THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
1. What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 4:32-35 FIRST READING
(“There was no needy person among them.”)
1. Who were of one heart and mind? What did no one claim, and what did they hold in common? Acts 4:32
2. What would they do with their possessions and property? Acts 2:42-47
3. What did God give to those who accepted Jesus and believed in his name, and of whom were they born? John 1:12-13
4. How did the apostles bear witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what was accorded them all? Acts 4:33
5. To what were they witnesses, and with what promise of Our Father will they be clothed? Luke 24:46-49
6. With what were the apostles filled? Acts 2:4
7. What was there not among them, and where would those who sold their property or houses bring the proceeds? Acts 4:35
8. How were the proceeds of their sales distributed among them? Acts 4:35
9. What did Jesus tell the rich young man? Matthew 19:21
10. What are we to do for the needy and the poor? Proverbs 31:9
Personal? – How do you value your property and possessions, and how can you change distribution among the needy?
THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 5:1-6 SECOND READING
(“Everyone who loves the Father, loves the one begotten by him.”)
1. Who is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whom? 1 John 5:1
2. Whom did Jesus say we would love, and from where did he come? John 8:42
3. In what two ways do we know that we love the children of God? 1 John 5:2
4. How have we been born anew? 1 Peter 1:23
5. How do we know that we have passed from death to life? 1 John 3:14
6. Of what does the love of God consist, and what is not burdensome? 1 John 5:3
7. What does whoever is begotten by God conquer, and what is the victory that conquers? 1 John 5:4
8. Where are we going to have trouble, and what are we to take because Jesus has conquered it? John 16:33
9. Who is the victor over the world, and through whom is it? 1 John 5:5, 1 Corinthians 15:57
10. How did Jesus come to us? 1 John 5:6
11. Who testifies, and what is he? 1 John 5:6
12. From where does the Spirit of truth come? John 15:26
Personal? – How have you shown to others that you believe and have passed from death to life?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-31 GOSPEL
(“Peace be with you.”)
1. On the evening of the first day of the week, why were the doors locked where the disciples were staying? Who came and stood in their midst, and what did he say? John 20:19
2. How did the disciples react when Jesus showed them his hands and side, and what did he say to them? John 20:20-21
3. What did Jesus say he left his disciples, and how does he not give it to them? John 14:27
4. What did Jesus do, and who does he tell them to receive? John 20:22
5. What did Jesus send his disciples to do? Matthew 28:19-20
6. What did Jesus say about those who sin? John 20:23
7. Who was not there when Jesus came? What did the other disciples say to him, and what would he have to do to believe? John 20:24-25
8. What happened a week later? How did Jesus enter, and what did he say to them? John 20:26
9. What did he tell Thomas to do, and what did he tell him to stop doing? John 20:27
10. What did Thomas say? What did Jesus say to him, and who is blessed? John 20:28-29
11. Whom did Elizabeth say was the most blessed among women, and for what reason? Luke 1:42, 45-46
12. What did Jesus do in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book? John 20:30
13. Why are these written, and what does it bring us in his name? John 20:31, 1 John 5:13
Personal? – What signs of Christ’s presence do you see taking place in your everyday life? In what way do you recognize the gift of the Holy Spirit given to you at Baptism working through you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
(“My strength and my courage is the Lord.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The unity and power brought by the Holy Spirit to the believers in the early church was really something to behold. The unity we talk about here is the spiritual unity that united these people. This unity was demonstrated very powerfully by the growing community. They devoted themselves to the anointed teachings of the Apostles. These teachings encouraged the community to become bonded to each other through worshipping God together and sharing the Body and Blood of Christ in liturgy. The bonding continues in the fellowshipping with one another and reaching out to meet the other person’s needs.
The community was blessed with the gift of prayer. It was the praying together that gave them the vision to include this whole world into their community. Today, as well as then, Christians demonstrate their unity with one another by giving of themselves and their materials joyfully to the poor. The growth of the early Christian community can well be used as a role model for today’s church. We are called into unity through teachings (scripture), fellowship (Ecumenism), breaking bread (Eucharist), and prayer. There had to be differences of opinions because the people’s personalities were quite varied. The spiritual unity called for loyalty, commitment, and a complete love of God and his Word.
We need to look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and hear his call to spiritual unity. None of the believers of the early church felt that what they had was their own, and so they were able to give and share with other believers. This attitude soon defeated the pockets of poverty that dwelt among them because they would not let any of their own suffer when they themselves had plenty.
How do you feel about your possessions? Do you worry about your valuables being stolen? Do you need to look and see if you need to adopt the same type of attitude as the believers in today’s reading? It is incredibly important that we remember that everything we have comes from God, and that we are only sharing or giving away what is already his.
The early church was made up of voluntary sharing. It did not mean the sale of all property, but only as much as was needed. This voluntary sharing was not a requirement to join the church, rather it was a sign of the church. It was the spiritual unity and generosity of these early believers that attracted others to them. The fruits of the Holy Spirit were very evident, and that is how people today look at the believers in the church.
What do they see when they look at us? Do they see someone who knows that only through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ can salvation be realized? Do they see generosity and love in us? Today many people ask, “Where is the power in the church?” We need to bring back the attitude and actions of the early believers and again practice generosity and holiness. He will release his power in those who are united in spirit and generosity. We are being called to that same radical and joyous way of life that our brothers and sisters in this reading lived. The Spirit that is within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). We must never forget that the Spirit within us is the same Holy Spirit that was within the apostles.
1 JOHN 5:1-6
The first verse of today’s reading makes an incredible statement. It states that if we believe that Jesus is the Christ, then God himself accepts us as one of his begotten children. What a tremendous blessing is this gift, to be a member of God’s holy family. We also are told that to love this generous, loving Father is to also love all of his children.
When we become Christians we become members of God’s family with all believers as our brothers and sisters. It is God who chooses who are the other family members, not us. We are simply called to love and accept them. A member of the family of God is not accepted because of color, or language, nor for how famous or wealthy he or she may be. A family member is accepted on the basis of believing that Jesus is Lord.
How well do you treat your fellow members in the family of God? Jesus never promised us that it would be easy accepting him. In fact, he told us to be ready to suffer in this world because of him (John 16:33). Jesus has not given us commands that weigh us down. On the contrary, he has made our burden light by always being with us no matter the difficulty of the situation.
To be a follower and believer of Christ is to be disciplined. We are called to be always on the alert for whatever Satan tries to push on us. He is like a roaring lion waiting to devour anyone who is alone, unprepared or sickly. We are more than conquerors because we believe that Jesus is the “Christ,” the Savior of all peoples. Our victory over Satan and death is through Jesus Christ.
If you are down and depressed at this time, turn to the Lord right now because he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (Joel 2:13). Remember, do not let anything hold you back from turning to the Lord because as a child of God, you are more than just a conqueror.
Can you picture that scene in the upper room? The disciples were waiting behind locked doors for either the soldiers to come and drag them away or the Jews who were furious against these followers of Jesus. Can you imagine the thoughts and fears that they were probably experiencing? What about my family, what about my business, what about my future?
All of a sudden Jesus is standing before them saying, “Peace be with you.” They were overjoyed at his return and were flabbergasted when he told them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He knew that they did not have the power to do this, so he breathed on them and gave them the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do we really believe that same power has been given to us and that, like the disciples, we are called to be sent out also? We have been given a tremendous power by Christ, and that is to free men from bondage, or if we choose, we can hold them in bondage. When we are forgiving another person we are releasing them from the bondage of sin, rejection, abandonment, and bitterness. We loose upon them all of the healing qualities of the Lord himself – forgiveness, a spirit of health, honesty, trust, and finally love. The power to forgive is simply to give back to a person his or her dignity and self-respect. That is what happens when we make the decision to forgive.
Thomas is like so many of us in that he needed to be shown to believe. Jesus loved Thomas and he loves us in all of our areas of faith. He told Thomas, “You have seen, but blessed are those who have not seen.” You and I are blessed just like Thomas because our faith in Jesus allows us to be responsive to the living presence and power of God in our lives. Jesus brought them out of fear in the upper room and gave them power through his Holy Spirit. That power and grace is ours to go forth and make disciples of all nations today.
The first reading reveals that the Holy Spirit brings unity and power. The second reading shows us that belief in Jesus allows us to become God’s children. The Gospel lifts disciples out of fear into becoming mighty warriors of the Lord.
This week, practice loving God’s family members at home, school or work by doing something specific for them without taking any glory. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to do this. An example: clean up the kitchen for your spouse or parent or speak, and then listen, to someone with whom you do not really get along at school or work. Can others tell by the way you act that the Holy Spirit dwells within you?