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 ISAIAH 42:1-4, 6-7 FIRST READING
(“Here is my servant whom I uphold.”)
- Fill in the blanks in the following scripture:
“Here is my whom I uphold, my ______with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my ___________;he shall bring forth _____________ to the nations” Isaiah 42:1
- To whom do the following scriptures refer? Luke 1:38,48
John 12:26 ________Acts3:13 _______ ____ Acts 4:29-30 _______________.
Personal – Do you see yourself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home or at work? Share how you are a servant of Christ.
- Who are the chosen ones? Read the following scriptures:
1 Chronicles 16:13________, Tobit 13:11 __________,
Psalm 89:3-4_______________, Psalm 106:23 _______________,
Ephesians 1:3-5 __________________.
Personal – Do you feel you are among the chosen ones of God?
- In the following scriptures, who are receiving the Spirit or have the Spirit of God working through them?
2 Samuel 23:1-2 ____________,Matthew 3:16 ______________,
John 20:19-22 ______________,Acts 8:14-19_______________.
Personal – Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life? If not, read Matthew 7:7-8 and see what you must do to receive this power.
- In the following scriptures, who brings forth justice to the nations? Deuteronomy 10:17-18 _________________ Psalm 9:8-9 ____________,Acts 17:31 ___________________.
- In what way was this prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 fulfilled? Matthew 12:16-21
- Whom has God grasped by the hand, formed, and set as a covenant of the people? Isaiah 42:6
- Whom has he made a light to the nations, and what are we to do? Isaiah 42:6-7
Personal – Are you a light to others? Do those in your family, your work and your environment see the love of Christ shining out of you? If you are yielding to the Spirit of God dwelling in you others will see the light.
THIRD DAY READ ACTS 10:34-38 SECOND READING
(“I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality.”)
- Who was addressing the people, and what did he say? Acts 10:34
- In the following scriptures, what does God’s Word say about showing partiality?
Leviticus 19:15 _________________________________________,
2 Chronicles 19:7 _______________________________________,
Wisdom 6:7 ______________________________________________.
- What must we do to become acceptable to God? Acts 10:35
- What does it mean to fear God? Daniel 6:27, Isaiah 8:13 and Malachi 2:5
- Through whom is the good news proclaimed, and who is the Lord of all? Acts 10:36
- What was reported all over Judea about Jesus, and where did it begin? Acts 10:37-38
- What was the baptism John preached? Matthew 3:11, Acts 19:4
- Who anointed Jesus, and with what? Acts 10:38
- Did God intend for us to be anointed with the Holy Spirit? John 14:14-17
- What is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit? John 14:25-26
- What did Jesus go about doing, and who was with him? Acts 10:38
Personal – When you receive the Holy Spirit, do you also receive the power to go about doing good works and healing as Jesus did? Is this evident in your life?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 3:15-16, 21-22 GOSPEL
(“…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”)
- With what were the people filled, and what were they asking? Luke 3:15
- What did John tell the people? Acts 13:25
- With what did John say he was baptizing? With what two things did John say the One mightier than he would baptize? Luke 3:16
- What happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:3-4
- What does fire do? 1 Corinthians 3:13-16
Personal – How have you been baptized by fire?
- Who were baptized, and what were they doing? Luke 3:21
- What opened up, Who descended upon Jesus, and how was it done? Luke 3:21-22
- What did Jesus say we will receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us? Acts 1:8
Personal – What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life?
- What did the voice from heaven say when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus? Luke 3:22
- How is God pleased with us? Hebrews 13:16
Personal – What have you done that has pleased the Father this week?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 29:1-4, 9-11
(“The voice of the Lord is power;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 29:1-4, 9-11.
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
ISAIAH 42:1-4, 6-7
This week’s reading from Isaiah comes from a section sometimes called Second Isaiah (Chapters 40-55) and is generally considered to have been written by an unknown poet who prophesied near the end of the Babylonian exile. In 520 B.C. the city of Jerusalem fell, the walls and palaces were destroyed and the sacred temple burned. King Zedikiah and the rest of the population were marched to Babylon in chains.
From these chapters come the great messianic oracles known as the Song of the Servant. In each song a different viewpoint of the mysterious “servant” is given. The destiny of suffering and glorification is fulfilled in the passion and glorification of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah is calling upon a figure, who represents Israel, and yet still addressed as “her.” The “servant” is both a single individual and a nation as a collective individual. He talks about the qualities of the past, and he makes his “servant” very much a key figure of the future.
Isaiah points out that the servant’s role is not limited to Israel, but would become universal. He saw his people in chains and exiled to Babylonia, which was one thousand miles away from Judah. The need for a messiah was of great importance, and the hope of being restored to their lost homeland was in great danger of being completely demolished. The “servant” is being described as different from other leaders, not relying on military might or upon treaties with other nations. He will not be a victorious warrior or king, nor like other prophets shouting out their warnings. What the servant is will speak much louder than his words. The servant will be empowered by the same “Spirit” that rushed upon David when he was anointed king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13). Isaiah exhorts the people to look to the servant as God’s chosen one.
In this passage, Peter is preaching to the crowd that God shows absolutely no partiality. We see this truth being reaffirmed constantly in the Old Testament. The Lord shows no partiality, nor does he fear the famous or powerful (Lev. 19:15 and Wis. 6:7). God will have no part of activity like that. Peter challenges his listeners to fear the Lord and act upright, which means to be in reverence and awe of the Lord and to follow his commandments. We are told that fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Proverb 8:13).
Peter tells the crowd that God has sent to all the people of Israel a Messiah, in Whom he baptizes people in the power of the Holy Spirit. He preached that Jesus is Lord of all, a message that still is being presented today to a waiting, hungry world. The Good News began when John baptized people in the name of repentance. Jesus was baptized by God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have been anointed with the same power and Spirit as Jesus. Jesus went forth doing good works and healing the sick. Peter’s message is very much alive today as we see in our newspapers and television how bribes, fear of the powerful, and partiality to favored people can be very destructive to our society. We are called to go forth in the power of the same Spirit and do good works and heal the sick in the name of Jesus (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants us to carry on through word and sacrament (Baptism and Confirmation), and to be witnesses to the world that he is alive here and now.
LUKE 3:15-16, 21-22
In today’s Gospel we see a prophet bursting upon the scene, and the people becoming highly agitated. It was well known that there had not been a prophet in Israel for many years, and it was widely believed that when the Messiah would come, prophecy would reappear (Joel 3:1-2).
John looked and spoke like the prophets of old. His message was direct and hard. He told the people to share what they had with those who needed it, and whatever your job is, do it the best way you can. John had no time to comfort those who lived careless or selfish lives. He was calling the people to right living. He told them to turn from their sins to avoid punishment and then turn to God for his blessing. This is a message for all times and all places. John spoke with urgency because he was preparing the people for the coming Messiah.
John’s baptism with water symbolized the washing away of sins. Jesus’ baptism by fire (Holy Spirit) includes the power needed to do God’s will. The church received baptism of fire on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire came upon the believers. They were then empowered to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection in many languages. The baptism of fire also symbolizes the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing God’s judgment on those who refuse to repent.
Jesus in the true sense of humility chose not to be baptized in a big service in Jerusalem. He chose to be with simple people who were repenting. As Jesus prayed, God spoke to him and confirmed his decision to go forth in his ministry. God was breaking into human history through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ mission on earth was to identify with our humanity and sin. He began his journey to Calvary for us on that very special day.
The first reading reveals to us that the Messiah is to be a “servant.” The second reading reveals that God has no favorites. In the Gospel, God speaks to us, even today, with his voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
This week be a servant to your family, a friend, or to someone in the community who is sick. Be available, be specific, be consistent, and be ready to see the joy of Christ in their eyes as you live what you believe. Let the joy of the Father be reflected in the way you love others. “You are his beloved child, and he is well pleased with you.”