Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (May 29th) – Cycle C

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 1:1-11

(“He presented Himself alive to them….”)

1. What was dealt with before Jesus was taken up to heaven? Acts 1:1

 

2. How did Jesus instruct the Apostles He had chosen? Acts 1:2

 

3. After Jesus had suffered what did He show His Apostles and how did He show them? Acts 1:3

 

Personal – How have you been convinced that Jesus is alive today?

 

4. Why did Jesus tell His disciples not to leave Jerusalem? Acts 1:4

 

5. What did John baptize with and what would happen in a few days? Acts 1:5

 

6. What did the Apostles ask Jesus and what did He tell them? Acts 1:6-7

 

7. What did Jesus tell them they would receive when the Holy Spirit came down on them and what would that make them? Acts 1:8

 

8. As the Apostles were looking on what happened to Jesus and how did it happen? Acts 1:9

 

9. As they were looking up who appeared to them and what did they say? Acts 1:10-11

 

10. How will the Lord come down from heaven and what will happen to the living, the believers in Him? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

 

Personal – How are you preparing for Jesus’ return?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 1:17-23 SECOND READING

(“What is the surpassing greatness of His power for us who believe?”)

1. What is Paul asking our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, to give you? Ephesians 1:17

 

2. What three things does he want your innermost vision, the eyes of your hearts, to know? Ephesians 1:18-19

 

3. What do your eyes represent, and if your eyes are good what will your body be? Matthew 6:22

 

4. What is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path? Psalm 119:105

 

5. What is it like, this immeasurable scope of His power in us who believe? Ephesians 1:19-20

 

6. Where is Christ seated? Ephesians 1:20-21

 

7. What has God put beneath Jesus’ feet and what has He made Him over the Church, His body? Ephesians 1:22

 

8. Who is the head of every man; who is the head of the woman and who is head of Christ? 1 Corinthians 11:3

 

9. There is one what? Ephesians 4:4

 

10. How is the body of Christ built up? Ephesians 4:11-12

 

Personal – How have the eyes of your heart been enlightened to the surpassing greatness of His power in you?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 24:46-53 GOSPEL

(“…behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;)

1. What did Jesus say to His disciples? Luke 24:46

 

2. What would be preached in His name and where would it begin? Luke 24:47

 

3. What does Psalm 32:5 say will happen if you acknowledge and confess your sins?

 

4. What did Jesus tell His disciples they witnessed? Luke 24:48

 

5. What was Jesus sending His disciples and why were they to wait in the city? Luke 24:49

 

6. What did the Father promise and to whom was this promise made? Acts 2:38-39

 

7. What are we to clothe ourselves with? Colossians 3:12

 

8. Where did Jesus lead His disciples and what did He do? Luke 24:50

 

9. While Jesus was blessing His disciples what happened to Him? Luke 24:51

 

10. What did the disciples do? How did they return to Jerusalem and what did they continually stay at the temple doing? Luke 24:52-53

 

Personal – When did you receive the promise of the Father and what has He commissioned you to do? What things have you been a witness to and what have you been clothed with?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 47:2-3, 6-9

(“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy;”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 1:1-11

This passage begins with Luke addressing the Roman official called Theophilus. Luke was implying that Jesus’ work continues in Acts through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts is called by many the fifth Gospel in that it tells about the lives and events of the new Church. Jesus showed the Apostles after His suffering and death His many wounds. He gave them many convincing proofs that He was alive. He told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the gift that His Father had promised them. He told them that they would then receive the Holy Spirit and they would receive power and become His witnesses to the ends of the earth. He then was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight.

Today, He is still alive in the Power that lives within His Church and within you as a member of the community of His disciples. You have become a Temple of that Power by your Baptism and Confirmation. The Power that split the Red Sea for Moses lives within you. The Power that impregnated Mary with Jesus lives within you. The Power that baptized Jesus in the Jordan River lives within you. The Power that raised Jesus from the dead lives within you. He is alive and He lives in you waiting to be given freely to the hurt, the lost, the sick, the lonely, the captive throughout the ends of the earth.

 

EPHESIANS 1:17-23

In this passage St. Paul is praying and giving thanks for the gifts that have been given to the believers. We today are reminded to thank God for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge that are available to us today. We grow in wisdom and knowledge through prayer, scripture, sacraments and Catholic Church teaching. This

follows an order of discipline and humility.
Our hope for the future is not an ambiguous feeling, on the contrary, it is a complete assurance of

victory through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ. We see many on all sides fearing nuclear disaster, computer meltdown and the collapse of morals. We must always remember we belong to the God of the Universe, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. God’s great power is available to help us today through the Holy Spirit in the community of faith. Scripture tells us that with God nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13). Paul tells us in scripture that we do not have to fear anything or anyone because nothing can separate us from God and His love (Romans 8:31-39).

When we talk about the fullness of the Catholic Church, we are talking about Christ filling the Church with gifts and blessings. The Church itself is the full expression of Christ who Himself is the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). The image of the body shows the Church’s unity. We should not attempt to work, serve or worship on our own. There are no Lone Rangers in the Body of Christ. Each one of us is involved with all the others as we go about doing God’s work on earth.

 

LUKE 24:46-53

We celebrate on this special feast day of the Church the Ascension of the Lord. This is the time when Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Over the centuries many believers overcome by the awareness of their own sins have found the words of today’s passage a strong ray of hope. Jesus opened up their minds to understand the scriptures. The Holy Spirit does this in our lives today when we study God’s Holy Word (written testimony) and Sacred Tradition (oral testimony), especially as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The message of good news for the whole world today is that Jesus died to ransom the soul of every living person. He thirsts for you. He is waiting for you to confess, to repent, and to receive His mercy and forgiveness. To confess our sin is to agree with God that He is right to declare that what we have done is sinful and we are wrong. To abandon that sin is to repent or change, which is to turn away from sin and turn back to God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we can trust in Him to forgive us and make us whole again. He told His disciples that they were already witnesses to His mercy and forgiveness. He promises to send them what His Father has promised, and that was the gift of the Holy Spirit. His promise was revealed to the disciples in the upper room (Acts 1:8) and that Holy Spirit is the same Spirit that resides in your Temple. Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and you are to witness to the ends of the earth with the same power as the disciples.

Jesus physical presence left the disciples when He lifted up His hands, blessed them and was taken up into Heaven (Acts 1:9). You receive this blessing each time you attend Mass. They fell down to do him reverence, then returned to Jerusalem filled with joy. There they were to be found in the temple constantly speaking the praises of God.

 

Application

The first reading tells us as the Apostles were looking on, Jesus was lifted up and says, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”. In the second reading God seated Jesus at His right hand in the heavens and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, and in the Gospel, we are told that the Message of Good News is that Jesus died to ransom the souls of the whole world.

This week let us go to someone in our family, our community or our parish, to pray with them and to proclaim the Good News to them that Jesus is alive. Repent of any wrongdoing by stopping the sinful action and turning back to God. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist frequently and this will give you the grace needed in order for you to live your life for Christ.

Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 22nd) – Cycle C

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 15:1-2, 22-29 FIRST READING

(“It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,”)

1. What did some men from Judea begin to teach the brothers in Antioch? Acts 15:1

 

2. Where did circumcision originate among the Jews? Genesis 17:1-14

 

3. Among whom did this teaching cause dissension?  Acts 15:2

 

4. What did Paul, Barnabas, and some of the brothers decide to do about this dissension and where did they go? Acts 15:2-3

 

5. What caused the controversy between them? Acts 15:5, 11

 

6. What was resolved by the apostles and the presbyters, with whom were they in agreement with, and what were they to deliver? Acts 15:22-23

 

7. After they sent their greetings, what was it they said they had heard? Acts 15:24

 

8. What did they unanimously resolve to do? Acts 15:25

 

9. To whom had they dedicated their cause and, how were they to convey this message? Acts 15:26-27

 

10. Whose decision  was it not to lay on them any burden beyond that which is strictly necessary? Acts 15:28

 

11. What four things were they advised to avoid? Acts 15:29

 

Personal – In what way have church members, not under the authority of the church, put a burden on you?  How could you resolve this?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ REVELATIONS 21:10-14,22-23 SECOND READING

(“I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.”)

1. Who was carried away and how was he carried away? Revelation 1:1, Revelation 21:10

 

2. Where was he taken, what was he shown, and what did the city look like? Revelation 21:10-11

 

3. Who is the designer and maker of this city? Hebrews 11:10

 

4. Describe the following from Revelation 21:12:

Its walls

________________________________________________________________________

How many gates on the walls?

_______________________________________________________

Who were stationed at the gates?

_________________________________________________________

What was written on the gates?

______________________________________________________

Whose names were written there?

______________________________________________

5. Who were the twelve tribes of Israel and where were the gates located? Ezekiel 48:30-35, Revelation 21:13

 

6. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation. Whose names were on them? Revelation 21:14

 

7. Who were the twelve apostles of the Lamb and who is the Lamb? Matthew 10:2-4, John 1:29, Acts 1:20-26

 

8. What did John not see, and what did he see as a temple? Revelation 21:22

 

9. Of what did the city have no need of and what gave it light? Revelation 21:23

 

10. Who is our lamp and who is the light for our path? Revelation 21:23, Psalm 119:105, and John 1:1,14

 

Personal – Picture what heaven will look like from what you have just read and studied.  How do you think you will respond when you enter its gates?  In what way have you been enlightened here and now? How do your family, friends, work acquaintances, or people you come in contact with during the day see the light of Christ in you as his walking, living temple?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 14:23-29 GOSPEL

(“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”)

1. If you love Jesus, to what will you be true, who will love him, and who will come to him? John 14:23

 

2. Notice in verse 23, it says “we will come to him.”  To whom is this verse referring, when it says we? John 14:11, 17, 26

 

3. Where will the Spirit make his dwelling place? John 14:17,23

 

4. Who is it that does not love Jesus, and where does the Word you hear come from? John 14:24

 

5. While Jesus was with them, what did he tell them? John 14:26

 

Personal – As you began this study did you read or pray John 14:26.  Of what has he reminded you?

 

6. What is Jesus farewell to you and his gift to you, and what does he tell you not to be? John 14:27

 

7. What does Jesus say in verse 28 of John 14?

 

8. If you love Jesus, what would you do when he goes to the Father? John 14:28

 

9. Who is greater than Jesus? John 14:28, John 10:29

 

10. Why was he telling them before this took place? John 14:29

 

Personal – In what specific way have you obeyed the command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12), in your family, with your friends, at work or school?  In what way have you shown your love for the Father?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 67:2-3, 5-6, 8

(“For you govern the peoples justly,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 15:1-2, 22-29

Christianity would have become nothing other than a sect of Jews if the condition that new Christians had to be circumcised first was upheld.  There were certain Jews who could never forget their positions as the chosen people. They were willing to accept Gentiles into the church provided they were circumcised first.  Paul and Barnabas argued strongly against this attitude and a violent collision seemed inevitable.

An appeal was made to Jerusalem, the headquarters of the church, for a ruling.  The principle at stake was quite simple.  Was the gift of God for the chosen few or for the entire world?  Was the gift of God a privilege or a responsibility?  Certain Pharisees who had become Christian insisted that all converts must be circumcised and keep the Mosaic law.

The Mosaic law of Moses stated that on the eighth day the flesh of a male child’s foreskin shall be circumcised (Leviticus 12:3). This was submitting of one’s flesh to the covenant that originated between God and Abraham (Gen. 17:14). Peter stood up to the apostles and elders and told them that the new covenant is fulfilled by believing the word of the Gospel.

God who knows the heart bore witness to them giving the Gentiles the Holy Spirit, just as he also did to us. This was a circumcision of faith, a cutting off of one’s pride and submitting to the will of the Lord. Peter told them that they were saved through the Grace of the Lord Jesus and so also were the Gentiles saved the same way.

The church leaders stated that the men who disturbed the brothers were not given instruction, or authority, to do what they did. The church leaders, inspired by the Holy Spirit, decided to send authorized representatives with Paul and Barnabas. They did not want to lay upon them a greater burden than the essentials which are: they shall abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from illicit sexual union.

Today we still can look to the essentials for guidance for our daily living.  We are not to sacrifice ourselves to idols such as jobs, power, sex, or money.  We are called to stop eating and drinking ourselves into gluttony and sickness.  We are called to be chaste in our actions as well as in our thoughts.  We must turn away from illicit sexual union such as homosexuality, fornication, pornography, adultery, pre-marital sex, etc.

The controversy about keeping the law is still with us today.  There still exists divisions between  believers and church authorities. The authoritative teachings of the church are meant to protect the people as well as to preserve the true deposit of faith.

 

REVELATION 21:10-14, 22-23

John draws much of his imagery from Isaiah Chapter 65:17-24. In this chapter a new heaven is created, things of the past are not remembered, and there is rejoicing and no sadness or pain. John is not concerned about interspace travel or geophysics. Heaven exists because of the moral relationship between God and man.

God has taken the initiative and is the cause of the new order or as we call it the “New Jerusalem” or Heaven.  God began by walking with man in the garden of paradise.  He sought to dwell near man in the ark and the temple.  He made man the holy of holies through his Incarnation.  But these former things all passed away when he begins to dwell with them in the immediate personal intimacy of the “New Jerusalem.”  John has, with much phraseology and repetition, attempted to convey the incomparable beauty of heaven through the use of earthly descriptions.

The radiance of Christ in his eternal home is so dazzling that the lights of the galaxy are not needed.  The holy of holies was a cube twenty cubits high, wide, and deep.  The cities of Babylon and Nineveh were square.  Can you imagine a city as high as it is wide and long.  One side would extend from Boston to Chicago  (1500 miles). A fence 216′ high would hardly seem proportional around this gigantic cube of the heavenly city.  We can see that earthly details pale when matched against the concept of spiritual symbolism. The author’s main intent is to convey that it is the Divine Presence, radiant and enlivening, that transforms the holy Jerusalem into purest splendor.  God began with Paradise.  John ends his portrayal of the celestial city with details borrowed from the paradise story.  We might all picture ourselves as believers.

 

JOHN 14:23-29

Before his passion and death, Jesus spoke words of comfort, love and obedience to his disciples. These words brought a sense of serenity and helped them to not be afraid. Jesus promised to provide for them by leaving with them “the Counselor,” “The Holy Spirit.” Jesus told them that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit in his name. He told them that the Holy Spirit would teach  them all things and help them to remember all that he taught them (John 14:26).  We have been made by faith, through Gods action in the sacrament of Baptism, temples of the Holy Spirit.

Today, living a life conforming to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is not easy. We have so many distractions in our every day living, that only the Holy Spirit could empower us to remember with clarity the obedience that’s needed to walk the Christian walk. We need only to look around us and we can see very easily that unless we control our selfish desires and concerns by submitting them to  the word of the Lord, they run wild, quickly overcoming any desire to know and experience God’s love.

We can’t split our desires evenly between God and the world; we must first seek the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33). We need to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us more about the healing, saving love of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Pray that you will be open to receive the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to follow and experience the incredible love of Jesus.                 

 

Application

The first reading tells us that the gift of God was not for a chosen few, but for the entire world. The second reading reveals that Heaven exists because of the moral relationship between God and man. The Gospel shows us that the power to walk the Christian walk can only come from the Holy Spirit.

This week, show those around you at work, at home or in school that God’s gift to you has brought you freedom of choice. Choose to love your neighbors, family and friends as yourself. With the power of the Holy Spirit, you can also choose to love your enemies. We can only do this when we seek his kingship first and then everything else is added (Mt 6:33). Remember, the Holy Spirit will teach you in all things (John 14:26).

Fifth Sunday of Easter (May 15th) – Cycle C

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 14:21-27 FIRST READING

(“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”)

1. What did Paul and Barnabus proclaim in Derbe, what happened there, and to where did they return? Acts 14:20-21

 

2. What is the Good News they proclaimed?  Acts 13:32-34

 

3. What did Paul and Barnabas strengthen in the disciples, in what did they encourage them to persevere, and what did they say was necessary? Acts 14:22

 

4. Where does your strength come from in order to bear your share of the hardship for the Gospel and of what are you not to be ashamed? 2 Timothy 1:8

 

5. What did Paul and Barnabas appoint for the people, what did they do, and then where did they go? Acts 14:23-24

 

6. What were the disciples doing when the Holy Spirit spoke to them? Acts 13:2

 

7. Where did the disciples proclaim the Word of God? Acts 14:25-26

 

8. Why did Paul and Barnabus call the church together in Antioch? Acts 14:27

 

Personal – What can you report to your family or friends as to what God has done with you?

 

9. What happened to the Gentiles who heard the Word of the Gospel and believed, and how did God purify their hearts? Acts 15:7-9

 

10. For what should you pray, and how should you conduct yourself towards outsiders? Colossians 4:2-5

 

Personal – How do you approach or talk to those outside your faith?  What can you do to bring the Gospel message to those around you who do not believe or know what Jesus has done for them?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ REVELATION 21:1-5 SECOND READING

(“Behold I make all things new.”)

1. What was seen and what had passed away? Revelation 21:1

 

2. What dwells in the new heavens and the new earth? 2 Peter 3:13

 

3. What was seen coming down out of heaven from God and how was it prepared? Revelation 21:2

 

4. Of whom is the bride the wife? Revelation 21:9

 

5. What was heard from the throne, where is God’s dwelling, and what will they be to him? Revelation 21:3

 

6. What are we to the living God and what is he to us? 2 Corinthians 6:16

 

7. What will God wipe from his peoples eyes, of what will there be no more, and what has passed away? Revelation 21:4

 

8. What is anyone who is in Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

9. What did the one who sat on the throne say and why did he say to write them down? Revelation 21:5

 

10. What are true and just?  Revelation 19:1-2

 

Personal – In what way does your life show God has made his dwelling place within you?  Can you see the old and the new person?  Reflect on this.

 

 

FOURTH DAY JOHN 13:31-35 GOSPEL

(“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.)

1. After Judas left, what did Jesus say? John 13:31

 

2. How do we glorify the Father? John 15:7-8

 

3. If God is glorified in Jesus, what will God do to Jesus? John 13:32

 

4. Whom did Jesus say the Father will honor or glorify? John 12:26

 

5. How did Jesus glorify God on earth? John 17:4

 

6. What did Jesus call his disciples, and what did he say about where he was going? John 13:33

 

7. Where was Jesus going?  John 7:33

 

8. What did Jesus give us, and how should we love one another? John 13:34

 

9. What did Jesus say about no greater love than this? John 15:12-13

 

10. How will all know that you are a disciple of Jesus? John 13:35

 

11. Why do we love, and who is the one who loves God? 1 John 4:19-21

 

Personal – What do you do to show your love for God and one another?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:8-13

(“The Lord is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:8-13.

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 14:21-27

Paul tells us in today’s reading that honesty and the willingness to accept afflictions was going to be a strong requirement in the new church.  He told them that there was no easy way and reminded them that Jesus did not come to make life easy but to make men great.  Paul shows them that Christianity must be lived in fellowship.

One of the great fathers of the Church stated, “No man can have God for his Father unless he has the Church for his mother.” None of us will go to heaven alone; it will be because someone influenced us to seek Christ, know Christ, and be saved by Christ.  To some people, the only bible they will read will be you.  We are called into Christian fellowship.

Like a loving mother, the Church teaches, preaches, and rules her children so that they will grow up and die to themselves and live for Christ by living for others.  Good parents want their children to grow up, go out and forward.  The Church wants the same for her children, to grow up, go out, and bring someone back to Christ.

Paul tells about the problem of so many Gentiles coming into the new church.  He states the friction over what a Christian is really supposed to be.  Gentiles wanted to be Christians.  The other side of the problem, Jews were not allowed to have anything to do with Gentiles.  The church welcomed all to come into God’s family, as they are, not as someone else thought they should be.  That is what being a Christian means today.  So be all that you can be and be excited in who you are.  You are unique, there is no one else quite like you.  Remember, all that you do, and all that you say, and all that you are is being brought into perfection in direct proportion to your obedience to God’s Holy Word.

 

REVELATION 21:1-5

Today’s passage reveals that the dream of a new heaven and earth was deep in Jewish thought.  Today we hear people in many lands still looking forward to a better place than what they have here on earth.  Isaiah speaks of the new heaven and earth that God will make, and he calls for the people to make their lives an act of worship (Isaiah 66:22).  In the new heaven and earth, there is the eternal hope of no more sorrow, no more tears; sin is defeated, darkness is no more, and joy is forever.  This vision has been strongly held throughout the ages because of man’s faith in God and his inherent sense of sin.

The ancient people feared the sea because they believed terrible creatures came from the sea.  They believed that one day the sea would not be a barrier between God and man.  Their beliefs consisted of two concepts regarding the new Jerusalem.  The first concept was of Greek origin.  It taught that in the invisible world there existed the perfect thing or place of everything visible here on earth.  That meant there was a heavenly Jerusalem of which the earthly Jerusalem was an imperfect copy.  The ideal is a challenge, in that, even if in this world the imperfect can not be made perfect, it can still be worked out in the next world, because God is the source of all ideals.  The second thought or concept is Jewish and it shares the many dreams of the prophets.

The new Jerusalem or the “Holy City” was a constant dream that inspired and sustained the Jew as he was constantly being in the process of being obliterated.  The Jews never lost confidence that they were the chosen people and God would someday present them with their “Holy City,” the new Jerusalem.  They expressed their hope in material things, but these were just symbols for the faithful.  We see that God is to make his dwelling place with men.  In the wilderness the tabernacle was a tent.  Today the tabernacle of God is you.  You carry him wherever you go.  His power lies within you waiting to be used to make the world “The New Jerusalem.”

 

JOHN 13:31-35

When you look at the word “commitment” you think of someone giving their complete all.  The glory of Jesus is the glory of commitment and that is the glory of the cross.  Jesus has shown

us that the greatest glory in life is the glory which comes from sacrifice.  In war time the supreme honor and glory belongs to those who lay down their lives so that others may live.  History has taught us that those who have made great sacrifices have entered into great history.

Jesus Christ in his humility and obedience went to the cross for you and me and he brought honor and glory to God.  We have found through time tested experience that obedience is the foundation of love.  The most notable way a child can honor his parents is by being obedient to them.  In Jesus God glories himself in the incarnation and the cross.  Jesus’ love, for us shows us that there is no glory like that of being loved.  Let that sink in for a moment.  He died for you because he loved you just as you are, not as you should be.

The enthronement of Christ followed his crucifixion.  The crown of thorns has changed into a crown of glory and as scripture tells us “eye cannot see, ear cannot hear, nor can man even comprehend what God has in store for those who love him.”  Jesus leaves us his stamp of glory and that is we are to love others as he has loved us.  We will be asked to love the unlovable, the unwashable, the unkissable, the ugly, the deformed, the sick, and the people of the land.  We need only to look and see how he loved.  He loved deliberately, openly, unhesitant, completely, gently, unreservedly.  He chose to love because simply he is love.  His glory will be in you loving others as he has loved you.

 

Application

In the first reading it brought out to be a Christian in the new church meant equality for all.  In the second reading the Holy Spirit resides in you waiting to be used to make the world “a new Jerusalem.”  The Gospel shows the glory of God lies in the incarnation and the cross.

This week, let yourself be committed to making the world around your home, office, or school “a new Jerusalem” or “Holy City” by seeing in others the signs of Christ.  Let yourself, this week, love others as Christ loves you.  This especially means those in your family or those around you that you find very difficult to love.  Remember, commitment means sacrifice and sacrifice means going to the cross.  Your glory will be God’s glory in you.  You will be his glory as he sees you loving the people around you as Jesus loves you.  This will bring the “new Jerusalem” right into your heart.

Fourth Sunday of Easter (May 8th) – Cycle C

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 13:14, 43-52 FIRST READING

(“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”)

1. Who arrived in Antioch, and what did they do on the Sabbath? Acts 13:13-14

 

2. Who followed Paul and Barnabas, and what did they urge them to do? Acts 13:43

 

3. To what is the grace they are to remain faithful? Romans 3:24-25

 

4. What did almost the whole city do on the following Sabbath, and when the Jews saw the crowd, what did they do? Acts 13:44-45

 

5. How did Paul and Barnabas speak out, what did they say it was necessary to do, and to whom have they now turned? Acts 13:46

 

6. What has the Lord commanded them to be, how did the Gentiles react to this, and what did they glorify? Acts 13:47-48

 

Personal – How has God made you an instrument of salvation to the world?

 

7. Who came to believe, and what did the word of the Lord continue to do? Acts 13:48-49

 

8. Whom did the Jews incite, and what did they do to Paul and Barnabas? Acts 13:50

 

9. Who does not please God, and what do they try to prevent? 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

 

10. Why did Paul and Barnabas shake the dust from their feet, and with what were the disciples filled? Acts 13:51-52

 

11. What did Jesus tell his disciples? Matthew 10:14-15

 

Personal – When you gather to hear the Word of God, what is your reaction to it and to the person proclaiming it?  Who are the people who proclaim the Word of God, and how can you affirm them?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ REVELATION 7:9, 14-17 SECOND READING

(“…God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”)

1. Who had a vision of great multitudes, where were they standing, and what were they wearing and holding? Revelation 1:1 and 7:9

 

2. What was said by one of the elders about those wearing the robes, and how did they make their robes white? Revelation 7:14

 

3. What does the blood of the Lamb do for you? Hebrews 9:13-14

 

4. What must you do to be cleansed from sin? 1 John 1:7

 

5. What do the multitudes do, and what will the one who sits on the throne do? Revelation 7:15

 

6. From what does the Lord shelter us? Psalm 31:21

 

7. What will no longer happen to the multitudes? Revelation 7:16, see also Isaiah 49:10

 

8. What did Jesus tell his disciples? John 6:35

 

9. Who will shepherd them and lead them to life-giving water, and what will God do? Revelation 7:17

 

10. Who did Jesus say he was, and what did he say to the woman at the well? John 10:11 and John 4:10

 

11. Where does God dwell, and what has passed away? Revelation 21:3-4

 

Personal – How have you been washed by the blood of Jesus? How and where is Jesus leading you today?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 10:27-30 GOSPEL

(“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”)

1. What does Jesus say his sheep hear, whom does he know, and what do they do? John 10:27

 

2. Why were they trying to kill Jesus? John 8:37

 

3. Who hears the words of God?  John 8:47

 

4. What does Jesus give his sheep, what will never happen to them, and what can no one do? John 10:28

 

5. What is the will of the Father? John 6:39-40

 

6. To whom does the Lord open his hand? Psalm 145:16

 

7. Who is the Father greater than and what can no one do? John 10:29

 

8. Why did the Father give Jesus authority over all the people, and who belonged to the Father? John 17:2, 6

 

9. What are the Father and Jesus? John 10:30

 

10. What did Jesus pray that we all be? John 17:20-23

 

Personal – How do you recognize Jesus’ voice and know when to follow him? When was the last time you felt the protecting hand of God upon you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 100:1-3, 5

(“Serve the Lord with gladness.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 100:1-3, 5.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 13:14, 43-52

The Jewish leaders tried to hide behind the shadow of jealousy as they brought legal and religious arguments against Paul and Barnabas. The root of their jealousy was that Peter and the apostles were already getting more respect than they had ever received. The difference between Peter, Paul, and Barnabas and the religious leaders was that the Pharisees demanded the respect and reverence for themselves. The goal of the apostles was to bring respect, reverence, and honor to God. The apostles were respected, not because they demanded it, but because they earned it. It is difficult to rejoice with others who are succeeding where we are not; but when we call upon the Holy Spirit, he will give us the strength we need (1 John 4:4).

Jealousy is a human and natural reaction, and it is tragic when we let our own jealous feelings make us try to stop God’s work. If a work being done is God’s work, then rejoice in it, no matter who is doing it.

Paul wanted the Jewish people to join him in proclaiming God’s salvation. Unfortunately, many Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and they did not understand that in Jesus, God was offering salvation to everyone, Jews and Gentiles. Paul, being a Jew himself, hoped that the people would see that through Israel came Jesus, the light of all nations (Luke 2:32). This light would spread out and enlighten the whole world. The Jewish leaders turned away and like so many people today, when confronted with a disturbing truth, they often turn away and refuse to listen. When God speaks we must listen to him, or else we risk pushing the truth out of our lives.

 

REVELATION 7:9, 14-17

In today’s reading we see a great crowd gathered in front of the throne  before the lamb. Some say the crowd was a group of all the martyrs who died preaching God’s word. In the face of warfare, famine, persecution, and death, Christians will be called to stand firm for what they believe. These souls were sealed by God and now they are victorious. This crowd in heaven appears to be composed of those who remained faithful to God throughout the generations. The ones who came out of the tribulation washed their souls clean with the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ is the world’s greatest purifier, because it removes the ugly stain of sin. White symbolizes the qualities of sinlessness or holiness which can be imparted by shedding the blood of the sinless Lamb of God.

Some believe the suffering of the martyrs has gone on through the ages, and some believe there will be a specific time of intense tribulation. God will provide for his children’s needs in their eternal home. There will be no hunger, thirst, or pain; he will wipe away all tears in his beautiful eternal “Holy City.” This is a tremendously comforting verse when you feel that it is hopeless to even go on trying. This truth will sustain you in your time of trial. It is important to remember that all who have been faithful throughout the ages are singing before God’s throne. Their tribulations and sorrows are over and all their sins are over.  All believers have been resurrected and die no more. Alleluia!

 

JOHN 10:27-30

The role of a shepherd was very well known in Palestine, and they knew that a flock of sheep knew their master by the sound of his voice. Jesus compared his followers to sheep, and he was their shepherd. When he spoke, the people knew very well what he was talking about. He promised them eternal life if they accepted him as Master and Lord of their lives.

He offers that to us right here and now. All the littleness of our earthly life would be gone and we would know the splendor of being loved by God. He promised a life that would know no end. Death would be the beginning of living forever. He promised a life that was secure. Nothing could snatch that life from his hand. It did not mean that they would be saved from sorrow, suffering, or death. It did mean that they would know the serenity and power of God.

Jesus made a tremendous claim to the crowd of Jews, and he showed them his tremendous trust in God. He had been speaking to them about his sheep and his flock and that no one would ever take them away from him. He revealed that his Father gave him the sheep, and both the sheep and he were secure in his Father’s hand. Jesus was so sure of himself because he was sure of his Father. He then told them and us that he and the Father were one (17:11).

Jesus is saying that the unity between himself and the Father is the same unity he wants for us. His prayer is that all Christians be united in love as he is united in love with the Father.

 

Application

The first reading says faith is a free gift and respect is something you earn.  In the second reading we see that only the Blood of Christ can wash away sin.  In the Gospel we see prayer as a dialogue between two people in love with one another.

This week let your prayer be that the Lord gives you the courage to confess your sins by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then let the power of the Holy Eucharist nurture you and let you approach your family and friends with humility and reverence. Let your faith be shared in unity with members of other denominations in a spirit of joy. Jesus commanded all of us to be filled with his Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and then go out and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Let your unity begin with God and you; then God, you, and your family; then God, you, your family, and your community.  Miracles will then be happening in your neighborhood.

Third Sunday of Easter (May 1st) – Cycle C

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 5:27-32, 40-41 FIRST READING

(“We must obey God rather than men.”)

1. Who was brought in and made to stand before the Sanhedrin? Who questioned them? Acts 5:17-18, 27

 

2. What strict orders were the apostles given, and with what did they fill Jerusalem? Acts 5:28

 

3. Whose name were they told not to speak about and what did Peter and John say was impossible? Acts 4:18-20

 

4. What did Peter and the apostles say? Acts 5:29

 

5. Who raised Jesus, and what did the apostles say they did to him? Acts 5:30

 

6. Why did God exalt Jesus at his right hand as leader and Savior? Acts 5:31

 

7. What do you receive when you repent?  Acts 2:38

 

8. Who is given the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32

 

9. What happened to the apostles, and what were they told? Acts 5:40

 

10. How did the apostles leave the Sanhedrin, and for what reason did they leave that way? Acts 5:41

 

Personal – In what way have you gone against the authorities in order to obey God rather than men? In what way have you spoken in the name of Jesus to your family, friends, co-workers, or classmates?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ REVELATION 5:11-14 SECOND READING

(“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches,…”)

1. Who looked again and what did he hear and see? Revelation 1:1-2, Revelation 5:11

 

2. As the angels cried out in a loud voice, who did they say was worthy and what did he receive? Revelation 5:12

 

3. What did John the Baptist call Jesus? John 1:29

 

4. How can we receive power and riches? Acts 1:8, Matthew 6:33

 

5. How do we receive wisdom and strength? James 1:5, Philippians 4:13

 

6. Who is not worthy of Jesus? Matthew 10:37-38

 

7. Who was heard crying out, and from where?  Revelation 5:13

 

8. Whose knee should bend at the name of Jesus? Philippians 2:10

 

9. Who should receive blessing, honor, glory, and might forever and ever? Revelation 5:13

 

10. What did the four living creatures answer, and what did the elders do? Revelation 5:14

 

Personal – What has made you worthy to bear the name Christian? How do you find your self-worth?  Revelation 5:12 and meditate on it.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 21:1-19 GOSPEL

(“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”)

1. To whom did Jesus reveal himself, and what were they doing? John 21:1-3

 

2. What time of day was Jesus standing on the shore and what did the disciples not realize? John 21:4

 

3. What did Jesus call the disciples, what did he say to them, and what was their reply? John 21:5

 

4. What did Jesus tell them, what happened as a result of their doing what he asked, and who recognized the Lord? John 21:6-7

 

Personal – What has God asked of you, and what has been the result?

 

5. What did the disciples see on shore, what did Jesus say to them, and what did Simon Peter do?  John 21:8-11

 

6. What did Jesus say to them, what did the disciples not dare to ask, what did Jesus do, and how many times was this that Jesus revealed himself to them since his resurrection? John 21:12-14

 

7. When they had finished breakfast, what did Jesus ask Simon Peter, what was his response, and what did Jesus tell him to do? John 21:15

 

8. What was Peter’s response the second and third time Jesus asked him if he loved him, and what did he tell him to do? John 21:16-17

 

9. What did Jesus say would happen to Peter and what did this signify?  John 21:18-19

 

10. What did Jesus tell Peter to do? John 21:19

 

11. Why should you follow in Jesus’ footsteps? 1 Peter 2:21

 

Personal – What have you done to show your love for Jesus? Who in your family, friends, work associates, or schoolmates have been fed by you this week?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

(“I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13.

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 5:27-32, 40-41

We see in today’s reading God’s power working through a group of men. We might do well to ask ourselves what would we do if we were threatened by powerful leaders and faced imprisonment for talking about God.  These men were beaten, arrested, and jailed and still went back to preaching God’s Holy Word when they were released.

When we are convinced of the power of Christ’s resurrection and have experienced the presence of his Holy Spirit, then we too will have the confidence to speak out for Christ.

The temple was a very busy place and many people stopped there to pray and worship at sunrise. These were the people the apostles met with the “Good News.” Today in our own marketplaces there is a tendency to keep our religion a private affair between us and our God. It is very difficult to see Christian people turn their eyes away from acts of wrongdoing because they “do not want to get involved.” Today we are experiencing a great amount of evil that is allowed to continue because the fear of man is greater than the fear of the Lord.

The apostles knew that the penalty for speaking out in the name of Jesus could mean death for them. The apostles knew their priorities. We should always try to keep peace with everyone (Romans 12:18), but conflict with the world and its authorities is sometimes inevitable for a Christian (John 15:18). There will be situations where you cannot obey both God and man, such as accepting the practice of abortion. Then you must obey God and trust in his word and not in man’s word or law.

Jesus himself encourages us to follow him in his own words: What happiness it is when others hate you and exclude you and insult you and smear your name because you are mine!  When that happens, rejoice!   Yes, leap for joy! For you will have a great reward awaiting you in heaven (Luke 6:22-23).  We are called to live as Christ has asked, sharing our faith no matter what the cost. We may not be beaten or thrown into jail, but we may be ridiculed, ostracized, or slandered.

To what extent are you willing to suffer for the sake of sharing the Gospel with others?

 

REVELATION 5:11-14

As Catholic Christians, we have been taught that angels are spiritual beings created by God, who help carry out his work on earth. In some instances they are messengers (Luke 1:26) and in others, they protect God’s people (Daniel 6:23). The angels offer encouragement (Genesis 16:7), and give guidance (Exodus 14:9). There are both good and evil angels (Revelation 12:7-9), but because the evil angels follow Satan and not God, they have much less power and authority. The main role of the good angels is to offer continuous praise to God.

Today’s reading shows us that only the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is worthy to open the scroll. The scroll signifies for us the events of history and it is Jesus Christ who holds it, not Satan. Jesus Christ is Lord, and he alone is worthy to set into motion the events of the last days of history. Jesus Christ is pictured as a lamb which symbolizes his humble submission to God’s will. It is the lamb that becomes the focus in John’s vision. Christ, the Lamb, was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He alone is the only one who can save us from the terrible events revealed by the scroll.

Jesus is also pictured as a lion symbolizing his authority and power (Revelation 5:5). Christ the Lamb won the greatest battle of all, defeating all the evil forces and death, by submitting humbly to God’s will and dying on the cross. Christ the Lion is victorious because of what Christ the Lamb has already done.

We will enjoy the rewards of victory not because of our power and might, but through our humble submission to God. John, through his images of God, has shown us that it is in the act of humbly submitting our lives to God that we receive the power of God’s Holy Spirit to do it. We must never forget that anyone who comes in repentance and faith is accepted by God and will be part of his kingdom. Wherever you go, let people see the fruit of humility shine in you and people will see in you, very clearly, the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

 

JOHN 21:1-19

In today’s Gospel Jesus commissions Peter to feed his flock. Jesus appears to the disciples while they are fishing and calls out to them. It is important to remember that these men were tremendously disappointed in the way events had turned out.  They had followed a loving Messiah who promised eternal life and now was gone. They decided to go back to doing what they originally did before they heard of Jesus Christ, and that was fishing. It seemed almost comical to recall Jesus’ words, “I will make you fishers of men.”

When Jesus called out to them and asked if they had caught any fish yet, they said no, and Jesus proceeded to tell these professional fishermen how to fish. These words must have struck them with tremendous force. The thoughts that must have been racing through the minds of these men in the boat must have been awesome and even fearful. They had seen him, they knew him to be dead, and there had been those appearances in the Upper Room; but then he disappeared. They obeyed his command and the result was incredible.  John, trying desperately to keep his emotions under control, said to Peter that it must be the Lord on the shore giving the advice.

Peter explodes and jumps into the water to swim, crawl, run, anything to get to Jesus as soon as he can. John knew it was Jesus because he saw him do a similar miracle on Lake Genneserat (Luke 5:1-11). There on the beach, the apostles experience Jesus cooking for them and eating with them.

Jesus leads Peter through the tremendous healing experience that removed the cloud of his denial.  Peter denied Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. When Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to feed his sheep.  You need to remember it is one thing to say that you love Jesus, but the real test is your willingness to serve him.  Peter had repented and now Jesus asked him to commit his life. Peter’s life changed when he finally realized who Jesus was. Peter had faced his true feelings when confronted by Jesus, and we have to confront our true feelings too.

How would you respond today if Jesus asked you, “Do you love me, do you really love me?”

 

Application

The first reading shows that we must obey God rather than man. The second reading reveals worthy is the lamb that was slain for us. The Gospel shows love is a decision, not a sentimental expression.

This week, show those around you that you are in obedience to God’s law by your actions, your words, and even in your thoughts. Show your family the humility of the Lamb of God that resides in you by your acts of kindness and gentleness towards them. You can show that you really love Jesus by feeding the sheep in your own household. You can do that by leading them in prayer, scripture readings, church fellowship, and worship through the sacraments.

Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) (April 24th) – Cycle C

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 5:12-16 FIRST READING

(“Many signs and wonders were done among the people….”)

1. By what means did many signs and wonders occur? Acts 5:12

 

2. From where did the power to perform these signs and wonders come? Acts 1:8

 

3. This power has been passed on to whom? Acts 2:38-39

 

4. In what regard do the people place the apostles? Acts 5:13

 

5.  What did men and women in great numbers do? Acts 5:14

 

6. What did the apostles say that they came to believe? Acts 4:4

 

7. As a result of people believing and being added to their number, what did they do, and where did they bring the sick? Acts 5:15

 

8. What happened to the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits? Acts 5:15-16

 

9. Read the following Scriptures and tell what constitutes healing: Mark 5:34 – Luke 18:42 – Acts 14:9

 

10. Read the following Scriptures and tell who was healed:

Matthew 8:16 – Matt. 12:15 –

Mark 6:56 – Acts 5:16 –

 

Personal – In what way do you see signs and wonders occurring in your home?  In what way do you, your family, friends, and co-workers need healing?  What do you think will bring about a healing? Meditate on this and then share it with someone.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ REVELATIONS 1:9-13, 17-19 SECOND READING

(“the first and the last and the one who lives”)

1. On what island did John find himself? Revelation 1:9

 

2. See if you can find this island on a Bible map.

 

3. With whom does John share and what three things does he share with them? Revelation 1:4, 9

 

4. Why was John sent to the island Patmos? Revelation 1:9

 

Personal – In what way have you ever felt deserted or isolated for proclaiming God’s word and for having borne witness to Jesus?

 

5. On the Lord’s day John heard something. What was it, and what did it say? Revelation 1:10-11

 

6. For what did John turn around, and what did he see? Revelation 1:12-13

 

7. What did he hold in his right hand and what came out of his mouth? Revelation 1:16

 

8. When John caught sight of him, what did he do? Revelation 1:17

 

9. What did he say to John? Revelation 1:17-19

 

10. What did he tell him to do when he sees a vision, what he sees now, and what he will see in time to come? Rev.1:19

 

Personal – What were some thoughts or visions you had today that you could write down? How can writing your spiritual thoughts in a journal each night help you in your journey through life?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-31 GOSPEL

(Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.)

1. On the evening of the first day of the week who appeared to the disciples, what did they do to the door, and for what reason? John 20:19

 

2. What did he say to them, what did he show them, and what was their reaction? John 20:19-20         

 

3. What did he say again to them? John 20:21

 

Personal – Reflect on areas in which you do not have peace. Stop what you’re doing in that area and ask the Holy Spirit if it is an area that he is sending you or speaking through you, or is it an area of your own doing?

 

4. In Verse 22 of John 20, what did Jesus do and say to the disciples?

 

5. What must we do to receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38

 

6 If you forgive men’s sins, what will happen to them; and if you retain them, what will happen? John 20:23

 

7. What did Jesus say to Peter in Matthew 16:19?

 

8. Read Matthew 18:18; what does it say about binding and loosing?

 

9. Who was absent when Jesus came to the disciples, what did they keep telling him, and what was his answer? John 20:24-25

 

10. What happened a week later, what was the greeting, what did Jesus say to Thomas, and what was his response? John 20:26-28

 

11. Whom did Jesus say are the blessed? John 20:29

 

12. What did Jesus do, and why have these been recorded? John 20:30-31

 

13. Where do you find your life? John 14:6 and John 20:31 Write out John 14:6.

 

Personal – What areas of life (education, job, athletics, hobbies, etc.) have you been pursuing?  In what way can you focus more on the true fulfillment (Jesus) in life rather than on what you have been doing?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

(The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.)

Read and meditate of 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 5:12-16

It was like in the days of Jesus in Galilee all over again, so many were being healed by the apostles.  No wonder the Jewish authorities grew jealous of their enormous influence.  But threats, imprisonment, even the lash are no weapons with which to resist the power of God.  The apostles demonstrated an almost unlimited amount of healing power.  The healing was so spectacular that it seemed almost like magic. Peter parallels such items as Paul’s handkerchief (Acts.19:12) and the edge of Jesus’ cloak (Mt. 9:20).  But Peter very carefully tells all that his healing power comes from God in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:12-16).

Today, many wonder if God really heals his people.  Where are the people like Peter, Paul, and the other apostles?  Why are people so reluctant to reach out and call for a healing?  We see in today’s Scripture a high sense of expectancy by the people.  We see them bringing their sick out into the streets and believing that a healing was going to take place.  We need to bring that expectancy into our lives, and God’s healing power will explode today just as it did in the Scriptures.  We need to fall on our knees and repent of our sin of unbelief and let God heal us through his signs and wonders.

We see people like St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and many Spirit-filled expectant Christians today who confidently call forth God’s healing power through their loving touch to the poor.  His healing power was given to all who professed that He was Lord and, as in Scripture, everyone who called on Him was healed.  His healing power is alive today through His Word, Eucharist, and the loving touch of His children.  He is the healer yesterday, today, and forever.

It was common practice for groups to meet for teaching and discussion in the courts of the public buildings.  Disciples listened to their teachers in the courts of the Temple.  The Christians met in Solomon’s Porch; but knowing the authorities’ hostilities toward them, many kept their distance.  Some Jews were afraid to join the meetings because they were in direct defiance of the Sanhedrin’s order as seen in chapter four of Acts.

Because of the fate of Ananias and his wife (Acts 5:1-11), those who want to follow Christ should seriously evaluate the cost of discipleship.

 

REVELATION 1:9-13, 17-19

Revelation shows us that John was a church leader who was well known to the seven churches in Asia Minor. The churches were located about 50 miles apart and formed a circle in what today is known as Turkey. These churches were like postal centers, and the entire book of Revelation apparently was sent to each one of the seven churches.

The Christians were entering a time of persecution and John, himself, was sent to the Island of Patmos which was a Roman penal colony.  Roman authorities at this time were beginning to enforce the cult of emperor worship.  Christians who held that Christ, not Caesar, was Lord faced great hostility. John, himself, was exiled for proclaiming the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus (v.9).

John wrote to the believers to resist staunchly the demands of emperor worship.  John is also encouraged to write about what is current and what is to happen.  We also need to write, read, and reflect on what the Lord is saying to us in our daily living.  Like John, we are called to spread the word of God and testimony of Jesus.  We need to write in our journal those daily inspirational thoughts that come from the Holy Spirit.  We also need to stand up like John did to the idolatry of today’s world.

The gods of money, power, sex, and the media are very powerful and demand full tribute.  We, like John, may be called upon to pay the price for our belief in Jesus Christ.  Jesus tells us to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mat. 28:16-20). Jesus gave John the great commission; he responded, and we are called to make the same response.


JOHN 20:19-31

There is a story told about a primitive South American jungle tribe that had as its most important member someone who was called “A keeper of the flame.”  Fire among this primitive people was a precious commodity and to start a fire often took long hours.  Keeping the flame going was much easier.  It was the very important task of the flame keeper to add wood to the fire at night and to be sure the fire never went out.  In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ final appearance was to prepare the disciples to continue to carry on his earthly ministry.  His final words to his followers are basically words that will equip them to be “keepers of the flame.”

Jesus appeared to this small group of frightened men gathered in the upper room.  He found them in the darkness of despair.  Jesus greeted them, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19).  Oh, how they needed to hear those words from him.  A more frightened group of men could not be found anywhere in Jerusalem that night.

Jesus startled his disciples out of their despair by reminding them of a fundamental fact: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).  Jesus is saying, ” I need you to continue the work that I started.”   Even though he would be seen leaving to ascend to heaven, the fire started by his life, death, and resurrection must not be extinguished.  He must continue to teach, preach, heal, save mankind, and he will do it through his “keepers of the flame.”   His new body will be composed of believers, and they will become Christ’s hands, feet, heart, and life upon the earth.

And what about us?  Is the message and mission of Jesus continuing in our world?  Are we fulfilling the mission entrusted to the small group of men who followed Jesus of Nazareth?  What is our calling?  The answer to these questions requires a closer look at this Easter appearance of Jesus.  Meeting their Resurrected Savior transformed eleven terrified apostles into courageous “keepers of the flame.”  The secret of their power is also our secret, and that is the peace of mind and heart.   

The real power is the Holy Spirit, who gives us the Peace of Christ and sends us out to fulfill the Great Commission.  He gives us the power to fulfill this mission by giving us what we need most, “His living presence in our life.”  There are four things we must be ready to do in a moment as “keepers of the flame”:  pray, preach, give our testimony, and die.  The mission of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is ours; and we must be ready to do what he has done also.

 

Application

The first reading shows that Jesus is the healer yesterday, today, and forever.  The second reading shows that like John, we are called to spread the Word of God everywhere.  The Gospel tells us that we are called to be “keepers of the flame.”

To be a “keeper of the flame” in your family, you must take on the responsibility of making certain that the fire does not go out.  You can do this by your prayer, leading your family in Scripture, attending the sacraments with them, encouraging them to give their lives to Christ, and letting them see in your actions that you are a real “keeper of the flame.”

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (April 17th) – Cycle C

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. Who was Peter addressing? Acts 10:24-28

 

2. What did he say to them? Acts 10:34-35

 

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

 

4. For what reason does God have no favorites? Job 34:19, 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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

9. What did God grant, and by whom? Acts 10:40-41

 

10. Who are the chosen and for what purpose are they chosen? Ephesians 1:11-13

 

11. What did he commission us to do?  Acts 10:42

 

12. Whom has he sent to preach to the people? Mark 3:14

 

13. Who are his disciples today? John 8:31, John 13:35

 

14. To what are we to bear witness and to what do all the prophets testify? 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, and on what should we set our heart? Colossians 3:1

 

2. Where is Christ seated? Colossians 3:1

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

9. 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, what time was it, and what day was it? 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. What did Mary see when she arrived at the tomb? John 20:1

 

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

 

6. What did Peter and the other disciple do? John 20:3

 

7. Who reached the tomb first, and how did they get there? John 20:4

 

Personal – In what way do you see yourself running to see Jesus? 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.

 

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

 

9. 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

13. After Jesus rose from the dead, what did the disciples come to understand and believe? John 2:22

 

14. When did they understand and believe? Luke 24:30-32

 

15. 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 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. 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 we can walk away from responsibility. It does not mean just being obedient to parents and to society. It does not mean just 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 like Christ rise from the grave  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 life 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 all the people in the world that if they believe in Jesus Christ, they will be given  eternal happiness. Because of him, all mankind can really be free and live forever.  Alleluia – he is Risen – Alleluia – he is Alive.

 

Application

The first reading shows that “Alleluia” is a Hebrew word that means Praise the Lord.  The second reading reveals that Baptism is being drowned or buried with Christ.  The Gospel tells us that because of Jesus Christ all mankind can really be free.

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 workplace from a chore that you know they do not 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 (April 10th) – Cycle C

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

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

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 50:4-7 FIRST READING

(“The Lord is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”)

l. 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 you 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 be your attitude? 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 you beyond a doubt?  Acts 2:36

 

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

 

13. Who gives you 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?  Read Mark 8:34 and meditate on this.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 22:14-23:56 GOSPEL

(“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”)

1. When Jesus took his place at the table what did he tell his disciples he was eager to do, what did he say about the cup, and what did he do and say with the bread and the cup? Luke 22:14-20

 

2. Who did Jesus say was at table with him, what did he say about him, and about what were the disciples debating? Luke 22:21-23

 

3. About what were the disciples arguing, what did Jesus say to them, and how did he say he was among them? Luke 22:24-27

 

Personal – In what ways do you show others that you are a servant?

 

4. Who did Jesus say stood by him in trials, and what did he say would happen to them? Luke 22:28-30

 

5. What did Jesus say Satan has demanded, what did Jesus do so their faith would not fail, what did he tell them to do, and what did he say to Peter? Luke 22:31-34

 

6. What did Jesus tell his disciples to do now in contrast to what they were doing? What did he say about the scripture, and what was his reply to the disciples “Look, look, there are two swords?” Luke 22:35-38

 

7. When Jesus and the disciples went to the Mt. of Olives, what did he say to them.  Withdrawing from them what did Jesus say to his Father, what strengthened him, and what was happening to him?  Luke 22:39-44

 

8. How did Jesus find his disciples and what did he tell them?  Luke 22:45-46

 

Personal – In what way have you failed to stay awake when someone you know was hurting?

 

9. How did Judas betray Jesus, what did Jesus say to him, what was the disciples response, and what did Jesus do and say? Luke 22:47-53

 

10. After they led Jesus away to arrest him what happened to Peter, when did Peter remember the word of the Lord, and what was his response? Luke 22:54-62

 

11. How did the men who held Jesus treat him, what did they say to Jesus when they brought him before the Sanhedrin, what was his response, and what was their conclusion? Luke 22:63-71

 

12. What did the assembly say about Jesus, what did Pilate ask Jesus, what did he say about his guilt, and how did the people respond to this?  Luke 23:1-5

 

13. Where did Pilate send Jesus, what was Herod’s reaction to seeing Jesus, and why did he react that way?  Luke 23:6-8

 

14. How was Jesus treated by Herod, the scribes, chief priest and soldiers, what happened to Herod and Pilate’s relationship that day, and what did Pilate say to the chief priest, rulers, and the people?  Luke 23:9-17

 

Personal – Share a time you have been swayed by popular opinion and gone along with the crowd? Did it turn out to be a good or bad decision?

 

15. What did the people shout, who was Barabbas, what happened to Barabbas, and how many times did Pilate address the people? Luke 23:18-25

 

16. Who carried the cross behind Jesus, who followed after Jesus, and what did Jesus say to them? Luke 23:26-31

 

17. Who was led away with Jesus to be executed, what happened at the place called the Skull, and what did Jesus ask the Father? Luke 23:32-34

 

Personal – In what way does your life show that you have accepted and received God’s forgiveness for you?

 

18. What did the rulers say, what did the soldiers call out to him, and what was inscribed above him? Luke 23:35-38

 

19. What did each of the criminals hanging there with Jesus say, and what did Jesus tell the one? Luke 23:39-43

 

20. At noon what happened to the veil in the temple, what did Jesus say before he breathed his last, what did the centurion and the people say and do?  Luke 23:44-48

 

21. Where were his acquaintances including the women, who was Joseph, and what did he do?  Luke 23:49-53

 

22. What day was it, what was about to begin, what did the women do, and what was the commandment they observed? Luke 23:54-56

 

Personal – Since last year what change has taken place in your life as a result of what Jesus has done for you?

 

 

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 has traveled this same road before the saints of old, but He travels it today constantly waiting to be with us in our suffering.

Jesus’ suffering and death opened the road to heaven for all, even though many refuse the gift.  He gave up everything for us, and He bestowed us with love, trust, hope, respect, and eternal life.  In return, He was spat upon, ridiculed, beaten, jeered, scourged and mocked.  He finally was executed when He was nailed to a cross on Calvary between two criminals.

This is a day of reflection as 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 on how quickly the crowd changed from adoring Him to jeering Him.  He had taken up a cross for us, and we must remember that we too are called to carry a cross for someone else.  Sometimes we think our cross is too heavy, or that it is unfair to bear such a heavy cross. Dying to self and putting the needs of others first is our daily 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 the same as 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 had taken 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 by putting others first and by 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 Himself was extremely painful.  Jesus is the perfect role model for us in the world today. How many times do you demand your rights when you are being treated less than fairly?  The name of Jesus should bring to every Christian person the name of a person who willingly died so that all people could be free, and He died for us absolutely knowing that we are 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.

 

LUKE 22:14-23:56

Today’s gospel is lengthy and very powerful.  It reveals the emotions of the powerful and the lowly.  We see Jesus at the Last Supper eagerly waiting for it to begin.  He has mixed feelings of joy and sadness, because a betrayer was sitting among a group of very close friends.  We see pride and greed being displayed in the question, “Who among them was the greatest?” And the Master knew He was to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.

The betrayal of Christ by Judas happens and Jesus is arrested in the dark of night.  He is ridiculed, humiliated, tortured, and was denied, rejected and abandoned by his closest followers.  He faced the mockery of a trial and his friends and family became unfriendly towards Him. Nevertheless, He was not alone in that His Father was with Him and in Him.  He was strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

He was humiliated and whipped by the soldiers and dragged through the howling mob to a hill called Golgotha which means Skull.  Jesus was flung and nailed onto a cross. The kingdom of God was now about to be inaugurated through His death and the places on his right and left were to be taken by two dying criminals.

Jesus told His two power-hungry disciples, James and John, (Mark 10:35-39) that a person who wishes to be close to Him must be prepared to suffer and die as He did.  This message is meant for us even today.  The way to the kingdom is the way of the cross.  Jesus then manifested to the whole world by being on the cross the core to healing is through forgiveness.  Jesus asked His Father to forgive all those who were putting Him to death.  This included the corrupt leaders in the church, politicians, soldiers, and even the bystanders who laughed and ridiculed while He was on the cross. God answered that prayer by opening the way to salvation to all sinners including Jesus’ murderers.

Since we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) we have all played a part in putting Jesus to death.  The Good News is that God forgives and He gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus.  The thief on the right side of Jesus called out to him for forgiveness, and Jesus accepted him and granted the forgiveness to him.  This shows that our faith in Jesus is a saving faith, and it is never to late to turn to God.  Even in his misery Jesus had mercy on this criminal, and that same mercy is waiting to be granted to us.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that we are to live in God’s light not our own light.  The second reading tells us that Jesus was an obedient servant even unto death on the cross.  The gospel reveals forgiveness is the core of healing.

This week, let yourself experience what it really means to forgive.  Look around and see in your family, job, or school those whom you need to forgive.  Jesus tells us that it is necessary to forgive others just as he has forgiven us.  You have the power within yourself through the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4) to hold someone in bondage or you can forgive and give them freedom.  The choice is yours, and remember, the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Fifth Sunday of Lent (April 3rd) – Cycle C

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.

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

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 43:16-21 FIRST READING

  (“See, I am doing something new!”)

1. What has the Lord done? Isaiah 43:16

 

2. Why has he done this? Isaiah 51:10.

 

3. When was this done? Exodus 14:21.

 

4. Who lies prostrate never to rise again? Isaiah 43:17

 

5. What are we not to remember or even consider? Isaiah 43:18

 

Personal – Memorize Isaiah 43:18.  When your mind begins to dwell on the past, from this time forward, repeat this verse and keep your eyes on what Jesus has in store for you.

 

6. What is the Lord doing in verse 19 of Isaiah 43?

 

7. Who honors the Lord?  Isaiah 43:20

 

8. Where does the Lord put water and who drinks it? Isaiah 43:20

 

9. Who are his chosen in the following scriptures:

a. Luke 9:35   

b. Acts 1:2    

c. Deut. 7:6-11 –

d. Romans 11:5 

 

10. For what reason did he form these people? Isaiah 43:21

 

Personal – In what way do you see yourself as one of God’s chosen people? Meditate on this.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 3:8-14 SECOND READING

(“I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”)

1. To what has Paul considered all as loss, what has he accepted, and for what reason has he considered this? Philippians 3:8

 

2. What is the righteousness Paul possesses and where does it have its origin? Philippians 3:9

 

3. On what is this righteousness based? Philippians 3:9

 

4. What three things does Paul wish to know in verse 10 of Philippians 3?

1.

2.

3.

 

5. What does Romans 6:3-4 say about baptism?

 

6. What must we do in order to be glorified with him? Romans 6:4 and John 3:16.

 

7. What does Paul hope to attain? Philippians 3:11

 

8. What has Paul not yet reached, what is he pursuing, and who has taken possession of him? Philippians 3:12

 

9. What do Philippians 3:13 and Isaiah 43:18 tell us to forget and what are we to do?

 

10. Toward what is Paul pursuing and what is the prize? Philippians 3:14

 

Personal – In which of the following ways are you going towards the finish line: sitting, crawling, strolling, fast walking, or running? What is the goal you are pursuing?

 

 

FOURTH READ JOHN 8:1-11 GOSPEL

(“Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin anymore.”)

1. Where was Jesus and what did he do when the people started coming to him? John 8:1-2

 

2. What two groups of men were there, who did they bring in, and what did they make her do? John 8:3

 

3. How did they address Jesus and what did they say to him? John 8:4-5

 

4. According to the law if a woman is married and is caught in adultery what will happen to both man and woman? Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22-24

 

5. Why did they question Jesus about the adulterer and what did Jesus do when they questioned him about her? John 8:6

 

6. When they persisted in their questioning, what did he say to them? John 8:7

 

7. How can you avoid judgment, and what must you do to see clearly? Matthew 7:1-5

 

8. Who are the sinners among us? Romans 3:23

 

9. What did Jesus do a second time? What happened to the audience, and in what succession? John 8:8-9

 

Personal – By whom are you being led?  Are you obedient to what your leaders in government tell you? Are you obedient to what your church leaders tell you?  Has there been a time when Jesus’ Word has been put in conflict with what government or church law has stated?  How have you responded to that conflict?

 

10. What did Jesus say to the woman after they were alone, what was her response, and then what did he say?  John 8:10-11

 

11. In what does God take pleasure? Ezekiel 33:11

 

Personal – How can you bring pleasure to the Lord today?  Take time to examine your conscience and attend the sacrament of reconciliation this week.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 126:1-6

(The Lord will lead his people from captivity to freedom)

Read and meditate on Psalm 126:1-6.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 43:16-21

The prophet Isaiah continues to proclaim a favorite theme to the exiles in Babylon.  It is called, “The New Exodus.”  God is being shown as the one “creating Israel – opening a way – leading out chariots”.  The words portray the exodus out of Egypt, ending in the final scene where the Egyptians are lying prostrate and never to be rising.  Pharaoh’s troops were crushed and drowned as they rushed into the parted sea opened for the Israelites (Exodus 15:19).  The Israelites are being warned not to continue glorifying in a past that has no time for application in the present.

The old exodus was temporary; the new exodus is forever.  The word Anamnesis is from this great act of exodus. (Exodus 15:19) Anamnesis means to bring back, to continue, to recreate, to live.  This is the heart of the Eucharistic prayer that constitutes the new exodus at every celebration of the Catholic Mass.  The people are being told to stop looking in the past and look to the future, toward the permanent, new exodus.

 

PHILIPPIANS 3:8-14

Paul shows us that true freedom can be found only in Jesus Christ, not in observance of a law.  He came to God in humble faith, as Jesus told him to do, and he found that fellowship he had sought for so long. Paul discovers that a right relationship with God is based not on law but on faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness is not achieved by any man but given by God.  Paul’s understanding of Christ changed his whole value system.

Paul, being a Jew himself, was very much aware of how complete compliance with the law was stressed.  He was an educated man, a Roman citizen, and one who hunted down people who did not comply fully with the Jewish belief.

To Paul, salvation meant sharing in the power of Christ’s resurrection as well as sharing in the suffering and becoming like him in death.  Like Paul, we too hope to share in the power of Christ’s resurrection, even as it means sharing in his sufferings and becoming like him in death.  Our sharing in his suffering can be through rejection by loved ones, family or friends. Jesus experienced rejection by friends right in his own home town.  It is this kind of imitation of Christ that gives us hope that will be completed by our resurrection from the dead, even as Christ also was raised.

Paul tells us that he has not yet reached his goal, that he is not yet been raised and is not yet perfect.  Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, take firm hold on the  everlasting life to which you were called, when, in the presence of many witnesses you made your noble profession of faith.”  We continue to make our profession of faith every time we say the Nicene Creed at a Roman Catholic Mass until we reach the finish line which is life on high in Christ Jesus.

Resurrection and perfection are goals which are pursued, not ones which we already have.  The prize of which Paul speaks is “Life on high in Christ Jesus”, that is, knowing and experiencing Jesus.  Our righteousness and goals come not because of our merit but because of grace which comes from God through Jesus Christ.

 

JOHN 8:1-11

In the eyes of the Jewish law, adultery was a very serious crime and was punishable by death.  The Scribes and the Pharisees were out to get something on Jesus and discredit him.

A scribe was an educated man, an intellectual, maybe a lawyer or even a scholar.  They were teachers of the Law.  Many were chosen to be Rabbis.  A Pharisee was a leader who practiced the observance of the law to its maximum degree.  The Pharisees were more concerned with keeping the external tenets of the law than what was in your heart.

The leaders insisted that Jesus give a decision on what to do with this adulteress.  They were hoping to trap him.  Jesus turned the tables on them by saying, “Let the man that is without sin cast the first stone.”  The elders were the first to leave and the rest followed.  Today, as in the days of Christ, people still follow the lead of influential people in the community, even if they are uninformed.  Jesus asked her where did her tormentors go, and who is there to condemn her.  Jesus told her that he does not condemn her either and to go and sin no more.  In Jesus there is the gospel of the second chance.  He didn’t say that what she had done did not matter; broken laws and broken hearts always matter;  but he was interested in her future more than in her past.

The Pharisees and scribes wished to condemn; Jesus wished to forgive.  They knew the thrill of exercising power to condemn; Jesus knew the thrill of exercising the power to forgive.  Jesus confronted the woman with a challenge to go out and reach for a life that does not involve sin.  He called her to go out and fight, to change her life completely.  Jesus showed his belief in her as a person.  He did not say “Lady you are a loser.”  He said, “Go and sin no more.”  His method is not to blast people with the knowledge which they already knew, that they were miserable sinners, but to inspire them to become living saints.

Jesus also gives a warning, unspoken but implied. She has a choice either to go back to her old life and end up in destruction or to reach out to the new way with him.  Jesus tells the man who he had just healed in the pool to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him (John 5:14).  He clearly warns all of us that sin leads only to destruction.  He offers to all of us a second chance, the gift of forgiveness.                

 

Application

The first reading shows us that to look “back” is not of the Lord.  The second reading reveals that only in Christ can true freedom be experienced.  The Gospel tells us that Jesus forgives us, he does not condemn us.

This week, let your family and your community see and experience you as a person who seeks justice and extends mercy and forgiveness.  A person who can forgive and forget is a person who is really free.

Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 27th) – Cycle C

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 JOSHUA 5:9-12 FIRST READING

(“Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”)

1. What did the Lord tell Joshua he had removed from them that day? Joshua 5:9

 

2. What has the Lord removed from those who fear him? Psalm 103:12

 

3. Where were the Israelites encamped, and what did they celebrate on the evening of the fourteenth of the month? Joshua 5:10

 

4. What was prescribed by the Lord on the fourteenth day of the month? Exodus 12:5-6, 11

 

5. What did the Israelites eat the day after the Passover? Joshua 5:11

 

6. For what are we to work, and who gives it to us? John 6:27

 

7. What did Jesus say is true food and drink, and what happens to whoever eats and drinks it? John 6:55-56

 

8. On that same day, after the Passover, what ceased? Joshua 5:12

 

9. How long did they eat the manna? Exodus 16:35

 

10. How long will you live if you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood? John 6:49-51

 

Personal – What has been removed from you that allows you to participate in communion on Sunday? In your life, what shows that communion is more important than the food on your table?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17-21 SECOND READING

(“So, we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.”)

1. What is “whoever is in Christ,” and what has happened to the old things? 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

2. To those who accepted Christ, what did he give them the power to become? John 1:12-13

 

3. How have we been reconciled to God, and what has he given us the ministry of? 2 Corinthians 5:18

 

4. What were we when we were reconciled to God, and how were we saved? Romans 5:10-11

 

5. What did God not count, and what did he entrust to us? 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

6. What does David declare, and who is blessed? Romans 4:6-8

 

7. What are we for Christ, and what is Paul imploring the people to be? 2 Corinthians 5:20

 

8. How does Paul want to make known the mystery of the Gospel, and what does that make him in chains? Ephesians 6:19-20

 

9. For whose sake did God make Jesus become sin even though he did not know sin, and what did that make us?  2 Cor. 5:21

 

10. What is Jesus able to do and for what reason?  Hebrews 4:15

 

Personal – If God has entrusted to you the message of reconciliation, how have you shared and acted upon that message to those around you?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 15:1-3,11-32 GOSPEL

(“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again.”)

1. Who was drawing near to listen to Jesus, and what were the Pharisees and scribes complaining about?  How did he address them? Luke 15:1-3

 

2. In the parable Jesus told, what happened to the younger son? What did the man long to eat? Luke 15:11-16

 

3. Coming to his senses, what did he decide to do, and what was he going to say to his father? Luke 15:17-19

 

4. With what was his father filled when he saw his son, and what did he do? Luke 15:20

 

5. On who does the Lord have compassion? Psalm 103:13

 

6. What did the son say to the father, and what did the father do and say about the son? Luke 15:21-24

 

7. What were we following that made us dead in our own transgressions, and how were we brought to life? Ephesians 2:1-5

 

8. What was the older son’s reaction to all the dancing and festivities for the younger son? Luke 15:25-28

 

9. What did the father do at the older son’s reaction, and what did he say to his father? Luke 15:29-30

 

10. What did the father say belonged to the older son, and why did he say it was time to celebrate? Luke 15:31-32

 

11. What is the will of our heavenly Father, and how should we not feel over one of his little ones? Matthew 18:10-14

 

Personal – With whom do you relate in this gospel, and why?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 34:2-7

(“Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 34:2-7.

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

JOSHUA 5:9-12

The Israelites were ready to soon enter into the promised land after spending 39 years in the wilderness unnecessarily because they were afraid and underestimated God’s ability.  The Canaanites heard about Israel’s great victories through God (crossing the Red Sea) and were terrified of them.  Do not underestimate God. If we are faithful to him, as Joshua and the Israelites were faithful, then God can cause great opposition to melt away. God can change the attitudes of those who oppose us.

The Lord spoke to Joshua and told him that he was to circumcise all the males in his camp because that was the sign of the covenant with him. Then the angel spoke to Joshua and told him to prepare for battle and to listen to God’s plan only. They celebrated the feast of Passover before they went on to the battle of Jericho.  The celebration reminded them of who they were, and what happened to get them that far.

This was the first celebration of the Passover in the Promised Land.  The Israelites remembered how God was with them in their times of danger and hunger. They were now in a land that was overflowing with fruit, vegetables, and water. They knew that God has miraculously provided this land for them. They knelt and in prayer they thanked God for keeping their faith strong enough to get through the wilderness.

They knew, and it is important for us to know too, that prayer is not an alternative to preparing for what needs to be done, and faith is not a substitute for hard, honest work.  God can and does provide us with miracles, but he expects us to use our God-given talents and resources to provide for others and ourselves.

 

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17-21

Christians are brand-new people on the inside when they become baptized. The Holy Spirit dwells within them and gives them a new life, and they are no longer the same. When we become baptized and a new child of the Lord, we are not reformed, rehabilitated or reeducated: we are brand-new creations, living in complete union with Christ (Colossians 2:6,7). It does not mean we are turning over a new leaf when we are baptized. It means we are beginning a new life under a new Master. We are reconciled to God by his wiping out of our sins, or original sin if one is being baptized as a child. We are made righteous. We are no longer strangers or foreigners when we trust in God.

Because we have been reconciled to God, we now have been given the privilege of encouraging others to do the same. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, and this means we are to be his representatives. As ambassadors of Christ, we are sent with his message of reconciliation to the world. We need not take this responsibility lightly because a hungry, broken, poor, and oppressed world anxiously and hopefully awaits us. How do you see yourself in the role of Christ’s ambassador?

While you trust in Christ, you make a trade: your sins for his goodness. He took on unto himself all of our sins at Calvary, and we received his righteousness that he has poured out for us at our conversion.  This is what Christians mean when they talk about Christ’s atonement for sin. Let us fall on our knees and give God our total gratitude for making this marvelous trade available for us.

 

LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32

Today’s Gospel shows us the conflict between the Pharisees’ way of treating a sinner and Jesus’ way.  To people who did not keep the law, a label called “The people of the land” was given to them. These people were shunned by most Orthodox Jews. A Pharisee was forbidden to have anything to do with a known sinner. They were shocked at the easy way that Jesus got along with them. Their attitude was that to eat with a sinner, to talk to a sinner and to be with sinners must mean that you, too, were a sinner. Their philosophy was to destroy the sinner before God.

Jesus, of course, believed in saving the sinner and told them a story about a young man who was very rebellious to his family. Jewish law stated that the oldest son must get twice as much inheritance money as all the other sons combined.  In this story the younger of two sons demanded his share of the money. He was bored and lazy and wanted to leave home to go and enjoy the outside world.  He soon ran through the money, and he finished up feeding the pigs at a local farm.  This was a job that was forbidden to a Jew because the law stated, “Cursed is he who feeds the swine.

The turning point in the story came when the young man came to his senses and said that he was a sinner. He came back home, not to ask if he could be a son again or even a slave, because there still was some kind of tie to the family being even a slave. But he asked to be a paid servant who had no status or security, only day-to-day existence.  He knew that he was a sinner, so he confessed and was repentant.

The father saw the son coming and rushed out to meet his repentant son. His father put a robe of honor on his son, a ring that gave him unlimited buying power, and shoes (a slave or hired servant had no shoes). A feast was ordered so that all might rejoice in that a sinner was lost but now was found, or as the father put it, “My son was dead, but now he is alive.” We must never forget that the love of God can defeat even the deliberate rebellion of the heart.

 

Application

The first reading shows all men that we are not to under-estimate the ability of God.  The second reading reveals that a Christian is not reformed or rehabilitated but is a brand-new creation of almighty God.  The Gospel says the Pharisees believed in destroying the sinner, but Jesus believed in saving the sinner.

This week let people around you see Christ-like actions, not Pharisee-type actions. Show others by your mercy, by your ability to listen, by your not joining in the gossip, and by showing joy when someone apologizes for something they have done wrong. Jesus believed that love will conquer all forms of evil, and your actions will prove to the “people of the land” that he is right.  Jesus loved and saved, and you are called to do no less.