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 REVELATION 11:19; 12:1-6, 10 FIRST READING
(“Her child was caught up to God and his throne.”)
1. When God’s temple in heaven was opened, what could be seen, and what was happening? Revelation 11:19
2. What was in the ark of the covenant? Hebrews 9:4
3. What did Jesus say would happen before the persecution? Luke 21:5-12
4. What appeared in the sky, who was clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and twelve stars as a crown on her head? Revelation 12:1
5. What was happening to the woman? Revelation 12:2
6. What did God say to the woman after she sinned? Genesis 3:16
7. What was another sign that appeared in the sky? Revelation 12:3
8. What did the tail of the dragon do, who did it stand before, and what was it about to do? Revelation 12:4
9. To what did the woman give birth, what was he destined to do, and what happened to him? Revelation 12:5
10. Where did the woman go, and what happened to her? Revelation 12:6
11. What did a loud voice in heaven say, and who was cast out? Revelation 12:10
Personal – How has Satan been accusing you, and how has God protected you from him?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26 SECOND READING
(“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”)
1. What has Christ done, and what is he to those who have fallen asleep? 1 Corinthians 15:20
2. What did God the Father give us in his great mercy? 1 Peter 1:3-4
3. What will happen to our mortal bodies, and how does it happen? Romans 8:11
4. How did death come, and how did the resurrection of the dead come? 1 Corinthians 15:21
5. How did death come to man? Genesis 3:17-19 and Romans 5:12-18
6. Just as in Adam who dies, so too in Christ who is brought to life? 1 Corinthians 15:22
7. In what order are they brought to life, and then what happens? 1 Corinthians 15:23-24
8. How long must he reign? 1 Corinthians 15:25
9. What is the last enemy to be destroyed? 1 Corinthians 15:26
10. What did Jesus Christ do? 2 Timothy 1:10
Personal – When you have faced the fear of death in your life, have you been able to overcome that fear through Christ’s resurrection?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 1:39-56 GOSPEL
(“He has thrown down rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly.”)
1. Who traveled to the hill country to a town of Judah, whose house did she enter, and who did she greet? Luke 1:39-40
2. What did the baby do that was in Elizabeth’s womb, with what was she filled, and with what did she cry out? Luke 1:41-42
3. What was Elizabeth’s response? Luke 1:43-44
Personal – What is your response to the presence of God in your life?
4. What did Elizabeth say for what was Mary blessed? Luke 1:45
5. What did Mary say her soul proclaimed, and in what did her spirit rejoice? Luke 1:46-47
6. Who and what is the joy of my soul? Isaiah 61:10
7. What has the Lord looked upon, and what would all ages call her? Luke 1:48
8. What does God do for the lowly? Psalm 113:7
9. What has the mighty one done for Mary, what does she say about his name, and to whom is his mercy? Luke 1:49-50
10. What has he shown, what has he done with the arrogant of mind and heart, and the rulers? Luke 1:51-52
11. What has he done with the lowly, the hungry and the rich? Luke 1:52-53
12. What has he done to Israel, and to what was it according? Luke 1:54-55
13. How long did Mary remain with Elizabeth, and then where did she go? Luke 1:56
Personal – How can you identify with Mary’s lowliness? In what way has God lifted you up, or in what way has he brought you down?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 45:10-12, 16
(“They are borne in with gladness and joy;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 45:10-12, 16.
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
REVELATION 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
John was writing this passage for a persecuted church to take heart. The woman stands for God’s faithful people (the church) and Mary, the Mother of Christ, the Messiah. The pain of childbirth refers to the sufferings of the early church, the flight into the desert is also a description of pain. The sun covering the woman is an image of the glory of Mary, the mother of the Messiah. The powers of evil are represented by a dragon who fights bitterly to kill the Messiah at birth but fails.
Jesus ultimately fulfills his mission by dying on the cross for the sins of the world and triumphantly returns to the throne of God. Mary also has triumphed in her role of obedience and humility. The dragon bent on destruction is Satan, and we are reminded that the struggle of Christians today is part of a much greater conflict.
The message of today’s reading is that although Satan is strong and powerful and his attack is fierce, his time is short. He has been overpowered by Christ. God’s people at all times and everywhere are under his sovereign protection. This reading brings out the closeness between Christ our Messiah and his Blessed Mother. Mary was chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of God. She was intimately connected with her Son in the completion of this divine plan. Satan directed much opposition to Mary, but she was triumphant in her mission here on earth. We celebrate Mary’s assumption into heaven because we believe that, after Christ, she occupies the next highest place of glory.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26
In today’s reading Paul is proving that we shall all rise from the dead one day. The Christian converts of Corinth were not denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but the resurrection of the body. Paul was very strong and clear in his reply that if you denied the resurrection of the body, then you have denied the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, you have emptied the Christian message of its truth and the Christian life of its reality.
Paul goes on to tell them that one of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith which they have accepted was Christ’s resurrection. Paul tells them that if it is for this life only that we hope, we of all people are most to be pitied. This means that if there was no resurrection for us then Christianity can gain us nothing but the grave.
It is very important today that the center of Christian teaching, which is Christ died, was buried, was raised from the dead, and appeared again on earth, be believed. Christ’s burial emphasized the reality of his dying. Christ then was raised from the dead by God and left an empty tomb. Christ then appeared to many leaders of the church. Jesus’ resurrection is a promise of the future to all those who die. The final enemy is death, and Christ defeated death on the cross at Calvary.
The Good News is a message of hope, and Paul tells the Corinthians and us that, like Christ, we too will rise one day and be with him in a new incorruptible body. The foundation of the church is being the bearer and the repository of the Good News. We are told that no man can have God for his Father unless he has the church for his mother. Mary is the mother of all of us who are “church,” and we celebrate her being raised up to be with her Son and Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel shows us something about the kind of woman through whom God chose to fulfill his purpose. Mary, upon hearing the incredible news about her aged relative, Elizabeth, becoming pregnant, sets out on a four or five day journey south. The meeting becomes a meeting of special joy and significance because they both had so much to share.
The power of their thoughts and feelings emerge very strongly in Elizabeth’s benediction and Mary’s hymn of praise. The gift of blessedness makes a powerful impact on Mary. To her was granted the blessedness of being the Mother of the Son of God. Her heart must have been bursting with joy at so great a privilege. Yet, that very blessedness was to be a sword to pierce her heart. It meant that one day she would see her only Son hanging on a cross.
Many times, to be blessed and chosen by God means a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. We must come to know that God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy. He chooses one to do a task that will take all one’s head, heart and hands. God chooses a person in order to use him or her. It is the mystery of blessedness that it confers on a person both the greatest joy and the greatest task in all the world. We will do well to remember that Jesus Christ came, not to make life easy, but to make men great.
We celebrate today that “all ages have come to call her blessed.” She saw nothing in herself but a maid-servant who understood little, but trusted and obeyed completely. Let us all assume her holy attributes of gentleness, humility and obedience, and we too will be blessed.
The first reading reveals the Spirit within us is stronger than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). The second reading showed that a Christian is born to live forever. The Gospel reveals that a blessing is a gift from God to you, and for others.
This week can be a time of great joy and possibly even a time of great pain for you. You can ask God to bless you with a spirit that hungers and longs for him. You will be opposed by many distractions when you decide to submit yourself to Christ.
Each day, make time alone to pray to Jesus. Read a passage of scripture and meditate on it, and then, like Mary, be submissive to someone who is near you. That means, putting that person first. It might mean ridicule or even rejection. Remember, blessedness is loving others, not yourself. Jesus died for you and this makes you blessed too.