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 MACCABEES 7:1-2, 9-14 FIRST READING
(“We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”)
1. How many brothers were arrested and who was with them? 2 Maccabees 7:1
2. What did the king do to them? Why did he do this and of what was this in violation? 2 Maccabees 7:1
3. What did one of the brothers say in speaking for the other brothers? 2 Maccabees 7:2
4. What would they rather do than transgress the laws of whom? 2 Maccabees 7:2
5. After killing the first brother what did they do to the second brother and what did he say? 2 Maccabees 7:7-9
6. Who is the King of the world and for what will he raise us up? 1 Timothy 6:14-15, 2 Maccabees 7:9
7. What happened to the third brother and what did he say? 2 Maccabees 7:10-11
8. At what did the king and his attendants marvel, and for what reason? 2 Maccabees 7:12
9. What happened to the fourth brother and what did he choose to do at the hands of men?2 Maccabees 7:13-14
10. What was the fourth brother’s God-given hope and what did he say there would not be for the torturers? 2 Maccabees 7:14
11. When we die who gives back both breath and life and for what reason? 2 Maccabees 7:23
12. What does the Son, Jesus, do? John 5:19-30.
Personal – In what way have you been willing to suffer for your belief in Jesus? What have you said lately to those around you that took courage to say to them? Pray and ask God to give you the courage to stand up for what you believe in.
THIRD DAY READ 2 THESSALONIANS 2:16-3:5 SECOND READING
(“…console your hearts and strengthen them for every good work and word.”)
1. What did God our Father in his mercy give us? 2 Thessalonians 2:16
2. What does God do for your heart and for what reason does he do this? 2 Thessalonians 2:17
3. For what reason did Paul and the others ask the brothers to pray for them? 2 Thessalonians 3:1
4. What is another reason that Paul asks others to pray for them? Colossians 4:3-4
5. Paul asks them to pray that they be delivered from whom? 2 Thessalonians 3:2
6. What is it that not every man has and that the Lord always keeps? 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3
7. What two things does the Lord do for you against the evil one? 2 Thessalonians 3:3
8. How does God strengthen us? Psalm 119:28, Ephesians 3:16
9. How do we receive this strength? Acts 3:16
10. About what are Paul and the others confident in the Lord? 2 Thessalonians 3:4
11. In what are they asking the Lord to rule their hearts? 2 Thessalonians 3:5
12. How do we speak and of what is God the tester? 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Personal – In what way has God strengthened you for every good work and word through his Word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit this past week? Be specific.
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 20:27-38 GOSPEL
(“God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.”)
1. Who came forward to pose a problem to Jesus and what did they claim? Luke 20:27-28
2. What was the problem they proposed to Jesus? Luke 20:28-33
3. What did Jesus say children of this age do? Luke 20:34
4. What do those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead do in regard to marriage? Luke 20:35
5. What do those judged worthy become like and what will not happen to them? Luke 20:36
6. Who are the ones that will rise? Luke 20:36
7. What did Moses in the passage about the bush show? Luke 20:37
8. Who does not have God and who does have God? Luke 20:38
9. For what are we alive? Luke 20:38
10. What does Corinthians say about being raised up from the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
11. What does it take to believe in Christ’s resurrection? Acts 20:21.
Personal – In what way have you already been resurrected and to what do you look forward? In what way do others see the resurrected Christ living in you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
(“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15.
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 MACCABEES 7:1-2, 9-14
This passage has a powerful message of justice and resurrection. Can you imagine how horrible it must have been for that mother to watch each one of her seven sons being tortured and then being executed? Can you just imagine the pain in her heart as she leans closely to her last remaining son and encouraging him to save his life by giving it up for God (Matthew 16:25)? What tremendous courage this mother, who is herself later tortured and murdered, and her sons had. We need to reflect on this story.
The fear of pain and death was not in their responses because the hunger and thirst to be at one with God was greater. We must not dismiss this passage as an exaggerated story told to make a point. These young men loved life as much as you or I do. They dreamed about their futures just like you and I do. They knew that to refuse this command meant torture and death. Could we do the same? Today, here in our society, we are being threatened with such a barrage of filth in our movies, television, magazines and now even in our home video tape recordings. The level of filth and profit is so high that like Habakkuk (1:2), we cry out, how long will I call for help, and you do not hear?
The degree of brutality has never been equaled as it has here in the United States when we look at the 25 million unborn babies we have murdered. Our nation is being savagely attacked, and our throats are being slashed by the incredibly overwhelming use of drugs. The primary motive for this plague of evil is greed and profit. Where are men like these brothers who will stand up and protest against these outrages? Where are these men who will die if they have to? The questions upon us today are: Do we really believe in the Resurrection? Do we really believe that Jesus died to make all men free and live forever with him? I pray that our nation will come forth and give us men and women like the spiritual giants in today’s passage. I pray with confidence because he tells us that he will never turn away anyone who calls out to him (John 6:37).
2 THESSALONIANS 2:16-3:5
Paul knew that the pressures of persecutions, apathy among the people, worldliness of the people and false teachers would cause a wavering of the faith and a looseness with the truth. He exhorted them to stand firm in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ passed on to us through scripture and the teachings of the church. We, too, are being confronted with these temptations that try to turn us away from God. We need to more than ever hold onto the truth. This is found in the teachings of Jesus, simply because our lives depend on it.
We must never forget the reality of his life and love. Paul is not only exhorting the people, but he is also warning them about the dangers of evil men in their midst. He is telling them that beneath the surface calm of daily living is the struggle that goes on among invisible spiritual powers. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we really believe that? Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above (Ephesians 6:12). These evil rulers, satanic beings and evil princes of darkness are not people, but fallen angels over whom Satan has control. They are not fantasies; they are very real. We need only to look around and see how the drugs are tearing Americans’ throats open.
The pornography industry is colossal and it is in every city in the United States. Abortion or murder is accepted and legally protected in all parts of this great nation. Is there any doubt that these demons of Satan are active in these abominations that are crippling our nation? When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and follow the teachings of our Catholic Church, Satan becomes our arch-enemy. He is out to kill us, and we must remember that the Spirit within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus is the only answer to our problems and he has won the victory over Satan for us. He is the one who will strengthen us and guard us against the evil one (2 Thess. 3:3). Let us in the Lord follow the teachings of the church with the same obedience and confidence that Paul had in the Thessalonians.
The Sadducees were a group of conservative religious leaders who honored only the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead because they could not find any mention of it in their first five books of the Old Testament. They tried to trick Jesus with a question that always bothered the Pharisees. Jesus answered their real question about resurrection after he addressed their other question on marriage. Jesus based his response on the writings of Moses. The Sadducees respected Moses so much that they honored only the books that dealt with him and his ancestors.
Jesus knew that they respected Moses and his answers upheld belief in the resurrection. Jesus’ answer on marriage didn’t mean that people will not recognize their spouses when they get to heaven; he meant that heaven is not an extension of life as we know it here on earth. Jesus talks about those who are counted worthy of being raised from the dead to heavenly life. We might ask ourselves: What does it mean to be worthy of being raised to heavenly life? We are told that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we shall not perish, rather we shall have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus told them that they can’t compare what we have on earth with what we will have in heaven. He answered their question about “the resurrection” by showing that the writings of Moses proved that there is a resurrection. Moses’ God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This means that the Lord is some person’s God, which means that person is alive, not dead. God sees all men who believe in him as living children of him.
We need to ask ourselves this question: Do we believe in the resurrection? Will we rise from the dead like Jesus did? Will we some day be reunited in heaven with all of our loved ones who died before us? We are told in Scripture to confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and then we are his children and we will be with him forever. The real question for the Sadducees was: “Is the Resurrection real?” God said “YES” when he said that all who believe in his Son will not die but live forever in heaven (John 3:16).
The first reading shows that hunger and thirst for God was much stronger than the fear of pain and death. The second reading calls us to stand firm in the teaching of scripture and the teachings of our beloved church. The gospel tells us that heaven is not an extension of life as we know it here on earth.
This week, let all who come in contact with you see that the message of justice and resurrection is alive in you. Let your prayers be heard in your home. Do not be afraid to give thanks and praise to God for something that happens to you in public. Look around and see where opportunities to witness are present. Your family will see and experience this courage and follow your example.