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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2.   From what you learned, what personal  application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 4:32-35

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 JOHN 5:1-6

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

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

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

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

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

JOHN 20:19-31

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

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

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

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

Application

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

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

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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ ACTS 10:34, 37-43 FIRST READING

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 SECOND READING

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:1-9 GOSPEL

(“He saw and believed.”)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 10:34, 37-43

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

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

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

COLOSSIANS 3:1-4

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

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

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

 

JOHN 20:1-9

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

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

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

 

Application

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

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

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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1.   What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 50:4-7

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

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

PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11

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

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

MARK 14:1-15:47

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

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

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

Application

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

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

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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ JEREMIAH 31:31-34 FIRST READING

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 5:7-9 SECOND READING

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

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

 

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

 

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

Matthew 26:38 and Luke 22:44

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 12:20-33 GOSPEL

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

JEREMIAH 31:31-34

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

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

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

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

 

HEBREWS 5:7-9

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

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

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

 

JOHN 12:20-33

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

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

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

 

Application

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

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

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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1.   What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2.   From what you learned, what Personal?  application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ 2 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23 FIRST READING
(“for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.”)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

9. What is the verdict? John 3:19

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Read and meditate on Psalm 137:1-6.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

2 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23

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

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

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

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

 

EPHESIANS 2:4-10

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

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

 

JOHN 3:14-21

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

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

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

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

 

Application

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

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

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

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ EXODUS 20:1-17 FIRST READING

(“I, the Lord, am your God,…”)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 2:13-25 GOSPEL

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 19:8-11

(“The law of the Lord is perfect,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 19:8-11.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

Exodus 20:1-17

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

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

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

 

1 CORINTHIANS 1:22-25

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

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

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

 

JOHN 2:13-25

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

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

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

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

 

Application 

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

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

Second Sunday in Lent (February 28th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or 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 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18 FIRST READING

(“…all this because you obeyed my command.”)

l. To what did God put Abraham, and when God called to him, what was his reply?  Genesis 22:1

 

2. What will God not let happen, what will he provide, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

3. What did God say to Abraham, and what was Isaac to Abraham?  Genesis 22:2

 

4. What did Jesus say would happen if we gave up our children for the kingdom of God?   Luke 18:29-30

 

5. When Abraham with his son came to the place of which God had told him, what did he do, and what did he do with his son? Genesis 22:9

 

6. What did he reach out and take, and for what reason? Genesis 22:10

 

7. Who called out to Abraham, and what was his response? Genesis 22:11

 

8. Why did he tell him not to lay a hand on the boy? Genesis 22:12-13

 

9. When the Lord’s messenger called again to Abraham, what did the Lord say he would do for him for not withholding his son?  Genesis 22:15-17

 

10. In whom will all the nations find blessings, and for what reason?  Genesis 22:18

 

11. How do we remain in Jesus’ love, how did Jesus remain in God’s love, and what is his command?  John 15:10,17

 

Personal – What have you given up for the kingdom of God?  To what are you holding on?  What do you need to do to receive the blessings that God wants to shower upon you?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:31-34 SECOND READING

(“It is God who acquits us.”)

1. Who is writing this book, and to whom is he writing? Romans 1:1, 7

 

2. What are the two questions asked in Romans 8:31, and to what do they refer?  Romans 8:30-31

 

3. What did God do with his own Son, for whom did he do it, and what else will he give us?  Romans 8:32

 

4. What happens to those who believe in Jesus?  John 3:16

 

5. What does God have for a son who serves him? See Malachi 3:17

 

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

 

7. What are we to God, and what does he do for us?  Romans 8:33

 

8. What was credited to Abraham as righteousness, in whom do we believe, and as what is that credited to us? Romans 4:2-5

 

9. What did Jesus do, where is he, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:34

 

10. What happens to those who approach God through Jesus, how long does he live, and what does he do? Hebrews 7:25

 

11. What did Christ not enter, where did he go, and in whose behalf?  Hebrews 9:24

 

12. If anyone does sin, what do we have; for whom has he done this; and how are we sure to know him? 1 John 2:1-3

 

Personal – In what way have you been made right with God?  What do you do when you sin?  As Christ intercedes for you, how can you intercede for your loved ones?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 9:2-10 GOSPEL

(“This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.”)

1. Whom did Jesus lead up a high mountain apart by themselves, and what happened to him?  Mark 9:2

 

2. What happened to Jesus’ clothes?  Mark 9:3

 

3. Who appeared, and what were they doing?  Mark 9:4

 

4. What are we to remember from Moses, and what was Elijah sent to do?  Malachi 3:22-24

 

5. What did Peter say to Jesus, what did he call him, and what were their feelings?   Mark 9:5-6

 

6. What happened to the centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus on the cross?  Matthew 27:54

 

7. When Jesus asked his disciples why were they terrified, what was the next question he put to them?  Mark 4:40-41

 

8. What came casting a shadow over them, and what did the voice that came out of it say?  Mark 9:7

 

9. What did Moses say would happen to those who did not listen to Jesus?    Acts 3:22-23

 

10. When Moses went up the mountain, what covered it? What settled upon Mt. Sinai, and what happened on the seventh day?   Exodus 24:15-16

 

11. When Peter, James, and John suddenly looked around, whom did they see?   Mark 9:8

 

Personal – How clearly do you see Jesus to know what he is saying to you, so you can listen to him?  How do you see Jesus? What is he like to you?  What do his clothes look like, and what is he saying and doing?   Reflect on this.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 116:10, 15-19

(“I believed, even when I said, `I am greatly afflicted;'”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 116:10, 15-19.

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 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18

In today’s reading from Genesis we see God testing Abraham, not to trip him up, but to develop his character. Just as fire refines ore to bring out the precious metals, God refines us through difficult times and events. We have two ways to go when we are tested, we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character.

Abraham went to fulfill an act of obedience that the world could not comprehend. Over the years he had learned tough lessons about the importance of obeying God.  Obeying God in Abraham’s time or in our time is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something that we truly want. We should not always expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally.

God did not want the physical death of Isaac, but he did want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart. Abraham was showing God that he loved God so much that he would trust him in everything. Do you trust the Lord in everything in your life? God was testing Abraham, and he tests us. The purpose of God’s testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to him.

God also showed Abraham his ability to provide. We see the ram being offered as a substitute for Isaac, similar to Jesus being offered on the cross as a substitute for us. It is important for us to see how much God really loves us. He stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son; and yet God did not spare his own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross for us so that we can be spared from the eternal death we deserve, and instead receive eternal life with him.

Abraham received an incredible blessing for his obedience and that was that he was a positive influence upon others. Other lives would be changed as a result of knowing Abraham. You have been given a tremendous blessing also, and other people’s lives can be changed to the good too. How many lives will be changed because they have known you?  This is really up to you.

 

ROMANS 8:31-34

Today’s reading is more than a theological explanation of God’s redeeming grace. It is a reading of comfort and confidence addressed to us. Have you ever thought that you were not good enough for God and that he will not save you?  Do you ever feel that salvation and healing are for everyone else, but not you? Then this reading is especially for you. If God gave his only begotten son for you, then he is not about to hold back the gift of salvation to you (John 3:16). Jesus Christ did not give his life for you and then turn around and condemn you.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from God’s love. We really need to realize that when we accept Christ as Our Lord and Savior, we are declaring war on Satan. Then we will be attacked, tempted and condemned by Satan in order to break us away from God’s gift of salvation and love. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son just for you (John 3:16). Think about that. He knew that we would still be sinners, and he still went ahead with his plan of salvation (Romans 5:8).

God’s compassion is so great that he let Jesus take on all of the sins of the world in order that we might be clean, free, and justified to be his children. We do not have to fear being accused of loving God and serving him because we have his promise of salvation (John 3:16) and protection (Psalm 91). We are told that Jesus is pleading with God for us in heaven. He is our mediator and our representative at God’s right hand.

Prayer is our approach to Jesus. There are many different ways to pray, but come with reverence, for he is our King. We can come with bold assurance, too, because he is our friend and personal counselor. Remember, Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived who was born to die. His death for us won us the incredible gift of salvation; and now in heaven, he completely understands our weaknesses and offers forgiveness.

 

MARK 9:2-10

Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain. The transfiguration revealed Christ’s true nature as God’s Son. God’s voice called out Jesus from Moses and Elijah as the long-awaited Messiah with full divine authority. Moses was a sign of the law and Elijah was the sign of the prophets. Jesus was the fulfillment of both the Old Testament law and the prophetic promises of the future. Jesus was not merely one of the prophets, and he was not a reincarnation of Moses. As the Son of God, he far surpasses their authority and power.

Jesus is the source of all authority and power. We must listen to Jesus and then evaluate all the other authorities in light of his revelation. The apostles were startled and frightened as they looked upon Jesus and saw him for whom he really was. They were transfigured in their hearts and were able to see him with their hearts as well as with their eyes.

Jesus told them not to speak about what they had seen because they would not understand it themselves until Jesus had risen from the dead. They had been given the incredible gift of seeing the kingdom of God arrive in great power (Mark 9:1). They would see that when Jesus rose from the dead as his power over death would reveal to all that he is God. It was natural for the disciples to be confused about Jesus’ death and resurrection because they could not see into the future.

When Jesus becomes the Lord of our life, we will see him just as Peter, James, and John saw him. He will make our heart radiant and our mind clear and sharp. He will transfigure us right where we are. He knew that he could not stay up on that mountaintop, because he had come to transfigure the people in the lowly, dark valleys. We do not have to be confused or frightened because we have his Holy Spirit within us (1 John 4:4). The disciples saw the radiance in Jesus’ face because they saw him with spiritual vision. Scripture tells us, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has revealed to those who love him.” This is the transfiguration that God has revealed to us today through the Holy Spirit.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that in our times of testing, we are growing in moral development. The second reading shows us the incredible power of God’s redeeming grace. The Gospel shows that being transfigured is letting the radiance of Christ shine in you and through you.

This week look for only the good points in those around you. Speak only about what is good about them. No flattery, just affirmation, and watch them go through a transfiguration right before your eyes. Try it.

First Sunday in Lent (February 21st) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1.   What was a helpful or 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 GENESIS 9:8-15 FIRST READING
(“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you.”)

l. What kind of a man was Noah, and what did God say he was establishing with Noah and his sons and their descendants? Genesis 6:9-10 and Genesis 9:8-9

 

2. In addition to Noah, his sons and their descendants, for whom did God establish this covenant? Gen. 9:10

 

3. As a result of establishing the covenant, what would never again happen? Genesis 9:11

 

4. At the Last Supper, what did Jesus say is the cup? Luke 22:20

 

5. Who is the mediator of a new covenant? Hebrews 9:14-15

 

6. What did God give the people of all ages to come that showed the covenant between them? Genesis 9:12,13

 

7. What was the sign given to the shepherds in the field? Luke 2:11-12

 

8. When some scribes and Pharisees were asking Jesus for a sign, what did he tell them? Matthew 12:38-40

 

9. What served as a sign of the covenant between God and the earth? Genesis 9:13

 

10. When will God recall the covenant he has made with us, and what will never again happen? Genesis 9:14-15

 

Personal? – When you see a rainbow in the sky, what is your response? Have you made a covenant with God or anyone else? What is that covenant, and how have you carried it out?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 3:18-22 SECOND READING
(“…the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,”)

1. For what did Christ suffer, for whom and why? 1 Peter 3:18

 

2. Who is the righteous one? 1 John 2:1

 

3. How are we made righteous? Romans 3:22-26

 

4. In what was Christ put to death, and in what was He brought to life? 1 Peter 3:18

 

5. To whom did Christ preach in the spirit? 1 Peter 3:19

 

6. Who were saved, and how were they saved? 1 Peter 3:20

 

7. What does this prefigure, and what does it do now? 1 Peter 3:21

 

8. What does baptism not do, and what is it? 1 Peter 3:21

 

9. Into what have we been baptized? Romans 6:3-4

 

10. What was Paul to do, and how was he to do it? Acts 22:14-15

 

11. How has the church (the people) been cleansed? Ephesians 5:26

 

12. Where did Jesus go, and who is subject to him? 1 Peter 3:22

 

Personal? – In what way have you personally received the gift of salvation through your baptism? Did you have to do anything to receive baptism?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:12-15 GOSPEL
(“This is the time of fulfillment.”)

1. Who drove Jesus out into the desert, and what had just taken place? Mark 1:9-12

 

2. Where did Jesus remain, and for how long? Mark 1:13

 

3. What did the Lord make the Israelites do, and for what reason? Numbers 32:13

 

4. Where did the woman go who gave birth to a son, and who had the place prepared for her? Revelation 12:5-6

 

5. By whom was Jesus tempted, who was he among, and who ministered to him? Mark 1:13

 

6. What broke out in the heavens, who was the huge dragon, what did he do, and where was he thrown? Revelation 12:7-9

 

Personal – In what way have you been tempted, and how have you handled it?

 

7. After John had been arrested, where did Jesus go, and what did he proclaim? Mark 1:14

 

8. What time did Jesus say this was, what was at hand, and what must we do and believe? Mark 1:15

 

9. Where did John the Baptist do his preaching, and what did he say? Matthew 3:1-2

 

10. What does God demand now, and for what reason? Acts 17:30-31

 

11. In whom are we to believe, and what will happen if we do? Acts 16:31

 

Personal? – In what way have you repented of unbelief in Jesus? Are there still some areas in your life you are holding onto? Repent and turn to God.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 25:4-9
(“Guide me in your truth and teach me, …”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 25:4-9.

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

GENESIS 9:8-15

Today’s reading shows us very clearly the mercy of God and the patience of Noah. Noah occasionally tested the earth to see whether it was dry, but he never got out of the ark until told by God. He knew that it had to be God’s timing and not his. God knew that even though the water was gone, the earth was still not dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to survive outside of the ark. Noah and his family were on the ark about a year, so to wait and move only after the Lord told him was a great lesson in humility and obedience for people of all ages.

We, like Noah, must learn to trust God in all matters of our lives. We need to ask him for patience during the difficult times when we must wait. A sign was given to Noah that God would never flood the earth again. The sign was a beautiful rainbow, and we still see that rainbow today.

God has made a covenant with his people throughout the Bible. Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation if they obeyed God. The sign God used was a smoking fire pot and flaming torch (Genesis 15:12-21). At Mt. Sinai, Israel would be a Holy nation, but they would have to keep their part of the covenant through obedience. The sign of God was the Exodus.

Jesus is the “New Covenant” and forgiveness and salvation are through him. The sign that we have today is the Resurrection. God is alive, and we are called to be his witness of joy. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son, so that if we believe in him, we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). God is love and we really begin to love him when we realize that he loves us right where we are (1 John 4:16).

 

1 PETER 3:18-22

This reading brings us all into the very heart of our faith. We believe in a God who loves us so much that he died for us knowing that we would all be sinners. His death and resurrection have justified our expectation of being with him forever. We did nothing on our own to merit such a tremendous privilege, except to believe in faith that he would save us. His love is so strong that he will always forgive the repentant sinner.

The rabbis at that time taught the Jews that they should forgive three times those who offended them. Peter, trying to be extra generous, asked Jesus if seven times were enough times to forgive someone. Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22). He meant that we should not keep track of the number of times we forgive someone. We are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and forgive those who are truly repentant no matter how many times they ask. Christ in the spirit went to preach to the spirits in prison. (1 Peter 3:19). This was to all those who died and believed in him. He gave them hope that they would be with him in heaven.

We are told that because of our baptism, we too will rise like Christ and be victorious. We do not need to have any fear because we believe in and belong to Christ and nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:35-39). We too will some day enjoy that special banquet of the Lord. We will observe him clearly and see all the angelic rulers and powers subjected to him. Our baptism is not a ritual. It is an encounter that means life-changing action every day of the year. Our baptism has brought us into the family of God. Our heavenly Father has adopted us because our loving Brother and Savior died for us. He now awaits all of his believers to celebrate life forever.

 

MARK 1:12-15

Jesus left the crowds that flocked around him at his baptism and went into the desert where he was tempted by Satan. Jesus shows us that all of us can be tempted and that temptation is bad for us only when we give in. We must always remember that times of inner testing need not be hated and resented because through them our character can be strengthened and God can teach us valuable lessons. Jesus will never desert us when we face Satan and deal with his false promises. Satan tempted and persuaded Adam and Eve to sin in the garden. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness and did not persuade him. To be tempted is not wrong, but to tempt others or cause them to give in is simply SIN. Jesus endured the time of trial by not sinning when tempted so that he could reinforce the proof that Satan can be defeated.

We have within us the Holy Spirit who is the second person of the Holy Trinity. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and we could not do anything to fight against Satan if we did not have the Spirit within us. We do not have to fear, the power of the Spirit will help us defeat Satan in any temptation, at any time and place (1 John 4:4).

The Good News that Jesus preaches is “That at last he is here and he began God’s personal reign on earth.” The people who first heard this message were oppressed, poor and without hope. Jesus’ words were good news because they offered freedom, blessing and promise. Because he wants to begin his personal reign on earth, he depends on us. We are his eyes, arms and legs. Scripture tells us what Jesus said being in the Kingdom of God would mean. The Spirit of God has anointed you, he is upon you giving you strength and courage (Luke 4:18). The reign of God is at hand, go forth and heal, go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).

 

Application

This week’s first reading shows us that patience is a virtue of God and man. In the second reading we see baptism as a pledge of forgiveness from God. The Gospel tells us to change our attitudes to those of the Good News.

This week, ask your spouse, children, friends and employers and employees where you need to change. Have them write out what they see as a needed change. See what is the most popular area of sin in you. Then each day practice some small action for about one week. Do not mention to anyone about the list. Your attitude will change with prayer, reading Scripture, going to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and through discipline. Watch for a very spiritual awakening for many people in your life.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 14th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or 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 LEVITICUS 13:1-2, 44-46 FIRST READING

(“He shall cry out, `Unclean, unclean!'”)

l. Who is Aaron, and what did the Lord say to Moses and Aaron?  Exodus 4:14-15, Leviticus 13:1-2

 

2. In an attack of leprosy, what were the Israelites to observe?  Deuteronomy 24:8

 

3. What shall the priest declare him, and for what reason? Leviticus 13:44

 

4. Why do we touch nothing unclean?   Isaiah 52:11

 

5. From what are we to be separated, and from what do we cleanse ourselves?   2 Corinthians 6:15-17, 2 Corinthians 7:1

 

6. How does the one who bears the sore of leprosy keep his garments, what shall he do with his head and beard, and what shall he cry out?   Leviticus 13:45

 

7. What defiles a person or makes a person unclean? Matthew 15:11, 18-19

 

8. As long as a sore is on someone, what shall he declare him-self, and where shall he dwell?   Leviticus 13:46

 

9. To what has God called us?  1 Thessalonians 4:7

 

10. Who will be cut off from the people?   Acts 3:22-23

 

Personal – What can you see within yourself that comes forth from your mouth and declares you unclean?  How is it contagious to others around you, and in what way does it separate you from God and others?  Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31-11:1 SECOND READING

(“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”)

1. “Whether you eat or drink–whatever you do,” why do you do it? 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

2. What are we to do in word and deed? Colossians 3:17

 

3. What are we to do so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ? 1 Peter 4:11

 

4. What are we to avoid doing, and to whom? 1 Corinthians 10:32

 

5. Over whom are we to keep watch, who has appointed us over-seers, and how was the Church of God acquired? Acts 20:28

 

6. What is it to a man to overlook an offense? Proverbs 19:11

 

7. Whom is Paul trying to please, what does he not seek, and for what reason?   1 Corinthians 10:33

 

8. What are we who are strong to do, whom are we to build up, and who did not please himself? Romans 15:1-3

 

9. What are we to do with one another, in keeping with whom, so as to do what with one voice? Romans 15:5-6

 

10. Whom are we to imitate, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 11:1

 

11. Whose footsteps should we follow? 1 Peter 2:21

 

Personal – Who are the people whom you try to imitate in your life?  What are the reasons you want to imitate them?   What reasons do you see in yourself that others would want to imitate?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:40-45 GOSPEL

(“If you wish, you can make me clean.”)

1. How did the leper come to Jesus, and what did he say? Mark 1:40

 

2. How did the rich man come to Jesus? Mark 10:17

 

3. What has God bestowed on Jesus, and at the name of Jesus, what should be done? Philippians 2:9-10

 

4. Whose will do we pray to be done on earth, as it is in heaven? Matthew 6:9-10

 

5. With what was Jesus moved, and what did he do and say? Mark 1:41

 

6. What happened immediately to the man with leprosy? Mark 1:42

 

7. Of what was Jesus aware that went out of him when he healed the woman, and who touched whom? Mark 5:29-30

 

8. After Jesus healed the leper, how did he warn him, and what did he do at once? Mark 1:43

 

9. What did Jesus tell the man not to do, and what did he tell him to do?  Mark 1:44 

Read Leviticus 14:1-32 to see what the law prescribed for one afflicted with leprosy.

 

10. What did the man do when he went away that made it impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly?  Mark 1:45

 

11. Where did Jesus remain, and from where did the people come? Mark 1:45

 

12. For what reason did Jesus withdraw to deserted places? Luke 5:15-16

 

13. Why did the large crowds follow Jesus?  John 6:2

 

Personal – In what way do you go to Jesus, and how do you request healing?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 32:1-2, 5, 11

(“Happy is he whose fault is taken away.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 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

LEVITICUS 13:1-2,44-46

We are told in today’s reading that those who had leprosy were separated from their families and friends and confined outside the camp.  Leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of biblical  times, and it was thought to have come from Egypt. This horribly contagious disease slowly ruined the body, and in most cases there was no cure.

It was the responsibility of the priests to take care of the health and sanitation of the camp. This meant it was the priest who would expel the person with leprosy and he would be the only one who could readmit the “cleansed” person.  A person with leprosy had to cry out “unclean” to signal to others not to come near. Because leprosy was so contagious, it was important for people to stay away from those with the disease (which consisted of sores on the body that festered and grew until they completely destroyed the tissue).

The Old Testament often used leprosy as an example of sin because sin also is contagious and destructive and leads to separation.  Sin is a sore on our soul that festers and grows until it completely destroys the soul. We can get immediate help for the soul through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin is contagious, and if let go unchecked, it will spread destruction and death wherever it goes.

The people in today’s reading were terrified of being confronted with someone who had leprosy. They did not know that it was a disease that had nothing to do with sin. In their fear they ignored the person who was desperately looking for help. Then when they finally decided to do something, they would remove them from their families, friends and community.

Today’s reading is a powerful reminder to all of us. How do we as believers respond to our brothers and sisters who are in sin? Do we ignore them, and then when it gets too bad, do we remove them from the church, our families and the community?

  Medicine has brought relief and a cure for most types of leprosy. This was done by constant observation, testing and research. Sin is cured by confessing that Jesus is Lord and asking for his forgiveness. A complete restoration has been made by Jesus Christ for all who choose to believe in him. We have the choice to have the ugly contagious sins removed from within us. Today is the day to be healed. Today is the day to be cured. Today is the day of salvation, and the time is now (2 Cor. 6:2).

 

1 CORINTHIANS 10:31-11:1

The pressures of today make it easy to ignore or forget the lessons of the past. The key to remembering is the daily study of Scripture which constantly advises us how to permeate our lives with God’s love. We need to always ask, “Is this glorifying God?” or “How can I glorify God through this?”

In a culture filled with moral decay, we need to be very alert to the wrong desires and temptations that happen to everyone. Temptations can be resisted because God will help us to resist them. We are to run from anything that we know is wrong. Running from temptation is the first step to victory (2 Tim. 2:22). We cannot give glory to God as we eat at both the Lord’s table and at Satan’s table. Eating at the Lord’s table means communing with Christ, or being in union with him, and identifying with his death. Eating at Satan’s table means identifying with Satan by participating in actions that promote evil activities.

Are you trying to lead two lives by following the desires of both Christ and the crowd? Scripture tells us that we cannot do both and be glorifying God. Paul tells his listeners to follow his example as he imitated Christ. There are many people today who do not know the Bible, and probably the only bible they will ever read will be us!   So, like Paul, it will be very important that our example will show others how to be imitators of Jesus Christ.

 

MARK 1:40-45

Today’s Gospel shows us the healing power of Jesus Christ. When Jewish leaders declared a leper unclean, it meant they were unfit to participate in any kind of religious or social events. The Mosaic Law stated that any contact with unclean persons made the leaders unclean also.  Some people were so terrified of the lepers that they would throw rocks at them if they came anywhere near them. Jesus not only heals the leper, but also touches him in the process.  Jesus knew that the real value of a person is on the inside, not on the outside.  A person may be horribly deformed by an accident or a disease, but he or she is no less valuable to God.  No person is too disgusting physically, emotionally or spiritually for Jesus to touch.

In reality, we are all lepers because we all have been deformed by the ugliness of sin.  But the Lord Jesus Christ has touched us and invited us to be healed forever by accepting him as our Lord and Savior.  When you feel repulsed by someone, stop and remember how God feels about that person and about you. Jesus heals today just as he did in the Gospel, and he heals in union with the church.  In today’s reading, when a leper was cured he had to go to the priest to be examined.  The healed leper would leave an offering of thanks at the temple.  Jesus adhered to these laws by sending the man to the priest.

Jesus wants to send us into his community of believers too. He will heal us and then offer us a community in which to grow in faith. We have the church, the sacraments, and the Scripture to help us grow in the image of God and become imitators of Christ. We are called to give sight to the blind, heal the sick, and free the captives (Luke 4:18).  There are many people who suffer from leprosy of the skin and of the spirit.  We are called through Christ to go forth and make disciples of them (Matthew 28:19).

 

Application

This week’s first reading shows that sin is contagious and deadly.  The second reading reveals that good example is the best way to glorify God.  The Gospel tells us that no one is disgusting to touch and heal.

This week, let your example show others how to glorify God and how to heal in Jesus’ name.  Visit someone in a rest home, hospital or jail, and let them know that they are of value and that they are loved by God.  Maybe you can bring a family member or friend with you when you go.  Remember, lepers were victims of loneliness, so pick out someone who is lonely and God will again heal the leper of today through you.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 7th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?

 

 

SECOND DAY READ JOB 7:1-4, 6-7 FIRST READING

(“Remember that my life is like the wind,”)

1.  Who is speaking, and about whom is he speaking? Job 1:1, Job 6:1

 

2. What is Job saying about man’s life on earth, and what are his days like?  Job 7:1

 

3. What is man and for what is he longing?  As a hireling, for what does he wait?  Job 7:2

 

4. What is vanity? Ecclesiastes 2:23

 

5. What is man born of woman? Job 14:1

 

6. All the days of drudgery, for what will I wait? Job 14:14

 

7. What has Job been assigned day and night?  Job 7:3

 

Personal  Does your life seem hopeless, and do you dread each day because of your suffering?

 

8. What is considered, and from whose hand comes violence? Ecclesiastes 4:1

 

9. What does Job say from the bed, what does the night do, and with what is he filled?   Job 7:4

 

10. What are his days, and how do they come to an end? Job 7:6,  Job 9:25

 

11. What does Job remember, and what shall he not see again? Job 7:7

 

Personal – Are you or do you know people who are chronic sufferers?  How have you responded to their suffering?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-19, 22-23 SECOND READING

(“To the weak I become weak, to win over the weak.”)

1. What has been imposed on Paul if he preaches the Gospel, what is there no reason for him to do, and what happens if he does not preach it?  1 Corinthians 9:16

 

2. To whom is Paul obligated to preach?  Romans 1:14-15

 

3. What is it impossible for us to do?  Acts 4:20

 

4. What happens when we do not speak in his name? Jeremiah 20:9

 

5. If Paul preaches willingly, what does he have; and if he preaches unwillingly, what does he have? 1 Corinthians 9:17

 

6. When preaching the Gospel, how does Paul offer it, and for what reason?  1 Corinthians 9:18

 

7. How did Paul humble himself so that others might be exalted? 2 Corinthians 11:7

 

8. What did Paul do to win over as many as possible? 1 Corinthians 9:19

 

9. What did Jesus say we must do if we wish to become great? Matthew 20:26-27

 

10. What do we preach?  2 Corinthians 4:5

 

11. What does Paul become to the weak, and for what reason? What has he become to all?   1 Corinthians 9:22

 

12. How did Paul come, how was his message proclaimed, and for what reason?    1 Corinthians 2:3-5

 

13. Why does Paul do what he does, and also for what personal reason? 1 Corinthians 9:23

 

Personal – How have you preached the Gospel message to your family, friends, co-workers, or schoolmates?  How has the Lord spoken to you personally about this?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:29-39 GOSPEL

(“Then the fever left her and she waited on them.”)

1. As Jesus left the synagogue, where did he go, and who was with him?   Mark 1:29

 

2. Who was sick with a fever, and what did they do immediately? Mark 1:30

 

3. When Jesus approached her, what did he grasp, and what did he help her do?  What happened to her, and what did she do? Mark 1:31

 

4. What did Jesus instruct his disciples to do in regard to the sick?   Matthew 10:8

 

5. When it was evening, whom did they bring to Jesus? Mark 1:32

 

6. Who was at the door, and whom did he cure?  What did he drive out of many, and what did he not permit them to do? Mark 1:33-34

 

7. How did Jesus expel the spirits, whom did he cure, and what did this fulfill?    Matthew 8:16-17

 

8. When did Jesus rise, where did he go, and what did he do?  Mark 1:35

 

9. What happened after Jesus was baptized and he was praying? Luke 3:21-22

 

10. What were different occasions when Jesus went off to pray? Matthew 14:1-23, Matthew 26:36, 39

 

11. What did Simon and those who were with him do, and on finding him, what did they say?   Mark 1:36-37

 

12. Where did Jesus invite them to go, and for what purpose had he come?   Mark 1:38

 

13. What did Jesus do in their synagogues?  Mark 1:39

 

14. Whom did Jesus cure?  Matthew 4:23-24

 

Personal – In your life, how have you felt the healing touch of Jesus?  What has been your response to his touch? How have you allowed his Holy Spirit to touch others through you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 147:1-6

(“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 147:1-6

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

JOB 7:1-4, 6-7

The Book of Job raises the same questions today as it did in his time. The question is: “Why does the just man suffer?” In the presence of God’s awesome power, Job remains speechless, simply because man is too weak and ignorant to comprehend the awesomeness of God. God wants man’s humility, not his pride and wisdom. Yet the standard Old Testament teaching at the time of Job was that sin was behind suffering, and virtue was behind happiness.

The story of Job is about a virtuous man who suffers tremendously. We see in Job’s comments a restlessness and frustration, but no denial of belief. As we read further in Job, we see a determination building in a faith that strives to believe in God’s loving concern for him despite all the appearances to the contrary.  Job was struggling and he even saw no hope of going on in his sickly condition, but he did not give up.

Today we are told that all things happen for the good of those who believe (Rom. 8:28), and we believe that in God’s timing, a virtuous person will be happy. Like Job, we need to humbly accept the divine order of God’s plan. In effect, we are a people who do not know the ultimate reason for the existence of suffering. You and I must have that same determination that Job had, and in God’s timing he will work with us, just like he did with Job (1 Peter 5:7).

We see in Job’s story a lesson for all of us, and that is that we will not grow without pain. We are told that suffering brings obedience (Hebrews 5:8) and obedience is the core of love. Jesus endured all of his suffering for us, and in his obedience he went to the cross for us. He then rose from the dead for us, so that all who believe in him would be free in Spirit with him forever.

 

1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-19, 22-23

In today’s reading we see that preaching was Paul’s gift and calling. He tells us that he could not stop preaching even if he wanted to stop. Like the two men on the road to Emmaus, there was a fire burning in Paul’s heart (Luke 24:32). He desired to do what God wanted and he would use his gifts for God’s glory. Have we realized what special gifts God has given us? Are we motivated like Paul? Is there a fire burning within our heart to glorify God with our gifts?

Paul is telling us that he is glad he is not held back by the obligation of being paid a salary. His freedom to preach freely allows him to be the slave of all, so that they may listen and come to Christ. We need to reflect on how much our job dictates how much we will exercise our faith. Are we able and ready to say that no job, no salary, or no peer pressure shall prevent me from preaching and living God’s Holy Word? The goal of Paul was to glorify God and bring people to Christ. Is our goal the same as Paul’s?

Paul shows us that we must be very much aware of where people are and then meet them right there. He does not try to make people be at a certain place before he brings them to Christ. Paul knew who he was and because of this, he was able to meet people on a common ground. We need to know who we are before we can go out to bring others to Christ.

You are the reason Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary. He loves you so much that he took all of your sins and had them nailed to the cross with him. He died so you could live forever. He rose so that you would be with him for all eternity. That is who you are, a very precious child of God, and anything else is a distortion. Because you are loved, you are now capable of loving others and bringing others to Christ. Like Paul, let the burning of fire in your heart send you forth to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).

 

MARK 1:29-39

Today’s Gospel shows us the healing power of Jesus toward someone he knew and toward a whole town of people whom he did not know. Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and she immediately became well and got up and began serving them. The impact of this event spread throughout the town and by sunset the area around Peter’s house was filled with the sick and demon-possessed. A large crowd watched while the sick were being healed.

Today Jesus heals as vividly as ever, but somehow it seems to be downplayed in our communities. Many people are afraid to ask Jesus for a healing because they are not sure that he will heal them. The people who flocked to Peter’s house were not afraid what others thought of their religious zeal. They knew that ritual and ceremony did not heal, but this incredible preacher of God did heal.

Today, in this world of high technology and education, there are many who seem to depend more on man’s ability to solve our deep inner emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Yet, the level of hunger, loneliness, disease, divorce, crime and violence seems to be as bad as it was at any other time in civilization.  Like Peter’s mother-in-law, we need to trust in Jesus for our healing, accept it, and go on in life.

We see Jesus getting up long before daybreak to pray alone. He needed his quiet time every morning and so do we. Jesus’ prayer time was the cornerstone of his authority. He was in constant prayer with his Father and from him he drew his strength. From whom do you draw your strength? If it is from people, programs, or religion, you will eventually become drained. We have been blessed to have the presence of Christ in our prayer time, sacraments, worship, Eucharist, and in our church through fellowship. Jesus said that he had to go on to other places to bring his message to the sick and demon-possessed. You are called by your baptism to do the very same thing (Matthew 28:19). You must always remember that prayer is the vital link between us and God. Jesus always took time to pray.

 

Application 

The first reading tells us that suffering is behind virtue as well as sin. The second reading reveals that our gifts and talents come from God. We see in the Gospel the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus.

This week, choose someone in your family or someone you know and become their unknown special prayer partner. Be specific and obedient in your prayer time. Place this person in the throne of the Lord and watch the healing that will take place. Praise God before your requests for healing and praise him afterward. Then get ready to experience God’s mighty power.