Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 31st) – 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 DEUTERONOMY 6:2-6 FIRST READING

(“…The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!”)

l. How are we to have a long life, and who are we to fear? Deuteronomy 6:2

 

2. Who will prosper after us if we keep the commandments? Deuteronomy 4:40, Deuteronomy 5:29.

 

3. What did the Father promise us if we are careful to observe his commands? Deuteronomy 6:3

 

4. Who is dearer to the Lord than all other people? Exodus 19:5

 

5. Who is our God, and what did Jesus say about him? Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29

 

6. With what are we to love and serve the Lord? Deuteronomy 10:12

 

7. With what three ways are we to love the Lord our God? Deuteronomy 6:5

 

8. What is to be written on our heart?  Deuteronomy 6:6

 

9. What is in our heart that we do not falter? Psalm 37:31

 

10. What do we treasure in our heart so we will not sin against him? Psalm 119:11

 

Personal – How have you shown your love for God?  What shows others that he alone is your God and there is none other than him?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 7:23-28 SECOND READING

(“…He is always able to save those who approach God through him.”)

1. Who were prevented by death from remaining in office? Hebrews 7:23

 

2. Who has a priesthood that does not pass away? Hebrews 7:24, 28

 

3. What happens to those who approach God through Jesus, and what does he do for them?  Hebrews 7:25

 

4. Where is Jesus?  Romans 8:34

 

5. If anyone sins, what does Jesus do?  1 John 2:1-2

 

6. Why is it fitting to have such a high priest?  Hebrews 7:26

 

7. Who is this high priest who passed through the heavens? Hebrews 4:14

 

8. What did Jesus do once and for all, and what did he have no need to do?  Hebrews 7:27

 

9. For what does Jesus live, and what must we consider ourselves? Romans 6:10-11

 

10. What does the law appoint, and who does the word of the oath appoint? Hebrews 7:28

 

11. Who is perfect?  Hebrews 7:28, Hebrews 5:8-10

 

Personal    About what can you have Jesus intercede for you to the Father? Try keeping a prayer journal with dates and check the results each week.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 12:28-34 GOSPEL

(“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)

1. What did one of the scribes ask Jesus?  Mark 12:28

 

2. What did Jesus say his Father was, and how are we to love him? Mark 12:29-30

 

3. What did Jesus say was the second commandment, and what did he say about these two commandments? Mark 12:31

 

4. What is summed up in this saying (namely), “you shall love your neighbor as yourself, and what does love not do? Romans 13:9-10

 

5. What did the scribe say about God? Mark 12:32

 

6. What did the scribe say was worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices? Mark 12:33

 

7. To what does the Lord want us to be open?  Psalm 40:7

 

8. What did Jesus see in the scribe, and what did Jesus say to him?  Mark 12:34

 

9. Where does God’s kingdom rule? Psalm 103:19

 

10. What did no one dare to do?  Mark 12:34, Matthew 22:46

 

Personal    In what way have you shown your love for God by loving your neighbor this week?  Who in your life is considered your neighbor right now?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 18:2-4, 47, 51

(“I love you, O Lord, my strength,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51.

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

DEUTERONOMY 6:2-6

This passage shows us that the wandering in the desert was not only a punishment but also a test to show the people how utterly dependent they must be on God.  For a nation that had wandered forty years in a parched desert to be close to a land “flowing with milk and honey” sounded like a paradise. They envisioned rich crops, rushing streams, gentle rains, and lush fields filled with livestock.  The Israelites could have had all that forty years earlier, but their stubbornness and rebellion prevented it from happening.

Moses was now whetting their appetite for this beautiful land and clearly explaining the conditions for entering the land. The great Hebrew prayer known as the “Shema” from the Hebrew word “Hear” begins the prayer. This prayer was recited by devout Jews and was a proclamation of faith and a desire to serve God.  Since Jesus was a pious Jew, the words of the Shema came to his lips when he was asked which commandment was the greatest (Mark 12:29). The rabbis agree also that of the 612 Jewish commandments of the Law, this was the most important.  The prayer declares that their God (Yahweh) is the only true God. This was a very important insight for the people of Israel, because they were about to enter a land with many gods.

Both then and today there are people who prefer to place their trust in many gods. Today we see people who believe in the false gods of money, power, status, fame, youth, physical beauty, intelligence, drugs, alcohol, immorality, pleasure, and many forms of the occult.

This passage is often said to be the central theme of Deuteronomy. It sets a pattern that helps us to relate the Word of God to our daily lives.  Today, more than ever, we are to love God with all of our heart, soul and might. We are to teach his commandments to our children, and to live our lives by the guidelines of his word.

 

HEBREWS 7:23-28

The covenant of Christ is the  covenant of the New Testament.  This new covenant allowed the people to go to God directly through Jesus Christ. They no longer had to rely on sacrificed animals to gain God’s forgiveness.  The new covenant is permanent because Jesus Christ lives forever as our high priest, and only Jesus saves.

We need to ask ourselves, what does it mean that Jesus is able to save completely?  No one can add to what Jesus did to save us; our past, present, and future sins are all forgiven, and Jesus is with the Father as a sign that our sins are forgiven. Christ has paid the price for our sins once and for all. If you are reading this as a non-Christian, then let him come into your heart right now, and let his blood wash you clean. Confess your sins and repent in the name of Jesus.  If you are a Christian, then you know that you need to be reconciled with God again. Jesus welcomes us back with the same joy as the good shepherd experiences when he recovered the one lost sheep in the fold. We have been blessed in the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remember, it is not enough to say I am sorry; we are called to repent (change) and get back into Christian worship and fellowship.

Jesus is our advocate, the mediator between us and God. The covenant of Christ is immediate access to our loving and just heavenly Father.  Today much of the world does not realize how costly it was for Jesus to secure our forgiveness – it cost him his blood and his life (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Because Christ died once and for all, he finished all sacrifices. The Jews did not need to go back to the old system, because Christ, the perfect sacrifice, completed the work of redemption.  His death brings us eternal life.  How callous, how cold, how stubborn are those who refuse to accept this death, God’s greatest gift.

 

MARK 12:28-34

There is an old saying that is credited to St. Augustine. He stated, “Love God and do whatever you like.”  There were many in the crowd that surrounded Jesus that would strongly disagree with that saying. The expert who asked Jesus the question was asking about something which was a living issue in Jewish thought, discussion and law.  Jesus answered him by putting two great commandments together.

“Hear,  Oh Israel!  the Lord is our God,  the Lord alone!” This single sentence is the heart of Judaism (Deut. 6:4). It is called the Shema which means to hear.  It was the sentence with which the service of the synagogue always began and still begins. The three passages of the Shema were contained in the Phylacteries, (Matt. 23:5), little leather boxes which the devout Jew wore on his forehead and wrist. When the Jew was at prayer, the Shema was contained in a little box called the Mezuzah, which was and still is attached to the door of every Jewish house and the door of every room in it, to remind the Jew of God at his going out and his coming in.

When Jesus quoted the second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:18), he intended it to mean the Gentiles also. Jesus took an old law and filled it with meaning. Religion to Jesus Christ was loving God and loving people.  He tells us that the only way in which a man can prove that he loves God is by showing that he loves men.  Hosea had heard God say, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6). For some people it is always easier to let ritual take the place of love, and for some, it is easer to let worship become a matter of the church building, instead of a matter of the whole life.

The scribe had risen beyond his friends, and that is why he found himself in sympathy with Jesus.  His next step was faith in Jesus himself, and this was the most difficult step to take.  When you are uncertain about what to do, ask yourself what course of action best demonstrates your love for God and your love for others.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that prayer and obedience are the foundation of love.  The second reading shows us that Jesus saves completely.  The Gospel reveals Jesus’ idea of religion as love of God and man.

This week, show your family that love, not ritual, dominates your actions.  Take the time to look at those in your family, work and school and determine the ones whom you have great difficulty loving.  This week, lift them up in daily prayer and make an effort to show them love in the form of meeting their needs. Love is a decision, and it is time for you to decide to love God and all your fellow men.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 24th) – 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 31:7-9 FIRST READING

(“I will lead you to brooks of water,”)

l.What does God say, and what has he done for his people? Jeremiah 31:7

 

2. Why do the people of God shout with exultation, joy and gladness?  Isaiah 12:6 and Psalm 14:7

 

3. Upon whom do the survivors of the house of Jacob lean, and who will return to the mighty God? Isaiah 10:20- 21

 

4. From where will the Lord bring back his remnant, and who will return? Jeremiah 31:8

 

Personal    Who do you see today as the remnant of Israel, and where do you see yourself?

 

5. Who will join Israel, and where will they go? Jeremiah 3:18

 

6. What will happen to the remnant that God brings back? Jeremiah 23:3-4, also Isaiah 35:5

 

7. How did the people depart, and what will God do for them? Jeremiah 31:9

 

8. What did Jesus say would flow from within those who believe in him?  John 7:37-39

 

9. What does God call himself, and what is Ephraim? Jeremiah 31:9,  also Exodus 4:22

 

10. Who is Ephraim? Genesis 41:50-52

 

Personal    Since you have been studying God’s Word, from where has your Heavenly Father led you out?  To where is he guiding you and directing you?  How have you gone from tears to rejoicing?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 5:1-6 SECOND READING

(“You are my son; this day I have begotten you;”)

1. Who is taken from among men and made a representative before God, and what does he offer? Hebrews 5:1

 

2. What is every high priest appointed to offer, and how does the high priest worship? Hebrews 8:3, 5

 

3. Why is the high priest taken from among men able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring? Hebrews 5:2

 

4. Because of his weakness, for whom must he make the sin offerings? Hebrews 5:3

 

5. What did Moses tell Aaron to do? Leviticus 9:7

 

6. What comes from God that no one takes this honor upon himself? Hebrews 5:4

 

7. Who was called to be priest from among the Israelites, and what set them apart? Exodus 28:1-3

 

8. Who, in the same way, did not glorify himself in becoming high priest but received it from his Father who said what about him?  Hebrews 5:5

 

9. Who does Jesus say glorifies him, and who does Jesus say he knows, and what does he keep? John 8:54-55

 

10. How long are we priests, and who is Melchizedek? Hebrews 5:6, Genesis 14:18

 

Personal    In what way have you shown the honor and respect due to the priests in your parish?  Have you recognized them as some-one called by God for a special purpose? What is that purpose?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:46-52 GOSPEL

(“Go your way; your faith has saved you.”)

1. Who was sitting by the roadside, and what was he doing? Mark 10:46

 

2. When the beggar heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, what did he do and say? Mark 10:47

 

3. What did the people do, and what did the beggar continue to do? Mark 10:48

 

4. Whom are we to rebuke? Luke 17:3

 

5. When Jesus stopped, what did he say, and what did his followers say to the blind man? Mark 10:49

 

Personal – Does Jesus call you directly, through others, or both?

 

6. What did the blind man do, and where did he go? Mark 10:50

 

7. What did Jesus say to the man, and what did the man tell him? Mark 10:51

 

8. Where did Jesus tell him to go, and what did he say saved him? Mark 10:52

 

9. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1

 

10. How does faith come to us? Romans 10:17

 

Personal    In what specific way have you been healed by hearing God’s Word? How has he turned your blindness into the light of day?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 126:1-6

(“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 126:1-6.

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

JEREMIAH 31:7-9

This promise of restoration was open to all the families of Israel, not only to the tribe of Judah. The restoration will include all those who trust in God. This restoration shows a God who reaches toward his people with loving kindness, motivated by a deep love.  We hear God tell us that he has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). This was a tremendous statement by God to a people who had been through so much.

Today, he makes that same statement to you and me. He does not care where we have been or what we have done. He is very much interested in where we are right now, and he wants us to know that he has loved us with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah has seen Israel scattered, and the events leading to Jerusalem’s destruction had disoriented most of the people. The prophet knew that.  After many words of warning about sin, this reminder of God’s incredible love is a fresh breath. We may often think of God with dread or fear, but if we look carefully, we can see him lovingly drawing us toward himself. The people were very excited to proclaim and hope that God has saved the faithful remnant of his people.  That salvation will soon be manifested when God leads Israel back to Jerusalem from distant Babylon. Killing, slavery, blindness, lameness, homelessness evoke the horror of war and suffering that they had experienced; their salvation will be all the more extraordinary. The faithful remnant of God’s people have continued to experience the horrors of many tyrants and wars.

The Messiah whom we know as Jesus was their only hope of salvation.  They looked to the future with hope because they knew the Messiah was coming.  Today in many parts of the world there are  faithful people of Jesus Christ experiencing the horrors of killing, blindness and lameness.  In some parts of our world, to believe in Christ is to be ridiculed, rejected, and, in some instances, to be executed.  The religion of humanism is taking a great toll on the people and upon the faithful remnant of today. The faithful remnant will be the witness of the Messiah who is present to his people.  His power is within you (1 John 4:4) and you will make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus is leading us home today away from the many horrors of war that exist in many lands.

 

HEBREWS 5:1-6

Today’s reading focuses on the meaning of Old Testament priesthood and situates Christ with regard to it.  Every high priest is a human being whom God chooses to represent people in his presence and to offer worship.  The type of worship, also called the liturgy, is offered as a redemptive sacrifice so that it atones for the sins of the believers. These high priests can treat sinners with great patience, because they are sinners also. The offerings they make are for their own sins as well as their people.

No one can assume this type of ministry on his own. Only God who called Aaron can call a person to take his honored role in Israel’s religious life. We must understand, to the Jews the high priest was the highest religious authority in the land. He alone entered into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation (Lev. 16).  Like the high priest, the source of Christ’s high priestly office is not different, and like them, he received the priesthood from God.

Jesus as high priest mediates between God and us. As man’s representative, he intercedes for us before God. As God’s representative, he assures us of God’s forgiveness.  Jesus has more authority than the Jewish high priest because he is truly God and truly man. In his sinlessness, he transcends the Old Testament high priest, but he did not glorify himself with his office. Unlike the priest who could go before God only once a year, Christ is always at God’s right hand interceding for us.

Today, call upon the Lord to stand in your place before God. Jesus has already paid the full ransom for you. We only need to confess our sins and repent in his name. The church has provided this incredible gift for us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest invites us to, once again, be reconciled with God in the name of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The world will know we are priestly people by the way we live.

 

MARK 10:46-52

Jesus was on his way to the Passover and being a well known teacher, he was surrounded by a large crowd of people, disciples and learners. Students of a teacher or rabbi learned while they listened as the teacher walked and talked. That was one of the most common ways of teaching. It was also the law that every male Jew of 12 years of age who lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem attend the Passover in the Holy City.  So there would be even more than the normal crowds on the streets heading toward Jerusalem.

There were many who followed just to see this rebel who was about to invade Jerusalem. At the northern gate was a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He heard the tramp of feet and asked what was happening and who was passing. He was told that it was Jesus, and there and then he set up an uproar to attract Jesus’ attention to him. To those walking along and listening to their teacher, this was a great offence. They tried to silence Bartimaeus, but no one was going to take from him his chance to escape from his world of darkness, and he cried and shouted with such violence that the procession stopped, and he was brought to Jesus.

Beggars were a common sight in most towns, since most occupations of that day required physical labor, and anyone with a crippling disease or handicap was at a severe disadvantage and usually forced to beg, even though God’s laws commanded care for such needy people (Lev. 25:35-38).  Blindness was considered a curse from God for sin; but Jesus rejected this idea when he healed the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:25).

To approach Jesus, the blind man had to overcome the disciple’s resistance.  The blind man throws off the mantle of his former life, jumps up and approaches Jesus.  He boldly calls out, “I want to see,” and Jesus instantly heals him. Jesus knew that because Bartimaeus called him the “Son of David” he knew that Jesus was the Messiah who was going to heal him.

The blindness in question was physical, yet Bartimaeus saw Jesus as the Messiah with spiritual vision. The blindness of many today is lack of faith, understanding, and acceptance. Spiritual vision on the other hand is faith. Ask Jesus to restore your sight today, and he will give you perfect spiritual vision.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God and Christ lead us home from exile.  The second reading shows that Jesus Christ’s priesthood is perfect and eternal. The Gospel reveals that Bartimaeus had spiritual vision before he had physical vision.

This week, take a spiritual inventory of yourself.  See where you are crippled and handicapped. Ask your spouse, clergyman or a close friend to help you. Do not let the noise of the crowd, job, or school distract you. Cry out for Jesus and pray and read his Word constantly this week. Keep a pad and pen near you, and write down any thoughts about your spiritual handicap. In the case of two blind men, one healing was gradual (8:25); the other was instant (10:52).  Jesus heals both ways, and he wants you to have perfect spiritual health as well as good physical health.

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 17th) – 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 ISAIAH 53:10-11 FIRST READING

(“…the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.”)

l. What is the Lord pleased to do? Isaiah 53:10

 

2. Who did God crush in his infirmity? Acts 2:22-24

 

3. If Jesus gives his life as an offering for sin, what will be seen, and what will be accomplished?  Isaiah 53:10

 

Personal    How is God’s will being accomplished through you?

 

4. Why was Jesus crushed? Isaiah 53:5

 

5. How can we have a long life? Ephesians 6:2-3

 

6. What will he see because of his afflictions and his anguish? Isaiah 53:11

 

7. Through his suffering, what did the servant do, and what did he bear on himself? Isaiah 53:11

 

8. How are we justified? Romans 3:24-26

 

9. What must we do in order to get rid of guilt? Psalm 32:5

 

10. How was Jesus made perfect? Hebrews 2:10

 

Personal – In what way have you experienced freedom from guilt in your life?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 4:14-16 SECOND READING

(“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace…”)

1. What should we not let go of since we have a High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who has passed through the heavens? Hebrews 4:14

 

2. Why did Jesus enter heaven? Hebrews 9:24

 

3. What was Jesus able to do,  what do we have, and what did Jesus never do? Hebrews 4:15

 

4. What did Jesus have to become like so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people?  Hebrews 2:17

 

5. By sending Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh, what did he do to sin?  Romans 8:3

 

6. Why did God make Jesus to be sin even though he did not know sin? 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

7. How can we approach the throne of grace, and what will we receive and find? Hebrews 4:16

 

8. How did we receive this confidence?  Hebrews 10:19

 

9. What does faith in Jesus give us? Ephesians 3:12

 

10. How do we receive grace and truth?  John 1:16-17

 

Personal    How do you approach God in your time of need? Look up in the dictionary the word confident, and read its meaning.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:35-45 GOSPEL

(“…whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.”)

1. What did James and John ask Jesus? Mark 10:35-37

 

2. When Peter said they had given up everything to follow Jesus, what did Jesus say would happen to them? Matthew 19:27-28

 

3. What was Jesus’ reply to James and John?  Mark 10:38

 

4. What did Jesus say about the baptism with which he must be baptized? Luke 12:50

 

5. What was James and John’s response to Jesus, and what did Jesus say about the cup and the baptism? Mark 10:39

 

6. What happened to James the brother of John, and to John? Acts 12:2, Revelations 1:9

 

Personal    In what way have you suffered for the sake of Christ or what you believe?

 

7. What did Jesus tell James and John about sitting at his right or left? Mark 10:40

 

8. How did the ten react to James and John, and what did Jesus say to them? Mark 10:41-42

 

9. What did Jesus say about he who wishes to be great or first among them? Mark 10:43-44

 

10. What two things did the Son of Man come to do?  Mark 10:45

 

Personal    How have you taken on the attitude of a servant in your home, at work, or at school?  What can you change today in order to be more of a servant and thinking of the needs of others before yourself?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 33:4-5, 18-20, 22

(“For upright is the Word of the Lord,…”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22.

What is the Lord saying to you through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 53:10-11

The theme of the “suffering servant” was to be explained in great detail in the New Testament.  In the Old Testament it was the story about God sending his servant who would be a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (53:3).  Although he was innocent, it was God’s will “to crush him and cause him to suffer” (verse 10).  His suffering was in a fascinating way like that of giving birth. The seed of this servant’s suffering had been planted long before in Adam’s act of disobedience. The pain was intense, but the purpose and the result of his suffering has been the bringing forth of life.  The servant will see, after the suffering of his soul, the light of life and be satisfied. This righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their “iniquities” (verse 11).

The suffering servant of course is Jesus. And every word of Isaiah’s majestic account of what was to happen some five hundred years later on Calvary reminds all of us that God has not left us to suffer alone.  God has stepped into history, our history. We have sinned, but it is God who suffers with us, and for us.  When we describe the incredible compassion of a loving God towards his sinful people, we are describing the “suffering servant” called Jesus Christ.  He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.  He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.  By his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-6). The prophecy came true in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

Jesus has shown us that suffering is not absurd or foolish, it is heroic and saving.  Jesus suffered and died so that we can live forever.  The choice is ours to believe or not to believe.

 

HEBREWS 4:14-16

Today’s passage emphasizes that Jesus is for us our high priest. We need to go back to the Old Testament to really understand the title of high priest. By the time of Jesus, the high priesthood carried with it a great deal of religious and hierarchical authority.  Once a year the high priest alone entered the most Holy of Holies in the tabernacle to make sacrifice of the Day of Atonement for the forgiveness of sins of all God’s people.  The significance of the high priesthood is found in the sacrificial service that the high priest alone could provide.

Today’s reading shows us that Jesus is our high priest and because he came as a fully live human being, he is able to sympathize with our weakness.  It is only through him that we can approach God.  Jesus is the high priest in the Melchizedekian tradition, which is a sacrifice of bread and wine, an offering of peace, rather than the Levitical tradition (Hebrews 7).  Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God because he lives always to make intercessions for us (Heb. 7:25).  Jesus, unlike the Old Testament high priests, did not need to make repeated sacrifices.  As a high priest who offered his own blood, Jesus was able to do what the Old Testament priests could not do, and that was cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God (Heb. 9:14).

Jesus’ sacrifice takes away sin forever, releasing us from guilt, making us truly holy (Heb. 9:15). He is the only one who can bring us into a full relationship with God. His blood has washed us completely clean and through the power of his Holy Spirit, he will give us the strength to go forward and become his disciple and witness to everyone we meet (Acts 1:8).

 

MARK 10:35-45

In today’s Gospel we see a group of ordinary men, not a group of saints.  They were plain and ordinary people, just like you and me, whom Jesus sent out to change the world.

The story tells us something about James and John, that they were ambitious and even a little greedy.  James and John may have felt because their father could employ hired crews that they were entitled to a high place in this earthly kingdom, that they thought Jesus was going to create.  Jesus knew that in their confusion they really did believe in him, bewildered as they may be.  Jesus challenges their line of thinking by asking them if they were capable of drinking from his cup.

Jesus refers to the word baptized, meaning submerged like a ship that has been wrecked beneath the waves (Psalm 42:7). Scripture tells us about a flood and the torrent drowning the person (Psalm 124:4).  What Jesus is really saying to them is, “Can you go through the terrible experience which I have to go through?” He was asking them, could they face being drowned (baptized) in hatred and pain and death as he would be.  He was, in effect, telling the two disciples, and he is telling us the same message today, that without a cross there can never be a crown.

The standard of greatness in God’s kingdom is the standard of the cross. These two disciples were to experience real greatness later on when James was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:2),

and John, though not martyred, suffered much for Christ. Jesus told them that all things and events were in God’s control. The other disciples were outraged that they were being left out. The argument probably raged on again for a while. Jesus took immediate action and strongly told them that the standards of greatness in his kingdom and in the kingdom of the world were totally in opposition.  In the kingdom of the world, the standard of greatness is power. In the kingdom of Jesus, the standard is that of service.  Today, Jesus is asking you the same question he asked them, “Whose standard of greatness is your standard?”

 

Application

The first reading shows that service involves suffering for others.  The second reading tells us that Jesus is high priest for us who are still on the way.  The Gospel reveals that baptized means submerged, drowning, the symbolic way of dying with Christ.

This week, share your gifts and talents with those in your family. Give of your time and self freely, and do not worry about time limits.  Serve others in your family with some very simple deeds like babysitting, cleaning someone’s house, washing a car, reading to a child or someone sick.  Remember,  “we are ordained to serve, not to be served.”  Your family will recognize your greatness in the glory of your humility in service.

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 10th) – 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 youchoose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ WISDOM 7:7-11 FIRST READING

(“I pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came to me.”)

l. When Solomon prayed, what was given, and what spirit came to him? Wisdom 7:7

 

2. For what did Solomon ask the Lord, and what did the Lord give him? 1 Kings 3:9-12

 

3. If we ask for intelligence and understanding, what will we then understand and find; and who gives it to us? Proverbs 2:3-6

 

4. To what did Solomon prefer wisdom, and compare her? Wisdom 7:8-9

 

5. To what did he love her more than, and choose her? Wisdom 7:10

 

6. What comes to us in the company of wisdom? Wisdom 7:11

 

7. What happens to those who love wisdom? Proverbs 8:21

 

8. What does the man who finds wisdom win? Proverbs 8:35

 

9. What did Christ become for us? 1 Corinthians 1:30

 

10. Where are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3

 

Personal – How have you received God’s Wisdom in dealing with your relationships with others?  What is your attitude in regard to wisdom?  How can you use this gift and experience the good things that come from it?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 4:12-13 SECOND READING

(“Indeed, the Word of God is living and effective.”)

1. If God’s Word is living and effective, what does it penetrate and divide? Hebrews 4:12

 

2. As we draw our strength from the Lord, what is part of the armor we are to put on in order to fight the tactics of the devil? Ephesians 6:10-11, 17

 

3. What does God’s Word discern or judge? Hebrews 4:12

 

4. What does God send forth his Word to do?  Psalm 107:20 and Psalm 147:18

 

5. What shall happen to God’s Word that goes forth from his mouth? Isaiah 55:11

 

6. How did Jesus cleanse the church? Ephesians 5:25-26

 

7. How did God will to give us birth? James 1:18, also 1 Peter 1:23

 

8. What is concealed from God’s sight? Hebrews 4:13

 

9. What is exposed to him, and to whom must we render an account? Hebrews 4:13

 

10. What does God know about all men, and from where does he observe this? Psalm 33:13-15

 

Personal – How does it make you feel to know that God knows everything about you? How has God cut away and divided some area in your life by something you read in his Word?  Share the Word that he gave you.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:17-30 GOSPEL

(“For human beings it is impossible but not for God.”)

1. When the man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, what did the man call Jesus, and what was Jesus’ response? Mark 10:17-18

 

2. What did Jesus say about the commandments, and what did the man say he has done with them? Mark 10:19-20

 

3. How did Jesus look at the man, what did he say he was lacking, and what did he tell him to do? Mark 10:21

 

4. What did those who believed and were baptized do with their property and possessions? Acts 2:44-45

 

5. What happened to the rich young man, and as Jesus looked around, what did he say to his disciples? Mark 10:22-23

 

6. How did the disciples react to Jesus’ words, and what did he say again? Mark 10:24-25

 

7. What does the lure of riches do to the word of God? Mark 4:19

 

8. What did the disciples say to themselves, and what did Jesus say was possible for God? Mark 10:26-27

 

9. What did Jesus tell his disciples that they will receive for giving up everything to follow him, and when would they receive it? Mark 10:28-30

 

10. What did he tell the disciples they would receive along with houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and lands? Mark  10:30

 

Personal – What can you give up in order to follow Jesus? Is there anything in your life holding you back, and how can you come to a point of trusting Jesus in this area? Before you purchase anything, ask yourself these questions: Is this a need or a want?  Is this going to be a benefit in my relationship with others?  Is this something Jesus, Mary, or Joseph would buy if it were available to them?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 90:12-17

(“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 90:12-17.

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

WISDOM 7:7-11

Today’s passage shows us very clearly that wisdom is a special gift from God.  Today the gift of wisdom or justice is desperately needed in so many areas of our world. In today’s reading, we see King Solomon has prayed to God for this incomparable gift. He does not try to pretend that he has the deep insight and great understanding.

We can get much hope from today’s reading because we too can ask God for the gift of wisdom, and like Solomon, we can expect to receive it.  The wisdom to master life’s challenges can be found only in one’s relationship with God. The Hebrew view is practical in focus. Wisdom is expressed in Godly living. For the Lord gives wisdom and out of his mouth come knowledge and understanding. This means that as we not only read and study God’s holy Word, but also live it out, we come to understand what is right and just. Wisdom will enter into our hearts and knowledge will be pleasant to our souls.  Wisdom will protect us from the ways of deceitful people. A person who is full of wisdom is a person who is sensitive to God and willingly subjects himself to him in everything. A wise person is one who is at peace with God, knows God, and spends a great deal of time with God.

You can be that person through the gift of discipline. The Holy Spirit will bring this wisdom to you through Jesus Christ. God’s wisdom to the world is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Father’s wisdom applied to resolve the problems caused by human sin. Scripture tells us that the Word of Christ dwelling in us, alone enables us to teach and admonish each other in wisdom (Col. 3:16).  We can be sure that only when our life is oriented to God and his revealed viewpoint is applied to our daily experience can we become wise.

 

HEBREWS 4:12-13

The word of God is not merely words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas.  It is living and life changing. The power of the word is dynamic as it works in us. Like a surgeon it cuts through the standard areas of infection and blockage. The Word does not allow us to be anything other than truthful. It gives us the gift to discern what is within us, both good and evil.

We must become more than just a hearer of the word, we must become a doer of the word also. God tells us in his Holy Word over and over again how much he loves us.  He tells us his plan for us and how we can spend eternity with him by following his Holy Word. Since nothing can be hidden from God, he sees all we do and knows all we think.  He is always present even when we are unaware of him and even when we try to hide from him. We can have no secrets from him, and yet, that is not a scary thing to behold. It brings a sense of comfort when we know that at any time or any place under any conditions, we know we will be welcome.

He loves you completely all of the time, no matter what you have done.  His love for you is revealed in his Holy Word, and his plan for you is to be his ambassador, messenger, bearer of the  “Good News.”  You must never forget that to share God’s Word is a great responsibility, which calls for a response from us.  The way we present God’s word and live it will encourage people to either accept it or reject it. Whether you speak from a pulpit, teach it in a classroom, or share it with friends, you are entrusted with accurately communicating and living out God’s Holy Word.

 

MARK 10:17-30

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus stop a young man in his tracks and tell him to not use flattery on him. Jesus did not let the young man continue to address him as “Good Teacher.” He was, in effect, saying to the rich young man to stop and think of what he was saying and doing. Jesus was telling him, even at the very outset, to count the cost and that becoming a Christian was not based on sentimental passion.

Jesus was the ultimate teacher, in that he knew that the teacher or preacher must never point to himself, but he must always point to God. The man’s statements were a testimony to the fact that responsibility is not enough. The man was saying that he never did anyone any harm in his whole life. The rich young man was missing the REAL question even today, what good have we done?  Jesus confronted him with a challenge, and he does that today to all of us. In effect, Jesus told him to get out of his moral respectability, stop looking at goodness as consisting in not doing this or that.

Jesus was really asking the man, “How much do you want REAL Christianity?”   Do you want it enough to give away all your  possessions? The man told Jesus that he wanted it, but not as much as all that. The man is really not very different from a lot of people in our society today who really want goodness in their lives, but not enough to pay the price. Jesus is looking at you today with the same appeal of love and with the challenge to live the Christian way.  God grant that he may never look at you with sorrow because of your refusal to be all that you can be through him.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that wisdom is a gift from God. The second reading shows us that God’s word is like a hammer that smashes the rocks in our life.  The Gospel reveals God calling us to be all that we can be.

This week, show your family your true wealth, not your worldly possessions, but the real treasure that is in your heart. Show them the power of God’s Holy Word by taking time to read Scripture each day to your children. Read Scripture with your spouse every day. Witness to your family that they are rich in being children of God. Remember, respectability is in not what you do not do, but in what you do.  Remember, to some people in your walk of life, the only Bible that they will read will be you!

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 3rd) – 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 GENESIS 2:18-24 FIRST READING

(“This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”)

1. What did the Lord God say was not good, and what did he say he would do? Genesis 2:18

 

2. What did the Lord God form out of the ground, what did he do with them, and what did the man do? Genesis 2:19-20

 

3. What did not prove as a suitable partner for man? Genesis 2:20

 

4. What did the Lord God do to the man? Genesis 2:21

 

5. When is there a time when God speaks to man? Job 33:14-15

 

6. What did the Lord God do with the man’s rib? Genesis 2:22

 

7. For what was woman created? 1 Corinthians 11:9

 

8. What did the man say about the woman? Genesis 2:23

 

9. How is man to treat the woman?  Ephesians 5:28-30

 

10. Who does a man leave, to whom does he cling, and what happens to his body? Genesis 2:24

 

Personal – If you are a male, how do you treat the females in your life; and if you are a female, how do you treat the males in your life?  What changes can you make in your relationships that would better reflect the scripture you just studied?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 2:9-11 SECOND READING

(“Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them `brothers,'”)

1. With what do we see Jesus crowned, and for what reason? Hebrews 2:7-9

 

2. How did Jesus humble himself, and because of this, what did God do to him?  Philippians 2:7-9

 

3. How was Jesus made perfect? Hebrews 2:10

 

4. Who is the leader and perfecter of faith? Hebrews 12:2

 

5. Whose sufferings did Jesus endure? Isaiah 53:4

 

6. Son though he was, what did he learn from what he suffered? For whom did he become the source of eternal salvation? Hebrews 5:8-9

 

7. What does he who consecrates and those who are being consecrated, all have? Hebrews 2:11

  

8. How are people consecrated? Hebrews 13:12

 

9. What is he not ashamed to call them? Hebrews 2:11

 

10. Whom did Jesus say were brother, sister, and mother to him? Mark 3:35

 

Personal    In what way have you suffered, and how is that perfecting your faith?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:2-16 GOSPEL

(“Let the children come to me;”)

1. What did the Pharisees ask Jesus, and what were they doing by asking him this? Mark 10:2

 

2. What did Jesus ask the Pharisees, and what did they reply? Mark 10:3-4

 

3. Why did Jesus say Moses wrote this commandment, and what did he say was from the beginning of creation? Mark 10:5-8

 

4. What did Jesus say about what God has joined together? Mark 10:9

 

5. What should a wife not do, and what should a husband not do? 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

 

6. As the disciples questioned Jesus, what did he say a wife or husband does that divorces, then marries another? Mark 10:10-12

 

7. When is a woman not an adulteress? Romans 7:3

 

Personal    What new insight did you receive regarding divorce, and with whom can you share that?

 

8. What were the people doing, for what reason, and what did the disciples do? Mark 10:13

 

9. When Jesus saw the disciples rebuking the people for bringing the children, what was his reaction, and what did he say to them? Mark 10:14-15

 

10. What did Jesus do to the children? Mark 10:16

 

11. What happens to those who touch Jesus? Matthew 14:36

 

Personal – As a child of God, in what way have you been healed by his touch, or by your reaching out to touch him?  Do you see yourself as one of the children, or as one of the disciples rebuking the children?   Reflect on this.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 128:1-6

(“Happy are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 128:1-6.

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

GENESIS 2:18-24

Today’s passage reveals to us that God’s work was not complete until he made woman. God could have made Eve from the dust of the ground just as he had made Adam.  He deliberately chose to make Eve from the man’s bone and flesh.  He showed us that in marriage a man and a woman become one flesh. This is a union, not just in the physical sense, but in the emotional and spiritual sense as well. This is a mystical union of two people’s hearts and lives.

God tells us all throughout the Bible to treat this special union with the utmost care. If you are married or planning to be married, are you willing to keep the commitment which, in fact, makes the two of you one?  The goal in marriage is far more than friendship; the goal in marriage should be oneness.

God has given men and women different styles, gifts and equipment for various tasks, but when married all lead to the same goal – honoring God. Man has given life to the woman, and woman gives life to the world. The rule of each carries exclusive privileges that should completely eliminate any attitudes about an inferior or superior sex.

Adam and Eve received the gift of marriage from God. They were literally made for one another. God did not institute marriage for convenience, nor was it brought about by any culture. Marriage’s three aspects are: a man leaves his father and mother in a public act and promises himself to his wife. The man and woman take responsibility for each other’s welfare, and love their mate next to God, above all others. The two become one person in the intimacy and commitment of sexual union which is reserved for marriage.  A strong marriage of today will include all three of these aspects.

 

HEBREWS 2:9-11

Jesus is Lord is really what this passage is all about. Jesus is in charge of everything and he has revealed himself to us. We do not actually see him reigning on earth because we are only using spiritual vision. We see him reigning in our hearts and minds.  We can picture him in his heavenly glory and know that we are heirs to that kingdom. We see him as we do simply because we chose to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.

To call Jesus “Lord” means to call him “master” over everyone. To call him master means that we have chosen to obey his commands. Jesus has two commandments: “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, and soul,” and “You shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” It calls for complete obedience. Obedience is the core of love, and there can be no love without obedience.

Jesus learned obedience through his suffering. His suffering led him to enter into the greatest sacrifice ever made for mankind. When you become confused about tomorrow and let anxiety cloud your future, try to keep a clear view about Jesus – who he is, what he has done, and what he is doing for you right now. This will help as you make your choices for the next day in the kingdom.

God’s kindness led Jesus Christ to go freely to his death. Kindness can and often does involve sacrifice and pain. Jesus did not come into this world to gain status or political power, but to suffer and die so that we could truly live. Jesus Christ was the only person who was ever born to die. He died so that all men could choose to live forever, by believing in him. Not all men did accept this invitation to believe in him, and the turmoil and strife on our planet earth is proof of this. If the sacrifice of suffering and death by Christ is difficult to understand, maybe it is time to evaluate your own motives. If kindness, not selfishness motives us, we too may have to suffer.

 

MARK 10:2-16

This passage shows us again how the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus with their deceitful questions. They tried to trap him by getting him to state that he supported divorce. Jesus would, in that case, be upholding the Pharisee’s procedures, and they doubted he would do that. If he spoke out against divorce, he would seem to be condemning Moses; it was not a question of popularity but heresy they tried to trip him on.  He also could incur the wrath of King Herod, who had already killed John the Baptist for speaking out against divorce and adultery (Mark 6:17-28).

The Pharisees saw divorce as a legal issue rather than a spiritual issue. They were not thinking about what God intended for marriage, but had reduced it to a legal structure that could be ended on a whim. Today we see the arena of marriage being torn apart by a secular society that bases its beliefs in humanism.  The idea of a covenant between God and the man and woman is almost non-existent to much of today’s world. The rule of a contract is much more identifiable with much of today’s world. In a contract you buy something and if it does not perform as well as stated in the contract, you throw it away, or you send it away, and this is called divorce.

Scripture tells us that God never intended for man to separate what he has joined together.  Women were often treated as property and marriage and divorce were treated as transactions similar to buying and selling land. Jesus condemned this attitude and practice then, just as he does today. God’s original intention was that marriage brought oneness. Jesus held up God’s ideal for marriage and told his followers to live by it.

Do not enter marriage with the option of getting out, but be committed to permanence.  You can win your mate’s heart with your prayer life, your commitment to God’s Holy Word with God’s help. To be with God in your life here on earth is our true desire, to be with a marriage partner that shares this vision with you is a blessing beyond our wildest expectation.  Through Jesus Christ, it is available and only through him is it available.

 

Application

The first reading tells how God made marriage to bring about oneness.  The second reading shows that kindness can lead to suffering which will lead to obedience, which is the core of love. The Gospel shows us that Jesus is the only way to oneness.

This week, listen to your spouse. Really listen to what is being said. Your response will determine how well you are listening. Spend more time alone with Jesus and read his Holy Word on marriage. Then share together what he is telling both of you. The strength and power of a person is in his ability to listen.

If your marriage has ended in divorce or death, renew your covenant with Jesus. Let him become your spouse, and let him fill in the empty spots in your life.  He can, and he will.

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 26th) – 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 NUMBERS 11:25-29 FIRST READING

(“…as the Spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.”)

l. What did the Lord do, and to whom did he speak? Numbers 11:24-25

 

2. What did the Lord take from Moses, and what did he do with it, and what did they begin to do? Numbers 11:25

 

3. What did the prophet Joel say about God’s spirit and prophesying? Acts 2:17

 

4. What happened to Eldad and Medad, and where did this happen? Numbers 11:26

 

5. Why have we been put on his list or chosen?  1 Peter 2:9

 

6. What did the young man tell Moses about Eldad and Medad? Numbers  11:27

 

7. What was Joshua to Moses, and what did he tell him? Numbers 11:28

 

8. What did Moses say to Joshua? Numbers 11:29

 

9. What did Paul say that was similar to Moses’ response to Joshua? Philippians 1:15-18

 

10. What is one way of determining if we are walking in the flesh and not by the Spirit? 1 Corinthians 3:3

 

Personal    Do you see yourself walking in the flesh by competing or being jealous of someone in your family, work, or school? How can you begin to walk by the Spirit’s lead?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 5:1-6 SECOND READING

(“You have stored up treasure for the last days.”)

1. Over what is the rich to weep and wail? James 5:1

 

2. Who has already received their consolation? Luke 6:24

 

3. What have the rich stored up for the last day? James 5:2-3

 

4. What are we to do with our money? Sirach 29:10-11

 

5. What has reached the ears of the Lord of hosts?  James 5:4

 

6. Against whom will the Lord be swift to witness? Malachi 3:5

 

7. What have those who live on earth for luxury and pleasure done? James 5:5

 

8. What will happen to the rich man who does not care for the poor man? Luke 16:25

 

9. What has the rich man done? James 5:6

 

10. Who are the righteous (or the innocent), and who are the accused? Matthew 25:37-43

 

Personal    In what way can you share what you have with the poor?  Examine yourself and see if you have been fair in all your dealings with people. Repent where needed.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 GOSPEL

(“Any man who gives a drink of water because you belong to Christ, will not, I assure you, go without his reward.”)

1. What did John say to Jesus? Mark 9:38

 

2. Why did Jesus tell him not to prevent him from driving out demons in his name? Mark 9:39

 

3. What can no one say except by the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:3

 

Personal    In what way have you used the name of Jesus to drive evil away from you or your family?

 

4. If someone is not against Jesus, for whom is he? Mark 9:40

 

5. Who will not lose his reward? Mark 9:41

 

6. What does Jesus say about someone who may cause one of his little ones who have faith to sin? Mark 9:42

 

7. What is better for us if a hand, foot, or an eye causes us to sin? Mark 9:43

 

8. What could happen to us if we do not get rid of the part that makes us sin? Mark 9:45-48

 

9. What happens in Gehenna (hell)? Mark 9:48

 

10. What will happen to the men who rebel against God? Isaiah 66:24

 

Personal    Is there a part of you or someone that is causing you to sin?  In light of this scripture, how are you going to get rid of the problem?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 19:8, 10, 12-14

(“The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14.

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

NUMBERS 11:25-29

When it comes to serving God, everyone has plenty of room. Joshua protested the unofficial giving of the spirit to two elders who remained in the camp. Moses had gathered seventy elders from the camp and had them placed around the tabernacle. Moses told Joshua that God’s power is not limited to a set time, place, or ceremony. Moses was recognized as Israel’s leader; yet when others in the community showed leadership ability, he was overjoyed. Joshua was so protective of Moses’ leadership that he forgot the objective – creating a nation of faithful people. As a result, Joshua tried to restrict God’s work in order to keep Moses in the limelight.

If we focus on individuals and their abilities, we may lose sight of our overall objective. This caused Joshua to have limited vision, and it will happen to us if we follow Joshua’s example. We need to remember that God’s mysterious plans will not always coincide with our plans. Today the Holy Spirit is waiting to be released in so many people, and in many situations the reason is that too much emphasis is put upon the leadership of the people and not on the Holy Spirit.

Moses knew that the power of God is available to all who do the will of the Father. We need to be open to the Holy Spirit working, not only within us, but also working within people who we do not think might be qualified.  Like Moses, we must be open to God’s gift of grace and be available to see the power of the Holy Spirit being used among all of his people.

 

JAMES 5:1-6

Today’s reading brings home the proper value of people and the improper value of things. Today’s money will be worthless when Christ returns, so we should be spending our time accumulating treasure that will be worthwhile in God’s eternal kingdom. Money itself is not the problem, Christian leaders need money to live and support their families and missionaries need money to help them spread the Gospel. The church needs money to do its work effectively.  It is the love of money that leads to evil (1 Timothy 6:10).  This is a strong reminder to us that all Christians who are tempted to adopt worldly standards rather than God’s standards will be conformed to the present age (Romans 12:1-2).

Jesus tells us in scripture not to store up treasures on earth because they can erode away or may be stolen. He goes on to say, store treasure in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves (Matt. 6:19-20). We are then told by Jesus that if our profits are in heaven, our heart will be there too.  You need to ask yourself: Where do you spend most of your time, what do you spend your money on most? Finally, what do you think about most of the time?  Pray and reflect on these questions because this is where your treasure is now, and when you die, will you be in heaven with Jesus Christ?

 

MARK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Jesus emphasizes through various sayings the basic laws of discipleship. His own disciples did not understand, and their lack of comprehension of what is involved in being a disciple is clearly shown in their arrogant rejection of an exorcist who uses Jesus’ name.  We see the disciples being very jealous of a man who healed in Jesus’ name. They were more concerned about their own group position than in helping free those troubled by demons. Many of us today do the same when we refuse to participate in worthy causes because they are not affiliated with our denomination.

We are often very reluctant to be around people who make us feel uncomfortable. Our lack of comprehension of discipleship is displayed when we reject those who do not do things the way we do. The most blatant of all rejections occurs when we think that our efforts will not receive enough recognition for what we do. Correct theology is important, but it should never be an excuse to avoid helping those in need.

Jesus tell us in scripture that anyone who is not helping him is hurting him (Matt. 12:30). He definitely is not saying that being indifferent to others who are serving in his name is as good as being committed.  Jesus tells us that many people from all walks of life have responded by following him and do work in his name. He has shown all throughout his teachings that his hope is that we all will be one in the Father.  We might well remember that those who share a common faith in Christ should be able to cooperate with one another. As Christians our thoughts and actions must be motivated by love, and we must be careful about judging others (Matt 7:1-5).  By the same token, we must never be afraid to confront flagrant sin within the church (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

 

Application

The first reading reveals that there is plenty of room for everyone to serve God.  The second reading calls us to adopt God’s standards, not the world’s standards.  The Gospel shows us that painful discipline is required of his true followers.

This week, let the call to discipleship really take hold on you. Cut the sin out of your life by giving up a relationship, job or habit, or anything else, that is against God’s will. Look very hard, this week, at the way you talk, at the way you dress, and at the way you treat others.  If you cannot do it, cannot wear it, or cannot say it in front of Christ, then don’t!

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 19th) – 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 WISDOM 2:12, 17-20 FIRST READING

(“…for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”)

l. Who is obnoxious and for what reason? Wisdom 2:12

 

2. What are those who are not just or virtuous waiting to see about the just man? Wisdom 2:17

 

3. What will happen to the just or virtuous man? Isaiah 3:10

 

4. How are we justified? Romans 3:28

 

5. What will happen if the just one is a son of God? Wisdom 2:18

 

6. What did the unjust say about Jesus while he hung on the cross? Psalm 22:9

 

7. How do we become children of God? John 1:12

 

8. What is done to show proof of a just man’s gentleness and patience? Wisdom 2:19

 

9. What is said about a man who is condemned to a shameful death? Wisdom 2:20

 

10. On whom do we keep our eyes fixed, and what did he endure in order that we may not grow weary and lose heart? Hebrews 12:2-3

 

Personal    Do you see yourself as the one always checking to see whether or not God will come through?  Are you causing hardships for others,  or are you the one being put to the test to trust God?  Reflect on this, especially when you are going through a hardship.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 3:16 – 4:3 SECOND READING

(“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”)

1. What is there where jealousy and selfish ambition exist? James 3:16

 

2. What is the wisdom from above? James 3:17

 

3. Of whom is wisdom the spotless mirror?  Wisdom 7:22- 26, concentrating on verse 26.

 

4. What happens to those peacemakers who cultivate peace? James 3:18

 

5. Who are called the children of God? Matthew 5:9

 

6. What are the two questions asked in James 4:1?

 

7. What war is going on within man? Romans 7:22-25

 

8. Why do we not possess what we want? James 4:2

 

9.Why, when we ask God for something, do we not receive it? James 4:3

 

10. How does Jesus tell us to pray? Matthew 6:5-13

 

11. Who comes to our aid and intercedes for us? Romans 8:26-27

 

Personal – In what way is this struggle or war going on within you? How can you cultivate peace in yourself so it will penetrate into your environment?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 9:30-37 GOSPEL

(“Whoever received one child such as this in my name, receives me;”)

1. As Jesus and his disciples began their journey through Galilee, what was he teaching them?  Mark 9:30-31

 

2. What was Peter’s reaction when Jesus began teaching them that the Son of Man would suffer, be killed, and rise on the third day?  What was the disciples’ reaction as they were journeying? Mark 8:31-32 and Mark 9:32

 

3. When they came to Capernaum, what did Jesus ask his disciples? Mark 9:33

 

4. What were they discussing, and what did they say? Mark 9:34

 

5. When Jesus sat down and called the twelve, what two things did he say that the one who wishes to be first must do? Mark 9:35

 

6. What did the Son of Man come to do?  Matthew 20:28

 

7. Who did Jesus put his arms around and place in front of his disciples? Mark 9:36

 

8. To whom does God reveal things? Matthew 11:25

 

9. What did Jesus say when he put his arms around the child? Mark 9:37

 

10. How do we receive Jesus? Mark 9:37

 

11. What quality of the child makes us great in the kingdom of God? Matthew 18:4

 

Personal – What qualities do you have that reveal your child-likeness to those who come in contact with you?  How can you make those qualities more dominant in you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 54:3-8

(“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 54:3-8.

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

WISDOM 2:12, 17-20

We see deeply ingrained in the lifestyles of these pagan people food (2:6-9), fun (2:10-11), and fornication (2:12-20). The question that applies to much of the world today is, have times really changed?  Since these respectable pagans did not believe in anything other than survival of the fittest, it was only logical that they should rid themselves of any annoying Hebrew moralist by condemning him to a shameful death.

We need only look around the planet Earth today and see that faith in the one true God always arouses opposition. Faith that involves action is inconvenient to the free thinker (2:12); he pricks their pride.  The religious man avoids fellowship with them especially when they get into their foolish destructive quarrels. Because of life’s shortness, the ungodly, through their belief that might makes right, bring death for themselves and for others.  Today there are many who urge sensual gratification and encourage each other to oppress the righteous who call God their Father.

The poor, the children, the aged, the widows, the sick all represent the weak, and the ungodly believe they have no rights. Today, more than ever, the world watches and waits to see how Christians react to this kind of horror. Will God come to their aid as expected? Will God give the Christians the strength to endure the injustice?  The unrighteous do not remain passive; they continue to test the gentleness of the righteous poor to see if they are as good as claimed. They have already seen God respond in Jesus Christ, and today, through you, the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, is waiting to be released on a starving, broken, hurting, waiting world.  Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of his brethren, we do unto him (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

JAMES 3:16 – 4:3

True wisdom can be measured by one’s character. As you can identify a tree by the type of fruit it produces, you can identify your wisdom by the way you act.  Have you ever known anyone who claimed to be wise, but acted foolishly?   Foolishness leads to disorder, but wisdom leads to peace and goodness.

There are worldly wisdom and true wisdom, and we need to know the difference.   Worldly wisdom wishes always to escape God’s light and sight,  but true wisdom is able to bear his scrutiny because it is always in God’s light and sight.  Worldly wisdom is clever and arrogant.  This kind of wisdom separates man from man and makes a man look with superior contempt on his fellows. There is a kind of cruel wisdom which takes delight in hurting others with clever, but cutting words. Worldly wisdom tries to seduce men away from loyalty to God. But true wisdom at all times brings men and wisdom closer to God. True wisdom is pure.

The Greek definition of wisdom is “hagnos,” and it means “pure enough to approach the gods.”  True wisdom is cleansed of ulterior motives and self and is pure enough to see God. True wisdom produces right relationships between man and God and between man and man.  We can identify a truly wise person because that person is full of mercy.  We must never forget that Christian mercy is mercy for anyone who is in trouble, even if he has brought that trouble on himself.  Christian mercy is not an emotion, it is action.

We have to ask ourselves a very blunt yet very necessary question, “What is my aim in life?  Is it to submit to the will of God or to gratify my own desires for pleasure?”  Selfish desire is at the root of all evil and ruins lives and pits man against man.  We need to ask God in prayer to help us to get rid of our selfish desires and trust him to give us what we really need.

 

MARK 9:30-37

Today’s Gospel gives us a tremendous example of what it takes to be a real disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen how Jesus had avoided as much publicity as he could because he wanted more time to be alone with his disciples. He knew that their understanding of who he really was and what his ministry really meant would take time.  Jesus wanted that to be prime time and quality time, not rushed time or sick time.

What an incredible comfort it is to know that Jesus seeks to be alone today with us as much as he did with his disciples.  He wants us to know really who he is, and he wants us to trust him completely, so that we can develop a personal loving relationship with him.  This takes time as it is very well known that we need to know someone in order to really love that person.  The more we know, the more we love.  Jesus knows that when we really trust him, know him, and love him, then and only then will we be ready to serve him.

Jesus told his disciples in verse 29 that they would face difficult situations in life that could be resolved only through prayer.  Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives. Effective prayer needs both an attitude and an action. There is no substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem unconquerable. This kind of praying calls for trust, love and quality time in and with Jesus Christ.

Jesus knew very well what the disciples were discussing on the road. The disciples were puffing themselves up on who was the most important of his followers. He knew that the disciples were not ready to go out to the world and preach his message. His message was not power, not victory, and not fame. His message was total obedience to his Father’s will. His message called for complete denial of one’s own self-importance. His message was a message of hope, through service. He told the disciples that if they want to be first, then practice being last, and if they want to be important, then practice being a servant. He told them that if they want to live forever, then do what I will do, and that is to die for others.

We can do that today by getting on our knees and dying to our ego and our rebellious spirit, and by inviting Jesus Christ to become the Lord and Master of our life. He will give as much time with us as we want, simply because he loves us just as we are.

 

Application

The first reading shows that those who seek God walk in the light.  The second reading reveals that worldly wisdom divides and true wisdom unites.  In the Gospel Jesus tells us that we are to come to him as trusting children.

This week,  talk to God.   Tell him about your desires. Seek his approval for what you plan to do.   Ask him to help you get rid of seeking only to have your desires granted.   Ask him to give you true wisdom. Your prayers will become more powerful when you allow God to change your desire to correspond to his will. 1 John 3:21-22

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 12th) – 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 ISAIAH 50:4-9 FIRST READING

(“See, the Lord God is my help,”)

l. What has the Lord God given the suffering servant, and for what reason? Isaiah 50:4

 

2. Who cannot tame the tongue? James 3:8

 

3. When does he open our ears to listen? Isaiah 50:4

 

Personal    In what way has God trained your tongue?

 

4. When our ears are opened in the morning, what do we not do? Isaiah 50:5

 

5. What do we do with our back, cheeks, and face? Isaiah 50:6

 

6. What was done to Jesus before he was crucified? Matthew 26:67

 

7. Why did he not shield himself from buffets and spitting? Isaiah 50:7

 

8. How will he appear before those who oppose him, and who is near? Isaiah 50:8

 

9. Who is our help, and what will happen to those who try to prove us wrong? Isaiah 50:9

 

10. How will God strengthen and uphold us? Isaiah 41:10

 

Personal – How have you been persecuted for your belief in Christ by those close to you, in your family, among your friends and co-workers, and in your church?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 2:14-18 SECOND READING

(“..I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.”)

1. What is the question asked in James 2:14?

 

2. How does faith come to you? Romans 10:17

 

3. What did Jesus teach about listening only to his words? Matthew 7:24,26

 

4. What is said about a brother or sister who has nothing to wear or no food? James 2:15-16

 

5. How do the righteous inherit the kingdom of God? Matthew 25:34-37

 

6. How are we to love?  1 John 3:17-18

 

7. What is faith without works? James 2:26

 

8. How is the body dead? James 2:26

 

9. How do we demonstrate our faith? James 2:18

 

10. He who is wise and understanding will show his works by what? James 3:13

 

Personal – In what way have you demonstrated your faith to your family, friends, work acquaintances, or schoolmates?   Can others identify what you believe in by your actions?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 8:27-35 GOSPEL

(“You are the Messiah.”)

1. What question did Jesus ask his disciples, and what was the response? Mark 8:27-28

 

2. What did Jesus specifically ask his disciples, and what did Peter say? Mark 8:29, John 6:69

 

Personal    Who do you say Jesus is?

 

3. What did Jesus warn them not to do? Mark 8:30

 

4. What did Jesus begin to teach them? Mark 8:31

 

5. What did Christ do for us, and for what reason? 1 Peter 2:20-25

 

Personal    How have you suffered in this world?

 

6. How did Jesus speak to them, and what did Peter do? Mark 8:32

 

7. How did Jesus always speak and teach?  John 18:20

 

8. What did Jesus do to Peter, what did he say to him, and whom did he specifically address? Mark 8:33

 

9. What does Jesus command Satan to do? Mark 8:33, Matthew 4:10

 

Personal    What has your reaction been to being rebuked?

 

10. What did Jesus tell the crowd the one who wishes to come after him must do? Mark 8:34

 

11. Who is not worthy of Jesus? Matthew 10:38

 

12. What will happen to those who wish to save their life, and what will happen to those who lose their life for Jesus and the Gospel? Mark 8:35

 

Personal    In what specific way have you lost your life (died to self) for the sake of Christ and the Gospel?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 116:1-6, 8-9

(“The Lord keeps the little ones, I was brought low and he saved me.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 116:1-6, 8-9.

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

ISAIAH 50:4-9

Today’s reading shows Isaiah’s vision of the suffering servant which prefigures what Jesus will take upon himself for our sakes: beatings, humiliation, disgrace, etc.  Isaiah was writing to a people struggling for freedom from their Babylonian oppressors. They were eagerly anticipating Jerusalem’s glorious restoration.

This is a picture of the ultimate servant, the Messiah. The prophet speaks for God, but the Messiah reveals God perfectly. God used many approaches to send his message to people in Old Testament times. He spoke to Isaiah in visions, to Jacob in a dream (Genesis 28:10-22), and to Abraham and Moses personally (Genesis 18:33, Exodus 31:18). Jewish people familiar with these stories would not have found it hard to believe that God was still revealing his promised Messiah.

The vibrant poem of today’s passage comes from a man who remembered Israel’s greatness and cherished God’s powerful promises. But that memory was itself a suffering because he lived humiliated and beaten down. God’s promise of freedom was enough to inspire his bravery in the face of oppression.

We are called to identify with Isaiah’s hero, the suffering servant. We will walk in the presence of the Lord because of our faith in Jesus Christ. The world’s choke-hold on us will be struck loose by a powerful and merciful Lord. God is not about to stumble, and we shall all be free.

Jesus is, of course, that suffering servant. He accepts the identity in today’s world as true as he accepted it in Isaiah’s time. Isaiah also tells us that if we choose to live in our own light and be subject to no one, then we surely will live among the sorrows. Today, we see much sorrow caused by a rebellious people who look not for the Messiah, but only to their own shadow.

 

JAMES 2:14-18

Today’s passage tells us that well-wishing to our neighbors has a hollow ring if the words of our lips are not matched by the action of our hands. Agreement with a set of Christian teachings, intellectually, is incomplete faith. True faith brings about a real change in our lives. If our lives remain unchanged, we do not truly believe the truths we claim to believe. Living the way God wants us to live does not earn our way into heaven. Being obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ does show that our commitment to God is real. Christ-like conduct is not a substitute for, but a verification of, our faith in Jesus Christ.

This passage in no way is a contradiction of Romans 3:28 which states, “We are saved by Christ and not the good things we do.”  While it is true that our good works can never earn salvation, true faith always results in a changed life and that changed life includes good works.  Today’s reading shows us that it is not a matter of faith or works; rather, unless faith is incarnate in actual behavior, it has no reality. It remains an illusion, with no power to save (James 2:18).

St. Paul speaks against those who try to be saved by works alone instead of true faith. James speaks against those who confuse intellectual agreement with true faith. Scripture tells us that even demons know who Jesus is, but they do not obey him (James 2:19).  James is telling his listeners that faith and works are a matter of meeting the needs of the poor, lonely, homeless and hungry. If we call someone brother or sister but dismiss their needs, we are living a meaningless sham (James 2:15-17). Faith is the living response to the power and presence of God in our life.  Love is a decision, and the way we live tells others what we really believe.

 

MARK 8:27-35

This Gospel shows us how much we relate to Peter in his moment of fickleness.   One moment he proudly proclaims Jesus as Messiah and in the next tempts Christ to abandon the instrument of his messianic power, the cross.

Caesarea Philippi was an especially pagan city known for its worship of Greek gods.  Its temples were devoted to the ancient god Baal.  It was a fitting place for Jesus to ask the disciples to recognize his identity as the Son of God. Jesus asked the disciples who others thought he was, then he focused on them. The question, “Who do you think I am?” was asked because, like the disciples, we must understand and accept for ourselves that he is the Messiah. We must move from curiosity to commitment, from admiration to adoration.

Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone about him because he knew that they needed more instruction about the work he would accomplish through his death and resurrection. Today more than ever, we need to know Jesus through his Word and through spending time alone with him in prayer. When we confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we need to know what that will cost us.

Jesus spoke plainly and directly to his disciples about his death and resurrection. Peter was not able to handle the thought of Jesus being put to death and tried to talk Jesus out of making these kinds of statements. Peter wanted Jesus to be king, but not the suffering servant prophesied in Isaiah 53. He was like many of us today, ready to receive the glory of following the Messiah, but not the persecution. The Christian life is not a paved road to wealth and ease, but often involves rejection, pain, loneliness, and sickness. Peter saw only part of the picture. We need to focus on the resurrection that follows the crucifixion. Today many people spend their lives seeking pleasure. Jesus told us that the world of pleasure centered on possessions is ultimately worthless.  Follow Jesus, and we will know what it really means to be fully human and fully alive.

 

Application

The first reading shows us Isaiah’s vision of the suffering servant.  The second reading tells us that faith without works is useless.  The Gospel shows Peter, like us, looking for the king instead of the servant.

This week, let your actions be seen by those who are in great need. This may be right in your family, school or work area. Take time to help someone. Maybe pray, play, or study with them. Spend some time with someone who is lonely, sick or in prison. Let people say that by the way you act it is obvious that you really know who Jesus is.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 5th) – 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 ISAIAH 35:4-7 FIRST READING

(“Be strong, fear not!”)

l. What is said for those whose hearts are frightened? Isaiah 35:4

 

2. What has God come to do for us? Isaiah 35:4

 

3. Why should we not be afraid? Isaiah 41:10

 

4. Where do we get our strength? Ephesians 6:10

 

5. What will happen to the blind and the deaf when God comes? Isaiah 35:5

 

6. What will happen to the lame and the dumb? Isaiah 35:6

 

7. What was Jesus’ message to John? Matthew 11:4-5

 

8. What did Jesus do as the crowds came to him, and what was their reaction? Matthew 15:29-31

 

9. What will happen to the burning sands and the thirsty ground? Isaiah 35:7

 

10. Who will remain in the parched land? Psalm 68:7

 

Personal – What do you say to a family member or a friend when they are frightened? What can you say or do when you become frightened, drawing reference from the above scripture passage?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 2:1-5 SECOND READING

(“..show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”)

1. What should we not do to one another? James 2:1

 

2. What does God not do? Acts 10:34

 

3. What have we done if we pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and not to the one wearing shabby clothes? James 2:2-4

 

4. How should we judge?  John 7:24

 

5. Whom did the Lord choose to be rich in faith?  James 2:5

 

6. Whom did God choose to shame the wise and the strong of the world?  1 Corinthians 1:27-29

 

7. Who chose us, and what did he choose us to do?  John 15:16

 

8. What did God promise to those who love him? James 2:5, James 1:12

 

9. How do we prove our love for God?  1 John 4:20-21

 

10. What do the rich and poor have in common? Proverbs 22:2

 

Personal – When you are at a gathering, whom do you prefer to be around?  Reflect on this.  Be honest, and repent if need be.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 7:31-37 GOSPEL

(“And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.”)

1. Where did Jesus go, and what was wrong with the man the people brought to him? Mark 7:31-32

 

2. What did the people beg Jesus to do?  Mark 7:32

 

3. Where did Jesus take the man, and what did he do? Mark 7:33

 

4. Where did Jesus look, and what did he say? Mark 7:34

 

5. When Jesus raised his eyes, what did he say?  John 11:41

 

6. What happened to the man, and how long did it take for this to happen? Mark 7:35

 

7. What did Jesus say those who believe in him would do? John 14:12

 

8. What did Jesus order the people not to do, and what was their response? Mark 7:36

 

9. About what were the people astonished? Mark 7:37

 

10. What did the people do who heard the mute speak, and saw the deformed made whole, the lame walk, and the blind see?  Matthew 15:31

 

Personal – In what way can you show faith in someone being healed in your crowd?   What can you do that is different from what you have already done?   How can you be an instrument in the glorification of God by others?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 146:7-10

(“The Lord sets captives free,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 146:7-10.

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 35:4-7

This passage is filled with tremendous hope for all of us today as well as it was for the people in Isaiah’s time. It is the message that the Lord’s crippled people will be whole again. The chapter is a beautiful picture of the final kingdom in which God will establish his justice and destroy all evil.

Isaiah had spoken about a time when God will judge all people for their actions, and in Chapter 35, he tells us about when life will be peaceful at last.  The bleak times in our lives will be made into springs with the life-giving water of Jesus Christ (John 4:10).

The people in today’s passage were being encouraged not to give up hope, that soon a messiah would deliver them from bondage.  The people would soon be reunited with their families, and prisoners would be released from jail and allowed to go home.  God will be praised for his protection and provisions.  Their sick were to be healed.  The lame would soon be able to walk.  The blind would be able to see, and the mute would shout and laugh with joy.   Yet, in the middle of all this excitement and praise, there was also the warning that the rebellious would continue to be left in distress.

Today we have seen that prophecy come true in the presence of Jesus Christ.  He has set the captives free, and he has given sight to the blind.  He has freed mankind from the darkness of death, and he has given all of us the incredible gift of being able to see him in all of his brilliant light of love. Jesus has come and borne our sicknesses and inequities (Matt. 8:17). He has healed us through his death and resurrection.  We do not have to look and hope into the future for help. We have it in our possession now. We have within us the Holy Spirit, and he is greater than any other spirit in the world (1 John 4:4).   Jesus is our healer, our past, our present, and our future.   He is Lord.

 

JAMES 2:1-5

James is telling us that commitment is an essential part of faith.  We cannot be a Christian just by following the laws of some doctrine or agreeing with biblical statement.  We must commit our mind and heart to Christ.  Good works are the evidence of true faith, the essence of one who says “Amen.”  They are the works of a believer,  and we do not do good things to become good.   We do good things because of the goodness that is within us (1 John 4:4).  A real Christian will have a changed life.  Faith without good works does not do anybody any good;  it is useless (James 2:14-17).

Paul strongly states that the purpose of faith is to bring salvation. He also reveals that the result of faith is a changed life.  James cautions his hearers to avoid partiality. He emphasizes that the poor are a special object of God’s care. A common error today that is made by many Christians is treating a well dressed, impressive looking person better than someone who looks poor.  This is done because most people would rather identify with successful people than apparent failures.  Many of the rich and successful find it hard to identify with the Lord Jesus who came as a humble servant.

We need to ask ourselves a very brutal question. Are we partial to the “successful” while ignoring the possible failures? We call this prejudice sin. God views all people as equals, and if indeed he has favorites, it is the poor and the powerless. We need to realize the error of judging a person by economic stature or his educational achievements or wealth. This may mean that the person had the good fortune of being born into a family of wealth and power. We need to make sure that we do not seek people to join us just for their money.

James speaks out very strongly about helping the poor.  Many times, we may foolishly assume that because people have wealth and power that they can change the circumstances of the event.  We must always remember one of the greatest barriers to salvation for the rich is pride. For the poor, it is bitterness.  We must never assume that the poor will automatically go to heaven and the rich will go to hell.  The poor,  however,  are usually more aware of their powerlessness  and are usually more open to acknowledge their need for Jesus Christ.

 

MARK 7:31-37

Today’s gospel passage takes place as Jesus enters into the territory around the Sea of Galilee. This long journey together was very helpful in bringing a bond among all of them as they approached the end of Jesus’ very short ministry.

The people brought to Jesus a man who could not speak or hear, and Jesus, being very conscious of the man’s dignity, led the man away from the curious crowd and laid his hands on him to heal him. The healing was done at the request of unnamed friends, and it was what today is called an “action-miracle.”  Jesus did what many Greeks and Hebrew healers did at that time, and that was to use saliva. He immediately established contact with the damaged organs, looks up in prayer and utters a command. Jesus used an Aramaic word, “Ephphatha”  which means open,  and the man’s ears were at once opened.  Jesus put his hand in the man’s ears and touched his tongue with his spittle.   The custom in those days allowed for spittle to have curative powers.  Jesus did not consider this man to be merely a case,  he considered him as an individual and was healing him from within as well as on the outside.  Mark tells us the onlookers were astonished by what they saw.  Much more certain is that in their wonderment the people were recalling the signs of the last times told by Isaiah (Isaiah 35:5).

Today Jesus continues to heal the broken hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits of all people.  He continues to bring salvation to all who will turn to him in their hour of darkness and pain.  Jesus had done all things well,  and he wants to make you well for eternity.  Let him come into your life right now and heal you of what is crippling you.  Today, Jesus is bringing back the beauty of God to the world,  which sin has made ugly.

 

Application

The first reading tells us the “Good News” is the message of “Hope.”  The second reading shows that faith without works is useless. The Gospel reveals that Jesus is a hands-on healer who is gentle.

This week, let your faith be visible to your family. Let your actions be a sign of what you really believe. Show a family member a side of you that prays, reads scripture, meditates, and worships with joy.  Better yet, invite a family member or friend or school or work associate to pray with you or go to a worship service with you.  Remember, God wants to heal others through you. All you have to do is be available.

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 29th) – 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 DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8 FIRST READING

(“This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.”)

l. What is Moses telling the Israelites to observe, and what will happen if they observe them? Deuteronomy 4:1

 

2. As the Israelites observe the commandments enjoined upon them, what are they not to do?  Deuteronomy 4:2, Deut. 13:1

 

3. What will happen to us if we add to God’s words? Proverbs 30:6

 

4. By observing his commands carefully, we will be giving evidence of having what two things? Deuteronomy 4:6

 

5. To whom will we be giving this evidence, and what will they say? Deuteronomy 4:6

 

6. To what is this wonder capable of leading us? 2 Timothy 3:15

 

7. What is the Lord, Our God, to us whenever we call upon him? Deuteronomy 4:7

 

8. What is being set before the Israelites this day, and what is said about it? Deuteronomy 4:8

 

9. What are God’s commandments? Psalm 119:144, 172

 

10. What are God’s ways of doing things? Revelation 15:3

 

Personal – In what way do you show wisdom and intelligence to those with whom you come in contact?  What are you contributing to your nation?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 1:17-18, 21-22, 27 SECOND READING

(“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”)

1. From where does every good and perfect gift come? James 1:17

 

2. What is God, and what is not in him?  James 1:17, 1 John 1:5

 

3. What did God will to give us, and how did he do this? James 1:18

 

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

 

5. Of what are we to rid ourselves, and what are we to welcome? James 1:21

 

Personal – How has the study of God’s Holy Word been a saving grace to you?

 

6. How can we deceive or delude our self?  James 1:22

 

7. Who is the wise man, and who is the fool? Matthew 7:24-27

 

8. Who will be justified? Romans 2:13

 

9. What is religion that is pure and undefiled before God? James 1:27

 

10. How do we escape the defilement of the world? 2 Peter 2:20

 

Personal – Who are the orphans and widows in your neighborhood, and how have you cared for them?  How have you kept yourself unstained by the world?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 GOSPEL

(“Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”)

1. Who gathered around Jesus, and what did they observe? Mark 7:1-2

 

2. What tradition did the Pharisees and all Jews keep? Mark 7:3-4

 

3. About what did the Pharisees and scribes question Jesus, and about whom did Isaiah prophesy? Mark 7:5-6

 

4. With what did Isaiah say these hypocrites honored him, and what was far from him?  Mark 7:6, Isaiah 29:13. Use a dictionary and write out the definition of hypocrite.

 

5. What is the first thing a hypocrite should do?  Matthew 7:5

 

6. In what way do they worship God, and what do they teach? Mark 7:7

 

7. What do the hypocrites disregard, and to what do they cling? Mark 7:8

 

8. What did Jesus say defiles or makes a person unclean, and what does not defile that person?   Mark 7:14-15

 

9. What happens to that which enters the mouth, and from where does that come which comes out of the mouth?  Mark 7:18-20

 

10. What comes from the heart, and what do these evils do? Mark 7:21-23

 

Personal – How much time do you spend on what goes into your mouth, and how much time do you spend on what comes out of your mouth?  How can you better deal with what comes out of your mouth?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 15:2-5

(“He who does these things shall never be disturbed.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 15:2-5.

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

DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8

In today’s reading Moses emphasizes the Law and Israel’s exalted status among the nations.  The Law was considered a blessing and a source of life, only if it was to be accepted and enforced with equal respect for all.  There was a great cry by the people to change some of the laws, and Moses told them that these laws were the work of God and therefore complete. Moses knew that mankind, with its limited wisdom and knowledge, could not do an editing job on God’s perfect law.  Moses knew that to make changes in God’s law is to assume a position of authority over God.

The religious leaders at the time of Christ did exactly that. They elevated their own laws to the same level as God’s. Moses said that a reputation for wisdom comes only by obeying God’s Holy Word. Today, we see many religious leaders in many countries trying to impress the people with how smart they are, how talented they are and with the size of their churches. The most authentic way to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ is not becoming colorful and exciting, not becoming rich or successful, but through obedience to God’s Holy Word, his sacraments, and the fellowship of a faith-filled community.

Do you fall into the trap of trying to make others think that you are intelligent, resourceful and very religious?  Do you try to be up on almost every subject, especially the subject of theology and administration?  Remember, in Christianity it is not what you do, it is whom you know.  If you really know Christ, then you will be seeking his guidance on every aspect of your life. When you come to know Christ, then and only then, will you be able to understand the difference between the law of rigidity and the law of love.

 

JAMES 1:17-18, 21-22, 27

In today’s passage, we hear James calling these first-generation Christians who believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah “The first children in God’s new family.”  We are called to be listeners and doers of the word.  When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think only our ideas have any lasting value.

We read in today’s passage’s that it is important to know what God’s word says, but it is much more important to obey it.  Our behavior and attitude reflect the effectiveness of our bible reading and study time. The message of obedience calls for a response, and it is in this responsive action of being a doer of God’s Holy Word that brings us real freedom.

Scripture is often called God’s law for free men or the law of liberty.  God’s law points out the sin in our lives and gives us the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness (Rom. 7:7-8). We know that as Christians, we are saved by God’s grace and not by any of our own doing.  Because of God’s grace we can live a holy life, and not by any of our own doing. This grace of God has given us the gift of salvation, which includes freedom from sin’s control. As believers, we are free to live as we should and in his grace we can. However, we are not free to live as we please, but rather, in our gratitude to Christ, by following his commandments of loving one another  as he has loved us. (John 13:34). We see that in today’s world it is not enough just to “talk the talk,” but we have to “walk the walk” of Christ, and that means loving others with actions as well as with good intentions.

The first century of the new church was a time of physical, emotional and spiritual help for the powerless in the new Christian communities.  By caring for these defenseless people, the church put God’s words into practice.  They gave because it was needed, not hoping for a return.  The early church showed what it means to serve others, and today Jesus Christ is calling us to be doers of the word, not just listeners.  Jesus himself tells us, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Today’s Gospel shows the tremendous importance of the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees and the experts of the Law. The religious leaders sent some investigators to check up on Jesus, and they did not like what they found. Jesus scolded them for keeping the Law in order to look holy instead of to honor God.  The prophet Isaiah accused the religious leaders of his day of the same thing (Isaiah 29:13), and Jesus used Isaiah’s words to accuse these men.

Mark explained some Jewish rituals because he was writing to a non-Jewish audience.  About four or five centuries before Christ, there came into being a class of legal experts on Jewish law, whom we know as the scribes. The scribes reflected on the great moral principles of the Ten Commandments and broke them down into hundreds of little rules and regulations. These rules were called “The Oral Laws” and they later were written down and known as the “Mishnah.”  Jesus told them that ceremonial cleanness did not purify the heart. To fail to achieve this ceremonial cleanness of washing this or that properly in Jewish eyes, was not to be guilty of bad manners, but to be unclean in the sight of God. The man who ate with unclean hands was subject to the attacks of a demon called “Shibta.”  To many Pharisaical and scribal Jews, religion was ritual, ceremonial and regulations. It was because Jesus considered God’s laws more important than all these regulations that they considered him bad and dangerous.

Jesus saw religion as loving God and loving his fellowman, and the scribes saw religion as rules and regulations. Jesus accused them of hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy means “actor,” but it goes beyond acting on the stage. It means acting without any sincerity behind it all.  Jesus struck at the core of hypocrisy by saying that love, not legalism, is the core of religion. Legalism takes account of a man’s outward actions; but it takes no account at all of his inward feelings. We may serve God outwardly and bluntly disobey God in inward things, and that is hypocrisy. We become hypocrites when we pay more attention to reputation than to character. True religion must always come from the simple listening and accepting of the voice of God. Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that we have a God who is always near.  The second reading shows that we are called to be “doers” of the word.  The Gospel reveals that Jesus goes way beyond legalism.

This week show your family, school friends, or work associates that what you do is morally right, not just what you say. Show your family members especially, that your image is of one who is yielding, bending, and open to God’s grace, not one who is locked in a legalistic rigidity of rules and regulations.