the second occasion when Jesus bends down and writes.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: The first occasion, katagraphine, kata is a prefix. It means down into, so probably the very best English translation would be engrave. Into, en is like a prefix, it means into. And grave, to write.

Trent Horn: So that’s why we talk about kata, catechesis.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah.

Trent Horn: It’s kata-chesis to, literally mean, to sound down. It’s like to carve the faith into someone.

Fr. Walshe: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Trent Horn: Catechesis. Would say, you must have catechesis to engrave the teachings of our faith into someone.

Fr. Walshe: To write it into our hearts. Right.

Trent Horn: So that’s where that prefix kata, which can also mean according to, but into, is important. And you said that this only happens one other time in scripture when there’s someone writes in this way.

Fr. Walshe: Yeah. So in the New Testament, it’s only found that one place. Katagraphine.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: In the Old Testament, it’s used on a number of occasions in the Greek Septuagint texts.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: And almost always in reference to a single event when God is writing with his finger, he’s engraving the ten commandments in the tablets of stone.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: So the fathers of the church reading the Greek notice that right away, and they say, ah, Jesus is engraving the ten commandments right there when he’s bending down and writing the first time. And at the same time he’s saying, this proves that Jesus is God because he’s doing what God did with his finger. Huh?

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: St Thomas takes it a step further. He says this, that the finger represents the Holy Spirit, the finger of God. And at the moment of the incarnation, the finger of God, the Holy Spirit wrote into our human nature the word of God, the incarnation. And so Jesus is mystically signifying by this act, the moment of the incarnation, which makes it possible for adulteresses to be forgiven. And the mercy of God is now available. So all those things kind of, they jump off the page and they become so much more illuminating if you’re able to see even a little bit of the Greek texts there. So it’s always helpful. The more you know of the original languages of scripture, the better off you’re going to be to find the hidden treasures that you find there.

Trent Horn: Oh no, I agree. And as a recommendation to our listeners, if you’d like some good resources on that, Verbum Logos Bible Software has great concordances that you can read the text and then click on the word and see the Greek and they’ll transliterate it for you so that if you’re worried about reading the foreign letters, you don’t have to worry. Though with Greek, it actually only takes about a few days actually to learn the letters themselves. It’s not like learning Hebrew. Greek, you can get that pretty quick. A lot of letters are pretty similar to the English alphabet.

Trent Horn: Well, we reached the end of our time together, but we unearthed a fair amount of treasure. Excellent expedition, done. Father Walshe, any other resources you would recommend for our listeners on this subject or for them? Just practical tips and reading, studying, reflecting on scripture.

Fr. Walshe: Two quick things. One is, again, pay attention to every word and even ask yourself, what’s the definition of that word? What does that word mean? The more detail, the more you dig, the more you’ll find. There’s treasures in every pocket of scripture. And secondly, as far as resources, go to the fathers of the Church, go to the doctors of the Church, read the commentaries by those first great theologians in our Catholic tradition, they’re astounding. And they’re practicing the very things I’m talking about here. This is not original with me.

Trent Horn: Right.

Fr. Walshe: This is just me plagiarizing off the fathers and doctors of the Church. So go and read them and you’ll see what I’m talking about carried out to perfection.

Trent Horn: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for being here and thank you everyone listening. I hope this was edifying for you and I hope that you all have a very blessed day.

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