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.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ DEUTERONOMY 8:2‑3, 14‑16 FIRST READING
(“Not by bread alone does man live, but by every Word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.”)
- Who is speaking, and whose words is he announcing? Deuteronomy 5:1‑5
- What is he asking the Israelites to remember? Deuteronomy 8:2
- What two things does the Holy One of Israel, the Lord, our God, do for us? Isaiah 48:17
- Why did affliction come upon the Israelites? Deuteronomy 8:2
- With what did the Lord let them be afflicted? With what did he feed them, and for what reason? Deuteronomy 8:3
- How many days was Jesus tempted in the desert by Satan? What was one of the temptations, and what was Jesus’ answer? Luke 4:2‑4
- Of what is he telling them to be careful after they have their fill? Deuteronomy 8:14
- What did the Lord do for the Israelites? Deuteronomy 8:15-16
- What do affliction and testing make us in the end? Deuteronomy 8:16
- When under trial or affliction, what are we to do? Romans 12:12
Personal ‑ In what way is there a balance in your life between the food you eat and obedience to the Word of God? In what way are you taking in the Word? Are you eating what is good for you in bread and Word? Is Eucharist part of your daily nourishment?
What Kind of Physical Food
4 Basics Junk Food
Listening and Obeying the Word
God’s Word Man’s Word
When Receiving Eucharist
Repentant Heart Hard Heart
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 10:16‑17 SECOND READING
(“We all partake of the one loaf.”)
- Who wrote this letter and to whom was he writing? 1 Corinthians 1:1‑2
- What are the two questions he asks them in 1 Cor. 10:16?
- What did Jesus do with the bread and what did he say it was? Matthew 26:26
- What did he do with the cup, and what did he say it was? Matthew 26:27‑28
- In what do we share or participate? 1 Corinthians 10:16
- Because the loaf of bread is one, we, many though we are, are what, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 10:17
- In whom are we one body? Romans 12:5
- Just as there is one body, there is also one what, and what is given you by your call? Ephesians 4:4
Personal ‑ In what way do you share in the body and blood of Jesus with your family and friends? Is there a oneness and unity among those with whom you associate? Read the rest of 1 Corinthians 10. Examine your conscience to see whether you have been worshiping the One, True God.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:51‑58 GOSPEL
(“If anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever.”)
- Who is speaking? Who did he say he was, and from where has he come down? John 6:43, 51
- What did he say would happen to those who eat this bread? John 6:51
- What did he say the bread he will give is, and for the life of whom? John 6:51
- How did the Jews react to this, and what did they ask? John 6:52
- Jesus assured them that if they did not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, they would have no what? John 6:53
- What happens to him who feeds on his flesh and drinks his blood? John 6:54
- What does Jesus say his flesh and blood are? John 6:55
- The man who remains in Jesus, and Jesus in him, does what? John 6:56
- What does the Father have? Whom did he send, and what does he who was sent have because of him? John 6:57
- What will the man who feeds on Jesus have because of him? John 6:57
- Where did this bread come from, and what is it unlike? John 6:58
- How long will the man live who lives on this bread? John 6:58
Personal ‑ How has the eating of Jesus’ flesh, and drinking of his blood, which is the Eucharist, shown others that he is truly present in you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 147:12‑15, 19‑20
(“…swiftly runs his Word.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
DEUTERONOMY 8:2‑3, 14‑16
Today’s passage reveals what it really means to live the “real life.” You have to ask yourself a very difficult question: “How do you find “real life?” Today, many people think it comes when you eat the right foods, or drink the light and tasty drinks. Some go to extreme measures to make sure they dress well so that they may look good. Others spend enormous amounts of time trying to build up their bodies in order to look more attractive, younger or stronger. An incredible number of people think the “real life” is to obtain an education so they can earn a fortune and live wherever they choose and do whatever they decide. Today, we call this “living the good life,” and for many, the way others must live does not enter into their concern. But these desires leave us empty because they satisfy only our appetites, not our deepest longings.
Moses tells us that real life comes from total commitment to God. It requires sacrifice, discipline, and plain hard work. Many people today are looking for the quick fix whether it be for a diet, an education, marriage, or work. Only as our relationship with God deepens will our character and strength develop. The long‑term rewards for obeying God are greater than anything the world has to offer. The bread God gave Moses was a special kind of Bread, and it came from heaven.
God showed what was coming in the form of another special kind of bread at the Last Supper. Jesus gave us himself in the taking and eating of his Body and Blood. He said, “This is my Body, take and eat. This is my Blood, take it and drink.” We call this “Eucharist,” which we receive at Mass. We become “Eucharisted” when we eat his body and drink his blood. We might ask, “How do we Eucharist others?” You can Eucharist others by giving of yourself in many ways. You Eucharist others when you give them a smile, a hug, a kiss, a loving pat on the shoulder when they are emotionally in pain, a cup of coffee, a glass of cold water, and a few moments of your time to listen. There are many ways to give yourself away to others, and be Eucharisting every one you meet. “Eucharist” is at its best when we joyfully give it away. When we say “amen” at communion time, we are saying “Yes, I am the body of Christ.” That is why we are called to go out and Eucharist his people.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:16‑17
Paul tells us that we have unity with God when we ask God to bless the wine and bread that is offered, he accepts it, and blesses it through the presence of his Son, Jesus. The ideal of experiencing unity with God through eating a sacrifice was strong in the old days of Judaism, and in the early days of Christianity.
In the Old Testament days, when a Jew offered a sacrifice, he ate part of that sacrifice (Deut. 12:17, 18). Christians then, and today, participate in Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice when they eat the bread and drink the wine that is changed into his body and blood. This unity that we call the body of Christ is shared by all who eat and drink of the body and blood of Christ. We call this Communion, which means the believers share in the benefits of the same source (body and blood of Christ). When we all eat from the same loaf, then we are blessed with the gift of unity.
We may ask, “What does it mean to eat the body of Christ, and to share in his glory?” We are asked to reflect to the age‑old question, “Is this an act of faith that we believe in, or is it some great story that we are expected to believe?” Communion is com‑union which means with or union with Christ. Are you in communion with Christ and his family? When we say we share the blessings of Christ’s blood, are we saying that his blessings are only for the spiritually clean, and that his blood covers only the righteous with glory? We need to reflect on our attitude as we come to the table of the Lord. Do we really believe that the bread and wine of our sacrifice has been transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The way we live out our lives will be our greatest testimony to what we say we profess and believe. His “Yes” is our whole healing presence of himself in the Holy Eucharist.
This passage challenges us to reflect on Jesus being the “bread of life.” Many people today ask, “How can Jesus give us his flesh as bread to eat?” To eat his living bread means to unite ourselves with Jesus Christ. Jesus tells the people that their fathers in the wilderness ate the bread that came from the skies, and gave them life for a time, but they eventually died. The bread that Jesus gives is eternal life to anyone who partakes of it.
We are united with Christ when we believe in his death and resurrection, and depend on his teaching for guidance, and trust in the Holy Spirit for power. The people of Jesus’ day were shocked just to imagine drinking his blood and eating his flesh. They probably thought this was very cannibalistic. The Jewish law forbade drinking blood (Lev. 17:10‑11), and they could not tolerate such a statement. Jesus was saying that his life had to become their life.
Today, the celebration is called the Eucharist which means thanksgiving or giving thanks in unity that Christ died for all mankind. Paul calls it the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23), and he tells us that Jesus taught us about his Last Supper on the night of the Passover (Luke 22:13‑20). We need to remember that just as Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so the Lord’s supper or communion as most of us know it, celebrates deliverance from sin by Christ’s death. We need to really remember that Jesus is present to us in the bread and wine, and when we eat his body and drink his blood, we are proclaiming to the world that he will be within us, and bless us until he comes again. This is the tremendous benefit of the new covenant that allows us personally to approach God and communicate with him.
Eating the Sacred Body and drinking the Sacred Blood makes us “Amen” people. That is, we are saying “Amen or yes, I believe it, and I will live it out” when the celebrant hands the consecrated bread and wine to us and says “Body of Christ, Blood of Christ.” Our “Amen” is a yes, not only present in bread and wine, but also to his total presence in ourselves and others as we consume it. We are then called in unity to go forth and present the power and presence of that Eucharist to others by giving it away through our love and service. “They will know we are Christians by our love” is more than just a saying.
The first reading tells us that real life comes from total commitment to God. The second reading shows us that “communion” is com-union which means with or in union with Christ. The Gospel tells us that “communion,” or Eucharist, means giving thanks, in unity that Christ died for all mankind.
The body and blood of Christ is given to us in Holy Communion. Let us, this week, show others that he lives within us by the way we act in love, kindness and gentleness. Let others see that this bread of life is a food that nurtures the heart, the mind, the body and the spirit. Your taking time to be compassionate, caring, and loving will be a sign to others that this is much more than a symbol.
Show those around you how you bring Eucharist to them. You can Eucharist people with a caring touch, a little note of affirmation, a cup of tea, a shoulder to cry on, a back that needs rubbing. Eucharist is what we call the Body and Blood of Christ. We can receive Eucharist in church and then go out and Eucharist every person with whom we come in contract.