TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Sept. 17th) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY           READ SIRACH 27:30-28:7       FIRST READING

(“Forgive your neighbor’s injustice.”)

  1. What are hateful things, and what does the sinner do with them?   Sirach 27:30

 

  1. What are we to keep in mind, and what does man’s anger not fulfill?   James 1:19-20

 

  1. What will the vengeful suffer, and for what reason? Sirach 28:1

 

  1. Who says, “Vengeance is mine: I will repay?” Romans 12:19

 

  1. If we forgive our neighbor’s injustice, what will happen when we pray?   Sirach 28:2

 

  1. What did Jesus say to the Father as he was dying on the cross?   Luke 23:34

 

  1. In whom has God forgiven us? Ephesians 4:32

 

  1. If a person nourishes anger against another person, what can he expect from the Lord?   Sirach 28:3

 

  1. What are the questions asked in verses four and five of Sirach 28?

 

  1. What are we to set aside, what are we to remember, and from what are we to cease?   Sirach 28:6

 

  1. Who are we not to hate, whose covenant are we to remember, and what are we to overlook?   Sirach 28:7

 

Personal – Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you any anger you may be harboring against anyone. What gives you the strength to forgive when you were innocent and unjustly treated?

 

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 14:7-9         SECOND READING

(“While we live we are responsible to the Lord.”)

  1. What does not one of us do? Romans 14:7

 

  1. What example did Jesus give us to follow on how to live, and what is no slave greater than?   John 13:12- 16

 

  1. While we live, to whom are we responsible? Romans    14:8

 

  1. When we die, as what do we die? Romans 14:8

 

  1. To whom do we belong in both life and death? Romans 14:8

 

  1. The slave called in the Lord is what, and how have we been bought? 1 Corinthians 7:22-23

 

  1. Why did Christ die and come to life again? Romans    14:9

 

  1. Who is set apart by God to judge both the living and the dead?   Acts 10:36-42

 

  1. What is the blessed and only ruler called? 1 Timothy 6:15

 

  1. What must every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father?  Philippians 2:11

 

Personal – In what way have you submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Is it partial or total submission? How has this submission been visible to your family, friends, schoolmates, or work acquaintances?

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 18:21-35              GOSPEL

(“My Lord, be patient with me and I will pay back in full.”)

  1. Who was speaking, and what did he ask the Lord? Matthew 18:21

 

  1. When Jesus told his disciples how to pray, what did he say to do regarding forgiveness?   Matthew 6:12

 

  1. What was Jesus’ reply to forgiving seven times? Matthew 18:22

 

  1. To what may the reign of God be compared? Matthew    18:23

 

  1. As the king began his auditing one was brought in who owed him a huge amount of money, what did his master order in payment of the debt?   Matthew 18:24-25

 

  1. What did the official do and say? Matthew 18:26

 

  1. With what was the master moved, and what did he do? Matthew 18:27

 

  1. What did that same official do when he met a fellow servant?       Matthew 18:28

 

  1. What did his fellow servant do and say, and what did he have done with him?   Matthew 18:29-30

 

  1. When his fellow servants saw what had happened, what was their reaction, where did they go, and what did    they do?   Matthew 18:31

 

  1. When his master sent for him, what did he say to him? Matthew 18:32-33

 

  1. What did he do in anger? Matthew 18:34

 

  1. What did Jesus say his Heavenly Father would do, and what are we to do?   Matthew 18:34-35

 

  1. What judges the thoughts and reflections of the heart? Hebrews 4:12

 

Personal – For what major flaw in you did Jesus die on the cross and forgive you? What major flaw do you need to forgive in a brother or sister? Be specific.

 

FIFTH DAY           READ PSALM 103:1-4, 9-12

(“Not according to our sins does he deal with us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY          READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

SIRACH 27:30-28:7

“Father, forgive these people, they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).” Jesus asked his Father to forgive the people who were putting him to death. God answered that prayer by opening up the way of salvation to everyone.

Today’s passage reveals to us that vengeance for us comes from the Lord only (Romans 12:19). We are told that mercy will come only to those who show mercy and that we will be pardoned for our sins in the same measure that we pardon those who have sinned against us.

You and I do not ever have to refuse mercy to anyone, because we have been forgiven by Jesus Christ whose death paid the price of our redemption. His blood has washed us clean.

Because he has forgiven us, we can forgive others. The pain of being hurt physically, emotionally, sexually, or even spiritually, can be so devastating that it seems vengeance is more justifiable. Sometimes it seems more logical just to run away from the pain inside.

As you are reading this, let Jesus come into your heart and let him go to the point of the pain in your entire being. Say, “Come, Holy Spirit, give me the power to forgive as my brother Jesus forgives.” He will heal you and renew your mind (Romans 12:2). He will take up residence in your heart and he will give you a heart of flesh in place of that heart of stone. He will be your rock, your fortress, your refuge (Psalm 91). He will anoint your head with healing oil, and you will dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23).

We will learn to give mercy because he resides in our temple (1 Corinthians 6:20). We will pardon those who have injured us because we have been pardoned for all of our sins (Matt. 6:12). Let us remember to be quick to hear, slow to anger, and slow to speak (James 1:19, 20) for the wrath of a man does not show righteousness to God.

 

ROMANS 14:7-9

The only person who was ever born to die for us was Jesus Christ. He lived and died for all mankind. He died for all of the sinners in the world. His death paid the price that freed humanity from the bondage of Satan. All mankind did not decide to accept his incredible gift, and consequently, we see a tremendous conflict between good and evil. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Jesus was born to be the suffering servant of mankind and to be its Lord and Savior. Today we see many people who live in the belief that it is their own talents and drive that deter­mines their fate. We see many cultures who claim we have to be tough and independent to get ahead. Meekness is confused with weakness in many parts of our society. Love of God, family and country is considered by some to be sentimental foolishness.

Jesus called us to be foot washers in the world (John 13:3-17). He called us to be servants to our neighbors and to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34). He tells us our freedom has been bought at a high price, and that price was his blood (1 Corinthians 7:22-23). He calls from us a submission to him and a sub-mission to one another. We are to think of others first.

We are to put on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:2-11). We are called to live for Christ because he has died for us so that we might live forever. He is our Lord and when we die we will spend eternity in his loving presence.

I encourage you to stop what you are doing right now, get down on your knees, and confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life. He stands at the door of your heart. Open that door and invite him in, and let him heal you today (Rev. 3:20).

 

MATTHEW 18:21-35

We are told in today’s Gospel that if we do not forgive those who have offended us, neither will God forgive us of our offenses to him. In the days of Christ there was a Jewish custom that a person had to forgive someone only three times for having offended you. It was considered acceptable to demand punishment on the fourth offense.

Peter thought he was being very generous by suggesting to forgive someone seven times. He was startled to hear Jesus tell him that, in effect, we should always forgive those who repentant, no matter how many times they ask.

Today’s story tells us the serious consequences that awaited those who could not repay their debts. It was not uncommon to see a debtor remain in prison for the remainder of his life. Think about that for a moment. Not one of us is capable of paying off our own debt to God. Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for us, and he paid the ransom for our sins with his life. If we were at any time to be judged as to how well we paid off our own debts, heaven would be empty.

How many times have you asked the Lord to forgive you and you received his forgiveness in the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation? How many times did you then go on to fall to the seduction of temptation. God, in his incredible mercy, has put no limit on the number of times we are allowed to fall.

The road to eternal life would be empty and very long if God limited us to only a limited number of times to be forgiven. We have a God who loves us so much that he stands knocking at the door to our hearts, patiently waiting to come in to heal us as well as to forgive us (Rev 3:20).

Today, Jesus impresses us with the fact that forgiveness is a decision, and it is a decision to love. Jesus tells us in the last sentence of today’s parable that his Father will do to us what we do to others (Matt. 18:35). Jesus tells us in Scripture that whatever we do to the least of his brothers, we do unto him (Matt. 25:31-41).

Jesus has shown us that his actions back up his words. While dying on the cross he looked up at his Father and said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called today to do no less, and that is to forgive others who have offended us.

 

Application

The first reading shows us that vengeance comes from God, not from us. The second reading tells us that humility belongs to the character of Christ. The Gospel reveals that forgiveness is not an option for the Christian, it is a requirement that we extend it to others as God has extended it to us.

This week, approach a family member, friend, or co-worker against whom you hold a grudge, and ask them to forgive you. Holding on to any resentment, bitterness or unforgiveness towards them is what you ask in forgiveness. Remember, through forgiveness comes healing.

 

 

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Sept. 10th) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY             READ EZEKIEL 33:7-9         FIRST READING

(“You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.”)

  1. To whom did the Word of the Lord come, and who has been appointed watchman for the house of Israel? Ezekiel 1:3 3:17, and 33:7

 

  1. What is Ezekiel to do for the Lord? Ezekiel 33:7

 

  1. If the Lord tells the wicked man that he shall surely die, that was Ezekiel to do, and what will happen to the wicked man? Ezekiel 33:8

 

  1. Who will be held responsible for the death of the wicked man?   Ezekiel 33:8

 

  1. What will happen if we do not speak out? Psalm 32:3

 

  1. What happens to the wicked man, and how is he repaid? Isaiah 3:11

 

  1. Who is the one who shall die? Ezekiel 18:20

 

  1. How are we to warn the wicked man? Ezekiel 33:9

 

  1. If he refuses to do this, what will happen to him, and what will happen to us?   Ezekiel 33:9

 

  1. What kind of a God do we have? Psalm 7:12

 

Personal – What do you say to those you see doing wrong within your household? What do you think will happen to you if you remain silent when you see those around you being sinful?

 

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 13:8-10        SECOND READING

(“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)

  1. What are we not to owe anyone, and what exception is there to this?   Romans 13:8

 

  1. What has he who loves his neighbor done? Romans 13:8

 

  1. What is the virtue that binds all the rest together and makes them perfect? Colossians 3:14

 

  1. What is all summed up in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself?”  Romans 13:9

 

  1. What did Jesus give us, and how are we to love one another?   John 13:34

 

  1. How are we to treat others? Matthew 7:12

 

  1. What are we not to bear in our heart against our brother, and what are we not to take and cherish against our fellow countrymen?   Leviticus 19:17-18

 

  1. What does love never do, and what is the fulfillment of the law?   Romans 13:10

 

  1. What is love, and what does it not do? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

  1. Who is our neighbor? Luke 10:25-37, concentrating on verses 36-37

 

Personal – Have you seen anyone in need this week, and how did you respond to that need? In what way have you loved your neighbor? Write down a time you loved your neighbor each day this week.

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 18:15-20              GOSPEL

(“If your brother should commit a crime against you, go and point out his fault,”)

  1. If our brother should commit some wrong against us, what are we to do?   Matthew 18:15

 

  1. Who did Jesus say were brother, sister, and mother to him? Mark 3:35

 

  1. After going to our brother who has wronged us, what have we done if he listens. If he does not listen, what should we do, and for what reason?  Matthew 18:15-16

 

  1. What is laid down in the law? John 8:17

 

  1. If our brother ignores the others we have summoned, to whom do we refer him?   Matthew 18:17

 

  1. If the brother who committed the wrong ignores the church, how should we treat him?   Matthew 18:17

 

  1. Whom do we have no business judging, what should happen to those who bear the title “brother” and who is immoral? l Corinthians 5:9-13

 

  1. Whatever we declare bound on earth shall be declared what, and whatever we declare loosed on earth shall be      held what in heaven?   Matthew 18:18

 

Personal – How have you dealt with someone who has wronged you, in comparison to the above scripture?

 

  1. What does Jesus say will happen if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatsoever? Matthew 18:19

 

  1. What must we do in order to receive anything from the Lord? Matthew 7:7, John 15:7

 

  1. Who is present when two or three are gathered in his name? Matthew 18:20

 

Personal – With whom have you joined your voice in prayer this week, and what has been the result?

 

 

FIFTH DAY            READ PSALM 95:1-2, 6-9

(“Let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 95: 1-2, 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

EZEKIEL 33:7-9

This passage tells us that God will hold us responsible for not speaking out in defense of his name to those who violate his teachings. We cannot say that it is not our responsibility to speak out because we are not qualified. Ezekiel tells us that God has called us to warn the wicked man of his wrong doings or to face up to the responsibility of his death.

Today there is a strong emphasis to turn the other way concerning wrong doing. A major philosophy of today seems to be, that if it does not affect me, why should I complain. For example: the rate of crime is staggering in many countries; the breakdown of the family is accepted as a price of progress. A tremendous financial profit is being made today in the areas of pornography, child pornography, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and abortion.

Scripture tells us the wages of sin are death (Rom. 6:23), yet we remain incredibly silent with our Christian response to this barrage of filth. The essence of all sin is self, and it is the gratification of self that is tearing countries apart. The result of sin is death, and if we do not believe this, take a look around our communities and see the effects of sin. Many times the deaths and horror from AIDS are the results of drugs and immorality that can be passed on even to innocent victims in blood transfusions. Children are born infected with the dreaded disease through no fault of their own.

The rate of abortions has climbed to about 70 million a year worldwide. There has to be an end to the millions of people becoming zombies through the use of drugs and alcohol. Cigarettes kill more people than drugs and alcohol combined, and yet there is a silence in the Christian world. Silence indicates to many a degree of acceptance of the conditions.

I pray that you speak out in the name of Jesus and protest the wrongdoing that is going on in your own heart, your family, your community and your country.

 

ROMANS 13:8-10

St. Paul calls us to a complete sense of freedom in that we owe no man anything except our love. Jesus gives us his command­ment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”(John 13:34). Jesus went further when he tells us all to love God with our whole heart, mind, and spirit and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

To many people today that does not offer much, especially when self-esteem, self-image or self-love have never been established. There are millions of people walking around who do not feel that self-worth or feel they are worthy of being loved. Jesus knows that and consequently he said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” You are so precious, and so valuable, that God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross at Calvary just for you.

Jesus loves us completely and unconditionally, and he loves us wherever we are. The incredible part of this statement is that he loves us to the extent that he will not leave us as we are. He will transform you if you will let him. Right now he is knocking at the door of your heart while you are reading this study (Rev. 3:20). Try to look for a picture showing Jesus knocking on the door and you will see something very powerful. There is no door handle on the door; it opens only from within. He will love you with an everlasting love. People perish simply because of the lack of knowledge of who he is and of his great love for them (Hosea 4:6).

We are told that God is love and that we love him because we learn that he has loved us first. God is love. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love is hope. Love endures all things, and love is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus tells us that if we live in him and keep his command­ments, then he will live in us (John 15:7). To love your neighbors as yourself really means that God loved you so much that he died for you. We have to die to ourselves and be willing to do whatever it takes to help anyone who is in need of God’s love and mercy.

 

MATTHEW 18:15-20

The Gospel message tells us today that we are to go to our brother and tell him of his fault of sinning. Many ask today, “Who is my brother?” Jesus tells us in scripture that all who do the will of his Father are his brother, sister and mother (Mark 3:35). You can lovingly confront our brother or sister in Christ, if they are suffering or in pain but it should be done privately. (A wound will fester if it is not tended or healed right away.) If they listened to you and the problem is not resolved, then you know that the problem does not lie with you, it allows you to forgive that person so that he may become healed.

Today, bitterness and divisiveness rage among Chris­tians because of misunderstandings. We are told in Scripture that we will be insulted because of our Christian beliefs and conduct and whoever is called on to suffer should not be ashamed but to give thanks and glory to God (1 Peter 4:16). We are not called to judge the pagans or unbelievers, rather we are called to confront the “brother in the Lord” who is living in sin. This can be done only in love and in accordance with Scripture.

Jesus tells us that even our love of family is not to come between him and ourselves. Also Jesus tells us that he is always present in our midst. Whenever we come together to pray in his name, our requests will be honored by his Father in heaven. We need to remember that to pray in his name means to be completely immersed in prayer with him. His name is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-healing. Scripture tells us that every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11). To pray in his name means to have released all unforgiveness toward others. It means to confess all unrepented sins. To pray in his name means to remove all the blocks towards healing within ourselves.

When we pray in his name, whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt. 19:18). Then in Jesus’ name we can bind the evil in one of our sinful brothers, and in Jesus’ name loose upon that person the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy, peace, love – the Holy Spirit brings all that heavenly power and faith. In Jesus’ name the honor and glory of the Father are accomplished. We can be an expectant pray-er every time we pray in Jesus’ name because we have his Word on it (Matthew 18:19-20).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that we are responsible for speaking out in faith, and we are called to address the sinful actions of others. The second reading tells us that love is not love until it is freely given away to others, without any condi­tions. The Gospel tells us to confront one another lovingly in the name of Jesus when their conduct is out of order.

This week, speak lovingly but frankly and privately, to one of your loved ones who is not walking with the Lord. Remember, your silence may indicate that you agree with that person’s actions.

 

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Sept. 3rd) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

SECOND DAY            READ JEREMIAH 20:7-9        FIRST READING

(“But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart.”

 

  1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking? Jer 20:1, 7

 

  1. How did the Word of the Lord come to Jeremiah, and what was his response?   Jer 1:4-7

 

  1. What did he say the Lord did to him, what happened, and why? Jeremiah 20:7

 

  1. What happens all the day long? Jeremiah 20:7

 

  1. Whenever he speaks, what is his message? Jeremiah 20:8

 

  1. What has the Word of the Lord brought to him? Jer 20:8

 

  1. What does Jeremiah say to himself? Jeremiah 20:9

 

  1. What happens to his heart and his bones when he does not speak out?   Jeremiah 20:9

 

  1. Of what does Jeremiah grow weary, and what can he not endure?  Jeremiah 20:9

 

  1. What did Paul say about preaching the Gospel? 1 Corinthians 9:16-17

 

Personal – In what way have you had a burning desire to teach or preach the Word of God since you have been studying his Word? Stop growing weary by holding it in, and share with those closest to you what the Lord has taught you.

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 12:1-2        SECOND READING

(“…be transformed by the renewal of your mind,”)

  1. To whom is Paul speaking? Romans 1:7, Romans 12:1

 

  1. What does he beg them to do to their bodies through the mercy of God, and how are they to do it?   Romans 12:1

 

  1. For what was Christ’s death, once for all; and to what must we consider ourselves dead?  Romans 6:10-11

 

  1. For whom are we alive, and what must we not let our body do?   Romans 6:11-12

 

  1. To whom do we offer our body, and for what reason? Romans 6:13

 

  1. To what must we not conform? Romans 12:2

 

  1. By what must we be transformed, and for what reason? Romans 12:2

 

  1. From where does renewal come? Titus 3:5

 

  1. On what do we live that transforms the mind? Matthew 4:4

 

  1. How can we judge God’s will? John 12:44-48, concentrating  on verse 48

 

Personal – Through your study of scripture, what way has God transformed your mind this week? How has that affected those around you? In what way have you worshipped God in your body? Is your body holy and acceptable for worship?

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 16:21-27              GOSPEL

(If a man wishes to come after me,  he must deny his very self,…”)

  1. Where did Jesus say that he must go, what would happen there, and by whose hand?   Matthew 16:21

 

  1. What did Peter do and say to Jesus? Matthew 16:22

 

  1. How did Jesus respond to Peter, whom did he say was an obstacle to him, and how did Jesus say Peter was      thinking? Matthew 16:23

 

  1. What kind of Jews are nothing other than members of Satan’s assembly?   Revelation 2:9

 

  1. Whom did Jesus say a man must deny, what must he take up, and what must he begin to do? Matthew 16:24

 

  1. What happens to him who seeks only himself, and how do we discover who we are?   Matthew 10:39

 

  1. What is not self-seeking? 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

 

  1. Whoever would save his life will do what, but whoever loses his life for Jesus sake will what? Matthew 16:25

 

  1. What two questions does Jesus ask his disciples in Matthew 16:26?

 

  1. When the Son of Man comes with his Father’s glory accompanied by his angels, how will he repay each man? Matthew 16:27

 

  1. How do we follow in Jesus’ footsteps? Matthew 25:31- 40

 

Personal – Write down on a piece of paper things you have done this week that indicate a dying to self. Also, write down specific ways in which you are following Jesus. Read and meditate on Philippians 2:3-5. Give one specific way you deliberately thought of another’s interest before your own interest.

 

FIFTH DAY            READ PSALM 63:2-6, 8-9

(“…with lips of joy my mouth shall praise you.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9.

 

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

JEREMIAH 20:7-9

Jeremiah was a prophet who served God for over 40 years. His message was coming to a nation that had rejected God and was sliding head long into ruin. Jeremiah was regarded as a meddler and a traitor. People, nobles and kings alternately tried to put him to death. Jeremiah had reached the point where, if he proclaimed God’s word, people became angry. They did not want to hear the truth from him, because the truth would convict them of their sinfulness.

Jeremiah is considered “out of date,” “not in the mainstream of today’s theology,” and “old fashioned.” He becomes a laughing-stock of the country­side. When he would not proclaim God’s Word because of the constant rejection, his whole body would constrict and his heart would become like a burning fire. He became weary of trying to hold it in and preach what the people wanted to hear. He could not do it because the call to truth was the call of God and he would not turn away from that call.

Do you speak God’s holy truth when you are among your friends, or do you fall into line and speak what you think people want to hear? Jeremiah never felt he was qualified to be a prophet, and he never had a following of adoring fans. He chose to go on because his heart was burning like a fire for the Lord.

Today’s passage is a tremendous message of hope to all of God’s children, and that message is that God loves you. He formed you in your mother’s womb, and he knows you by name (Jer. 1:4-7).

Do not let the voice of the world be your guide. Let the quiet whisper of God who spoke to Elijah in the cave be the source of your words.

People will laugh and mock us today for proclaiming God’s word, but that is all right because the Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want (Psalm 23:1). A shepherd always protects his flock, and we have a shepherd who loves us so much he even died for us.

 

ROMANS 12:1-2

The call of God is so vibrant in the message of the New Testament. He is calling us to believe in his only begotten Son, Jesus, and if we do, we will have eternal life (John 3:16). This promise is made by God to the whole world. Yet much of the world has rejected this message which lets us live life in all of its fullness.

Why is so much of the world not living a life of fullness (John 10:10) when so many know about Jesus Christ? The answer is sin. To live abundantly we must serve the Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus showed us how to be an example of service by dying for us on the cross. As stated in this reading from Romans, we are to “present our bodies” in voluntary surrender to the will of God. God must control the use of the whole person, and we are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice.

We have been called to be temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:20), and we must set our sights on what is above (Col. 3:1-2). Our temple of the Holy Spirit does not include drugs, alcohol or fornication. The world laughs at the description of our being a temple of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus commands us to be filled with his Holy Spirit.

You, my Christian friends, have been transformed by the power of God and no longer conform to the agenda of the world. Because of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, you now have the power to conform to the good, acceptable and perfect will of God; and you will enjoy a life that is physically, emotionally and spiritually full. Let your mind be renewed by God’s Holy Word, by spending time in quiet prayer and in fellowship with other Christians. And, finally, as the Psalmist so powerfully describes, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:11)

 

MATTHEW 16:21-27

Discipleship is very costly, and yet, it is a cost that we can not afford to reject. A disciple is a learner who follows the teachings of the master. Jesus tells us that if we really wish to follow him, we are to take up our cross and carry it in his name. Jesus took up his cross and carried it to Calvary and allowed himself to be crucified for us. He dies on his cross so that you and I could have eternal life.

We are called to carry our cross daily and do the same things that Christ did. We are called to die to self and to put others before us (Phil. 2:2-4). We look around and see so much turmoil in our world, and the main reason is that many people do not want to pick up and carry their daily cross. The essence of sin is self and the only way that we break the bondage of sin is to die to self. It is in the losing of our life for Christ or in the dying to self that the saving of one’s life happens. “Why are some people’s crosses heavier than others?” is asked by many people. The more one dies to self on a daily basis, the lighter that cross becomes. We see people going through some horrendous events in their lives and there is a sense of inner peace and joy. This is a person who has yielded to the call of Christ and has cast all his cares upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7).

When we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit, he will empower us to become disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We can go out and make disciples of others (Matt. 28:19) only when we have learned to die to ourselves and live for Jesus Christ. To die for Christ is very noble; to live for Christ is much harder. It calls for a daily commitment. We need to remember that anything we achieve or own in this life will end when we die. When we die to ourselves and pick up our daily cross and live for others in Christ, we will live forever in victory with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Application

The first reading shows us that perseverance is a virtue of a prophet. The second reading tells us to live the abundant life, and calls for a commitment of our mind, body and soul. This week’s Gospel tells us that in order to live forever, we must die like Christ if we are to rise like Christ.

This week let us practice dying to ourselves in our family by trying to do some of the following:

Parents – set aside some time every day to share with each child and your spouse.

Children – find a time each day to serve a member of your family, such as helping a brother or sister do their chores. Help your parents around the home, or financially as they get older.

Everyone – Die to yourself in school or work by listening to others and really hearing what they have to say.

Remember, to lose our life for Christ is the best way to rise with Christ.

TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Aug. 27th) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY          READ ISAIAH 22: 15, 19-23      FIRST READING

(“…and give over to him your authority.”)

  1. Who is speaking, and where does he say to go? Isaiah 22:15

 

  1. Who is Shebna, and what does Isaiah 36:3 say about him? Isaiah 22:15

 

  1. What happened to Shebna? Isaiah 22:16-19

 

  1. Who does the Lord summon, and who is his father? Isaiah 22:20

 

  1. With what does the Lord clothe and gird Eliakim, and what does he give over to him?   Isaiah 22:21

 

  1. Who has full authority over heaven and earth? Matthew 28:18

 

  1. Who established the existing authority? Romans 13:1

 

  1. To whom is Eliakim the father? Isaiah 22:21

 

  1. What will the Lord place on Eliakim’s shoulder, and what will happen when he opens and shuts the house of David? Isaiah 22:22

 

  1. What did Jesus entrust to Peter, and what authority does that give him?   Matthew 16:19

 

  1. How does the Lord fix Eliakim, and where does he place him with his family?   Isaiah 22:23

 

Personal – Where do you see yourself as far as “when you open, no one can shut; when you shut, no one can open?” How has God given you the key to forgive or hold others bound by your unforgiveness? Think about this, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his truth to you.

 

 

THIRD DAY             READ ROMANS 11:33-36       SECOND READING

(“For from him and through him and to God are all things.”)

  1. Fill in the following blanks: Oh, the depth of the ___________and___________and__________ of God?   Romans 11:33

 

  1. How is God’s wisdom made known? Ephesians 3:10

 

  1. In whom is every treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3

 

  1. What is inscrutable and unsearchable? Romans 11:33

 

  1. What questions are being asked in Romans 11:34 and in Wisdom 9:13?

 

  1. How has God revealed this wisdom to us? 1 Corinthians 2:10

 

  1. What is given to God, and for what reason is it given? Romans 11:35

 

  1. How are all things? Romans 11:36

 

  1. What is to him forever? Romans 11:36

 

  1. From whom do all things come, and for whom do we live? Through whom was everything made, and through whom do we live?  1 Corinthians 8:6

 

  1. How was everything on the earth created? Colossians   1:16

 

 

Personal – In what way do you show the Lord your love for him as the Great Creator? Take a few moments right now and praise him for the All Powerful Mighty God that he is.

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 16:13-20              GOSPEL

(“Who do you say that I am?”)

  1. To what neighborhood has Jesus come, and what did he ask his disciples?   Matthew 16:13

 

  1. Who do the people say Jesus is? Matthew 16:14

 

  1. Who did Herod the Tetrarch say Jesus was? Matthew    14:1-2

 

  1. What direct question did Jesus ask his disciples? Matthew 16:15

 

  1. Who answered Jesus, what did he call him, and who did he say was his Father? Matthew 16:16

 

  1. What is the meaning of Messiah? John 4:25

 

  1. What was Jesus’ reply to Peter’s answer, and who revealed this to Peter? Matthew 16:17

 

  1. What did Jesus declare to Peter, what will he build on him, and what will not prevail against it?   Matthew 16:18

 

  1. What does he entrust to Peter? Matthew 16:19

 

  1. What happens when he declares something bound on earth and loosed on earth?   Matthew 16:19

 

  1. What did Jesus tell his disciples not to do? Matthew 16:20

 

 

Personal – Who do you say Jesus is? Write out on a piece of paper who Jesus is to you?

 

FIFTH DAY           READ PSALM 138: 1-3, 6, 8

(“You build up strength within me.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 138: 1-3, 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

ISAIAH 22:15, 19-23

This passage is the result of Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruc­tion of Jerusalem. Isaiah warns his people against making alliances with foreigners and telling them they should trust in God alone for their future. Jerusalem was savagely attacked and its people were slaughtered. The real tragedy, in today’s reading, is the people had plenty of warning and chose to trust in their own ingenuity, weapons and even their pagan neighbors. Isaiah told them that unless they repented of their evil ways, they would face God’s punishment. They did not want to hear this kind of talk. They said, “Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

We need to reflect on how much we depend on God to help us in our decision making. Too often we turn to things which, though good in them­selves, really will not give us the help we need. We must do all the necessary work today in our homes, community, and country, but God must guide our efforts. Today, national danger should be a call to national repentance. The essence of all sin is self. We are called to root out the rebellion in our spirit before we start to clean out anyone else. We can only do that by repen­tance, a complete change of mind (Rom. 12:2). We need to confess with our lips and believe with our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom. 10:10). We can only repent or change when we obey God’s law and not man’s law (Acts 5:29).

Today we see people giving up hope and following drugs, alcoholism and immoral sex. The world’s response to hopelessness is despair and self-indulgence. The proper response is to turn to God and trust in his promise of eternal life (John 3:16).

Shebna was a high official who got above the Law of God and became a law unto himself. We see that type of individual in many nations today. Shebna was the peg that was pulled out of the wall and all his power and riches were gone. You are a good leader when you are building up others, and the source of your good leadership is Jesus Christ.

 

ROMANS 11:33-36

Paul tells us the greatness of our God is almost beyond descrip­tion. The depth of his riches, knowledge and wisdom is far beyond the comprehension of our mind. Scripture tells us that “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor can man ever comprehend what God has in store for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). The wisdom of God has been revealed to us by means of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will do what he has promised. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is our assurance of eternal life with all of its blessings.

The world fears power, yet we belong to the God of the universe, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We do not need to fear any power whether it be dictator, nation, death or Satan himself. God’s incomparable power is for us who choose to believe in him. The Holy Spirit searches out and shows us all of God’s deepest secrets. These secrets are contained in Jesus Christ. The secrets are his resurrection and the plan of salvation which has been revealed to those who believe that what God says is true.

Those who believe and put their faith in Jesus will know all that they need to know to be saved. To really put on the “mind of Christ” we need to realize that it means to get a true perspective of humility for ourselves. We do not need to put ourselves down, that is not true humility. We do need to see that we are sinners, saved only by God’s grace. To put on the “mind of Christ” is to avoid selfishness, and the cure for selfishness is servanthood. This brings unity among believers and is a witness to unbelievers that God’s power is present in this world. We must always remember that selfish ambitions destroy church unity by putting one Christian against another.

The full glory of God is manifested to us in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. God glorified Jesus because of his obedience. God glorified him by raising him to his original position at the right hand of the Father, where he will reign forever as our Lord and judge (Phil. 2:2-4). Jesus Christ was humble and willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Jesus, we must serve out of love for a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, and the riches of his will all be ours through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

MATTHEW 16:13-20

Today’s Gospel passage took place in territory ruled by Caesarea Philippi. The influence of Greek and Roman culture was everywhere and pagan temples and idols were extremely popular. The city was rebuilt and named after Caesar and called Caesarea.

Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They told him that many people thought he was a great prophet returned. Peter told him that he was “the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus was pleased that Peter was not fooled by the culture or the latest fad. He knew that his Father had revealed his identity to Peter.

Jesus tells Peter that he is a stable leader, a rock, and that he will build his church on that rock. Jesus personally tells Peter that his church would stand up victorious against even the gates of hell. This is a tremendous statement made by Jesus. We have a church that was commissioned by Jesus Christ who tells the whole world that his church will never fall. He gives Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which means the authority to rule in his name. He tells Peter, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Jesus gave this authority to Peter and his successors who passed this on down until today.

A Catholic is forgiven his sins by a priest in the name of Jesus Christ. You can hold someone in bondage by not forgiving them and cutting off their supply of love. This will result in your damaging not only the other person but yourself too. You can loose the person of their bondage by your forgiveness and the result is freedom to both of you. Jesus wants all of us to be free, and he calls all of us into repentance. God has chosen each one of us to help someone find the way. Remember, to all who believe in Christ and obey his words, the kingdom doors are swung wide open.

 

Application

This week’s first reading tells us to trust in God, not people. The second reading tells us that no one can fully understand the mind of Christ, but we can put on his mind by following his example. The Gospel shows how God built his church and gave Peter the keys of heaven to preach, teach, and rule. The church is guaranteed by Christ to never fail.

If you are holding a grudge against anyone and you are having trouble forgiving them, try the following three steps:

  1. Forgive that person for what has been done to you.
  2. Ask the Lord to forgive that person for what has been done to you.
  3. Ask the Lord to cleanse your heart of the bitterness, resentment, anger, and the unforgiveness that you have towards that person who hurt you. This will bind the spirit of anger,   resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. It will loose the spirit of forgiveness and love and set you and that person free.

 

TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Aug. 20th) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY            READ ISAIAH 56:1, 6-7        FIRST READING

(“Observe what is right, do what is just;”)

  1. Who is speaking, what does he say to observe, and what does he say to do? Isaiah 56:1

 

  1. Of what must you never grow weary? 2 Thessalonians 3:13

 

  1. Whom are we to follow because all his works are right and his ways are just? Daniel 4:34

 

  1. What does the Lord say is about to come and be revealed? Isaiah 56:1

 

  1. What leads to justification and salvation? Romans 10:10

 

  1. What are the foreigners doing who join themselves to the Lord? Isaiah 56:6

 

  1. What are the foreigners doing to the name of the Lord, and what are they becoming? Isaiah 56:6

 

  1. Whom will the Lord bring to his holy mountain, and what will he make them?   Isaiah 56:6-7

 

  1. What shall he call his house, for whom is his house, and what will be acceptable on his altar? Isaiah 56:7

 

  1. What are we to offer continually to God, and with what kind of sacrifices is God pleased? Hebrews 13:15-16

 

Personal – In what way are you keeping Sunday as the Lord’s Day? Are you made to feel joyful at church? Is it a house of prayer and worship for you? If you do not feel the Joy of the Lord at church, examine your conscience and see whether you have any of the following things blocking you:

 

– not doing what is right and just

– not ministering to the Lord (the poor)

– not loving his name

– not being his servant

– not keeping the Sabbath (Sunday) free from profanity

– not holding to his covenant.

 

 

THIRD DAY          READ ROMANS 11:13-15, 29-32    SECOND READING

(“God has imprisoned all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all.”)

  1. Who is speaking, and to whom is he speaking? Who does he claim to be? Romans 1:1, Romans 11:13

 

  1. In what does Paul glory, and what is he trying to do? Romans 11:13-14

 

  1. What does the Lord say about Paul in Acts 9:15?

 

  1. If the Jew’s rejection has meant reconciliation for the world, what will their acceptance mean? Romans 11:15

 

  1. How were we reconciled to God, and how have we been saved?   Romans 5:10

 

  1. What are God’s gifts and his call? Romans 11:29

 

  1. What does Numbers 23:19 say about God?

 

  1. What have you received through the Jew’s disobedience, and what did they also receive through this?  Romans 11:30-31

 

  1. Into what has God imprisoned all, and for what reason? Romans 11:32

 

  1. What happens to those who conceal their sins, and what happens to those who confess and forsake them? Proverbs 28:13

 

  1. What did God do for us in his great mercy, and from where does it draw its life? 1 Peter 1:3

 

Personal – How do you see yourself, as one disobedient and in need of a savior, or as someone who feels and has experienced the mercy of God through Jesus?

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 15:21-28              GOSPEL

(“Woman, you have great faith?   Your wish will come to pass.”)

  1. To what district did Jesus withdraw? See whether you can find this on a Bible map Matthew 15:21

 

  1. Who was living in that locality, what did she cry out to Jesus, and what did Jesus say to her?  Matthew 15:22-23

 

  1. When Jesus’ disciples came up to him, what did they say to him? Matthew 15:23

 

  1. What was Jesus’ reply and to whom was he referring? Matthew 15:24, Romans 15:8

 

  1. What did the woman come forward and do, what was her plea, and what was Jesus’ answer to her? Matt 15:25-26

 

  1. What did the woman call Jesus, and what did she say about the dogs? Matthew 15:27

 

  1. What did Jesus say the woman had that was great, and what happened to her daughter? Matthew 15:28

 

  1. What did Jesus say about the centurion, and what happened to his servant? Matthew 8:10, 13

 

  1. What did Jesus see in the people who brought him a paralytic, and what happened to him?  Matthew 9:2, 6-7

 

  1. What will happen to the person who puts his faith in Jesus?   John 14:12

 

Personal – Examine yourself and see how much faith you have. How do you respond when a loved one gets sick? What do you ask from the Lord? Spend more time alone with the Lord this week and ask him to increase your faith. Listen to what he says and memorize Romans 10:17, “Faith, then, comes through hearing, and what is heard is the Word of Christ.”

 

 

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

(“May the peoples praise you, O God,”)

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

ISAIAH 56: 1, 6-7

The Sabbath was the day set aside for prayer, rest, and worship. We are commanded by God to observe his Sabbath because we need to spend unhurried time in worship each week. Scripture tells us very clearly to remember the “Sabbath” as a holy day. Six days a week are for our daily duties and regular work. But the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord our God. On that day we are to do no work of any kind, nor shall our children or even our guests. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, earth and sea and everything in them, and rested on the seventh day: so bless the Sabbath day and set it aside for rest.” (Ex. 20:8-11)

Today there are many people who ignore this special day and treat it with little or no respect at all. Sunday in many parts of the world, is a day of sports, not a “Day of the Lord.” Sunday was never intended to be a day in which you did all the odd jobs around the house that you did not have time to do during the week. We all need to ask ourselves, “Do I really give honor and glory to the Lord on Sunday, or do I just look at it as a day off from work?”

God has called us to make his house of prayer a place of holiness. He tells us that all who make his temple a house of prayer will receive his blessings. God is pleased with our sacrifice of praise, our joyfulness and our confessing with our lips that he is the Lord of our life. God shows us in this passage that if we respond to him, he will send his blessings upon us, no matter what our color, social position, work or financial situation. Remember, God’s blessings are as much for us as anyone else. Remember, Sunday is a day of adoration and fellowship with the Lord.

 

ROMANS 11: 13-15, 29-32

We need to remember that in the days following Pentecost, the new Christian church was filled mostly with Jewish people. Because of the missionary efforts of Peter, Paul, Philip and others, Gentiles became believers. It was not very long before the Gentiles, or non-Jewish believers, became the majority in the church. This turning from the Jews toward the Gentiles did not mean that God had abandoned them; it meant that when a Jew came to Christ, there was great rejoicing, as if a dead person had come back to life.

Paul’s vision was for a church in which all Jews and Chris­tians were united in their love for God. Today our world is so much smaller and that vision is so much wider. There are many types of people in the Christian church today. We must remember that Christ redeemed the whole world by his death on the cross, and salvation is for those who accept and believe in him.

God’s mercy and his love are not limited to one special elite group. Scripture shows us that the Jews would freely share the blessings with the Gentiles. God calls upon us to bless each other and “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) God’s mercy is intended to fall on all of his people. In Paul’s day there was tremendous brutality toward the poor, oppressed and the despised.

Today we see much mercy and compassion extended toward the homeless, the poor, those in the soup kitchen lines, and the prisons. We have a tremendous opportunity to extend the mercy and compassion of God to those who are suffering from AIDS. Brutality still exists in all segments of our society, because only by obeying the Word of God will we bring about a real permanent healing to our people.

When God’s Word is on every person’s tongue, and when every knee bends and everyone calls Jesus Lord, then and only then, will there really be a lasting peace in the world. All of us have experienced the mercy of God because he died for us, knowing full well that we would be sinners (Rom. 5:8). I have found in my personal life that my need for my Savior is a daily one, and it is only through daily quiet time and Scripture study I begin to feel his incredible presence.

 

MATTHEW 15:21-28

This Gospel passage shows us that faith is available to all people. Consider faith to be a response to the living power and presence of God in your life. The woman in today’s reading had a tremendous amount of faith in Jesus. Consider that in those days even approaching the teacher was very restricted. Yet, not only is the teacher approached and even being bothered by her begging, but all this is being done by a woman. There were no equal rights for women in those days.

This woman was taking a tremendous risk for her daughter’s sake. She responded to the living power and presence of Jesus in her life by insisting that he talk to her. The apostles were outraged that this woman was interrupting their schedule. The apostles did not hear the fright in her voice, and there was no compassion in their voices. We must always remember that even when we are about to do something good or even spiritual, we must always be ready to hear and respond to God’s call.

Jesus was incredibly impressed with this woman’s faith and he made no pretense about it. She was not a Jew and she knew that her boldness was out of order, yet she also knew that the power of life and death was standing right before her very eyes. Jesus knew that the disciples had become occupied with spiritual matters and missed the spiritual needs of this woman. He wanted them, and he wants us, to be aware of the opportunities that surround them and us today.

The woman didn’t mind the use of the word dog, and her faith in Jesus led her to ask only for the crumbs beneath the table, as even that was not denied to a dog. Jesus healed the daughter because of her mother’s faith. He will heal your children, too, if you really believe in him and obey his teachings.

 

 

Application

This week’s first reading called for respect for the Lord’s day. The second reading showed how God’s mercy is open to all people, and the Gospel revealed faith as the response to the living power and presence of God in your life.

This week, do nothing on Sunday other than celebrate in church and spend time with your families. Do no work unless it is absolutely necessary. Parents, plan an activity with your children that will increase their faith. Children, this Sunday, study God’s readings and share them with your parents before going to church. Single people, join a church fellowship and get into a Bible study. Learn how his Word will make every day the “Lord’s Day.”

 

ASSUMPTION of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 15th) – A-B-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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY      READ REVELATION 11:19; 12:1-6, 10  FIRST READING

(“Her child was caught up to God and his throne.”)

  1. When God’s temple in heaven was opened, what could be seen, and what was happening?  Revelation 11:19

 

 

  1. What was in the ark of the covenant? Hebrews 9:4

 

 

  1. What did Jesus say would happen before the persecution? Luke 21:5-12

 

 

  1. What appeared in the sky, who was clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and twelve stars as a crown on her head?  Revelation 12:1

 

 

  1. What was happening to the woman? Revelation 12:2

 

 

  1. What did God say to the woman after she sinned? Genesis 3:16

 

 

  1. What was another sign that appeared in the sky? Revelation 12:3

 

  1. What did the tail of the dragon do, who did it stand before, and what was it about to do?  Revelation 12:4

 

 

  1. To what did the woman give birth, what was he destined to do, and what happened to him?  Revelation 12:5

 

 

  1. Where did the woman go, and what happened to her? Revelation 12:6

 

 

  1. What did a loud voice in heaven say, and who was cast out? Revelation 12:10

 

 

Personal – How has Satan been accusing you, and how has God protected you from him?

 

 

THIRD DAY          READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26     SECOND READING

(“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”)

  1. What has Christ done, and what is he to those who have fallen asleep?   1 Corinthians 15:20

 

  1. What did God the Father give us in his great mercy? 1 Peter 1:3-4

 

  1. What will happen to our mortal bodies, and how does it happen?  Romans 8:11

 

  1. How did death come, and how did the resurrection of the dead come?  1 Corinthians 15:21

 

  1. How did death come to man? Genesis 3:17-19 and Romans 5:12-18

 

  1. Just as in Adam who dies, so too in Christ who is brought to life?  1 Corinthians 15:22

 

  1. In what order are they brought to life, and then what happens?  1 Corinthians 15:23-24

 

  1. How long must he reign? 1 Corinthians 15:25

 

  1. What is the last enemy to be destroyed? 1 Corinthians 15:26

 

  1. What did Jesus Christ do? 2 Timothy 1:10

 

 

Personal – When you have faced the fear of death in your life, have you been able to overcome that fear through Christ’s resur­rection?

 

 

FOURTH DAY              READ LUKE 1:39-56                GOSPEL

(“He has thrown down rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.”)

  1. Who traveled to the hill country to a town of Judah, whose house did she enter, and who did she greet?  Luke 1:39-40

 

 

  1. What did the baby do that was in Elizabeth’s womb, with what was she filled, and with what did she cry out?  Luke 1:41-42

 

 

  1. What was Elizabeth’s response? Luke 1:43-44

 

 

Personal  –  What is your response to the presence of God in your life?

 

  1. What did Elizabeth say for what was Mary blessed? Luke 1:45

 

  1. What did Mary say her soul proclaimed, and in what did her spirit rejoice?  Luke 1:46-47

 

  1. Who and what is the joy of my soul? Isaiah 61:10

 

  1. What has the Lord looked upon, and what would all ages call her?  Luke 1:48

 

  1. What does God do for the lowly? Psalm 113:7

 

  1. What has the mighty one done for Mary, what does she say about his name, and to whom is his mercy?  Luke 1:49-50

 

  1. What has he shown, what has he done with the arrogant of mind and heart, and the rulers?  Luke 1:51-52

 

 

  1. What has he done with the lowly, the hungry and the rich? Luke 1:52-53

 

 

  1. What has he done to Israel, and to what was it according? Luke 1:54-55

 

 

  1. How long did Mary remain with Elizabeth, and then where did she go?  Luke 1:56

 

 

Personal – How can you identify with Mary’s lowliness?  In what way has God lifted you up, or in what way has he brought you down?

 

 

FIFTH DAY            READ PSALM 45:10-12, 16

(“They are borne in with gladness and joy;”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 45:10-12, 16.

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

REVELATION 11:19; 12:1-6, 10

John was writing this passage for a persecuted church to take heart. The woman stands for God’s faithful people (the church) and Mary, the Mother of Christ, the Messiah. The pain of childbirth refers to the sufferings of the early church, the flight into the desert is also a description of pain. The sun covering the woman is an image of the glory of Mary, the mother of the Messiah. The powers of evil are represented by a dragon who fights bitterly to kill the Messiah at birth but fails.

Jesus ultimately fulfills his mission by dying on the cross for the sins of the world and triumphantly returns to the throne of God. Mary also has triumphed in her role of obedience and humility. The dragon bent on destruction is Satan, and we are reminded that the struggle of Christians today is part of a much greater conflict.

The message of today’s reading is that although Satan is strong and powerful and his attack is fierce, his time is short. He has been overpowered by Christ. God’s people at all times and everywhere are under his sovereign protection. This reading brings out the closeness between Christ our Messiah and his Blessed Mother. Mary was chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of God. She was intimately connected with her Son in the completion of this divine plan. Satan directed much opposition to Mary, but she was triumphant in her mission here on earth. We celebrate Mary’s assumption into heaven because we believe that, after Christ, she occupies the next highest place of glory.

 

1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-26

In today’s reading Paul is proving that we shall all rise from the dead one day. The Christian converts of Corinth were not denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but the resurrection of the body. Paul was very strong and clear in his reply that if you denied the resurrection of the body, then you have denied the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, you have emptied the Christian message of its truth and the Christian life of its reality.

Paul goes on to tell them that one of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith which they have accepted was Christ’s resur­rection.  Paul tells them that if it is for this life only that we hope, we of all people are most to be pitied. This means that if there was no resurrection for us then Christianity can gain us nothing but the grave.

It is very important today that the center of Christian teaching, which is Christ died, was buried, was raised from the dead, and appeared again on earth, be believed. Christ’s burial emphasized the reality of his dying. Christ then was raised from the dead by God and left an empty tomb. Christ then appeared to many leaders of the church. Jesus’ resurrection is a promise of the future to all those who die. The final enemy is death, and Christ defeated death on the cross at Calvary.

The Good News is a message of hope, and Paul tells the Corinthians and us that, like Christ, we too will rise one day and be with him in a new incorruptible body. The foundation of the church is being the bearer and the repository of the Good News. We are told that no man can have God for his Father unless he has the church for his mother. Mary is the mother of all of us who are “church,” and we celebrate her being raised up to be with her Son and Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 

LUKE 1:39-56

Today’s Gospel shows us something about the kind of woman through whom God chose to fulfill his purpose. Mary, upon hearing the incredible news about her aged relative, Elizabeth, becoming pregnant, sets out on a four or five day journey south. The meeting becomes a meeting of special joy and significance because they both had so much to share.

The power of their thoughts and feelings emerge very strong­ly in Elizabeth’s benediction and Mary’s hymn of praise. The gift of blessedness makes a powerful impact on Mary. To her was granted the blessedness of being the Mother of the Son of God. Her heart must have been bursting with joy at so great a privi­lege.  Yet, that very blessedness was to be a sword to pierce her heart. It meant that one day she would see her only Son hanging on a cross.

Many times, to be blessed and chosen by God means a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. We must come to know that God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy. He chooses one to do a task that will take all one’s head, heart and hands. God chooses a person in order to use him or her. It is the mystery of blessedness that it confers on a person both the greatest joy and the greatest task in all the world. We will do well to remember that Jesus Christ came, not to make life easy, but to make men great.

We celebrate today that “all ages have come to call her blessed.” She saw nothing in herself but a maid-servant who understood little, but trusted and obeyed completely. Let us all assume her holy attributes of gentleness, humility and obedience, and we too will be blessed.

 

Application

The first reading reveals the Spirit within us is stronger than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). The second reading showed that a Christian is born to live forever. The Gospel reveals that a blessing is a gift from God to you, and for others.

This week can be a time of great joy and possibly even a time of great pain for you. You can ask God to bless you with a spirit that hungers and longs for him. You will be opposed by many distractions when you decide to submit yourself to Christ.

Each day, make time alone to pray to Jesus. Read a passage of scripture and meditate on it, and then, like Mary, be submis­sive to someone who is near you. That means, putting that person first. It might mean ridicule or even rejection. Remember, blessedness is loving others, not yourself. Jesus died for you and this makes you blessed too.

 

NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Aug. 13th) ‑ CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY           READ 1 KINGS 19:9, 11‑13      FIRST READING

(“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.”)

  1. Where was Elijah, and what came to him? 1 Kings 19:8‑9

 

  1. What did the Lord ask him? 1 Kings 19:9

 

Personal ‑ When you pray, how do you communicate with God? Does he ever ask you any questions?

 

  1. Who is another prophet who communicated with God and the glory of God was revealed to him, and where did this take place?      Exodus 33:6, 18‑23

 

  1. Where did the Lord tell Elijah to go, and who did he say would be passing by? 1 Kings 19:11

 

  1. What was hitting the mountains and crushing the rocks before the Lord, and where was the Lord not to be found? 1 Kings 19:11

 

  1. What came after the earthquake? 1 Kings 19:12

 

  1. What came after the fire? 1 Kings 19:12

 

  1. What did Elijah do when he heard the tiny whispering sound? 1 Kings 19:13

 

  1. What was the question repeated to Elijah by the Lord? 1 Kings 19:13

 

  1. When Jesus was transfigured, where did he go, and who appeared with him?   Matthew 17:1‑3

 

  1. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings. What are they announcing? Isaiah 52:7

 

Personal ‑ Where is the mountain of the Lord for you? In what way does God communicate with you?

 

THIRD DAY                READ ROMANS 9:1‑5         SECOND READING

(“I speak the truth in Christ: I do not lie.”)

 

  1. Who is speaking, what does he speak, and what does he not do?      Romans 9:1 Romans 1:1

 

  1. With whom does Paul’s conscience join witness, and to what is it he bears witness? Romans 9:1‑2

 

  1. Who bears witness to what Paul does? Romans 1:9

 

  1. What is the truth? 1 Timothy 2:4-6

 

  1. What does Paul say he could wish for himself for the sake of his brothers, his kinsmen, the Israelites? Romans 9:3

 

  1. What does God tell Moses when he asked God to strike him out of the book that he has written? Exodus 32:30‑33

 

  1. What seven things does he say were theirs, and who came from them? Romans 9:4‑5

 

  1. Where did the Messiah come from according to the flesh?    Romans 9:5 and Romans 1:3

 

  1. What does the term Messiah mean? John 1:41 4:25

 

  1. Who is over all? Romans 9:5

 

Personal ‑ How do you show your concern for a family member, friend, schoolmate or work acquaintance who is not following the way of the Lord? In what way do you speak the truth, as Paul did, to those around you?

 

FOURTH DAY             READ MATTHEW 14:22‑33              GOSPEL

(“When he had sent them away, he went upon the mountain by himself to pray.”

 

  1. What did Jesus insist his disciples do, and what preceded this?   Matthew 14:16‑22

 

  1. When Jesus had sent them away, where did he go? Matthew 14:23

 

  1. After Jesus was baptized, what was he doing when the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him?  Luke 3:21‑22

 

  1. Who was with Jesus as he prayed, where did he go, and what time of day was it? Matthew 14:23

 

Personal ‑ Over the next 24 hours, see how much time you spend alone with the Lord. See whether you can list how many times Jesus prayed alone in the New Testament.

 

  1. What was happening to the boat the disciples were in, and what time was it when Jesus came walking on the water towards them?       Matthew 14:24‑25

 

  1. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, how did they react?   Matthew 14:26

 

  1. What did Jesus hasten to do, and what did he say to his disciples?   Matthew 14:27

 

  1. Who spoke up? What did he say to Jesus, and what did Jesus say to him? Matthew 14:28‑29

 

  1. When Peter got out of the boat and started toward Jesus walking on the water, what did he perceive? Matthew 14:30

 

  1. What happened to Peter when he perceived this, and to whom did he cry out? Matthew 14:30

 

  1. Jesus at once stretched out his hand and caught him. What did he exclaim, and what did he ask him? Matthew 14:31

 

  1. What happened when they climbed into the boat? What did those in the boat show him, and what did they declare? Matthew 14:32‑33

 

Personal ‑ What happens to you when you take your eyes off Jesus and dwell on what’s going on around you? What does Jesus do when you call out to him in your distress?

 

 

FIFTH DAY              READ PSALM 85:9‑14

(“I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord‑for he proclaims peace, to his people,..”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 85:9‑14.

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

 

1 KINGS 19:9, 11‑13

This passage shows us how God speaks to his people in all kinds of circumstances. Elijah had killed the false prophets and then, in fear himself, he fled from the pagan queen, Jezebel. Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two spiritual victories, the defeat of the false prophets, and the answered prayer for rain. Many times discouragement sets in after we have had a very great spiritual experience. God let Elijah eat and rest (19:34), and then sent Elijah to the mountains to wait for him.

Elijah, like many of us do when we are under heavy pressure, began to think that he was the only one following God’s work. He became frustrated and fearful and began to lose sight of what God had in store for him. God asked Elijah what he was doing there, and Elijah told him that he was in danger of losing his life for following God’s orders. Then God said to Elijah, go stand before me on the mountain. Elijah then experienced terrific windstorms and even an earthquake, followed by fire, and still no sign of God. How many times do we look to see whether God is speaking to us in some spectacular way or event? The minute Elijah heard the gentle whispers in that cave, he knew that it was the voice of God.

God speaks to all of us, and the challenge for us is to be quiet and listen. He told Elijah that he wanted him to go back and continue on in his ministry, and not to be afraid of anyone. Do you feel as if no one really cares about you, or what you are doing? Are you afraid of what other people might think about you?

God will come to us just like he did to Elijah in that cave. He will speak in gentle whispers to a humbled heart, and he will change our lives. God doesn’t reveal himself ordinarily in miraculous ways. To look for him in just big rallies, churches, conferences or visible leaders may be to miss him. Are you listening to God right now? Step back from the noise and activity of your life and listen to his gentle whisper. If you listen, listen real close, you will hear him say “I love you.”

ROMANS 9:1‑5

Paul’s love and concern for his people was like that of a parent towards his or her child. Parents would do anything to prevent their children from hurting themselves, and yet the children must experience maturity and growth themselves. Paul tells them that they are fortunate to have such a loving, caring God, and it was not only foolish to ignore his teachings, it was also dangerous. Paul is willing to lose not only his life for his people, but also his salvation.

Today, as in this passage, so many Christians take their faith for granted. They assume their salvation is a non‑refundable object. Today, much of the world looks at God as sort of an amusing fantasy to which only oppressed and lonely people cling. Do you have such a concern for others who do not know Christ personal­ly? How concerned are you for those in your own family who do not know Christ personally?

The real challenge to believing Christians today is how much are we all willing to sacrifice of our time, money, energy, comfort and safety to see our loved ones come to faith in Jesus. What do you think about most of the time? Where do you spend most of your free time? Remember, our treasure is where our heart is. We are called to seek his kingship first, and then everything else will fall into line (Matthew 6:33).

A loving parent, like Paul, would gladly die for a child, but like Paul, we see that living for Christ is harder than dying for Christ. To live for Christ means to die to ourselves every day.

 

MATTHEW 14:22‑33

The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida. Jesus then told his disciples to get into their boats and cross to the other side of the lake while he stayed to get the people started home. We then see him going up into the hills and praying far into the night.

Praying was the core of Jesus’ activity. He prayed in all circumstances. He was praying even when the skies opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon him. He often prayed alone, no distractions, just complete union with his Father. We need to look at ourselves honestly and see how much time every day we share in personal prayer with the Lord. This is a time of tremendous intimacy and a time of hope.

The sea became angry and the storm threatened to overturn the boat that carried the disciples. It was early in the morning when, through the fog and heavy seas, they saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the water. They were terrified because they didn’t really recognize him and thought he was some kind of ghost or evil spirit. Jesus called out to them and Peter replies, still not sure whether it really is Christ, “If it really is you, tell me to come over to you walking on the water.” Peter began to walk toward Jesus and then he noticed the high winds, and when he took his eye off Jesus and began to sink he screamed to the Lord, “Save me.” Jesus instantly reached out his hand and rescued him. He looked at them and said, “Why do you always doubt me,” and as they stepped into the boat the wind immediately and obediently died down.

Today’s passage reveals to us how important solitude is to Jesus. He never began or ended anything without spending time alone in prayer with his Father. He was always equipped to handle anything because he was a man full of prayer. Spending time in prayer will help us meet the challenges and struggles of life. Peter sank because he took his eyes off Christ. You need to ask yourself whether you take your eyes off Christ, during a time of crisis.

Jesus is the center of all healing, and no other means can take his place. The high waves in our lives can be tension, turmoil, sickness, marital discord, and many other forms of destruction. When we keep Jesus as the Lord of our life we too will walk on water and stay above the raging seas of destruction. That really means that we will be able to walk through tough situations when we are focused on Christ, rather than the situation. We need not fear that we will sink in any kind of trouble because, just as Jesus told the men in the boat, “Do not be afraid,” he tells us the same. True love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). There is no condemnation in one who accepts the Lord as his or her Savior (Romans 8:1). Pray about everything, worry about nothing and the peace that surpasses all understanding will be yours (Philippians 4:6, 7).

 

Application

The first reading showed us the power of communication through a gentle whisper of God. The second reading dealt with the power of truth in all that we speak. The Gospel brought home the power of prayer, especially as we prepare to deal with the challenges of life.

This week, make a special effort to speak only the truth, and nothing but the truth, and speak in a clear and gentle manner to those in your family, in your work area, and in your school. His Word is truth. Take some extra time to be alone with the Lord so he can reveal to you what his truth is and how to communicate that to others. Always remember, before you speak to pray and ask the Lord to give wisdom and discernment. This sounds easy but it is not, because Satan, the father of all lies, will try to discourage you in every way he can. Remember, your actions tell others what you really believe

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Aug. 6th) – Cycle A

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

(Partial Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study Lesson by Deacon Ken Finn, never completed)

 

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9, 2 Peter 1:16-19, Matthew 17:1-9

 

As I watched, Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took His throne. His clothing was snow bright, and the hair on His head as white as wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire flowed out from where He sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him, and myriads upon myriads attended Him.

 

As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; When He reached the Ancient One and was presented before Him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed.

 

SECOND DAY                            READ DANIEL 7:9-10, 13-14                      FIRST READING

  

  1. Who watched and what did he have? Daniel 7:1

 

  1. What were set up in his dream and who took his throne? Daniel 7:9

 

  1. What was his clothing and hair like? Daniel 7:9

 

  1. What did his throne look like? Daniel 7:9

 

  1. What flowed out from where he sat? Daniel 7:10

 

  1. How many ministered to the Ancient One? Daniel 7:10

 

  1. As the visions continued what did Daniel see? Daniel 7:13

 

  1. What did he receive? Daniel 7:14

 

  1. Who will serve him? Daniel 7:14

 

  1. What did the high priest ask Jesus and what was His answer? Mark 14:61-62

 

  1. Who is the Lord of lords and the King of kings? Revelations 17:14

 

  1. Who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? John 1:29

 

 

 

FOURTH DAY                               READ MATTHEW 17:1‑9                                        GOSPEL

(“His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light.”)

  1. Who did Jesus take up on a high mountain and what happened to him?     Matthew 17:1-2

 

 

  1. Who suddenly appeared there and what did Peter then say? Matthew 17:3-4

 

  1. As Peter was speaking, what overshadowed them and what came out of the cloud?           Matthew 17:5

 

  1. What prevents us from listening to the Lord?

 

Exodus 7:13 –

Deuteronomy 1:43 –

Deuteronomy 21:18 –

Acts 28:27 –

Hebrews 12:25 –

 

Personal ‑ In what way have you been able to tune your mind into hearing what God is saying to you through prayer and his Word? Meditate on this.

 

  1. How did God the Father address Jesus in Matthew 17:5? Matthew 3:17

 

  1. What happened to Peter, James, and John when they heard the voice from the cloud and with what were they overcome?   Matthew 17:6

 

  1. What did Jesus do and what did he say? Matthew 17:7

 

  1. In the following scriptures, what happened to those on whom Jesus laid his hand? Matthew 8:3, 14‑15, Matthew 9:23‑25

 

  1. What does 1 John 4:16‑18 say is the relationship of God, love, and fear?

 

  1. What did God say to Abram about fear in Genesis 15:1?
  2. To whom did Jesus say “Do not be afraid? “Matthew 28:1, 8‑10, Mark 6:45, 49‑50, Luke 5:10

 

  1. When Peter, James and John looked up, whom did they see and as they were coming down the mountain side, what was Jesus’ command to them? Matthew 17:8-9

 


Personal
‑ In what way have you felt Jesus’ healing touch upon you? Have you laid your hand on those in your family who may be sick? If a friend or a family member is afraid, lay your hand on them and reassure them of God’s presence.

MATTHEW 17:1‑9

The Transfiguration was a special revelation of Jesus’ divinity to three of his disciples. God affirmed everything that Jesus had done and was about to do in the near future. The presence of Moses and Elijah with Jesus confirmed his mission of salvation. Moses represented the law. He is the central figure in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible), and he predicted the coming of a great Prophet (Deut. 18:15‑19).

Elijah represents the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5‑6). Jesus is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophets. God’s voice at the Transfiguration gave authority to Jesus’ words. Peter wanted them all to stay and offered to build a place for all three. He wanted to act, but it was a time to pray and worship.

We must remember that before anything is acted upon, we must first pray and give worship to God. Peter did not realize that Christ was not to be compared to anyone, especially on any mountain top. Today much of the world looks at Jesus Christ as being a good leader, a good influence or a great prophet. The fact is, he is more than that, he is the Son of God. When you understand this incredible truth, the only appropriate response is worship.

We need to know about Christ in order to obey him completely. We must pray, read scripture, study scripture, share scripture and then live the scripture. Jesus told the disciples not to tell what they had seen until after his resurrection. He said this because he knew that they did not fully understand who he was, or what his mission was all about. They knew he was the Messiah, but they had much more to learn about him through his death and resurrection. The disciples were amazed at the radiance of Jesus’ face, and they were transfigured themselves.

The incredible reality of who Jesus really was hit them full force. When a person meets Jesus and accepts him personally, a great transfiguration takes place. The amazement and radiance of Jesus is imprinted on the person’s heart. The change or “metanoia” brings about a radiance that glows from within the person. Jesus wants you to be transfigured and he wants your heart to shine like the sun and be dazzling bright, just like his.

 

 

Application

The first reading talks about the brilliance of God and who we are to worship.

The Gospel reading shows that Jesus wants us to be changed and he wants us to give him glory by our response to him.

This week, let us be very sensitive Christians as we relate to our families, jobs, and community. Let us show by example how we can bear up under hardship, for example: being sick and trying to be cheerful or being tired and trying to respond to another’s needs. Let the change within us be a sign to others that we act out what we say and what we believe. You and your family will be transfigured, and others will be drawn to your radiance, and they will know that the Holy Spirit dwells within you.

 

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (July 30th) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY           READ 1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12       FIRST READING

(“I give you a heart so wise and understanding…”)

  1. Where did the Lord speak to Solomon, and what was known about that place? 1 Kings 3:4-5

 

  1. Who were Solomon’s parents? 2 Samuel 12:24

 

  1. What did God say to Solomon, and where did he say it? 1 Kings 3:5

 

  1. Why did God show great favor to Solomon’s father? 1 Kings 3:6

 

  1. What did Solomon say God has made him, and what did he call himself?   1 Kings 3:7

 

  1. Because of his age, what did he recognize about himself? 1 Kings 3:7

 

  1. Whom would Solomon serve, and how many were there? 1 Kings 3:8

 

  1. What kind of heart did Solomon ask God to give him, and what two things would this help him to do? 1 Kings 3:9

 

  1. How did the Lord feel about Solomon’s request? 1 Kings 3:10

 

  1. God was pleased with Solomon because he did not ask for what three things? 1 Kings 3:11

 

  1. What did God say he would do? What kind of heart would Solomon have, and would there ever be anyone like him? 1 Kings 3:12

 

  1. What has God given us through Christ? Ephesians 1:9

 

  1. Where is every treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3

 

Personal – What have been your requests from God this past week? How have you been praying for a loved one who may have strayed from the faith? After you have done the above study, what changes can you make in your prayers (requests from God)?

 

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 8:28-30        SECOND READING

(“Those he called he also justified;”)

  1. What do we know God makes, and to whom does he make this happen? Romans 8:28

 

  1. For those whom God foreknew, what did he predestine them to share? Romans 8:29

 

  1. Of whom might the Son (Jesus) be the first-born? Romans 8:29

 

  1. Through whom has God predestined us to become his adopted sons and daughters, and when did God plan this? Ephesians 1:3-5

 

  1. What did God do for them? Romans 8:30

 

  1. What did God do to those he called and in turn glorified? Romans 8:30

 

  1. How does God administer everything, and how were we predestined?   Ephesians 1:11

 

  1. What two things were our responses to being chosen in Jesus?  Ephesians 1:13

 

  1. As was promised, with whom were we sealed?  Ephesians 1:13

 

  1. How have we been justified? Romans 8:30, Ephesians 1:7, 13

 

Personal – What is your response to what Jesus has done for you personally? Do your actions in public show your belief? How do you act in a crisis? Is the reality of what Christ has done in your life visible to others in all circumstances? Reflect on this.

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 13:44-52              GOSPEL

(“Angels will go and separate the wicked from the just.”)

  1. The reign of God is like a man who finds a treasure. What does he do when he finds it? Matthew 13:44

 

  1. Again, like what is the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 13:45

 

  1. What did the merchant do when he found a really valuable pearl? Matthew 13:46

 

  1. What did Jesus say we would have in heaven if we sell all our possessions, and whom are we to follow? Matthew 19:21

 

  1. What does Paul consider a loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of his Lord Jesus Christ, and for Jesus’ sake, what has he forfeited? Philippians 3:7-8

 

  1. The reign of God is also like a dragnet thrown into the lake which collected all sorts of things. When the haul is brought ashore, what is done with what is worthwhile, and what is done with what is useless?   Matthew 13:47-48

 

  1. What will it be like at the end of the world? Matthew 13:48-49

 

  1. What will the angels do? Matthew 13:49-50

 

  1. What is the question Jesus put to his disciples, and what was their reply?   Matthew 13:51

 

  1. By whom are we taught in order to interpret spiritual things, and whose mind do we have?   1 Cor 2:10-16

 

  1. What is every teacher of the law like who is learned in the reign of God? Matthew 13:52

 

Personal – Take an inventory of your life and reflect on the areas where you have been worthwhile or useful for God. Also, reflect where you have not been worthwhile or useful for God. How can you become more useful? A good example of usefulness for God is Mother Teresa. Pray on this.

 

FIFTH DAY     READ PSALM 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130

(“The revelation of your words give light, giving understanding to the simple.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130.

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

1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12

Today’s passage from the book of 1 Kings, is about Solomon, the third king of Israel. He was called the wisest man who ever lived. He sealed many of his foreign agreements by marrying pagan women, and he allowed his lust for women and power to affect his loyalty to God. Solomon is an example to all of us how effective leadership can be blocked by an ineffective personal life. He was a tremendous politician, diplomat, trader, and collector of fine arts, but he was very disobedient to God in running his own household. He had it all and yet he failed to obey God, and he did not learn repentance until late in life. Today’s story brings out what is really lasting in life and what is temporary. Solomon was given a chance to have anything he requested and he asked for wisdom to be a good leader of his people. God was very pleased at his request.

We need to ask ourselves: if God gave us the same chance to have anything we wished, would we have responded like Solomon? We need to ask for this same kind of wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom to do what was expected of him, and today more than ever, we need to ask God for the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. Solomon, like many of us, received great gifts; but again, like some of us, he did not apply the benefits of these gifts to all areas of his life.

You and I need to reflect on our own lives and discern how much we are living for God instead of ourselves. Solomon was wise, but he did not put that wisdom fully into action. Wisdom is both the discernment to know what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge. Solomon asked for wisdom, not wealth, power or fame. God gave him all of this because of his generosity. Solomon sought only God’s Kingship, not anything else, and we too must do the same and have the courage to follow his way all of our life (Matt.6:33). You can be wiser than Solomon by putting God and his work first in your life. The real wise man is the one who has put on the mind of Christ and serves others rather than rules over others (Phil. 2:2-5).

 

ROMANS 8:28-30

Today’s reading from Paul to the Romans is one of the most powerful verses in the New Testament, and it is also one of the most misunderstood. God works out all things, not just a few isolated incidents, for our good. All that happens to many of us is not just good; sometimes bad things happen too. God is able to take them and turn them around for our long-range good. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. We must recognize that this promise applies only to those who love God and are fitting into God’s plans. We are called to trust in God, not in life’s treasures. We are called to look for our security in heaven, not here on earth (Cor. 3:2-4). Then, and only then, can we learn to accept pain and persecution on earth, because they bring us closer to God. This sounds rather hard; but when the force of some catastrophic event slams into your life, the healing power of God’s love can take you through the dark raging waters.

God does work things out for our good. Many times we do not see them at first, but time shows us how God was very much present when we thought we were all alone. God’s ultimate goal is for all of us to become like Christ (1 John 3:2). God’s Holy Word reveals to us that we can become the persons we were created to be. We need to remember that God’s purpose was that no one should perish. We are all called to serve and to glorify God. The sovereignty of God should always be a reason for rejoicing and confidence, not of puzzlement or doubt.

Remember, if God gave his Begotten Son to die for us, he is not going to hold back the gift of salvation. If Christ gave his life for us, he is not going to turn around and condemn us. No matter what may be happening to you, just rest in his redeeming grace and he will work things out for your ultimate good, simply because he loves you.

 

MATTHEW 13:44-52

The kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a person must be willing to give up everything to obtain it. The kingdom of heaven is ours because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His death bought our freedom and eternal life with him forever in heaven.

We might ask, who would oppose us in our goal to obtain the kingdom of heaven. In many places the tyranny of governments strictly puts the pressure of threats and physical harm on Christians, and in many cases, subjects them to public ridicule. We need only look around and see how society treats those who object to abortion. The people who choose pro-life instead of pro-death are many times arrested and sentenced to jail (Matt. 10:18-19).

Today’s Gospel passage deals with a treasure found by accident and the value was so great that everything else was sold in order to possess the great treasure. How much of your treasures are you willing to let go in order that you might possess the greatest treasure in the universe? We cannot serve God and money, power or status. We are called as Christians to go out and tell others of this priceless treasure.

We need to show others that they too may possess this treasure by giving up their temporary treasures and claiming the treasure of treasures, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must never forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:39, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” Jesus taught that the kingdom was now and he was the real treasure, not power, money, sex, or status. He tells us again today that to gain his treasure, we must let go of the earth’s treasures and cling only to him. If you sometimes doubt your salvation, the forgiveness of your sins, or God’s work in your life, look at the evidence in Scripture and the changes in your life. About what do you spend most of your time thinking? Remember, where your treasure is, there is your heart also (Matthew 6:21).

 

Application

The first reading this week shows Solomon really choosing a great treasure in asking for wisdom. In the second reading we see Paul going beyond the quick fix, and in faith proclaiming God’s will for those who believe in the Lord. The Gospel brings us into touch with the what and where of our real treasure.

This week, let us use our spiritual vision and see what God wants to do with our lives. Look around and choose someone in the family, or in school or at work, and show by your action that you want to serve them and that their interest comes first. Your treasure is serving others in the name of Jesus. Serve them by doing a chore for them, helping out at home, or spending time with your family. Do not let anything interrupt.

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (July 23rd) – CYCLE A

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?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY          READ WISDOM 12:13, 16-19      FIRST READING

(“For your might is the source of justice;”)

  1. For whom does God care and what has he not done? Wisdom 12:13

 

  1. What does the Lord not show toward people, and how does he provide for all?   Wisdom 6:7

 

  1. What must we learn from God? Deuteronomy 32:39

 

  1. What does it say of the Lord in Isaiah 44:6,8?

 

  1. What is his might, and what does his mastery over all things make him? Wisdom 12:16

 

  1. When does he show his might? Wisdom 12:17

 

  1. What does he rebuke in those who know him? Wisdom 12:17

 

  1. Although God is the master of might, how does he judge and govern us?   Wisdom 12:18

 

  1. What did we teach our people? Wisdom 12:19

 

  1. What did we give our sons, and what did we permit for their sins?   Wisdom 12:19

 

Personal – How has God shown his might to you personally and been lenient with you? Verse 19 tells us that those who are just must be kind. In what way, this past week, have you been kind to your family, friends, and those around you? In what way have you been lenient and forgiving to those around you?

 

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 8:26-27        SECOND READING

(“The Spirit, too, helps us in our weakness,…”)

  1. What does the Spirit do? Romans 8:26

 

  1. What do we not know how to do as we ought? Romans 8:26

 

  1. Who intercedes for us, and how does he do it? Romans 8:26

 

  1. For whose sake are we content with weakness, and what happens when I am powerless?   2 Cor 12:10

 

  1. Who is at the right hand of God, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:34

 

  1. For whom are we to intercede, and to what will this lead? 1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

  1. What does he know who searches hearts? Romans 8:27

 

  1. For whom does the Spirit intercede, and with whom is the Spirit in accordance?   Romans 8:27

 

  1. For what does the Son of God search, and to whom does he do this?   Revelations 2:18, 23

 

  1. What does God read? Luke 16:15

 

 

Personal – How have you interceded in prayer for those around you? Who among your family or friends is in most need of prayer right now? Take a few minutes and intercede to the Father through Jesus for them.

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 13:24-43              GOSPEL

(“The reign of God is like…”)

  1. To what did Jesus propose the reign of God might be compared; and while everyone was asleep, who came and sowed weeds through the wheat? Matthew 13:24-25

 

  1. What happened when the crop began to mature and yield grain, and what did the owner’s slave say to him? Matthew 13:26-27

 

  1. What did the owner recognize, and what did his slaves offer to do?   Matthew 13:28

 

  1. What did the owner say would happen if they pulled the weeds, and what did he tell his slaves to do? Matthew 13:29-30

 

  1. In another parable Jesus proposed, to what was the reign of God compared?   Matthew 13:31

 

  1. How big is the mustard seed, and what happens when it is full grown?   Matthew 13:32

 

  1. Jesus offered them another image. What is the reign of God like in Matthew 13:33?

 

  1. How did Jesus teach the crowds, what was it to fulfill, and what was he to announce?  Matthew 13:34-35, Psalm 78:2

 

  1. After dismissing the crowds, where did Jesus go, who went with him, and what was their request?   Matthew 13:36

 

  1. Who was the farmer sowing the good seed, what was the field, the good seed, and the weeds?  Matthew 13:37-38

 

  1. Who is the enemy who sowed them, what is the harvest, and who are the harvesters?   Matthew 13:39

 

  1. How will it be at the end of the world, whom will the Son of Man dispatch, and what will they collect from his kingdom?   Matthew 13:40-41

 

  1. What will the angels do with them, what will happen to the saints, and what should everyone heed?   Matthew 13:42-43

 

 

Personal – To what are you drawing others by your actions? In what way does the evil one try to plant weeds in your family, in your work, in school, or in your neighborhood? As you are growing side by side, how do you counteract the weeds?

 

 

FIFTH DAY         READ PSALM 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16

(“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16.

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

WISDOM 12:13, 16-19

This passage is a powerful testimony of God’s fantastic love for us and a testimony of God’s continuing leniency toward his stubborn people. God shows us his power and might most visibly in the way he forgives. He shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. He very clearly tells us in Deuteronomy 32:39 that he is our only God and he wants us to love and honor him first of all. He tells us that he is in control of life and death. He shows us in Isaiah 44:16 that he is the beginning and the end of all things.

Jesus fulfills this prophecy when he said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 1:8). Jesus fulfilled all of these descriptions of God and his love of his people. The people rejected Jesus; in fact they killed him, because he called for a response of love. The people were expecting a great warrior-God to lead them out of poverty, slavery, and fear.

Today much of the world is in fear, and many countries are exploding with violence. Drugs, alcohol, and crime seem to be spreading throughout many cities. “Where is this wonderful God of mercy,” some ask, and like the Israelites in the desert, they, too, asked, “Is he in our midst or not?” (Ex. 17:7)

Our God is a God of love, compassion, and justice. He is a God who constantly forgives and encourages us to become healed. In today’s passage, we read of a God who is filled with power and yet rules with compassion and justice. Our God is a God who rules with great mercy, and that is what he seeks from you and me. He does not want our rituals or even our sacrifices.

Our God wants us to be merciful to one another, as he has been to us. We are all called to be a righteous people, a just people. To be really righteous or just, one has to be right with God first. We do that by following the words of Scripture that are in today’s passage. He is our God and we believe only in him. Jesus is our beginning and end. He is mighty and just, because he is kind and gentle. We will be a mighty and just nation when we are kind and gentle to all of God’s children. We must never forget that our actions tell others what kind of a God it is in whom we believe.

 

ROMANS 8:26-27

Today’s passage brings us into a time of reflection and response to the quality of our prayer life. We need only look around our families and communities to find many hurting people. We are told to dismiss all of our anxieties and to present our needs to God in every form of prayer (Phil. 4:6-7). Jesus showed us very clearly that he was a man of deep prayer. He would rise very early in the morning, go off to some lonely place, and be completely immersed in prayer. Jesus was very obedient in his public prayer routines, but it was when he was alone with his Father, or “Abba,” that he really poured out his heart.

Jesus reads people’s hearts and that is what he wants to change in us. He wants to give us a heart of flesh in exchange for a heart of stone. We must remember that believers in Jesus Christ are not left to their own resources to cope with problems.

Prayer is now being recognized in the medical world as a great protector against life-threatening diseases, especially high blood pressure. We do not have to succumb to our emotions; we can pray, and let the Holy Spirit take all of our concerns. There are times when we do not know what to pray for, or how to pray the prayer that needs to be prayed. The Holy Spirit prays with and for us and God answers every time. You do not need to be afraid of coming before God with your petitions. Just ask the Holy Spirit to plead for you in harmony with God’s own will.

Remember, when we bring our requests to God, trust that he will always do what is best for us, even if it does not make sense at that time (Rom. 8:28). We will find tremendous peace in letting the Holy Spirit pray in us and with us. We need to give ourselves permission to let our vocal cords make some sounds and let ourselves be led into a prayer of praise. We will then be praying in tongues, and the Holy Spirit will be talking within us and for us in Jesus’ name to our heavenly Father.

 

MATTHEW 13:24-43

All of the parables in this Gospel passage teach us about God and his kingdom. They explain what the kingdom is really like as opposed to our expectations of it. We need to remember that the kingdom of heaven is not just some place in the sky; but rather, it is a spiritual realm in which God rules and in which we have God’s eternal life. We are told that the thistles and the young blades of grass look very much the same and can not be recognized until they are grown and ready for harvest. The thistles are unbelievers and the wheat are the believers. They both must live side by side in this world.

God is like the farmer; he allows the unbelievers to remain in this world so the believers are uprooted with them. At the harvest the thistles will be uprooted and thrown away. God’s harvest (judgment day) of all people is coming, and we need to make sure our faith in Jesus Christ is secure. Jesus teaches us that we are to be mild and patient even toward the evildoers, letting the weeds continue to grow until harvest time.

Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers. He wants us to change people’s hearts, not just their minds. This passage talks about the mustard seed which becomes a very large bush, and we are to encourage others to let their faith grow. We are to show them how and not dominate them with our faith and our gifts. We are to let them make mistakes and urge them onward to better things. We are, in effect, like the leaven which enables the dough to rise into a loaf of bread.

The weeds that are growing in the field can be parts of our own temperament by which we dominate others. We may not be wrong, but we need to be sure we do not choke off anyone else’s growth. Most of the sins of a believer are the excess use of their good qualities. Those who are good administrators easily over-adminis­trate and suffocate the spirit of others. Those who possess control over law, like lawyers, policemen, judges and clergy, can find fault with the innocent and enable the guilty to go free. Somehow the good seed which should grow into good fruit turns into rank growth. The yeast is to raise the dough into delicious bread, and if it is misused, we are left with a hard flat cake. Our good qualities should enable others to make the best of their interior gifts.

 

Application

The first reading shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus was a man of deep prayer. The Gospel tells us that Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers.

All three readings today draw much attention to our inner qualities of strength, inspiration, and ability. This week, draw out the inner qualities of someone in your family, school, or work, by encouraging them. You can do this by listening to them when they speak, and by giving them praise, not flattery, for something that they have done recently. Let them know what you like most about them. Finally, make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.