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 SIRACH 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 FIRST READING
(“Conduct your affairs with humility.”)
1. How are we to conduct our affairs? Sirach 3:17
2. What will happen to us if we conduct ourselves this way? Sirach 3:17
3. What are we to do all the more, the greater we are? Sirach 3:18
4. With whom will we find favor? Sirach 3:18
5. For what are we not to seek or search? Sirach 3:20
6. What does the mind of a sage appreciate? Sirach 3:28
7. What is the wise man’s joy? Sirach 3:28
8. What quenches a flaming fire and what atones for sin? Sirach 3:29
9. What makes a person great and what happens to the person who exalts himself? Matthew 23:11-12
10. What must we do to our soul and where do we put our hope? Psalm 131:1-3
Personal – In what way have you taken on a servant’s attitude at home, with family or friends, or at work? What is your attitude about being a servant to all with whom you come in contact?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 12:18-19, 22-24 SECOND READING
(“Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant”)
1. To what have we not been drawn near, that those who heard begged that it not be addressed to them? Hebrews 12:18-19
2. Where have we drawn near and whose city is it? Hebrews 12:22
3. Who is there and how are they gathered there? Hebrews 12:22
4. Of whom is it the assembly, where are they enrolled, and who is the judge of all? Hebrews 12:23
5. Who has been made perfect? Hebrews 12:23
6. How can we be made perfect? Matthew 5:43-48
7. Of what is Jesus mediator? Hebrews 12:24
8. What speaks more eloquently than that of Abel? Hebrews 12:24
9. What is the new covenant of which Jesus is mediator? Hebrews 8:6-12
10. How was this new covenant made? Hebrews 9:11-14
Personal – In what way have you accepted the new covenant of God? How has the shedding of Jesus’ blood washed you clean?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 14:1, 7-14 GOSPEL
(“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”)
1. What day did Jesus come to eat a meal, to whose house did he come, and who were they observing closely? Luke 14:1
2. What did Jesus go on to do to the guest, and what had he noticed happening? Luke 14:7
3. What did he say we are not to do if we are invited to a wedding, for what reason, and what might the host do? Luke 14:8,9
4. How would we proceed to the lowest place, and what should we do when invited so the host will say, “My friend, come up higher?” Luke 14:9-10
5. What will this do for us in the eyes of our fellow guest? Luke 14:10
6. What happens to everyone who exalts himself, and what happens to everyone who humbles himself? Luke 14:11
7. Who was humble and how did he humble himself? Philippians 2:5-8
8. What did Jesus say to the one who had invited him? Luke 14:12
9. What are we to do when we have a reception? Luke 14:13
10. About what should we be pleased, and how will we be repaid? Luke 14:14
Personal – How have you demonstrated humility in your home, at work, or at social functions? When is the last time you entertained someone who could not repay you the honor? Be specific.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 68:4-7, 10-11
(“God gives a home for the forsaken.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 68:4-7, 10-11.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
SIRACH 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
To have a clear picture of who you really are is to be humble. Paul tells us in Romans 12:3 that we should not get too enthused about our own self-importance. While a healthy self-esteem is important, we should not go too far in self-love. Humility is the key to an honest and accurate evaluation of our self-worth, our own identity in Christ. Being humble does not mean that we should put ourselves down, because we know that we are sinners, and are saved only by God’s grace. We also know that we are saved and therefore have great value in his eyes and in his kingdom. We must yield to him completely and put ourselves in his hands to be used as he wants, in order to spread his Word and share his love with others.
Our conduct speaks volumes about our humility. Humility is the call to servanthood, it is totally opposite of one who is selfish. A humble person is one who is selfless and thinks of others more than of himself. This is what Christ preached, believed, and lived. Being humble is a guard against selfishness, prejudice, and jealousy. Showing genuine interest in others is one way to strive actively to put on the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5-11). The attitude of humility was the kind that Jesus has shown to all mankind. He didn’t demand or cling to his rights, or cry out for vengeance. He called us out to love our enemies and forgive over and over. Jesus was humble, he was God yet he took on the role of a servant. He was willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve his people.
We must be just like Christ, in fact he calls us to do even greater things than he (John 14:12). We can strive to be more like him by being more humble than we have ever been before. Like Christ, we must serve out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear. Jesus humbled himself on a cross and to his death. We are called to follow him by humbly going up on our own cross and dying to ourselves in his Holy Name.
HEBREWS 12:18-19, 22-24
Paul describes what it must have been like on that flaming Mount Sinai. The people were probably terrified with all of the commotion going on the mountain. A great ball of fire was present, then out of nowhere a great storm sprung up. Paul told them that they did not have to face anything as terrifying as the people of Moses’ time did on that mountain. He goes on to tell them about the incredible contrast to their being able to be on the special mountain and into the city of God. This contrast between the old and new covenant was like pointing out the differences between a photograph of a person and the actual person. The photograph is in reality a shadow of the real person, and the old covenant of God handing Moses the ten commandments was a shadow of the new covenant.
The old agreement was a covenant of Law between God and Israel. The new and better way is the covenant of Grace. The new covenant is Christ forgiving our sins and bringing us to God through his sacrificial death. This covenant goes beyond Israel and Judah to all the gentile nations of the world. Jesus is the source of this new agreement, and his blood was shed in forgiveness not in vengeance as was Abel’s. This new covenant is written in our hearts and minds. Our bodies have become the sacred temple of this Lamb of God. This new covenant offers a new way to forgiveness, not through animal sacrifice, but through faith. We need to reflect and ask ourselves, “Have I entered into this new agreement and begun to walk in the better way.”
The invitation to partake in this new covenant is open to all of us. Before Jesus came God seemed distant and threatening, as we can imagine on that night on Mount Sinai. Now God welcomes us through Christ into his presence.
LUKE 14:1, 7-14
Jesus accepted this invitation to a Pharisee’s home even though he knew they were trying to trap him into saying or doing something wrong. He was criticized for defending the integrity of a woman who came uninvited to the home of the Pharisee who had invited Jesus. Their trap to get Jesus to do something wrong, so that they may get him arrested, did not scare him.
Jesus began to teach them about honor. He told the guest not to always be seeking places of honor, rather they should seek ways to be of service. Today, just as it was then, service is more important in God’s kingdom than status. He told them not to be so particular about who is invited because he knew that this select group of people would invite them to one of their special functions.
Jesus really hit a nerve with them when he told them that if they try to impress others with their own status and demand to sit up front, they might be terribly embarrassed if someone who has more status shows up and forces them to sit in the back. We might ask ourselves, “Does this apply to me?”. When you go out to some function, such as a dinner, do you demand quick service and complain if the service or food is not quite the best? Do you expect people to cater to you because you are a religious person or maybe a professional person like a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.?
Jesus’ message to the Pharisees who lived two thousand years ago applies today to all of us. We are all called to be humble, to defer to others. We are called to die to ourselves, to think about meeting the needs of others and not just our own. Jesus tells us to think about inviting someone to our house who will not be able to repay the invitation. He tells us to serve someone who is not of any high status personally. He is not asking us to join some organization or help out at a soup kitchen. He is saying that we need to reach out in humility to someone who is poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit is to have material things and yet be emotionally and spiritually hungry and looking for a personal relationship with Christ.
Spiritual leadership, which means taking on the humility of Christ and becoming a servant, is desperately needed in our own homes. It is certainly needed in our jobs, schools, and churches. God will reward us for inviting the uninvited, for loving the unlovable. He will say to us one day, “My loving friend, I have a better place for you; come, be here with me in heaven forever.”
The first reading tells us that our conduct speaks volumes about our humility. The second reading shows that the old agreement was a covenant of law between God and Israel. The new and better way is the covenant of grace. The Gospel reveals that we are all called to be humble.
This week, put on a heart of humility (Col.3:12) and be clothed in humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5). We can only love one another when we serve each other in Jesus’ holy name.
Let us begin at home by helping one another in simple chores around the house. Look around to see where you can serve instead of being served. We really love one another when we serve one another.