Sixth Sunday in Easter (May 9th) – Cycle B

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 a 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 ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 FIRST READING
(“In every nation whoever fears the Lord and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”)

1. When Peter entered, what did Cornelius do? Acts 10:25

 

2. What did Peter do and say to Cornelius? Acts 10:26

 

3. What did Barnabas and Paul say about themselves, and what do they proclaim? Acts 14:15

 

4. What are we not to do, and for what reason? Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:8-9

 

5. As Peter spoke in truth, what did he say that God does not show? Acts 10:34 and also Romans 2:11

 

6. Who is God? What does he not have and accept? Deuteronomy 10:17

 

7. Why does the Lord not favor anyone? Job 34:19

 

8. Who is acceptable to the Lord? Acts 10:35

 

9. What happened to all who were listening to the word? Acts 10:44

 

Personal? – How have you experienced the Holy Spirit as you have listened to the Word of God?

 

10. What astounded the circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter? Acts 10:45

 

11. What could they hear them doing that astounded them? Acts 10:46

 

12. What was the question asked by Peter? Acts 10:47

 

13. What did Peter order, and what did they invite him to do? Acts 10:48-49

 

14. What does God know, and what does he grant us? Acts 15:8

 

Personal? – In what way do you show respect and fear of the Lord and act uprightly?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 4:7-10 SECOND READING
(“Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”)

1. What are we to do, what is of God, and who is begotten by God, and knows God? 1 John 4:7

 

2. What is the message we have heard from the beginning? 1 John 3:11

 

3. Whoever is without love does not do what, and what is God? 1 John 4:8

 

4. Whoever remains in love remains in whom, and who remains in him? 1 John 4:16

 

5. In what way is the love of God revealed to us? 1 John 4:9

 

6. Who has seen God and revealed him? John 1:18

 

7. What did God send his Son into the world not to do, but what did he send him to do? John 3:16-17

 

8. Where do we find life? 1 John 5:11

 

9. “In this is love, not that we have loved God,” but what? What did God send his Son to do? 1 John 4:10

 

10. How does God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8, 10

 

11. God set forth as an expiation Jesus through and by what? Romans 3:25

 

Personal? – How have you experienced God’s love for you personally?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 15:9-17 GOSPEL
(“This I command you: love one another.”)

1. How does Jesus love us, and in what are we to remain? John 15:9

 

2. How are we brought to perfection, and what will the world know? John 17:22-23

 

3. How will we remain in Jesus’ love, what has Jesus done, and why has he told us this? John 15:10-11

 

4. Why does the Father never leave Jesus? John 8:29

 

5. What will be made complete by asking anything in Jesus’ name? John 16:24

 

6. What is Jesus’ new commandment? John 15:12, John 13:34

 

7. What is there nothing greater than? John 15:13

 

Personal? – How have you laid down your life for your friends?

 

8. While we were still helpless, for whom did Christ die at the appointed time? Romans 5:6

 

9. How did we come to know love, and what ought we do for our brothers? 1 John 3:16

 

10. How do we become Jesus’ friends? John 15:14

 

11. What is a true friend more loyal than? Proverbs 18:24

 

12. What does Jesus no longer call us, and for what reason? What does he call us, and for what reason? John 15:15

 

13. Who does Jesus tell of what he has heard from the Father? John 8:26

 

Personal? – What has Jesus told you about the Father?

 

14. Who chose us, what did he appoint us to do, and what would happen? John 15:16

 

15. Why will Jesus give us whatever we ask in his name? John 14:13

 

16. What are we to the Lord, and what has he chosen us to be? Deuteronomy 7:6

 

17. What does God command us? John 15:17

 

Personal? – In what way does the fruit of love show forth in your life? Do others see joy in your service?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 98:1-4
(“…in the sight of the nation he has revealed his justice.”)

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

ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

The barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles did much to prevent the spread of the Gospel. God, however, overcomes all barriers and shows no favoritism in Peter’s time, nor does he in our day. God was making it crystal clear that the Good News is for everyone. Today, because our world is much smaller due to the media, the temptation to think that only a certain few are God’s favorite children is very deadly. We should not allow any barriers, such as language, culture, prejudice, geography, economic class or education, keep us from spreading the Gospel. In every nation hearts, minds, and ears are bent toward hearing God’s holy word, but someone must take it to them.

To want to know about God is not enough. People must find him, and then experience him. Leading others to Christ is a special vocation, and we always need to take time to listen to him (Psalm 46:10) so that we will be able to know and follow his will.

The “Good News” is for everyone because it is a message of hope. Cornelius was a very wealthy Gentile and a powerful military man. Peter, on the other hand, was a Jew and a common fisherman turned preacher. God’s plan included both of them just as they were, and today he includes us in his plan. A new chapter was written in history that day when a Jewish Christian leader and a Gentile Christian convert each discovered God at work in the other person. Cornelius needed Peter and his Gospel to know he could be saved. Peter needed Cornelius and his salvation experience to know that God was available to anyone who believed in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

We who are believers in Christ need each other to understand how God works. Peter was invited to share and teach more about his faith, and Cornelius was very eager to learn more about his new faith. Are you as eager to learn more about Jesus as new believers are eager? Spend as much time as you can around mature Christians and strive to learn from them. Remember, the rest of the world will know that we are Christians by the way we love one another.

1 JOHN 4:7-10

Love is a decision that involves a choice followed by an action. Love is not being sentimental or displaying mushy feelings. Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious. Love is never selfish or being rude. Love is being truthful and loyal, no matter what the cost. This kind of love is not natural; it is possible only if God helps us to set aside our own desires and instincts. The closer we come to Christ, the more we will be able to love others while expecting nothing in return.

Society wants us to believe that love is important because it is an expression of our feelings. In reality, love is a decision and Jesus is our example of what love is. He gave us everything of himself, even going to the cross and dying for those who cursed him, rejected and even killed him. The Holy Spirit is where we get the power to love in the face of rejections and ridicule.

God’s love always involved a choice and an action, and our love should be like his. Take a moment right now and ask yourself, “How well is my love of God displayed to others, in the choices I make, and in the actions I take?” God is love, and our world with its selfish views on what it calls love tries to contaminate its true meaning. The world thinks love is what makes you feel good and is willing to sacrifice moral principles and other rights in order to obtain such “love.” We need not be fooled, because it is not real love. It is the exact opposite – selfishness. Our definition of love must come from God who is holy, just and perfect. The world today must learn to love like God loves.

JOHN 15:9-17

The key passage in today’s gospel message is the words of Jesus telling his disciples that they have not chosen him, but he has chosen them. It was not we who chose God, but God in his mercy and grace approaches us with a call and an offer made out of his love. He chose us for love and to go out into the world to love one another. He chose us for joy in doing the right thing. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms. It is true that the Christian is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner, and therein lies his joy.

A joyful Christian is a loving Christian, and laying down your life for another is the ultimate way of proving it. We may at some time in our life have questioned this great command of Jesus. He would look us lovingly in the eye and tell us that no one can show greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friend – and he did that.

Jesus chose us to be his friends, and he wanted to abide in us more than we could ever want to abide in him. He has offered us an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men knew before he came upon this earth. It meant that we have the privilege to enter into the presence of the Master without any special announcement. Think about it, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings is always available when we call, even if it is for just a few moments.

Jesus chose us to be his ambassadors, and he chose us to send us out (Matt. 28:19) to make disciples of all nations. He chose us to come first to him, and then after we have spent time living with and in him (John 15:7), he sends us to go out to the world. He chose us to be his.

You have been chosen by Christ to go forth and make disciples of all nations because he loves you. He does not love you because of what you do, or who you are. He loves you because of who he is. You are a loving person because he loved you first by choosing you to be his friend. The Good News, my loving friend, is that he has chosen us to love and because of him we are more than conquerors.

Application

The first reading shows us that we are not to forget public worship. The second reading tells us that love is a decision, not a feeling. The Gospel reveals to us that God chose us; we did not choose him.

This week commit yourself to a choice and action of loving someone unconditionally. Choose someone in your family, school or work area. Pick someone who seems to be difficult to love. Pray each morning for the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Be specific in your choice and type of action. Be prepared for an incredible miracle in your life, and then share that miracle in your testimony.

Fifth Sunday in Easter (May 2nd) – Cycle B

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 a 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 ACTS 9:26-31 FIRST READING
(“…he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.”)

1. Who arrived in Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples? Acts 9:4, Acts 13:9

 

2. What were the disciples towards Saul, and what did they not believe? Acts 9:26

 

3. What do I do when I become afraid? Psalm 56:4-5

 

Personal – When someone has wronged you and decides to do right, how do you respond?

 

4. Who was Barnabas, what did he do with Saul, and what did he report to the disciples about him? Acts 4:36, 9:27

 

5. What did Saul proclaim in Damascus about Jesus, what did all who heard him say, and what happened to the Jews?Acts 9:20-22

 

6. How did Saul move about, and how did he speak out in the name of the Lord? Acts 9:28

 

7. What did the servants ask the Lord to enable them to speak? Acts 4:29

 

8. With whom did Saul speak and debate, what did they try to do to him, and where did the brothers take him after learning of this? Acts 9:29-30

 

9. As the number of disciples continued to grow, who complained, and for what reason? Acts 6:1

 

10. What did the church enjoy, what was happening to the church, and with whose consolation did it grow? Acts 9:31

 

11. When did the Holy Spirit speak to the church at Antioch, and what did he say? Acts 13:1-2

 

Personal – In what way have you been a support to someone who has made a conversion?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 3:18-24 SECOND READING
(“Those who keep his commandments remain in him,”)

1. What are we called, how are we not to love, and how are we to love? 1 John 3:18

 

2. What are we to love? Romans 12:9

 

3. “My people come to you as people always do; they sit down before you and hear your words,” but what do they not do, and for what reason? Ezekiel 33:31

 

4. What is God greater than, and what does he know? 1 John 3:20

 

5. If our hearts do not condemn us, what do we have, what do we receive, and for what reason? 1 John 3:21-22

 

6. How are our hearts purified? Acts 15:9

 

7. When does God hear us? 1 John 5:14

 

8. What does our heavenly Father give to those who ask? Matthew 7:11

 

9. What is God’s commandment? 1 John 3:23

 

10. What is the work of God? John 6:29

 

11. How ought we to live if we claim to abide in Jesus? 1 John 2:6

 

Personal – How have you loved God and those around you in deed and in truth? Do your words contradict your actions?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 15:1-8 GOSPEL
(“You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.”)

1. What is Jesus, and what is the Father? John 15:1

 

2. What does he take away, and what does he prune so that it bears more? John 15:2

 

3. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23

 

4. Because of what are you already pruned? John 15:3

 

5. What is the word? John 17:17

 

6. As Jesus remains in us, in whom are we to remain? What can a branch not do on its own, and what can we not do? John 15:4

 

7. What will we bear if we remain in Jesus, and what can we do without him? John 15:5

 

8. What happens to the builders unless the Lord builds the house? Psalm 127:1

 

9. What will happen to anyone who does not remain in Jesus, and what will people do with them? John 15:6

 

10. What will happen to every tree that does not bear good fruit? Matthew 3:10

 

11. Ask for whatever we want and it will be done for us, if we do what? John 15:7

 

12. How is the Father glorified? John 15:8, Matthew 5:16

 

13. What will we be if we remain in Jesus’ word, what will we know, and what will it do to us? John 8:31-32

 

Personal – How have you abided in Jesus, and how do others see Jesus abiding in you through your actions? What kind of fruit do they see?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 22:26-32
(“The lowly shall eat their fill,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 22:26-32.

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

ACTS 9:26-31

When Barnabas brought Paul, who was still being called Saul, to Jerusalem to join the disciples, he found them very much afraid of him. We must remember that Saul was an arch-enemy of the Christian movement until he met the Lord on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-9). Soon after his conversion his name Saul (Hebrew emphasizing his Jewish background) was changed to Paul (Roman emphasizing the Gentile world). Ananias is told that Paul is the Lord’s chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15).

Barnabas was an early disciple of Christ and his name meant “son of prophecy.” He was a converted Jew and a Levite, so he knew very well the apostles’ fear of Paul’s reputation. Barnabas was the bridge between Paul and the apostles and boldly introduced the newly-converted Paul to them.

Today’s reading really challenges all of us to believe that with God nothing is impossible. We all know that it is very difficult to change our reputation and new Christians especially need sponsors. We must encourage, teach, and introduce new believers to other members of our Christian community. The challenge to us is to find ways by which we can become a Barnabas to new believers. Paul became a Christian and the church enjoyed a brief time of peace. The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We might do well to do the same in our world today. A real and lasting peace can come only when men and women are free, and it is only Jesus Christ that really sets us free (John 8:32).

 

1 JOHN 3:18-24

This letter of John was written so that we who believe will realize that we possess eternal life (1 John 5:13). John understood that to know God is to keep his commandments. Love, if it is genuine, comes from the heart and is directed toward God and man. A serious problem of John’s day as well as today is the question, “Am I saved, and if so, how can I know?” Throughout the entire letter John assures us believers that we can know. The phrase “we know” was used 13 times to signify that it is a part of the normal spiritual consciousness (3:14).

Today’s reading gives us an example of how to lay down our lives for others. How clearly do our actions say we really love others? Are we as generous with our money, possessions and time as we could be? Today many people feel that they do not love others as they should, and their conscience bothers them. How do we escape the gnawing accusations of our conscience? We certainly do not escape it by ignoring or rationalizing our behavior.

John tells us that only by right actions can our conscience be cleansed. God knows our hearts as well as our actions. If we are in Christ, he will not condemn us (Romans 8:1). If we are walking in the way of the Lord but still feel that we are not good enough, remember that God is much more powerful than our conscience. He knows that we belong to him and he will not allow anything to separate us from his love (Rom. 8:31-39).

We can come to God anytime and he will be there for us. Our conscience will be clear when we realize that fear has to do with punishment, but true love drives out punishment (1 John 4:18). Christianity is a religion of the heart, and outward compliance is not enough. Real love is an action, a decision, not a feeling. It produces sacrificial giving whether it be ourself, money, possessions or time. The greatest example of love is to lay down our life for others, which involved putting others’ needs first (John 15:13).

 

JOHN 15:1-8

Jesus teaches about the vine and the branches. The grapevine is a prolific plant and a single vine bears many grapes. In the Passover meal the fruit of the vine was a symbol of God’s goodness to his people. Jesus shows us the difference between two kinds of pruning. One type is separating and the other is cutting back the branches (15:3). Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth, but branches that do not bear fruit are cut off at the trunk. In other words, those who will not bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be separated from the divine flow of life.

The Christian character includes the qualities of excellent fruit, such as prayer, joy, and love. To abide in Christ is to live in Christ. It really means to take up residence with him. He will reside within us if we truly believe that he is God’s Son (1 John 4:15) and that we receive him as our Lord and Savior (John 1:12). We are called to keep his commandments (1 John 3:24), continuing in faith (1 John 2:24), and relating to the community of Christian believers, Christ’s body.

Many people today try to do what is good and right. Jesus tells us that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. What about us? Are we receiving the nourishment and life offered to us by our Lord Jesus Christ? A rich harvest honors the harvester, for he has gathered the fruits.

Be a disciple of the Lord and help bring people into a right relationship with Jesus Christ. If your relationship is not right, then take a moment right now and confess to him, ask his forgiveness, and enjoy the fruit of his harvest which is peace, joy, and love.

 

Application

The first reading tells us how to be a bridge for new believers. The second reading shows us that love is a decision, not a feeling. The Gospel reveals that to abide means to take up residence.

This week, be a bridge between family members, school or work associates. Try to encourage others to be the best that they can be. Let God’s love abide in you, and you will make a terrific Barnabas. Remember, be a peacemaker and be a friend, make a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.

Fourth Sunday in Easter (April 25th) – Cycle B

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 a 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 ACTS 4:8-12 FIRST READING
(“…in his name this man stands before you healed.”)

l. With what was Peter filled, and who is he answering? Acts 4:8

 

2. Who was great in the sight of the Lord, and with what was he filled? Luke 1:13-15

 

3. What did Peter say you need to do to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38

 

4. What did Peter ask the leaders about a good deed done to a cripple? Acts 4:9

 

5. What did Peter say to the cripple, and in whose name? Acts 3:6

 

6. What did Peter say all of the people of Israel should know, and how does the man stand before them healed? Acts 4:10

 

7. What happens to him who calls on the name of the Lord? Acts 2:21

 

8. Who are the builders, what did they do to the stone, and what has it become? Acts 4:11

 

9. How are we to be saved? Acts 4:10-12

 

10. How do we come to the Father? John 14:6

 

11. Who wills everyone to be saved and to come to full knowledge of the truth? 1 Timothy 2:3-6

 

Personal? – Who is Jesus to you? If he were to come for you tonight, what would you say to him? Where would you go?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 3:1-2 SECOND READING
(“Beloved, we are God’s children now.”)

1. What has the Father bestowed on us, and what may we be called? 1 John 3:1

 

2. To those who did accept Jesus, what did he give them power to become, and in what must they believe? John 1:12

 

3. What came through Jesus? John 1:17

 

4. In love, what did God destine us to be, and through whom? Ephesians 1:4-5

 

5. What is the reason the world does not know us? 1 John 3:1

 

6. What does Jesus, who knows the Father, keep? John 8:54-55

 

7. What are we now, and what has not yet been revealed? 1 John 3:2

 

8. Whom will we be like when it is revealed to us, and what will we see? 1 John 3:2

 

9. What will God do to our bodies? How will he do it? What will he bring into subjection to himself? Philippians 3:21

 

10. To whom has God revealed the Son, and to whom does he reveal things? Matthew 11:25-27

 

Personal? – When and how do you come to God in prayer as a child? Picture yourself as a small child, maybe with a hurt knee, and go to him and let him hold you and make it better.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 10:11-18 GOSPEL
(“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”)

1. Who is the Good Shepherd, and what does he do for the sheep? John 10:7, 11

 

2. How did the God of peace bring up from the dead the Good Shepherd of the sheep? Hebrews 13:20

 

3. What does a hired hand, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, do when he sees a wolf coming? John 10:12

 

4. What will the foolish shepherd not do, and what may happen to him? Zechariah 11:16-17

 

5. Why does he have no concern for the sheep? John 10:13

 

6. What does the Good Shepherd know? John 10:14

 

7. What do the Good Shepherd’s sheep hear? Whom do they know, and what do they do? John 10:27

 

8. Whom does the Good Shepherd know? Who knows him, and what will they do? John 10:15

 

9. What does the Good Shepherd have that does not belong to this fold? What must he do with these, and what will they hear? John 10:16

 

10. What happened to those who were far off? What did he break down, and through what did he do it? Ephesians 2:13-14

 

11. Why does the Father love Jesus? John 10:17

 

12. How have we been consecrated? Hebrews 10:9-10

 

13. What is the command Jesus received from the Father? John 10:18

 

14. How did Jesus humble himself? Philippians 2:8

 

Personal? – How are you like the Good Shepherd, and how are you like the hired hand with your family, friends, co-workers, etc?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29
(“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29.

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

ACTS 4:8-12

Jesus tells us in scripture that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He also tells us that he has left his Spirit of truth to be always with each one of us who believe in him (John 14:16-17). Jesus has left us the same Spirit that was within Peter when he healed that crippled man.

The Holy Spirit that was given to the apostles by Christ has been given to us also. Yes, that’s right, to you. Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the power to heal, to prophesy, to preach, to teach, to forgive, and to love is within you and that this power comes from the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4)? If God wills that everyone be saved, and he leaves his Holy Spirit to empower us, why do so many people still reject him? Jesus tells us that all who abide in him and keep his commandments will experience his abiding in them. To abide means to live with, to take up residence, and to really know someone; one has to live with that person. Many people do not respond to the protection of the Holy Spirit’s power because it calls for obedience and obedience calls for humility. Jesus knew obedience and humility. In fact, it was in complete humility that he went in full obedience to his death on the cross.

Jesus, not the apostles, received the glory for the healing. In those days a man’s name represented his character and stood for his authority and power. Like the apostles, we must not emphasize what we can do but what God can do through us. Jesus’ name is not to be used as magic – it must be used by faith. When we pray in Jesus’ name, it is important to remember that it is Jesus himself who gives our prayers their power.

In this reading, Peter reminds the people and their leaders that they, the so-called builders of the community, had thought by rejecting a stone in the new building, they would prevent a new and permanent temple from being erected. But Jesus was more than the stone, he was the cornerstone. The church was the new temple, and Jesus was the cornerstone that held it together.

Scripture tells us that Jesus himself stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). Today all across the many nations, the Catholic Church is under attack from non-believers and lukewarm believers. The power of the Holy Spirit is filling up the hearts of believers and they are going forth and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), even in the face of persecution.

 

1 JOHN 3:1-2

Today’s reading reveals to us that we have been chosen to be part of God’s family. Every single person who has ever lived has always wanted to belong, to be accepted as we are and not for what we do, but we just do not know how to belong. To belong is to be loved unconditionally, not only when we are being productive or loving in return, but even when we are unlovable.

God has called us to be part of his family, but we still have to say “Yes, Lord” before anything happens. We do that when we become baptized and we begin our new relationship as a child of God. As believers, we have self-worth that is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, not some time in the future, and he is our “Abba” daddy. Some people have had fathers who were very harmful to them, and the memories of being physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulted are still very vivid and painful even, in some cases, after many years.

We see in today’s reading that God is our real Father, our permanent Father, and he heals all of his children through his loving Son, Jesus. This is tremendous good news for all of us, and it means that he encourages us to live like Jesus and to believe that Jesus and his Holy Spirit will empower us to overcome any type of injury. He tells us in scripture that nothing, not even death will separate us from him or his love (Rom. 8:31-39).

Our Christian life is a process that calls for us to be more Christ-like every day. Let us celebrate with thanks and praise for the gift of the loving, earthly father that he has given us, and let us pray also for the healing of the broken spirit of the many earthly fathers of yesterday and today.

 

JOHN 10:11-18

This Gospel is a powerful reminder that every living person on this earth is under the loving care and concern of our “Good Shepherd,” Jesus Christ. We call him the Good Shepherd because he not only took many risks for his flock, but he also died defending it.

A shepherd was someone who grew up knowing, caring and protecting a flock of sheep. He was born for that noble, lonely and very dangerous role. Shepherds were not in the business for money, and when danger such as wolves, lions or bears attacked the flock the shepherd would fight back to the bitter end. A shepherd had to show evidence that he fought against the attackers. The hireling, on the other hand, would run from the attack and expose the flock to very serious danger. The shepherd is committed to his sheep. The term “good shepherd,” like the term “good doctor,” meant not only did he have the necessary skills to do the job, but he also had a quality of love and gentleness.

Jesus was “The Good Shepherd” par excellence. He was not just doing his job; he was committed to love us and he laid down his life for us. Today the flock is the church and the Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ. Today there is the danger of the hirelings not taking proper care of their flocks. When the dangers of the world attack the flock, the hirelings of today’s church run away from their flocks.

The church is always liable to attack from the outside and it is also liable to trouble from the inside due to the tragedy of bad leadership. The second danger is by far the worst, because if the shepherd is faithful and good, there is a strong defense against the outside attack. But if the shepherd is a hireling and is faithless, then the foes can penetrate into the flock and severely damage it. The church’s first essential is a leadership based on the example of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. Let us hold our shepherds up in prayer constantly, so that they may become, not only shepherds, but “good shepherds.”

 

Application

The first reading challenges us to ask, am I ready to die? The second reading tells us that God is our permanent and loving Father. The Gospel shows us that we are being called to be “good shepherds.”

This week: Pray, listen, and love with your actions to your children. -Pray, listen, and forgive your father, dead or alive. -Pray, listen, and pray for forgiveness of all earthly fathers, that they will repent and seek healing in Jesus Christ. -Pray, listen, listen, and listen to your Heavenly Father.

Third Sunday in Easter (April 18th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

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 a 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 ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19 FIRST READING
(“Repent, therefore, and be converted,”)

1. Who is speaking? To whom is he speaking? Who has glorified his servant, Jesus? Acts 3:12-13

 

2. What did the people do to Jesus in Pilate’s presence, when Pilate was ready to release him? Acts 3:13

 

3. What did Jesus say about whoever denies him? Matthew 10:33

 

4. Whom did the people deny, and what did they ask to be done? Acts 3:14

 

5. Whom did the people put to death? What did God do, and what are Peter and John? Acts 3:15

 

6. Who will be Jesus’ witnesses, and what will they receive? Acts 1:8

 

7. Out of what did the people act, just as their leaders had acted? Acts 3:17

 

8. What did the people fulfill, and when did they hear this read? Acts 13:27

 

9. What did God bring to fulfillment? Acts 3:18

 

10. What must we do, and what will happen? Acts 3:19

 

11. Whom does God demand to repent? Acts 17:30

 

Personal? – In what way are you denying Christ in your life? Do you see the power of the Holy Spirit working through you as you love those around you? If you do not see the power of God in your life, ask him to show you where the blockage is, and repent and believe.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 2:1-5 SECOND READING
(“…whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.”)

1. Why is John writing? 1 John 2:1

 

2. If anyone does sin, what do we have, and who is he? 1 John 2:1

 

3. What has Jesus become, and what is he able to do? Hebrews 7:22, 25

 

4. What has Jesus done for our sins, and to whom else does he do this? 1 John 2:2

 

5. What is love? Who loves us? What did he do for us? 1 John 4:8, 10

 

6. How are we sure of knowing Jesus? 1 John 2:3

 

7. If we love Jesus, what will we do? John 14:15

 

8. What is the one who says I know Jesus, but does not keep his commandments, and what is not in him? 1 John 2:4

 

9. Who is a liar? 1 John 4:20

 

10. In what is the one who keeps Jesus’ word perfected? 1 John 2:5

 

11. What will the one who loves Jesus do, who will love him, and who will dwell with him? John 14:15-17, 23

 

Personal? – In what way have you kept the commandment of God today? Be specific. What can you do in your environment to improve the commandment to love others? How well do you really know God?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 24:35-48 GOSPEL
(“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.”)

1. What did the two recount about Jesus? Luke 24:30-31, 35

 

Personal? – How does Jesus reveal himself to you at Eucharist?

 

2. While they were still speaking, what did Jesus do, and what did he say to them? Luke 24:36

 

3. How did the disciples react, and what did they think they were seeing? Luke 24:37

 

4. What two questions did Jesus ask? Luke 24:38

 

5. What two things did he tell them to do, and what does a ghost not have? Luke 24:39

 

6. As he said this, what did he show them? Luke 24:40

 

7. How does God show his love for us, and what happened to all who touched Jesus? 1 John 4:9, Matthew 14:36

 

8. What did Jesus ask them while they were still incredulous for joy and amazed? Luke 24:41

 

9. What did they give Jesus, and what did he do with it? Luke 24:42-43

 

10. Who ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead? Acts 10:41

 

11. What did Jesus say about the law, the prophets, and the Psalms? Luke 24:44

 

12. What did Jesus tell his disciples, and what did they fail to comprehend? Luke 18:31-34

 

13. To what did Jesus open their minds? Luke 24:45

 

Personal – When did you become open to the scriptures?

 

14. What did Jesus say to them, and what would be preached in his name? Luke 24:46-47

 

15. What did he say the disciples were? Luke 24:48

 

16. Who will testify, and for what reason? John 15:26-27

 

Personal? – How long have you been with Jesus and how long has he been with you? And to what can you testify?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 4:2, 4, 7-9
(“You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 4: 2, 4, 7-9.

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

ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter spoke out boldly to his audience, and he certainly knew how to share Jesus Christ. He presented his message very clearly to them in stating who Jesus Christ was and how they rejected him. He told them why their rejection was fatal, and what they needed to do to correct the situation. He told them what he would tell you and me today, and that is that we still have a choice. God is still offering us freedom and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Peter challenged the people when he confronted them with “You disowned the Holy and Just One and you preferred instead the release of a murderer.” The crowd was made up of many people who were there or heard about the events in detail. Some of them probably even took part in condemning him. The confidence of the religious leaders was shaken when Peter told them that Jesus was alive again and that this time they could not harm him. Peter showed everyone in that crowd the significance of the resurrection, God’s power and triumph over death.

We all need to pray that we have the courage, like Peter, to see the opportunities to speak up for Christ. We create teachable moments when, by our actions, we show that Jesus is the Lord of our life. We may find that our audience is protesting against the injustice of abortion and pornography which is crippling the societies of many nations.

To speak out against the crowd and call for the teachings of Jesus Christ is not only courageous today, but in many areas very dangerous. The term servant comes to us from Isaiah 52:13, and the servant is the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He would be exalted because of his sacrifice which was to die for the sins of all people. We are all being called to be like Christ in his role as the suffering servant.

 

1 JOHN 2:1-5

John is speaking in a warm, fatherly way by addressing his audience as little children. We must remember that John was a very old man, and he had very many spiritual children. This reading is a tremendous comfort to people who are feeling full of guilt and condemnation. They know they have sinned and Satan is demanding the death penalty. We do not need to feel that way. In fact, the best defense attorney in the universe is pleading our case, Jesus Christ.

Our advocate is the judge’s son. He has already paid the price for our crimes, and we cannot be tried again for a case that is no longer on the docket. United with Christ is the ultimate of being safely protected. Do not be afraid to ask him to plead your case for he has already won it for you (Romans 8:33).

It is hard to put this kind of love and forgiveness into words. Can you imagine telling everyone that we would forgive them no matter what they had done? This is what God has done in Jesus. No one, absolutely no one, is beyond hope or forgiveness. All we have to do is turn to Jesus and commit our lives to him. We might ask, how can we be sure we belong to Christ? We need to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.

The results of true Christian faith are in the behavior, not in the intentions or pious words (1 John 3:23). This is why John, the beloved old apostle, can call us children and can assure us that by our behavior we indeed belong to Jesus Christ.

 

LUKE 24:35-48

Our Gospel today begins with the finishing of the story about how Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Now Jesus appears to the disciples behind locked doors, and they were terribly frightened. They thought they were looking at a ghost, but Jesus’ body was not just a vision or a ghost. The disciples, in spite of their shock, touched him as he asked. Then he asked for some food, and they watched him eat. Now his body was different from that of someone like Lazarus, in that Lazarus had just a restored body (John 11). Jesus was able to appear and disappear, and his resurrected body was even more real than before. His body was immortal like the kind we will be given at the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:42-50).

For several days Jesus traveled around the countryside before he returned to heaven. In the Book of Acts, Luke makes it clear that Jesus spent about 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. Jesus opened the disciples’ minds to understand the scriptures.

The Holy Spirit does for us what was done for the apostles, and that is to speak to each one of us right where we are. We need to pray the scriptures as well as read and study them. God speaks to us through his church, sacraments, fellowship, and, of course, his Holy Word.

Pray that God will give you a teachable spirit and watch how his Holy Words strike you into action. Today a hunger and a thirst are upon the land like never before. Peace is just an empty, meaningless word to so many people. The only real peace that is available is the peace that comes with repentance and forgiveness. Jesus tells us that there is forgiveness of sins, but we have to turn to him. The message today to all people of all nations is to repent or perish.

 

Application

The first reading tells us to have courage to speak out for Christ just as the apostles spoke out. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus is our defense lawyer and he has already won our case. The Gospel calls for all to call on his name and be witnesses to his penance and forgiveness.

This week look at your values and priorities. What is important to you? Where is God on that list? Think about how to put God first in each of your activities each day this week. Your example will cause others to repent and turn to the Lord.

Second Sunday in Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) (April 11th) – Cycle B

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 a 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 ACTS 4:32-35 FIRST READING
(“There was no needy person among them.”)

1. Who were of one heart and mind? What did no one claim, and what did they hold in common? Acts 4:32

 

2. What would they do with their possessions and property? Acts 2:42-47

 

3. What did God give to those who accepted Jesus and believed in his name, and of whom were they born? John 1:12-13

 

4. How did the apostles bear witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what was accorded them all? Acts 4:33

 

5. To what were they witnesses, and with what promise of Our Father will they be clothed? Luke 24:46-49

 

6. With what were the apostles filled? Acts 2:4

 

7. What was there not among them, and where would those who sold their property or houses bring the proceeds? Acts 4:35

 

8. How were the proceeds of their sales distributed among them? Acts 4:35

 

9. What did Jesus tell the rich young man? Matthew 19:21

 

10. What are we to do for the needy and the poor? Proverbs 31:9

 

Personal? – How do you value your property and possessions, and how can you change distribution among the needy?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 5:1-6 SECOND READING
(“Everyone who loves the Father, loves the one begotten by him.”)

1. Who is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whom? 1 John 5:1

 

2. Whom did Jesus say we would love, and from where did he come? John 8:42

 

3. In what two ways do we know that we love the children of God? 1 John 5:2

 

4. How have we been born anew? 1 Peter 1:23

 

5. How do we know that we have passed from death to life? 1 John 3:14

 

6. Of what does the love of God consist, and what is not burdensome? 1 John 5:3

 

7. What does whoever is begotten by God conquer, and what is the victory that conquers? 1 John 5:4

 

8. Where are we going to have trouble, and what are we to take because Jesus has conquered it? John 16:33

 

9. Who is the victor over the world, and through whom is it? 1 John 5:5, 1 Corinthians 15:57

 

10. How did Jesus come to us? 1 John 5:6

 

11. Who testifies, and what is he? 1 John 5:6

 

12. From where does the Spirit of truth come? John 15:26

 

Personal? – How have you shown to others that you believe and have passed from death to life? 

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-31 GOSPEL
(“Peace be with you.”)

1. On the evening of the first day of the week, why were the doors locked where the disciples were staying? Who came and stood in their midst, and what did he say? John 20:19

 

2. How did the disciples react when Jesus showed them his hands and side, and what did he say to them? John 20:20-21

 

3. What did Jesus say he left his disciples, and how does he not give it to them? John 14:27

 

4. What did Jesus do, and who does he tell them to receive? John 20:22

 

5. What did Jesus send his disciples to do? Matthew 28:19-20

 

6. What did Jesus say about those who sin? John 20:23

 

7. Who was not there when Jesus came? What did the other disciples say to him, and what would he have to do to believe? John 20:24-25

 

8. What happened a week later? How did Jesus enter, and what did he say to them? John 20:26

 

9. What did he tell Thomas to do, and what did he tell him to stop doing? John 20:27

 

10. What did Thomas say? What did Jesus say to him, and who is blessed? John 20:28-29

 

11. Whom did Elizabeth say was the most blessed among women, and for what reason? Luke 1:42, 45-46

 

12. What did Jesus do in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book? John 20:30

 

13. Why are these written, and what does it bring us in his name? John 20:31, 1 John 5:13

 

Personal? – What signs of Christ’s presence do you see taking place in your everyday life? In what way do you recognize the gift of the Holy Spirit given to you at Baptism working through you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
(“My strength and my courage is the Lord.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24.

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

ACTS 4:32-35

The unity and power brought by the Holy Spirit to the believers in the early church was really something to behold. The unity we talk about here is the spiritual unity that united these people. This unity was demonstrated very powerfully by the growing community. They devoted themselves to the anointed teachings of the Apostles. These teachings encouraged the community to become bonded to each other through worshipping God together and sharing the Body and Blood of Christ in liturgy. The bonding continues in the fellowshipping with one another and reaching out to meet the other person’s needs.

The community was blessed with the gift of prayer. It was the praying together that gave them the vision to include this whole world into their community. Today, as well as then, Christians demonstrate their unity with one another by giving of themselves and their materials joyfully to the poor. The growth of the early Christian community can well be used as a role model for today’s church. We are called into unity through teachings (scripture), fellowship (Ecumenism), breaking bread (Eucharist), and prayer. There had to be differences of opinions because the people’s personalities were quite varied. The spiritual unity called for loyalty, commitment, and a complete love of God and his Word.

We need to look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and hear his call to spiritual unity. None of the believers of the early church felt that what they had was their own, and so they were able to give and share with other believers. This attitude soon defeated the pockets of poverty that dwelt among them because they would not let any of their own suffer when they themselves had plenty.

How do you feel about your possessions? Do you worry about your valuables being stolen? Do you need to look and see if you need to adopt the same type of attitude as the believers in today’s reading? It is incredibly important that we remember that everything we have comes from God, and that we are only sharing or giving away what is already his.

The early church was made up of voluntary sharing. It did not mean the sale of all property, but only as much as was needed. This voluntary sharing was not a requirement to join the church, rather it was a sign of the church. It was the spiritual unity and generosity of these early believers that attracted others to them. The fruits of the Holy Spirit were very evident, and that is how people today look at the believers in the church.

What do they see when they look at us? Do they see someone who knows that only through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ can salvation be realized? Do they see generosity and love in us? Today many people ask, “Where is the power in the church?” We need to bring back the attitude and actions of the early believers and again practice generosity and holiness. He will release his power in those who are united in spirit and generosity. We are being called to that same radical and joyous way of life that our brothers and sisters in this reading lived. The Spirit that is within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). We must never forget that the Spirit within us is the same Holy Spirit that was within the apostles.

1 JOHN 5:1-6

The first verse of today’s reading makes an incredible statement. It states that if we believe that Jesus is the Christ, then God himself accepts us as one of his begotten children. What a tremendous blessing is this gift, to be a member of God’s holy family. We also are told that to love this generous, loving Father is to also love all of his children.

When we become Christians we become members of God’s family with all believers as our brothers and sisters. It is God who chooses who are the other family members, not us. We are simply called to love and accept them. A member of the family of God is not accepted because of color, or language, nor for how famous or wealthy he or she may be. A family member is accepted on the basis of believing that Jesus is Lord.

How well do you treat your fellow members in the family of God? Jesus never promised us that it would be easy accepting him. In fact, he told us to be ready to suffer in this world because of him (John 16:33). Jesus has not given us commands that weigh us down. On the contrary, he has made our burden light by always being with us no matter the difficulty of the situation.

To be a follower and believer of Christ is to be disciplined. We are called to be always on the alert for whatever Satan tries to push on us. He is like a roaring lion waiting to devour anyone who is alone, unprepared or sickly. We are more than conquerors because we believe that Jesus is the “Christ,” the Savior of all peoples. Our victory over Satan and death is through Jesus Christ.

If you are down and depressed at this time, turn to the Lord right now because he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (Joel 2:13). Remember, do not let anything hold you back from turning to the Lord because as a child of God, you are more than just a conqueror.

JOHN 20:19-31

Can you picture that scene in the upper room? The disciples were waiting behind locked doors for either the soldiers to come and drag them away or the Jews who were furious against these followers of Jesus. Can you imagine the thoughts and fears that they were probably experiencing? What about my family, what about my business, what about my future?

All of a sudden Jesus is standing before them saying, “Peace be with you.” They were overjoyed at his return and were flabbergasted when he told them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He knew that they did not have the power to do this, so he breathed on them and gave them the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do we really believe that same power has been given to us and that, like the disciples, we are called to be sent out also? We have been given a tremendous power by Christ, and that is to free men from bondage, or if we choose, we can hold them in bondage. When we are forgiving another person we are releasing them from the bondage of sin, rejection, abandonment, and bitterness. We loose upon them all of the healing qualities of the Lord himself – forgiveness, a spirit of health, honesty, trust, and finally love. The power to forgive is simply to give back to a person his or her dignity and self-respect. That is what happens when we make the decision to forgive.

Thomas is like so many of us in that he needed to be shown to believe. Jesus loved Thomas and he loves us in all of our areas of faith. He told Thomas, “You have seen, but blessed are those who have not seen.” You and I are blessed just like Thomas because our faith in Jesus allows us to be responsive to the living presence and power of God in our lives. Jesus brought them out of fear in the upper room and gave them power through his Holy Spirit. That power and grace is ours to go forth and make disciples of all nations today.

Application

The first reading reveals that the Holy Spirit brings unity and power. The second reading shows us that belief in Jesus allows us to become God’s children. The Gospel lifts disciples out of fear into becoming mighty warriors of the Lord.

This week, practice loving God’s family members at home, school or work by doing something specific for them without taking any glory. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to do this. An example: clean up the kitchen for your spouse or parent or speak, and then listen, to someone with whom you do not really get along at school or work. Can others tell by the way you act that the Holy Spirit dwells within you?

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (April 4th) – Cycle B

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 ACTS 10:34, 37-43 FIRST READING

(“We have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead.”)

1. Whom was Peter addressing, and what did he say to them?  Acts 10:24‑28, 34-35

 

2. How does Deuteronomy 10:17 describe God, and what does it say he does not do?  2 Chronicles 19:7

 

3. For what reason does God have no favorites?  Job 34:19 and Wisdom 6:7.

 

Personal ‑ In what way do you show partiality with your children, your friends, and your co‑workers?  Spend time alone with the Lord, repent of this, and ask the Lord to help you look at others through his eyes.

 

4. What was reported all over Judea about Jesus of Nazareth? Where did it begin, and with what?  Acts 10:37‑38

 

5. Who anointed Jesus and who anointed Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy?  Acts 10:38 and 2 Corinthians 1:21‑22

 

6. What two things did Jesus go about doing and who was with him?  Acts 10:38

 

7. To what are they witnesses, what did they finally do to him, and what did God do?  Acts 10:39‑40

 

8. What did God grant, and by whom?  Acts 10:40‑41

 

9. Who are the chosen and for what purpose are they chosen? Ephesians 1:13

 

10. What did he commission us to do and whom has he sent to preach to the people?   Acts 10:42 and Mark 3:14

 

11. Who are his disciples today, to what are we to bear witness, and to what do all the prophets testify?   John 8:31, John 13:35 and Acts 10:42-43

 

Personal ‑ What results and power do you see in your everyday life from your anointing with the Holy Spirit?  Does your family see good works and healing taking place from your touch? Reflect on this.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 SECOND READING

(“Be intent on things above rather than things of earth.”)

1. With whom have we been raised up, what should we seek, and where is Christ seated?  Colossians 3:1

 

2. Who raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens? Ephesians 2:4‑6

 

3. On what are we to be intent and why?  Colossians 3:2‑3

 

4. What are things that are rooted in earth? Colossians 3:5, 8, 9

 

5. How do we become intent on things above? Colossians 3:10

 

6. Where is our life hidden now?  Colossians 3:3

 

7. Who is Christ to us?  Colossians 3:4

 

8. When Christ appears, what will happen to us and in what way? Colossians 3:4

 

Personal  ‑ As you have died with Christ to your old desires and to things rooted in this earth, do your family, friends, and work acquaintances see you as a reflection of Christ?  On a sheet of paper, name some of the characteristics of Christ in one column and in another column list your characteristics through a 24‑hour day and compare the two columns.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:1-9 GOSPEL

(“He saw and believed.”)

1. Who came to the tomb, and what did she see when she arrived at the tomb?  John 20:1

 

2. Where was Mary Magdalene as Jesus hung on the cross? John 19:25

 

3. What did Jesus drive out of Mary?   Mark 16:9.

 

4. To whom did Mary run, and what did she say to them? John 20:2

 

5. What did Peter and the other disciple do, who reached the tomb first, and how did they get there? John 20:3-4

 

Personal ‑ In what way do you see yourself running to see where Jesus is?  Are you persevering in running the race?  On whom are you keeping your eyes fixed?   Do your family and friends see you as someone with eyes looking up or cast down?  Read Hebrews 12:1‑2.

 

6. What did the disciple do when he got to the tomb and what did he see lying on the ground?  John 20:5

 

7. What did Peter do when he got there? What did he observe on the ground, and what did he notice about the cloth which had covered Jesus’ head?  John 20:6‑7

 

8. What did the disciple who had arrived first do, and what was his reaction to this?  John 20:8

 

9. What does it take to believe?   John 1:12

 

10. What will we receive by believing in the name of Jesus? John 3:36

 

11. After Jesus rose from the dead, what did the disciples come to understand and believe and when did they understand and believe?  John 2:22 and Luke 24:30‑32

 

12. What does Jesus say about those who believe and have not seen?    John 20:29

 

Personal  ‑ How have you seen a change take place in your life through reading the scriptures?  Have you come to believe in the spoken word of Jesus through the scriptures?  Remember, John tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh.  Pray and ask God to fill you with an understanding of the Word through his gift of the Holy Spirit that you received from him.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

(“The right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

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

ACTS 10:34, 37-43

Alleluia is a Hebrew word that means “praise ye the Lord.” On this great day of Easter Sunday we give thanks, gratitude and our complete joy in the form of praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.  This passage strongly shows that the resurrection is the basic doctrine and proof of the truth of the Christian faith. We are told in scripture that if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain, and our faith is worthless also (1 Cor. 15:14).

There are many today who disregard the physical resurrection and say that it is no big deal. They say that it is the spiritual resurrection that really matters. St. Paul says just the opposite. Jesus rose from the dead, and then he was seen by witnesses who had not only spoken with him, but had actually eaten with him.  The Apostles were devastated on Friday night after the crucifixion, and they remained locked in the upper room fearful of what the Roman soldiers were going to do next.  They were even too afraid to do any wishful thinking about their beloved master, Jesus. They were hard to convince even when it happened.

We need to reflect on this passage. Have we seen him, have we talked with him, have we eaten with him? He is alive today, and like the Apostle Peter, we too are called to evangelize and teach about Jesus.  We are called to fellowship with others who believe that he is risen and that he lives today. We need to discover through Christ something significant about each other, both believers and non‑believers. He has risen for the whole world ‑ Alleluia ‑ Alleluia!

COLOSSIANS 3:1-4

In this passage, Paul begins by bringing us into the core meaning of our baptism. In the early days of the church, baptism was by total immersion.  When you heard the story of Christ and you were ready to believe in the one true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you were then immersed in water.  You were cleansed from your sins and worldliness. Immersion was a symbol of being drowned or buried with Christ. This signified that the new Christian has died to all earthly attachments and desires. He was raised out of the water or the tomb to be with the risen Christ. Paul said, “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above.”  This means that we must mean what we say and do.

We have been raised with Christ and we no longer need to dwell on things of the earth. This does not mean to walk away from responsibility. It does not just mean being obedient to parents and to society. It does not just mean that we have to work to support ourselves or our families. It means that our earthly possessions must not dominate our life.

We are called to love people, not things, money, power, status, etc. Our lives need to show that what we did at baptism has life-long meaning. What we do is far more effective on others than what we say. We were created for unending happiness in heaven and this happiness is now within our grasp, thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are helped in our daily living by God’s holy grace. Remember God wants us to go to heaven and he has an Easter resurrection planned for all of us.

 

JOHN 20:1-9

The divine plan of God for all people was accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All people would now be eligible to be called sons and daughters of God because of Jesus Christ’s perfect act of obedience. Because of him, we will one day rise from the grave, like Christ, in our glorified bodies. The resurrection was the basis of the new Christian faith. Had it not happened, Christianity would never have started. There would have been no Easter Sunday. Peter would have returned with his companions to their fishing nets and boats, and Jesus Christ would have been forgotten after a few short years.

Mary Magdalene’s discovery of an empty tomb brought shock and fear. She ran to Peter and told him that she thought someone had stolen the body of Jesus. Peter had to see for himself and check out the facts. We might take notice of how the clothes were folded after they discovered Jesus’ body was gone. They would not have been arranged that way if there had been a robbery. The disciples were completely surprised when they found the empty tomb. It was only then that they remembered that Jesus had said that he would rise again.

Many people today do not believe in Jesus because the “facts” do not check out. We can only accept the fact of the resurrection when we have first personally encountered Jesus Christ. The understanding of the resurrection takes on a special meaning as we commit our lives to Jesus and his presence remains with us. Jesus’ resurrection is the key to our Christian faith because death, as we know it, is not the end. Jesus’ bodily  resurrection shows us that he is ruler of God’s kingdom. Because of his promise, we who die to ourselves with him, will rise from the dead with him. Because of him, you and I can face tomorrow without fear.  Because of him, we have his Holy Spirit living within us and protecting us against all evil (1 John 4:4). Because of him, we can witness to the whole world that if they believe in Jesus Christ, they may also receive eternal happiness. Because of him, all mankind can really be free and live forever.  Alleluia ‑ he is risen ‑ Alleluia ‑ he is alive.

 

Application

Jesus’ death brought us freedom from sin and death. We are now called to free others from sin and death here on earth. Some of us can do that by our professions as medical people, legal people, politicians, educators, business people, parents, and children.

This week free someone in your family, home or work from a chore that you know they don’t like.  Let them see that joy in someone who really knows that he is free.  Then each day have your  family gather together to pray that all may become free from sin through Jesus Christ.  Because of him, you are free.  Let freedom ring throughout this land.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord (March 28th) – Cycle B

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 a 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 ISAIAH 50:4-7 FIRST READING
(“The Lord is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”)

1. From where did the well-trained tongue come? To whom has he given it, and for what reason has he been given a well- trained tongue? Isaiah 50:4

 

2. When and what does he open, that we may hear? Isaiah 50:4

 

3. What has he not done? Isaiah 50:5

 

4. What happens to those who rebel? 1 Samuel 12:15

 

5. What did the servant do to those who beat him and plucked his beard? Isaiah 50:6

 

6. From what did he not shield his face? Isaiah 50:6, Matthew 26:67 and 27:30

 

7. Who is the servant’s help, and how has he set his face? Isaiah 50:7

 

8. What does the servant know? Isaiah 50:7

 

Personal? – When do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is he saying to you? In what way, by using a well-trained tongue, do you rouse the weary in your own household? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can train your tongue.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11 SECOND READING
(“Jesus Christ is Lord.”)

1. What must your attitude be? Philippians 2:5

 

2. Of whom was he in the form? Philippians 2:6

 

3. Who is Christ? John 1:1, 14

 

4. What was something at which he did not grasp? Philippians 2:6

 

5. Rather, of what did he become empty and why? Philippians 2:7 2 Corinthians 8:9

 

6. Of what did he take the form, and in whose likeness was he born, and of what was he known to be? Philippians 2:7

 

7. What two things did he do in verse 8 of Philippians 2?

 

8. For what reason did he do the above two things? Hebrews 2:14,17

 

9. Because he humbled himself and accepted death on the cross, what two things did God do for him? Philippians 2:9

 

10. What must every knee do, in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, at the name of Jesus, and what must every tongue proclaim? Philippians 2:10-11

 

11. What does this tell us beyond a doubt? Acts 2:36

 

12. For whose glory is this proclaimed (Philippians 2:11), and what will happen to us if we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead? Romans 10:9

 

13. Who gives us the power to say “Jesus is Lord”? 1 Corinthians 12:3

 

Personal? – In what way is your attitude that of Christ? In what way have you humbled yourself? What cross have you obediently accepted? Mark 8:34

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 14:1-15:47 GOSPEL
(“Truly this man was the Son of God!”)

1. What feast was to be observed in two days’ time? Who began to look for a way to arrest Jesus, and what was pointed out to them? Mark 14:1-2

 

2. What did the woman carrying an alabaster jar of expensive perfume do to Jesus? What was the reaction of those present and what did Jesus say about what she did and about her? Mark 14:3-9

 

3. What did Judas Iscariot do? What was the reaction of the chief priest, what did they offer him, and for what was Judas looking? Mark 14:10-11

 

4. What did the disciples ask Jesus about the Passover supper? What were his instructions to them, and when they went off and found things just as he told them, what did they do? Mark 14:12-16

 

Personal? – What do you ask Jesus in prayer regarding preparations for major events such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.?

 

5. As Jesus and the twelve disciples reclined at the table, what did he say to them, what was their reaction, and what did he say about the man who was to betray him? Mark 14:17-21

 

6. During the meal, what did Jesus say and do with the bread and wine? What did he say he would never do again, and after they sang songs of praise, where did they go? Mark 14:22-26

 

7. What did Jesus tell the disciples would happen to their faith? What did he quote from scripture, where did he tell them he would go after he was raised up? Mark 14:27-28

 

8. What did Peter say to Jesus, what did Jesus say to him, and what did the others say? Mark 14:29-31

 

9. With what was Jesus filled in the garden of Gethsemani? What did he tell his disciples to do, what did Jesus say to “Abba” (God the Father)? What kept happening to the disciples, and what did he finally say was about to happen? Mark 14:32-42

 

10. How had Jesus’ betrayer arranged his arrest? What was the reaction of the disciples after he was arrested, what did Jesus say the arrest at that time fulfilled, and how did one young man that was following Jesus run off? Mark 14:43-52

 

Personal? – When you become afraid and fear seizes you, how do you respond? Look back at verses 34-39 and see how Jesus dealt with fear and distress.

 

11. When they led Jesus off to the high priest, where was Peter? What were the chief priest and whole Sanhedrin trying to do? As the high priest interrogated him, what did Jesus say, and what did the high priest do and say? Mark 14:53-63

 

12. What did they all concur in the verdict against Jesus? What did they do to Jesus? And while Peter was down in the courtyard, what happened to him? Mark 14:64-72

 

13. What did Pilate do to Jesus, and what was Jesus’ response, who was Barabbas, and what did the chief priest incite the crowd to do? Mark 15:1-15

 

Personal – In what way do you see that jealousy and envy cause unjust results? In what way have you witnessed someone unjustly condemned through gossip and lying?

 

14. What did the soldiers do to Jesus? Mark 15:16-20

 

15. Who did they press into service to carry his cross, and where did they bring Jesus? What did they do to him, and what did the people passing by and the chief priest say and do? Mark 15:21-32

 

16. What happened at noon and at three o’clock that afternoon? What happened to the veil of the sanctuary, and what did the centurion who saw Jesus breathe his last breath say? Mark 15:33-39

 

17. Who were the women looking on from a distance? At evening, what did Joseph of Arimathea courageously do? What was Pilate’s response to Joseph? What did Joseph do with the body of Jesus and who watched where he laid him? Mark 15:40-47

 

Personal? – Can you identify with the jeering crowd and the centurion at the cross and how do you relate to them? What has happened in your life that has revealed that Jesus truly is the Son of God?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
(“They have pierced my hands and my feet.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24.

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 50:4-7

The source of strength and courage for all suffering, trial and tribulations is the suffering and death of our divine Lord Jesus Christ. We need to hold fast to him when the world closes in with its assault, rejection and abandonment. He not only traveled this same road before the saints of old, but he travels it today constantly waiting to be with us in our suffering. His suffering and death opened the road to heaven for all of us, even though many refuse the gift. He gave up everything for us, and he gave us love, trust, hope, respect, and eternal life. In return, he got spat upon, ridiculed, beaten, jeered, scourged and mocked. He finally was executed by being nailed to a cross on Calvary between two lawbreakers.

This is a day of reflection, and we are about to enter Holy Week. Let us not forget the actions and the words of this suffering servant of Isaiah. We need to reflect how fast the crowd changed from adoring him to jeering him. He took up a cross for us, and we need to remember we, too, are called to carry a cross for someone. Sometimes we think our cross is too heavy, or that it is unfair to bear such a heavy cross. How heavy is your cross compared to Christ’s? How is your Calvary compared to Jesus’ Calvary?

PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11

Paul tells us that our attitude should be like that of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5). He describes putting on the attitude of a servant rather than that of a king. Jesus, though being God, did not demand his rights and privileges of royalty. He deliberately set them all aside and took on the role of a servant. There lies the incredible formula of a successful leader. Jesus led by serving all of us. He showed us that putting others first and being humble are the only ways a person can become a real leader. The sheep followed the shepherd because they trusted him. People will follow a leader if they know that he has their welfare at heart.

Jesus showed us everything of God’s character in human terms. He was obedient even unto death, and the type of death he chose for him was extremely painful. Jesus is the perfect role model for us in today’s living. How many times do you demand your rights when you are being treated less than fairly? The name of Jesus brings to every Christian person the name of a person who willingly died so that all people could be free, and he died for us knowing very well that we were sinners (Romans 5:8). Jesus voluntarily laid aside his divine rights, privileges, and position out of love for his Father. We too are called to lay aside our rights and privileges for our oppressed brothers and sisters in the holy name of Jesus.

MARK 14:1-15:47

Today’s Gospel takes us through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church celebrates Palm Sunday at the beginning of Passover week. There are many contrasts in today’s reading. We see Jesus being betrayed by Judas, who was one of his original apostles.

The week begins with Jesus leaving a home in Bethany where he was guest of honor and going to Jerusalem. In two weeks he will have gone through hero-worship to rejection, jeering, incarceration, torture and finally execution on a cross. The people of Bethany were so impressed with Jesus that they lined the roads when he made his entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The people shouted praise to him and his holy name. He was rebuked by Judas for letting a woman waste expensive perfume on him, but Jesus told Judas and some of the other apostles that she did no wrong. In fact, her worship of Jesus included sacrificing something of great value.

The disciples really did not understand Jesus’ role. They thought he was going to bring the Israelites a powerful new kingdom and overthrow Rome. Jesus showed in his praise of the woman that his kingdom was not physical or political, but spiritual. Judas then turned to the Pharisees and betrayed Christ for money and favors from some religious leaders. Jesus saw this and continued on to his appointed time to glorify his Father. Judas did not see Jesus with spiritual vision, he only saw the chance to be powerful. Today many of us look at Judas with shock and outrage. Yet we deny Christ when we do not obey his commands. We are the same people who sing songs of praise to him on Sundays, and we sin in darkness during the week. We need to ask ourselves a very violent question. Do our beliefs match our actions? Jesus’ death and resurrection freed us from being another Judas. Judas had the same chance but he chose to refuse. Let us not turn our backs on Christ, rather let us turn to him in repentance. Judas chose the world of greed, deceit, lying, and manipulation; and he died in despair and violence. We do not have to choose that path because Christ has freed us from sin by his death and resurrection. We can choose the path of love, honor, and respectability because Christ’s Holy Spirit lives within each and every one of us (1 John 4:4).

Application

The first reading tells us that the source of strength for all of our suffering, trials, and tribulation is the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. The second reading tells us that our attitude should be humble not proud. A humble attitude is the attitude of Christ. The Gospel reveals that when we fail to obey Jesus’ commandment we betray him.

This week, stop and observe what you are saying and doing. Make a determined effort to stop the deceit, lying, and manipulation that may be going on in your life. It only brought Judas loneliness and death. The choice is yours to make.

Fifth Sunday in Lent (March 21st) – Cycle B

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 JEREMIAH 31:31-34 FIRST READING

(“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”)

l. What will the Lord make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah?   Jeremiah 31:31

 

2. For what reason, and who is the mediator of a new covenant? Hebrews 9:14-15

 

3. What will the covenant not be like, what did the Israelites do, and what did God do?   Jeremiah 31:32

 

4. What did God command on the day he brought them out of the land of Egypt?   Jeremiah 7:22-23

 

5. What did the Lord make with the house of Israel, and what will he place within them?   Jeremiah 31:33

 

6. Where will the Lord write his law, what will he be to them, and what will they be to him?  Jeremiah 31:33

 

7. What will he remember no more?   Hebrews 10:16-17

 

8. To whom and what will they no longer have need to teach? Jeremiah 31:34

 

9. Who shall know the Lord, what will he do, and what will he no longer remember?  Jeremiah 31:34

 

10. Who shall be taught by the Lord, and what shall be great within our children?   Isaiah 54:13

 

11. What remains in us, and for what reason?  1 John 2:27

 

Personal – How have you responded to the new covenant that God has made with you?   How has this affected your relationship with others?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 5:7-9 SECOND READING

(“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”)

1. When Christ was in the flesh, what and how did he offer himself?   Hebrews 5:7

 

2. To whom did he offer prayers and supplications, and why was he heard?  Hebrews 5:7

 

3. What did Jesus say to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, and in what way did he pray?

Matthew 26:38 and Luke 22:44

 

4. What did King Darius decree?   Daniel 6:26-28

 

5. Son though he was, what did he learn from what he suffered? Hebrews 5:8

 

6. To what did Jesus become obedient?   Philippians 2:8

 

7. What will many be made through the obedience of Jesus? Romans 5:19

 

8. How do we share Christ’s sufferings? Philippians 3:10

 

9. When Jesus was made perfect, of what did he become the source, and for whom?  Hebrews 5:9

 

10. What are we to be, just as our heavenly Father is? Matthew 5:48

 

Personal – How have you suffered through your obedience to Christ in your dying to self for others?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 12:20-33 GOSPEL

(“…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”)

1. What did some Greeks ask Philip?  John 12:20-21

 

2. What did Philip and Andrew do?  John 12:22

 

3. What did Jesus say had to come for the Son of Man to be glorified?  John 12:23

 

4. What did Jesus say about a grain of wheat?  John 12:24   

 

5. What you sow is not brought to life unless it does what? 1 Corinthians 15:36

 

6. What does a grain of wheat produce if it dies?  John 12:24

 

7. What happens to him who loves his life, and to him who hates his life?   John 12:25

 

8. Whoever serves Jesus must do what?  Where he is, who will also be there, and what will the Father do?  John 12:26

 

Personal – Name some of the ways you have died to self for those around you, and what is the fruit you bear?

 

9. What must one do who wishes to come after Jesus? Matthew 16:24

 

10. What did Jesus say he was, and what question does he ask? What statement does he make about the hour?   John 12:27

 

11. What did Jesus say, what did the crowd hear, and what did some say?   John 12:28-29

 

12. For whom did Jesus say the voice came, what did he say was the time, and who would be driven out?  John 12:30-31

 

13. Where did Jesus say he was going, and what has happened to the ruler of this world?    John 16:10-11

 

14. Who is greater than the one who is in the world? 1 John 4:4

 

15. When Jesus is lifted up from the earth, who will he draw to himself, and why did he say this?John 12:32-33

 

Personal – How have you experienced Jesus drawing you to himself?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 51:3-4, 12-15 PSALM

(“I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15.

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

JEREMIAH 31:31-34

The old covenant had been broken so many times, and God in his mercy had restored the Israelites every time they repented. This reading reveals to us that the old covenant which was built on the Law of Moses would be replaced by a new covenant with the “Messiah.” The old covenant was written on the tablets of stone which Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20). God showed the people the beauty of any true function of his laws in the ten commandments.

The law was designed to lead Israel to a life of practical holiness, and in today’s reading we see the old covenant being replaced by a new one that had the laws of God imprinted on our hearts rather than on tablets of stone. The foundation of the old covenant was Moses and the Mosaic law, and the foundation of the new covenant is Jesus Christ. The new covenant goes beyond Israel and Judah and encompasses the whole world.

A personal relationship with God is now available, and Jeremiah looked forward to the day when this new covenant would be a reality. But for us the new covenant is already here, and the Word became flesh (John 1:14). We have available to us right now a deep and personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This can be a permanent relationship with the God of all.

Do you long for a relationship like this? Then, right now, get down on your knees and invite him into your heart. Tell him you want him to bring his new covenant into your heart. Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus and you will be renewed forever and ever.

 

HEBREWS 5:7-9

This reading really brings home the fact that Jesus found no pleasure in suffering and dying. He willingly chose to endure pain and humiliation in order to obey his Father.

At times we will find ourselves choosing to allow ourselves to undergo trials and pain and humiliation, not because we want to suffer, but because we want to obey God.  In our time of trial, we can draw upon the example of Jesus’ obedience, and we find we can face anything when we know that Jesus Christ is with us. When we pray to the Lord, let our spirit be in obedience with his Holy Spirit. Many times we cry out to God in a spirit of disobedience and wonder why it seems as if he is not listening. All suffering is not of the Lord, and some suffering is very destructive and wasted. When our suffering turns us toward the Lord and we join our suffering with his, it becomes what is called redemptive suffering. It brings us through our suffering into a tremendous harmony with Christ. This harmony and peace can come only through obedience to his Holy Word. People are tremendously influenced by the courage, patience, long-suffering, and joy of a suffering, obedient person.

Jesus’ life was not a script that he passively followed. It was a life he chose to give. He chose to obey even when it began leading to his death. We need not fear suffering, whether it be from sickness, imprisonment, or persecution, because if we are obedient to his word, he will bring us to him in full glory and free us from all suffering. He offers salvation to all those who obey him.

 

JOHN 12:20-33

Today’s Gospel is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not for those who are looking for a quick fix. The message is loud and clear, and it is a message of complete obedience. To obey completely means not to question at all. We are being told that unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.

We are told that to be a disciple of Christ we have to follow in his footsteps, and this means walking along the path of pain, suffering, and humiliation. We are being called to follow in his footsteps into the terror of Calvary and the shock of his death on the cross. To follow in Jesus’ footsteps is to renounce our own direction and follow his. To follow in his footprints we must be like the grain of wheat that dies. This means we must die to ourselves, our ego, our pet needs, our dreams, and our future.

We need not fear to follow in Jesus’ footsteps because he died to show his power over sin and death, and his resurrection proves he has eternal life. We can rejoice because he gives this same eternal life to all who believe in him. To live for Christ is to live for others by dying to ourselves. This does not mean that we want to physically die but means that we want to live only to glorify Christ. We may never be called to make a sacrifice like Jesus did, but we are called into obedience to him. Whatever the Father asks, we should do, and bring glory to his name. Jesus loved us so much that he went willingly to that cross of pain and death. His resurrection shattered Satan’s power over death (Col. 1:13, 14). We need never fear following in Jesus’ footsteps because he tells us in scripture, “There is one greater in you than there is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God has imprinted his law on our hearts. The second reading reveals that suffering can lead to obedience, and obedience leads to holiness. The Gospel shows us that following in Jesus’ footsteps is anything but glamorous and safe.

This week make a deliberate effort to give God the glory of your efforts rather than seeking attention and praise for yourself. This will help others to give glory to God for their efforts instead of seeking attention and praise for themselves.

Fourth Sunday in Lent (March 14th) – Cycle B

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 a 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 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23 FIRST READING
(“for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.”)

1. Who added infidelity to infidelity, what did they practice, and what did they do to the Lord’s temple? 2 Chronicles 36:14

 

2. What do those who indulge in sexual promiscuity and practice unnatural vice defile? Jude 1:7-8

 

3. When did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to those polluting the temple, and for what reason? 2 Chronicles 36:15

 

4. On whom does the Lord have compassion? Psalm 103:13

 

5. In what is God great? Psalm 51:3

 

Personal – How have you experienced the compassion of the Lord, and how have you been compassionate with those around you?

 

6. Whom did the people mock, and what did the Lord become? 2 Chronicles 36:16

 

7. Whom did the Lord bring up against them, what happened to their young men, and whom did he deliver over to the king? 2 Chronicles 36:17

 

8. What did they do to the house of God? 2 Chr. 36:19

 

9. What happened to those who escaped the sword, and what did they become? 2 Chronicles 36:20

 

10. What did Jesus say a man is who commits sin, and where does he not remain forever? John 8:34-35

 

11. What was all this to fulfill? 2 Chronicles 36:21

 

12. In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, what did the Lord inspire the king to do? 2 Chronicles 36:22-23

 

Personal? – In what way have you heard the word of the Lord, and how will you fulfill it?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 2:4-10 SECOND READING
(“For by grace you have been saved through faith,”)

1. In what is God rich, and what is great that he has for us? Ephesians 2:4

 

2. When we were dead in our transgressions, to what did he bring us? Ephesians 2:5

 

3. How does God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8

 

4. With whom have we been raised up, where has he seated us, and for what reason? Ephesians 2:6-7

 

5. If Christ is in us, what is dead and what is alive, and why? Romans 8:10

 

6. What will happen to him who insults the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29

 

7. How have we been saved, through what have we been saved, and from whom is it not? Ephesians 2:8

 

8. What has God given us, from what is it not, so no one shall do what? Ephesians 2:8-9

 

9. How is no one justified? Galatians 2:16

 

10. What should no human being do, and how should we boast? 1 Corinthians 1:29-31

 

11. What are we to God, how are we created, and what has God prepared in advance so that we should live in them? Ephesians 2:10

 

12. What is one who is in Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Personal? – What are the good works God has created for you to do? See Ephesians 4:11-16

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 3:14-21 GOSPEL
(“…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”)

1. What did Moses make, where did he mount it, and what happened to those that looked at it? Numbers 21:9

 

2. Why must the Son of Man be lifted up? John 3:14-15

 

3. Whom does God love, whom did he give, and how may we have eternal life? John 3:16

 

4. How is the love of God revealed to us? 1 John 4:9

 

5. What did God send his Son into the world not to do, and for what reason did he send his Son into the world? John 3:17

 

6. If anyone hears Jesus’ words and does not observe them, what condemns him? John 12:47-48

 

7. What must we do in order not to be condemned? John 3:18

 

8. From what has the one who believes in Jesus passed? John 5:24

 

9. What is the verdict? John 3:19

 

10. Who does Jesus say he is? John 8:12

 

11. What does everyone who does wicked things hate, toward what does he not come, and for what reason? John 3:20

 

12. Who are those who rebel against the light? Job 24:13-17

 

13. Who comes to the light, and how will his works be clearly seen? John 3:21

 

14. Who is the light of the world, for whom must that light shine, and for what reason? Matthew 5:14, 16

 

Personal? – How do those around you see the light of Christ within you, and how often do they see it? If you do not know, step out and ask those closest to you what they see in you. Take to the Lord in prayer whatever is revealed to you.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 137:1-6
(“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand be forgotten.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 137:1-6.

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 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23

God warned Judah about its sin and continually restored the people to his favor, only to have them turn away. The people refused to listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, and eventually the situation of sinful living was beyond remedy. This happened to a people who worshipped the heathen idols of the surrounding nations. The people from the top, the leaders and high priests and many of the important people of Judah harbored rebellion in their hearts and led the nation into its downfall.

Today we see many of the same attitudes in many nations. There seems to be a race toward self-destruction. The traditional values seem to be more a part of history rather than our present and future. We have to beware of harboring sin in our heart and becoming a rebellious people. We may also reflect on our actions and be aware that the day will come for all of us when remedy is no longer possible and God’s judgment replaces his mercy. History has clearly shown us that sin often repeated, but never repented invites disaster.

This chapter closes with the end of the exile and the promise of a new future for the remnants of God’s chosen people. The temple represented the greatest dedication of worship the world had ever seen. Yet the temple was destroyed, the kings were gone, the people removed, and the nation was stripped to its very foundation. Fortunately there was a greater foundation, and that is God himself.

Today when it seems as if everything is being stripped away from us, we need to remember that we too still have God in his Holy Word, his presence, his sacraments, and in his promise that he would be with us for all ages (Matthew 28:20).

 

EPHESIANS 2:4-10

This reading reveals to us that we need not live any longer under sin’s power. Jesus Christ destroyed the penalty and power of sin through his death on the cross. We have been found through faith in Christ to be acquitted “not guilty” before God. This does not mean that God has taken us out of the world or turned us into robots. We still fall to sin on occasions. But now the difference is Christ’s incredible gift to us; we can choose to live for him or choose to ignore and reject him. We know that just as Jesus rose from the dead, so will our bodies be raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:12-19). We have been given the power to live the fully human, fully alive Christian life now (Ephesians 1:19).

Paul tells us of sitting with Christ in glory because we who have faith in him are united in his powerful victory. It is obvious that this gift of salvation is not a reward for something good that we have done. The fact is that it is a gift freely given and the response by us is not “How much do I owe you?” The response to his gift is “Thank you.” Many people feel obligated to try to work their way to God even after they have been made aware of this incredible gift. We can respond to the gift of our salvation and even our faith only with gratitude, praise and joyfulness. This unmerited gift to us from God is called “grace,” (Eph. 1:8), and it is not the result of any effort, ability, intelligence, or act of service to others on our part. We do good not to become good, but rather because of the goodness which is the Holy Spirit that resides within us (1 John 4:4). Out of gratitude and joy, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness and love. Let us remember that we are not saved merely for our own benefit. We are called to glorify him and build up his church (Ephesians 4:12).

 

JOHN 3:14-21

In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus is telling the people that when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God sent forth a plague of venomous snakes to punish them for their rebellious attitudes. Those who were doomed to die from snakebite could be cured by obeying God’s command to look up at the bronze serpent on the pole that Moses was carrying. The bronze snake on the pole did not heal anyone, but their belief that God could heal them did it. This belief was demonstrated by their obedience in following God’s command.

Believers today can be saved from the sickness of sin by looking to Jesus’ death on the cross. We will be saved from sin’s deadly “bite” by looking to Jesus and believing he will heal us. To many people eternal life holds no great promise if it means the extension of a miserable mortal life on earth. To believe in Jesus Christ and gain eternal life is a life where there is no death, sickness, enemies, evil or sin. When we do not know Christ, we make choices as though this life were all we have. In reality, we believe this life is just an introduction to eternity.

We need to begin to evaluate from an eternal perspective all that happens to us each day. God sets the pattern of true love here. If we love someone dearly, we are willing to give the ultimate price for that person’s responsive love. God paid dearly with the life of his son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus offered us the new life he bought for us. He paid the price of our sins with his blood and life.

When you and I share the Gospel with others, our love must be like his. We must be willing to give up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s love. The darkness is very comfortable to some people because they do not want their lives exposed to God’s light. They are afraid of what it might reveal about themselves. It might call for a change and they do not want to change. Do not let others intimidate you in your desire to obey God and do what is right. They are afraid that you may expose some of the darkness in their lives. You are to keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to live in the light than in darkness. He has promised us eternal life if we believe in him (John 3:16). Take him up on that promise. He is a God who really delivers.

 

Application

The first reading shows us that God restores those who repent. The second reading tells us that we do not have to live under sin’s power any longer. The Gospel promises eternal life if we believe in Christ.

This week show others how the light and love of Christ shines through you. By your actions show your kindness and gentleness to your family members, classmates or co-workers. Be specific and pick out a particular person each day and let the light and love of God light up your life by being patient and kind. Be generous and humble, not jealous or rude. Practice this for one week and you will light up your whole family, school and job. Let your light shine, let your light shine.

Third Sunday in Lent (March 7th) – Cycle B

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 EXODUS 20:1-17 FIRST READING

(“I, the Lord, am your God,…”)

l. What did God deliver, from where did he deliver them, and where did he speak to them? Exodus 20:1 and Nehemiah 9:13

 

2. What did the Lord say you shall not have, what shall you not carve, and what kind of a God is He?  Exodus 20:3-5

 

3. What is cast by a craftsman?  Isaiah 40:19

 

4. What do knowledge and love do, and what do we know about idols and God?    1 Corinthians 8:1-6

 

5. What will God bestow down to the thousandth generation, and to whom will he bestow it? Exodus 20:6

 

6. Who will be shown mercy?   Matthew 5:7

 

7. What shall you not do to God’s name, and whom will the Lord not leave unpunished?  Exodus 20:7

 

8. What day are you to remember to keep holy, what must you not do on that day, and what did the Lord do on the seventh day? Exodus 20:8-11

 

9. Whom are we to honor, and by honoring them what may we have?  Exodus 20:12

 

10. As seen in Exodus 20:13-17, what shall we not do?

 

11. What did Jesus tell the man he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life?  Mark 10:17-22

 

12. What did Jesus come to do?  Matthew 5:17

 

Personal – Which of the commandments do you have difficulty following?  What can you do to change that area of difficulty for yourself?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 1:22-25 SECOND READING

(“Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”)

1. What do the Jews demand, and for what do the Greeks look? 1 Corinthians 1:22

 

2. What was the beginning of Jesus’ signs in Cana, what did this reveal, and what did his disciples begin to do? John 2:7-9, 11

 

3. In what did Jesus advance?   Luke 2:52

 

4. What comes with pride, and what comes with the humble? Proverbs 11:2

 

5. What is the beginning of wisdom?  Proverbs 9:10

 

6. What does Paul proclaim, and what is this to the Jews and Gentiles?   1 Corinthians 1:23

 

7. What did Simeon say to Mary about Jesus?   Luke 2:34

 

8. What did Paul say about the message of the cross? 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

9. To those who are called, what is Christ? 1 Corinthians 1:24

 

10. What is the foolishness of God and the weakness of God? 1 Corinthians 1:25

 

11. Out of what was Jesus crucified, how does he live, and how do we live with him?   2 Corinthians 13:4

 

Personal – How do you proclaim Christ crucified to your family, friends, co-workers, and/or schoolmates? Could there be a stumbling block for you or others in proclaiming Christ crucified?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 2:13-25 GOSPEL

(“..He was speaking about the temple of his body.”)

1. Since the Jewish Passover was near, where did Jesus go? Whom did Jesus find seated in the temple, and what were they doing? John 2:13-14

 

2. What did Jesus make, and what did he do with it, and what did he do with the coins and tables?  John 2:15

 

3. What did Jesus say to those who sold doves?  John 2:16

 

4. What did Jesus’ disciples recall, and at this, what did the Jews say to him?   John 2:17-18

 

5. What did Jesus say about the temple?  John 2:19

 

6. How long did the Jews say the temple had been under construction? John 2:20

 

7. About what was Jesus speaking?   John 2:21

 

8. What is our body, who dwells within us, and what must we do with our body?   1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

9. What happened to the disciples when Jesus was raised from the dead, and what two things did they come to believe? John 2:22

 

10. Who reminds us of all that Jesus says?  See John 14:26

 

11. What made many begin to believe in his name? John 2:23

 

12. Why did Jesus not trust himself to them, and what did he understand well?   John 2:24-25

 

13. How might the cross of Christ be emptied of its meaning? 1 Corinthians 1:17

 

14. Who did God choose from the world, and what did Jesus become for us?   1 Corinthians 1:27, 29-31

 

Personal – How can profiting and making money be a stumbling block to your temple (your body)?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 19:8-11

(“The law of the Lord is perfect,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 19:8-11.

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

Exodus 20:1-17

Today’s reading brings to us the law that was designed to lead Israel to a life of practical holiness. The Ten Commandments were intended to direct the community to meet the needs of each person in a loving and responsible manner. The Israelites had just come from Egypt, a land of many idols and gods. It was very common to worship many gods in order to have a fulfilled life. When God told his people to worship him, the people thought he was just one more god to add to the list, and when he said, “Worship no other God than me,” it was hard for the people to accept. God made this his first commandment and emphasized it more than the other commandments.

By the time Jesus came along, most people looked at the Law the wrong way. They saw it as a means to salvation, but God shows that the Law is a blueprint for living, not a method of salvation. We need only to look around us and we can see that many people today allow certain values to become gods to them. Good health, money, fame, work, or pleasure can become gods when we concentrate too much on them for meaning and security in our life.

No one really sets out to worship these things. Yet, the amount of time they occupy in people’s lives lets them grow into gods that ultimately control our thoughts and energies. We can keep these idols and false gods from dominating us when only God takes the central place in our lives. God’s name is special, for it carries his personal identity. The way we use his name conveys the way we really feel about him. Lying is an attempt to deceive. God warns us against this kind of deception. Even though deception is a way of life for many people, we must resist it. Only God can supply all of our needs (Phil. 4:19) and we need go to him only in prayer (Phil. 4:6-8) and we will find the peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

1 CORINTHIANS 1:22-25

Paul tells us that many people in Corinth thought the Good News of Jesus Christ was foolish, because they had been taught that the Messiah would be a conquering hero, not a suffering servant. Jesus did not restore David’s throne as they had expected. The execution of Jesus as a common criminal certainly did not help those of Corinth to look upon Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Greeks thought the Gospel was foolish, too, because they did not believe in a bodily resurrection. The Greeks did not see in Jesus Christ the strength of their mythological gods, and they also thought no reputable person would be crucified. To the Greeks death was defeat, not victory.

Today, the Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to some people. Our society worships youth, influence, wealth, power, and health. Jesus came as a humble, poor servant (Phil. 2:2-11). Jesus offers his kingdom to those with faith, not talent, money or power. To the world this method looks backward, but it is the way God chose to save it.

Paul preached about the crucified Christ, and his message was that of the cross. He taught that Jesus emptied himself and obediently went to his death on the cross (Phil. 2:2-11). We are called to do no less. We are called to defer to one another and die to our own desires and needs. We live in a world that glorifies self and tries desperately to ignore the rights and needs of the broken, lonely and oppressed people. We are strongest when we are meeting the needs of the weakest. Mother Teresa shows us that we are richest when we are meeting the needs of the poorest of the poor.  Jesus himself tells us that when we serve others, we are serving him (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

JOHN 2:13-25

The Passover celebration took place yearly at the temple in Jerusalem. All Jewish males were expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during this time. Jerusalem was both the political and religious seat of Palestine, and it was the place where the expected Messiah was to arrive. The temple in today’s reading was built on the same location as the one built by Solomon over a thousand years earlier (1 Kings 6).

The temple tax had to be paid in the local currency; hence the need for moneychangers. Profits were being made and high interest was very common with moneychangers. The people needed to make a sin offering so animals were sold also. The price of sacrificial animals was much higher in the temple area than elsewhere. Jesus was very angry at the dishonesty and greed of the moneychangers and merchants.  Their presence made a mockery of the temple, the place of worship to God, not a marketplace.

We need to be sure that our attitude reflects our desire to attend church because it is a place of prayer, worship, and social activities that give varied types of help to the poor and oppressed.

Jesus exerted righteous indignation and not uncontrolled rage. It is right to be angry over injustice and sin, and it is wrong to be angry over trivial personal offenses. Jesus’ resurrection would prove his authority to drive out the merchants, to heal, to cast out demons, and to forgive sins. We are called to make our temple of the Holy Spirit, which is our body (1 Cor. 6:19-20), a place that is a living and holy sacrifice.

 

Application 

The first reading is a call to practical holiness. The second reading reveals the Messiah as a suffering servant. The Gospel tells us that our church is meant to be a place of worship.

This week, see what needs to be done by your family to make your church a place of worship. See what needs to be done by you to make your family see you as one who is becoming holy. Then go in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of his Holy Spirit, and in accordance with his Father’s will, DO IT.