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 2 KINGS 5:14-17 FIRST READING
(“So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God.”)
1. Who went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times, what made him do it and who was the man of God? 2 Kings 5:14, 2 Kings 5:8
2. Who was Naaman and what was wrong with him? 2 Kings 5:1
3. What happened to his flesh when he plunged into the Jordan seven times? 2 Kings 5:14
4. What does Jesus say will happen to us through his word? John 15:3
5. After being cleansed where did he go, and with whom did he go? 2 Kings 5:15
6. As he stood before Elisha, what did he say about God and what did he offer the prophet? 2 Kings 5:15
7. Where did he say that there is no God in all the world but there? 2 Kings 5:15
8. What did Elisha say about the gift? 2 Kings 5:16
9. For what did Naaman ask, and for what reason? 2 Kings 5:17
Personal – In what way have you been cleansed or healed through your obedience to the Word of God? Be specific.
THIRD DAY READ 2 TIMOTHY 2:8-13 SECOND READING
(“There is no chaining the Word of God.”)
1. Of whom is Jesus Christ a descendant and what was the gospel being preached? 2 Timothy 2:8
2. Who was preaching this gospel and in so doing, how does he suffer? 2 Timothy 1:1 and 2 Timothy 2:8-9
3. As he suffers, even to the point of being thrown into chains, of what does he say there is no chaining? 2 Timothy 2:9
4. Why does he bear all of this and for what reason? 2 Tim 2:10
5. On what can you depend? 2 Timothy 2:11
6. What does it mean to die with him? Romans 6:1-11
7. What will happen if we persevere to the end? 2 Timothy 2:12
8. What will happen if we deny him? 2 Timothy 2:12
9. If we are unfaithful, what will he do and for what reason? 2 Timothy 2:13
10. What does 1 Corinthians 1:9 say that God is?
Personal – In what way have you died with Jesus? How have you faced a hardship among your family, work, or circle of friends because of your witnessing to the power of Christ in your life?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 17:11-19 GOSPEL
(“Stand up and go your way; your faith has been your salvation.”)
1. On Jesus journey to Jerusalem what borders did he pass along? See if you can find this on your bible map. Luke 17:11
2. As he was entering a village who met him and what did they keep? Luke 17:12
3. As they raised their voices, what did they say to him and how did they address him? Luke 17:13
4. When Jesus saw them, what was his response to them? Luke 17:14
5. What happened to them when they went on their way as he told them? Luke 17:14
6. What did one of them do realizing he had been cured? Luke 17:15
7. What did he do at the feet of Jesus and of what did he speak? Luke 17:16
8. What was the man and what did Jesus take the occasion to say? Luke 17:16-17
9. What did they not return to do and what did he call the one man who did? Luke 17:18
10. What did he tell the one man to do? Luke 17:19
11. What did Jesus say it was that saved the man? Luke 17:19
12. What did Jesus say to the woman who was bleeding? Matthew 9:22
Personal– In what way have you thanked God this week and for what have you thanked him? Have you received healing in any way? What do you believe healed you, or what may be blocking you from being healed?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 98:1-4
(“The Lord has made his salvation known”.)
Read and meditate on Psalm 98:1-4.
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
2 KINGS 5:14-17
This is a great passage that deals with the sin of pride and the core of faith. Naaman was the commander-in-chief of the Syrian army and also a national hero. He was stricken with the dreaded disease of leprosy and would consider anything or anyone who could heal him. Leprosy, much like AIDS today, was one of the most feared diseases of that time. There was no cure and if it was determined to be bad enough, a person would be removed from the community and sent into exile.
Naaman’s disease was probably still in its early stages. Naaman’s wife was told by her servant that a prophet of God in Israel could cure him. He went to the prophet’s home and Elisha told him to go and bathe himself in the Jordan river and he would be cured. Naaman was insulted at being told to do such a trivial thing in such a common, dirty river like the Jordan. He was advised by his counselor to follow the prophet’s command and he was then healed of his leprosy.
Naaman was a great hero and he was used to getting respect and he was outraged when Elisha treated him like an average person. We need to learn the same lesson that Naaman learned, that obedience to God begins with humility. We too must believe that his way is much better than our own. We must always remember that God’s ways are best and God can use anything to accomplish his purposes. Naaman then was so impressed with the Lord of Israel that he wanted to take two quantities of earth and make an earth altar and give worship to the God of Elisha, who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Like Naaman, obedience to God will also bring us healing and blessings.
2 TIMOTHY 2:8-13
Paul is really exhorting us to be courageous in our Christian walk and not to be afraid of suffering. He tells Timothy that he must teach others so that they may pass on the Good News. We are called to do that today, and we also need to know that suffering, persecution and, possibly, even death will be the hardship that goes with being an ambassador for Christ. False teachers were a problem in those days as they are in ours. The incarnation of Jesus Christ was the act of God voluntarily assuming a human body and soul, a human nature. He became a man without ceasing to be God, a human being, and his name was Jesus. He did not give up his divinity to become human. He became subject to place, time and many other human limitations. He was, however, not subject to sin and he was able to show us everything about God’s character in human terms. Paul very clearly states that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Any other view than this is not biblical. The truth about Jesus then was no more popular than it is today in our time.
Today, Jesus is Lord only to a receptive heart, as it was in Paul’s time. Paul’s declaration to the Jews that Jesus was God was an insult, and they condemned him for blasphemy. The Romans were outraged because they worshipped the emperor as God (Philippians 4:22). The Greeks were disgusted because humanity soiled divine status (Acts 11:20-21). Many of these different cultures converted to Christianity only when, in faith, they believed in his being God and fully human.
Today we are free to choose to have a receptive heart. We see in scripture that God has chosen us first. It is in being obedient to his choice that we can really ever be totally free. This is a mystery that our humanity cannot fully understand, but we can be very grateful that he has chosen us. God is totally faithful to us; even in the middle of our present hardships he is with us, and he gives us the strength to persevere (1 Cor. 10:13). He tells us that someday we will live eternally with him and share in the administration of the kingdom (Matthew 16:24-27). We may be faith less in our times of trial and hardship but Jesus remains faithful to his promise to be with us, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20).
We have learned that leprosy was a disease that was contagious and many times fatal, and the person was banned from his community. His life was one of suffering, horror, rejection, and finally death alone and unwanted. A leper had to announce his presence if he came into contact with a non-leper. If a leper thought he was cured, he had to present himself to the priest and be declared clean (Leviticus 14). Jesus sends the ten lepers to the priest before they were healed. Their obedience in faith resulted in their being healed.
We need to reflect on our own level of faith. Do we act upon our being told by Jesus that we, too, have been healed (Matthew 8:17)? We see only one healed leper return to give thanks and to realize that because he believed, his cure became possible. God does not demand that we thank him for healing us, but in our spirit of thankfulness our faith grows more and more to his delight. It is significant that Jesus mentioned that the only thankful leper was a Samaritan, who because of his race was despised by the Jews as idolatrous riff-raff. We see that the grace of God is for everyone and yet not everyone is grateful.
Jesus shows us in these verses that his healing power is just waiting to be released, that all we have to do is have faith, and step out and act upon that faith. Jesus changed a situation for those lepers that probably had been going on for several years. He was immediately responsive to the plea of these untouchables. They were not able to live a normal life and be with their families but Jesus changed that and restored them to good health. Jesus never gives up on us no matter how incurable, or untouchable, we may be. Sometimes we are tempted to give up on people or situations which have not changed for many years.
God can change the unchangeable and we need to let the change begin with ourselves. We need to believe that he can cure us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We then need to come and kneel before Jesus and say, “Thank you for dying for me even while I was still sinning” (Romans 5:8). Our faith will grow; and the “unclean” in our families, in our churches, in our country, and on our planet earth will see in us that healing light of Christ, the Morning Star (2 Peter 1:19). They too will become healed and run through the countryside joyfully singing out the praises of a loving God who will some day cleanse the earth from sin, and there will be no more sickness and death (Matthew 8:17).
In the first reading, we saw pride prevent a cure; then we saw obedience bring the cure. In the second reading, we were encouraged to endure suffering for the sake of preaching the Good News. In the Gospel, we saw the joy of the Lord over the thankful, unclean one being cured.
This week, let us show our thanks to the Lord for healing us by doing something specific for the “unclean,” like a day of fasting or a week of daily prayer for a specific person at a specific time. Maybe spend some time at a soup kitchen or help with the homeless, etc. Let the unwanted see that they are wanted by Christ through you this week.