THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ GENESIS 18:1-10 FIRST READING
(“…he waited on them under the tree while they ate.”)
- To whom did the Lord appear by the great tree at Mamre, where was he sitting, and what was happening to the day? Genesis 18-l
- When he looked up, what did he see and what did he do? Genesis 18:2
- What are two of these men called? Genesis 19:1
- What did Abraham say to them? Genesis 18:3
- Why did he want to bring them water? Genesis 18:4
- What did Abraham call himself, and why did he want them to have food? Genesis 18:5
- How did Abraham enter the tent, and what did he say to his wife, Sarah? Genesis 18:6
- How did he go to the herd, and after picking out a tender choice steer, to whom did he give it for preparation?Genesis 18:7
- What else did he get for them, and what did he do, and continue to do as they sat eating under the tree? Genesis 18:8
- What did they ask Abraham, what was his reply, what did one of them say about Sarah and what was Sarah doing? Genesis 18:9-10
Personal – In what way do you show hospitality to those passing your way? Who are the messengers of the Lord in your life? How do you treat them?
THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 1:24-28 SECOND READING
(“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,”)
- Who is speaking in verses 24-28 of Colossians, and to what is he a minister? Colossians 1:23
- Where does he find his joy? Colossians 1:24
- Where does he fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, and for whose sake does he do this? Colossians 1:24
- What does he call his body? Colossians 1:24
- What did Paul become to this church, through the commission of whom, and to do what? Colossians 1:25
- To whom has he revealed the mystery that was hidden from ages and generations past? Colossians 1:26
- What is the mystery that God has willed to make known? Colossians 1:27
- What is this for which you hope? Colossians 1:27
- What are we to proclaim, and how are we to do it? Colossians 1:28
- What is useful for teaching and admonishing one another? 2 Timothy 3:16
Personal – In what way has the mystery of Christ in you been revealed to others? When did you first realize that he dwells in you, and what change took place in you when you realized this?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 10:38-42 GOSPEL
(“There is need of only one thing.”)
- Who welcomed Jesus to her home, and where was this located? Luke 10:38, John 11:l
- What was her sister’s name, and what two things did she do? Luke 10:39
- What did God the Father tell us to do? Mark 9:7
- What did Moses say about Jesus? Deut. 18:15 and Acts 3:22
- With what was Martha busy, and what did she say to Jesus? Luke 10:40
- What did Martha tell Jesus to do? Luke 10:40
- What was the Lord’s reply? Luke 10:41
- What is the one thing only that is required? Psalm 27:4
- Who had chosen the better portion? Luke 10:42
- What did he say would not happen to Mary? Luke 10:42
Personal – This past week in what way have you not been distracted by duty in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him? In what way have you heard his voice and responded? Share this with someone.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 15:2-5
(“He who walks blamelessly and does justice,”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 15:2-5.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The story illustrates Eastern hospitality in several ways. In Abraham’s day, a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality, in the sharing of his home and food. Even traveling strangers were accorded treatment that would be given to highly honored guests. Meeting another’s need for food or shelter was and still is today one of the most immediate and practical ways to obey God and do his will.
We can see Abraham trying to get a cool breeze and looking out of the opening of his tent on a very hot day in the desert. He probably was startled when he saw the three men coming toward him. He immediately gave them all of his attention. He addressed one of his guests as “my lord” and yet he addressed himself as a servant. He acted like they would be doing him a favor by letting him serve them and attend to their needs. He washed their feet in accordance with the local custom. This was not only a pleasant comfort but also a sign of genuine respect. This was a courtesy to refresh a traveler in a hot, dusty climate like Mamre. He then prepared his food from his best source of crops and the meat came from choice animals. He bowed down to them and stood back and waited upon them like a true servant.
Tradition reflects on the three angels as the Trinity. We may well reflect on the hospitality that Abraham extends to his guests and try to bring it into our manner of conduct. Do people see in my actions the role of a servant, or do we insist on our needs being met first? We are called on to meet the needs of anyone who needs help. Jesus, in Philippians 2:6-11, shows us how to take on the role of a servant. We need to look with humility and joy towards others, and they need to see in our service the sign of God’s love and peace in us.
Paul compares his suffering as completing the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Jesus died to save the church, but the church must continue on in a broken lonely world. Paul experienced incredible rejection and physical danger in bringing his message of Good News to a many times more hostile world. Paul’s legacy to us is that we too are called today to bring the marvelous mystery of Christ to all people, and if such service involves suffering, sacrifice, and even death, then that is the filling up and sharing the suffering of Christ. Paul’s task was to bring to men a new discovery, a mystery that was now revealed.
Paul’s great gift to our Christian faith and to the world itself was that Christ was the God of not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. Paul totally destroyed the idea that God’s love and mercy were for only a special nation or privileged people. Our God is a God of all people, poor people, rich people, young people, old people, and all nationalities.
Had it not been for Paul we might have been nothing more than a new sect of Judaism. The Jews would have refused to believe that he was the God of Gentiles, and that would have been blasphemous. The gnostic would have never believed that every man could be taught enough knowledge necessary for salvation. The gnostics believe that salvation was only for the spiritual elite and the chosen few.
Most educators today have agreed that it is impossible to teach knowledge to every person because not everyone is capable of learning it. We can look around today and see that not everyone has the same gifts. There are gifts which some will never attain. There are those who are color-blind and to whom the wonders of art mean nothing. There are those who are tone deaf and the glory of music does not exist. Not everyone can be a singer, a writer, a student, or a preacher. These are gifts which some will never possess. There are privileges a person will never enjoy. There are some heights of fame and glory that some will never scale but the mystery that Paul brought to the world through his preaching was that to everyone there is available the Good News of the Gospel, and that is the love of God in Christ Jesus who dwells within each one of us.
This Good News is the transforming power which brings holiness into life itself. That is why Paul can say he rejoices in his suffering for us. He was bringing the Good News and making the Word of God fully known. Today you and I are called to continue and we too are to rejoice in our sufferings as we bring the Good News, and, like Paul, make the Word of God fully known to all men.
In the first reading, Abraham’s anxiety to entertain his guests leaves us almost winded. Abraham hastened into the tent. He ran to the herd. He had a servant quickly prepare a meal. Then in our Gospel reading, we see Martha rushing about and even complaining about Mary’s lack of concern. To judge from the story of the Samaritan, Martha should have been praised for her practical service to Jesus. Jesus, in fact, challenges her priorities.
The whole gospel is not contained in loving your neighbor, no matter how important that is. Christian discipleship is first and foremost surrendering to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There must be a quiet time to listen to his Word. Devotion to Jesus is the “one thing” that is required. Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first his kingship and all else will be added unto you.” This kind of relationship shows itself in loving service, but without prayer, care for other’s needs may not be love.
Today’s Gospel shows us a tension between temperaments. Some people are naturally dynamos of activity; others are normally quiet. Some people find it very hard to just sit and meditate alone with the Lord. There are those who would find it very uncomfortable to go into an active ministry. God needs his Mary and Martha’s too. Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (3:1).
In today’s Gospel Luke shows us how the incident between Mary and Martha illustrates the primary love of God with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind. Jesus points out to Martha that there is a proper time for prayer and contemplation, for studying scripture and listening to God, just as there is a proper time for action.
We need only to think where Jesus was going when this happened. He was on his way to Jerusalem – to die. His whole being was taken up with the intensity to bend his will to the will of God. Jesus wanted comfort, peace, solace, and Martha wanted to lay on him a fantastic meal and a spotlessly clean house. That was not what Jesus needed or wanted but it was what Martha wanted. Mary listened to his needs and Martha in her kindness assumed his needs. Jesus said “one thing is necessary,” and in probability, a small simple meal would have of been enough. This is one of our great difficulties in life. We want to be kind to people, but we want to be kind to them in our way. We get hurt when our way is not the necessary way. We need to forget our plans and listen to what he or she needs. Mary understood Jesus’ needs but Martha did not. Let us, as Mary, listen, listen………….
The first reading tells us that a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality. The second reading tells us that the Good News of the Gospel is available to everyone. The Gospel reveals that it is God’s agenda, not ours that is to be followed.
Let us be available as Abraham and a servant to others, and let the mystery of Christ’s presence within us be available to all we meet. Mary listened to Christ and she heard his heart as well as his words; let us do no less.
We can be present to our families only when we are listening and understanding what they are saying and not saying. The essence of the Christian life is not doing, but rather it is dying. It is in dying to one’s own needs and being available to listen and respond to other’s needs.