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.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ AMOS 6:1, 4-7 FIRST READING
(“They are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph.”)
1. Woe to whom in Zion, and to whom on the mount in Samaria? Amos 6:1.
2. With whom do the people of Israel have recourse? Amos 6:1
3. What do you eat and on what do you lie? Amos 6:4
4. What does the Lord say about those who take care of themselves and feed off of choice lambs and fatted calves? Ezekiel 34:3, 10
5. On the day the Lord punishes Israel for her sins, what will he tear down? Amos 3:14-15
6. Like David, what do they do? Amos 6:5
7. What do they drink and what do they do with the best oils? Amos 6:6
8. By what are they not made ill? Amos 6:6
9. What did those in Sodom do? Ezekiel 16:49
10. What will they be the first to go into, and what will be done away with? Amos 6:7
Personal – In what way have you become complacent with what you eat and where you sleep? In what way do you have more than you need? In what way can you benefit others by your excess?
THIRD DAY READ 1 TIMOTHY 6:11-16 SECOND READING
(“He is the blessed and only ruler the King of kings and Lord of lords.”)
1. Man of God that you are, from what are you to flee? 1 Timothy 6:10
2. What six things are you to seek? 1 Timothy 6:11
3. Of what are you to fight the good fight and take hold of? 1 Timothy 6:12
4. You were called to this when you did what, and in whose presence? 1 Timothy 6:12
5. What did Paul say awaited him for fighting the good fight of faith? 2 Timothy 4:7-8
6. What does God do for all and what did Jesus do? 1 Timothy 6:13
7. With what are we charged, how are we to do this, and until when? 1 Timothy 6:14
8. When will God bring this appearance to pass? 1 Timothy 6:15
9. Who is Jesus Christ? 1 Timothy 6:15
10. What does he alone have, and where does he dwell? 1 Timothy 6:16
11. What can no human being do and what two things must we show Jesus? 1 Timothy 6:16
Personal – This past week, what have you been seeking, and what has occupied your mind the most? Who or what has been your ruler? If you can see the opposites of the six things you are to seek according to 1 Timothy 6:11, and if any of these have crept into your life, confess them; then come back to seeking what God’s Word tells you.
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 16:19-31 GOSPEL
(“They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.”)
1. As Jesus spoke to his disciples, what did he say there once was? How was he dressed, and how did he eat? Luke 16:19
2. Who was at his gate, what was he, and with what was he covered? Luke 16:20
3. What did Lazarus long to eat and what did the dogs do? Luke 16:21
4. What eventually happened to the beggar, and what happened to him after that? Luke 16:22
5. What happened to the rich man and what happened to him after that? Luke 16:22
6. Where was the rich man, what was happening to him, and what did he see? Luke 16:23
7. What did he call out and what was Abraham’s response? Luke 16:24-25
8. What was fixed between them and what happens to those who try to cross from either side? Luke 16:26
9. What did the rich man ask Father Abraham to do, for what reason, and what was his reply? Luke 16:27-29
10. What did the rich man say and what did he say they would do? Luke 16:30
11. Abraham said if they did not listen to whom, they would not be convinced even if one should what? Luke 16:31
Personal – In what way have you noticed a poor person and responded to his need this week? A poor person is one lacking in knowing God’s love through Jesus, a lonely person, a widow, an orphan, or someone lacking their daily bread and shelter.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 146:7-10
(“The Lord sets captives free.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 146:7-10.
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
AMOS 6:1, 4-7
In Amos we find God calling a man when he was occupied in his daily work (1:1). God called him with his shepherd’s crook in his hand, and sent him forth to gather straying people instead of straying sheep. Amos was not the only prophet of his day. No doubt, as a boy, he had known Jonah, and possibly Elisha. Hosea was a co-worker of his. When Amos’ work was ending, the great Isaiah and Micah appeared.
These men, when they were boys, might have heard Amos proclaim the word of God on one of his tours. The two kingdoms of Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) were entering tremendous prosperity. The idea of surrounding nations giving them any trouble was not even imagined. The nation was at peace and all that the people thought of was pleasure and having a good time. God tried to arouse his people to a sense of their danger by sending them Amos.
Amos told them about the great cities to the north, east, and west (including Gath, the hometown of Goliath) that once were greater than Israel and Judah but that they had been destroyed because of the pride of their people. He warned that this was going to happen to Israel also because of the arrogance and pride of her people. Amos leveled his attack at the people living in a lifestyle that consisted of wealth and being very comfortable. He said this was a false security and that God was displeased with people who did not use their wealth to help the unfortunate.
Ivory symbolizes great wealth and extravagance. This gross waste of resources should have been used to help the poor. Amos told them that God wanted them to be concerned for others, especially those who could not help themselves. The kingdom of God has no place for selfishness or indifference.
We, in the United States, need to really reflect on this passage, because we too indulge in incredible extravagances with our desires and wishes. We spend billions of dollars on cosmetics, while millions of people are starving. We spend more on dog food in this country than many nations spend on their entire budget. We kill more unborn babies in one year than all of the military personnel who have died in battle since the country began. In less than fifty years, Israel was destroyed because she did not listen to God through his prophets. We need to pray that the United States will heed God’s powerful warning and repent and return to his Holy Word.
1 TIMOTHY 6:11-16
Paul is telling Timothy that when you are involved in a spiritual battle, it is as important knowing when to run as it is knowing when to fight. Timothy is warned to run from anything or anyone who produced evil thoughts. A wise person will realize that removing one’s self from the scene of temptation is many times safer than trying to fight off the temptation. It is in these battles of temptation that our faith is severely tested.
We are to treasure our faith in Christ and respond, not to the temptation, but to the power of the presence of God in our lives. God will speak to us through our conscience in times of temptation. When we are walking with God, he will let us know the difference between right and wrong. We need to follow our conscience and do what is right in faith. Pilate knew the truth about Jesus. He knew he was innocent but he chose to reject the truth. Pilate violated his own conscience.
It is a tragedy when we fail to recognize the truth; but like Pilate, it is a greater tragedy when we recognize the truth but refuse to act on it. We are being told to fight the good fight today, just as Timothy was told by Paul. The day will come when all the believers who have fought the good fight will be with Christ in his Kingdom.
Paul describes to Timothy the type of God who will be with us at the end of the good fight. We are told that he is ageless and that all who have gone before us and all who come after us, believing in him, will be alive with him forever. He is a God who will never die. He is a God infinitely powerful, having dominion over everything; yet he wants to share all with us. Paul’s message to Timothy is a message to you and me, and that is: Let us not put our trust in anything or anyone else but JESUS, because only he alone is permanent.
Wealth was considered by the Pharisees to be a proof of righteousness. Today many people yield to the wealthy because they appear to be right on so many issues. Jesus tells us about a rich man who was punished and also about a poor man who was rewarded. We need to be very careful in the realization that the rich man was not punished because of his wealth; rather he was punished because of his selfishness.
He allowed Lazarus to eat the scraps at his table and take home whatever he wanted that was to be thrown away. The rich man was in hell, not for what he did, but rather for what he did not do. The rich man feasted in luxury every day in a country where the people were fortunate if they ate meat once a week. Lazarus was waiting for the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. We need to remember that in those days, there were no knives, forks or napkins. Food was eaten with the hands. The hands were cleansed by wiping them on chunks of bread, which were then thrown away. This is what Lazarus waited to eat.
We need also to remember that Lazarus was a beggar with terrible running sores all over his body and even the dogs feasted on him. Can you picture the incredible contrast between the two men? Judgment day brought justice to both men and the rich man suffers forever in eternity while Lazarus rests in the arms of Abraham (Hebrew concept of heaven).
The rich man never ordered Lazarus removed from his gate. He did not kick him in passing. He was not deliberately cruel to him. The great sin of the rich man was that HE NEVER EVEN NOTICED HIM. He thought it perfectly natural that the beggar be accepted as part of the landscape. He also thought it acceptable that Lazarus should lie in pain and hunger while he wallowed in luxury.
We need to reflect on our own status in today’s world. The hungry, the homeless, the aborted, the abandoned, the mentally sick, and the poor are all around us. Do we think ourselves generous if the unfortunate people eat what we throw away? We need to make sure that our sin today is not the horrible sin of omission. What we fail to do to the least among us, we fail to do to Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).
The first reading told us not to become insulated toward the people’s needs. The second reading told us to listen to our conscience. The Gospel tells us not to ignore the suffering of others.
This week, as our conscience leads us, visit and comfort someone who is suffering, an old person, a relative, a friend, someone in a rest home, prison. Jesus tells us in scripture, “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)