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.

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (July 16th)- 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 55:10-11         FIRST READING

(“It shall not return to me void but shall do my will.”)

  1. What comes down from the heavens and what does it do to the earth?   Isaiah 55:10

 

  1. What does it give to one who sows and one who eats and what shall go forth from the Lord’s mouth?   Isaiah    55:10-11

 

  1. How shall it not return to the Lord, what shall the Word do, and what shall it achieve?   Isaiah 55:11

 

  1. To what is the earth to hearken, and what is instructed? Deuteronomy 32:1-2

 

  1. Who is the word? John 1:1, 14

 

  1. How long will the Word stand? Isaiah 40:8

 

  1. To whom do we turn to be safe, and what does he utter? Isaiah 45:22-23

 

  1. What does God’s Word do for us? Hebrews 4:12

 

  1. Of whom does the Lord confirm the words, and how does he carry out his plan? Isaiah 44:26

 

  1. What does the Lord say about whatever he speaks? Ezekiel 12:25

 

Personal – In what way have you been a messenger of God’s Word to your family and friends? What results have you seen take place in yourself and those you contact as you have been reading and studying God’s Word.

 

 

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 8:18-23        SECOND READING

(“I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.”)

 

  1. With what is the suffering of the present nothing by comparison?   Romans 8:18

 

  1. What will we do when his glory is revealed? 1 Peter 4:13

 

  1. What does the whole created world eagerly await? Romans 8:19

 

  1. To what was creation made subject, and by whose accord? Romans 8:20

 

  1. From what will the world be freed, and in what will it share?   Romans 8:21

 

  1. What do we await? 2 Peter 3:12-13, Rev 21:1

 

  1. What do we know all creating has done? Romans 8:22

 

  1. Why are we weighted down? 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

 

  1. Although we have the Spirit as first fruits, what do we await?       Romans 8:23

 

  1. For what do we hope, and how do we yield to it? Galatians      5:5

 

  1. What will he do to our bodies, how will he do it, and for what reason? Philippians 3:21

 

Personal – In what do you place your hope? In what ways are you suffering, and how is your body groaning inwardly?

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 13:1-23               GOSPEL

(“To you has been given a knowledge of the mysteries of the reign of God….”)

 

  1. As Jesus sat by the lake shore, who gathered around him? Where did he go, and what did he do at length? Matthew 13:1-3

 

  1. Part of what the farmer sowed landed in four different areas. Where were these, and what happened to the seed? Matthew 13:4-9

 

  1. What is everyone to heed and what did the disciples ask Jesus? Matthew 13:9-10

 

  1. What have they been given that others have not been given and what will happen to the man who has and the man who has not?    Matthew 13:11-12

 

  1. Why did Jesus say he uses parables when he speaks? Matthew 13:13

 

  1. What is fulfilled in them? Fill in the blanks:

“Listen as _________ ________, you shall not      understand; look intently as _________ _________, you    shall not see.” Matthew 13:14

 

  1. How are the people’s hearts? What have they done with their ears and their eyes? Otherwise, what might happen with their ears, eyes, and hearts? Matthew   13:15

 

  1. What would happen if they would turn back to the Lord? Matthew 13:15

 

  1. What are those who see and hear? Who longed to see and hear what we see and hear, but did not?  Matt 13:16-17

 

  1. What is the seed along the path and from where does the evil one steal it?   Matthew 13:19

 

  1. What is the seed that fell on patches of rock and what causes this person to falter?   Matthew 13:20-21

 

  1. What is the seed that was sown among briers, what two things choke it, and what does it produce?   Matthew 13:22

 

  1. What is the seed that was sown on good soil and what does this person yield?   Matthew 13:23

 

Personal – When you hear the message of God and do not understand it, what do you do? When you hear the message, but have no roots, how can you develop roots? What do you do when anxiety and money come before your thoughts of Jesus and the well being of others?

What changes can you make in your life right now?

 

 

FIFTH DAY              READ PSALM 65:10-14

(“You have visited the land and watered it.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 65:10-14.

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

ISAIAH 55:10-11

In this passage Isaiah shows us a tremendous example of how God’s Holy Word is so dependable and long lasting. We need only look around at our world today and see what happens when rain and snow do not come upon the earth. There are droughts; then there are no crops, and the tragic result is famine. Yet so many of us take for granted that we will never run out of water or experience a time of famine.

God’s Word is like the rain that falls on a dry, parched land. It brings forth a seed of eternal truth. The bread that is harvested from the spreading of God’s Holy Word is eternal bread; it is the real bread of life. God’s Word does not come back empty upon us. His Word is life-giving, like the soft rain on a dry desert land. His love for us feeds our spirit; and it changes our heart and inspires us to go forth and sow his seed of love, justice, mercy, hope, and faith.

Have you ever been so hungry and thirsty that you would do anything to get food or drink? Jesus is our drink, he is our food, and he will strengthen us to go forth and strengthen the least of his brothers and sisters (Matt. 25:31-41). Take hold of his Holy Word today and water the deserts of your mind and feed the hunger in your heart. You are his chosen one, he has called you by name, and his plan for you is to live a life that is at its fullest (John 10:10). God wants his Holy Word to fill all nations and bring them peace and harmony. We are called to be his chosen messengers by bringing his Word with us wherever we go (Matt. 28:19).

 

ROMANS 8:18-23

Paul tells us that there is a high price to be paid for being identified with Jesus. We need only look around our planet and see the results of nations that are being attacked by godless people and godless governments. Paul tells of the suffering Christians must face.

Today we might look around and say what kind of suffering are we to endure? The horror of abortion has become so commonplace that those who speak out against it are subject to ridicule, and economic and social rejection. Today many people are going to prison for the crime of trying to save unborn babies. We have read about the Babylonian god “Mardok” where the people sacrificed their children to the “fires of Mardok.” Today we see millions of children being sacrificed to the great gods of “greed and convenience.” The price for practicing our faith can be very high, and it can, in some places, result in death. We must not become complacent in the comforts of our society and ignore the responsibility to live as Jesus did. We must continue serving others, giving up our own rights, and resisting the pressures to conform to the world which always exacts a price.

We are people of hope and must not become pessimistic. We await God’s new order that will free the world of sin, sickness and evil. In the meantime, we can not watch, and stand by and do nothing, while they drag the defenseless innocents to their death. This passage refers particularly to abortion (Proverbs 24:11). We must remember that one day we will be resurrected with bodies, but they will be glorified bodies like the body that Christ now has in heaven (1 Cor. 15:50-56).

 

MATTHEW 13:1-23

Jesus used many parables when he was speaking to the crowds. A parable helps us to understand spiritual truths by using everyday objects and relationships. A parable encourages the listener to discover truth, while at the same time concealing the truth from those too stubborn or too busy to see it.

We see in today’s Gospel passage that the call to listen is very strong. We are to have eyes that really see and ears that really hear what is going on. This passage encourages all to become spiritual farmers – those who preach, teach, and lead others to the Lord. The farmer sowed good seed, but not all responses were good because of the locations. Do not become discouraged if you spread your seed of the Holy Word of God and it is not properly received. We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who opens up the hardened hearts of people. The miracle of God’s Holy Spirit will take place as he uses our words to move others to come to him. A human being can hear many types of sound, but there is a deeper and special kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding. We can be assured that if we honestly seek God’s will, we will have spiritual hearing and these parables will take on dynamic new meanings for us.

Jesus did not hide the truth in parables; those who were receptive to spiritual truth understood the parables completely. To others who did not believe in God, they were only stories with various meanings. The parables allowed Jesus to give spiritual food to those who hungered for it. Today, many times, God’s Word is proclaimed with little power and much confusion by messengers who refuse to be submissive to him. We who know Jesus personally are called to love others as he loves us. We are to be held accountable to the Lord if we do not follow his commands very specifi­cally. If we reject Jesus, our hardness of heart will drive away even the little understanding we had.

The seed in today’s passage is the Word of God, and we are called to sow it to all we meet. The four types of soil represent the different responses people have to God’s message. Some people are hardened, some are shallow, some are very distracted by the world, and some are very receptive. How have you responded? What kind of soil are you? Remember, the Word was God, (John 1:1) and the Word became Flesh (John 1:14), and the Spirit that is in you is greater than the spirit that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God’s Word is dependable, long lasting, and will not return empty. The second reading shows us that the cost of discipleship is very high. The Gospel reveals that the seed in today’s passage is the Word of God, and we are all called to sow it.

Let us, this week, be faithful, humble messengers of God by reading our scripture readings to someone we know. Take the day’s readings and read them to a sick relative or a small child, a loved one, and especially your husband or wife. Study the readings, share what they mean to you, and LIVE THE READINGS, especially with your family. His Word will not return empty when you are being his messenger.

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (July 9th) – 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 ZECHARIAH 9:9-10        FIRST READING

(“…he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”)

  1. Who is to rejoice heartily and shout for joy? Zechariah 9:9

 

  1. Who is to come to you, and what is he? Zechariah 9:9

 

  1. How is he to come, and on what is he riding? Zechariah 9:9

 

  1. Whom did Jesus send, with what instructions, and what was this to fulfill?   Matthew 21:1-5

 

  1. What shall he banish from Ephraim and Jerusalem? Zechariah 9:10

 

  1. What will happen to the warrior’s bow? Zechariah 9:10

 

  1. How does the Lord, their God, not save Judah? Hosea 1:7

 

  1. What does he proclaim to the nations? Zechariah 9:10

 

  1. Where shall be his dominion? Zechariah 9:10

 

  1. In whom do we find peace? John 16:31-33

 

 

Personal – What message do you proclaim to your family, friends, or work acquaintances, and how do you proclaim it? How can you develop a peaceful atmosphere in your home?

 

 

THIRD DAY            READ ROMANS 8:9, 11-13      SECOND READING

(“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”)

  1. In what are we not, in what are we, and who dwells in us? Romans 8:9

 

  1. What have those who belong to Christ done? Gal 5:24

 

  1. Toward what is the tendency of the flesh, but toward what is that of the Spirit? Romans 8:6

 

  1. What must we put to death? Colossians 3:5

 

  1. What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23

 

  1. Who belongs to Christ? Romans 8:9

 

  1. What will happen to our mortal bodies if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, and how will he do it?   Romans 8:11

 

  1. To what are we not debtors, so that we should live according to it?   Romans 8:12

 

  1. What are all called who are led by the Spirit of God? Romans 8:14

 

 

Personal – In what way are you living your new life in Christ on a daily basis? How do you know personally whether you are being led by the Spirit of God or by your own flesh?

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 11:25-30              GOSPEL

(“Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me.”)

  1. To whom was Jesus speaking, and what does he offer him? Matthew 11:25

 

  1. Fill in the following blanks: … for what you have hidden from the ________________ and the _________________, you have revealed to the merest ________________.   Matthew 11:25

 

  1. Whom did the Lord choose, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

 

  1. To whom is Jesus talking, and what has been given over to Jesus by the Father?   Matthew 11:26-27

 

  1. Who knows the Son and who knows the Father? Matthew 11:27

 

  1. Whom does the Father love and what has he given him? John 3:35

 

  1. To whom does Jesus say to come when we are weary and find life burdensome, and what will he do?   Matthew 11:28

 

  1. What will flow from him who comes to Jesus? John 7:37-39

 

  1. What are we to cast upon Jesus, what will he do, and who will he not permit to be disturbed?   Psalm 55:23

 

  1. What are we to take upon our shoulders, and what are we to do?   Matthew 11:29

 

  1. What two things does he say he is, and what will our soul find?   Matthew 11:29

 

  1. How does Jesus describe his yoke and his burden? Matthew 11:30

 

 

Personal – What do you do and where do you go when the problems of everyday life are too much for you? How are you being weighted down by the burdens of life? How can you take your load off your back and put Jesus’ yoke there? What is Jesus’ yoke and burden to you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY        READ PSALM 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14

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

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14.

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

ZECHARIAH 9:9-10

Zechariah was a prophet to the remnant of the Jews who returned from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. The Jews, once a powerful nation as God had planned them to be, were now a pitiful and insignificant group of left overs, dwelling in their promised land only because of the courtesy of a foreign ruler. Zechariah tried to tell the people that it would not always be so. He told them that one day the Messiah would come and God’s chosen people would once again be a light to all nations.

Zechar­iah foretells the character of Jesus more than any other prophet except Isaiah. He shows us how Christ entered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This triumphant entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem is predicted here 500 years before it happened (Matt. 21:1-11). He has described this king as a servant king rather than a warrior king. He goes on to describe a peace that will come over the land and nations shall live together in harmony. Zechariah talks now about a king who will rule sea to sea and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. This sounds like the second coming of Christ when all the nations of the earth will be subjected to Jesus Christ.

We are told in Scripture that every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue confess him as Lord (Phil. 2:9,10). We need to reflect on this prophecy that was fulfilled in this reading and be expectant that the prophecy of the Lord’s second coming will also be realized. We are all to be ready for his return; for, remember, he IS coming.

ROMANS 8:9, 11-13

Paul defines very clearly in this passage what being a Christian is. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were arrested and charged with being a Christian? Would the authorities have enough evidence to convict you? Have you been challenged to witness to your faith? Paul tells us that a Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. Many people think that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, a magical wondrous feeling takes place. We can know that the Holy Spirit resides in us simply because Jesus promised he would (John 14:16).

We are a Christian if we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and we give him permission to be in control of our lives. A Christian who receives the Holy Spirit is a temple of the Living God (1 Cor. 3:16). When the Holy Spirit is active within us, we will experience that his power is greater than any power in this world (1 John 4:4). We will receive power (Acts 1:8) and through it we will resist the devil and he will be forced to flee (James 4:7). The Holy Spirit helps us to act as Jesus directs us to act (Rom. 8:5). Here we are told that those who follow the Holy Spirit find themselves doing things that please the Lord.

Jesus has broken the power that Satan has had on our life. We do not have to be in bondage anymore, and we do not have to blame our parents or our background as a child for the hurt that we are experiencing now. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1), and that means that what we were or did yesterday does not have to be what we are or do today.

Today, right now, wherever you are, take a few minutes and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins. Tell him that you are tired of living a life of pain and emptiness. Then ask him to heal the hurts that have come from specific people in your life. You will be empowered to serve God and do his will (Acts 1:8) and you will become part of God’s plan to build up his church (Eph. 4:12-13), which is made up of people like you and me.

 

MATTHEW 11:25-30

“Come to me and I will give you rest.” You might ask, “rest from what?” We all are working beneath a yoke as we go through life. Some people are unevenly yoked in marriage and the result is bitterness and resentment, followed many times by divorce. Jesus calls us to wear his yoke and not to worry because he will make sure it fits perfectly. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits onto one or more oxen. When an ox wears a yoke, it means that the animal is going to have a long day of hard work.

Jesus mentions a “heavy yoke” and that could mean the burden of sin, the burden of the law, or the excessive demands of the Pharisaic leaders. It could mean government oppression, like the pressure being put upon those who protest abortion. It could also be just weariness in the search for God.

Jesus frees people from all these heavy burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is peace with God, not the end of the effort of living out our life. Jesus mentions two kinds of people in his prayer. He mentions the wise, who are smug and secure in the safety behind following all of the laws and being in the right places and with the right people. He also calls those who are humble, trusting and open to change, to be “children” or child-like in their faith. We are called to be open, trusting and honest, like a child, when we are praying to God. He wants us to be happy and well.

Remember – His plan for us is clearly stated in scripture, “My purpose is to give you life in all of its fullness” (John 10:10). His yoke fits us perfectly. Let us put it on and joyfully join him in the vineyard of life.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that the gift of prophecy was used for the coming of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The second reading tells us what a Christian is and how to live a Christian life. The Gospel shows us how to lighten the burdens of life by inviting Jesus to carry our burdens and how we can let go of them.

This week, show your Christianity by helping to lighten someone else’s burden. Take time to be available and present to your family. Respond gently and with love to a need of someone in your life. It can be very simple, such as, taking to church a family member, friend or someone you know that is alone. Maybe you can visit or write to someone in prison. Jesus often lightens someone else’s burdens through one of us. He has your yoke and it will fit you perfectly. His love for others can be seen through your love.

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (July 2nd) – 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 2 KINGS 4:8-11, 14-16     FIRST READING

(“I know that he is a holy man of God.”)

  1. Who came to Shunem, and who urged him to dine with her? 2 Kings 4:8

 

 

  1. How often did he dine with the woman? 2 Kings 4:8

 

 

  1. Whom did Elisha succeed, and what was to rest on him? 2 Kings 2:9-15

 

 

  1. What did the Shunammite woman call Elisha? 2 Kings 4:9

 

 

  1. What does he who welcomes a prophet or a holy man receive? Matthew 10:41-42

 

 

  1. In what should we be generous? Romans 12:13

 

 

  1. What did the woman arrange for Elisha? 2 Kings 4:10

 

 

  1. What did Elisha do sometime later? 2 Kings 4:11

 

 

  1. What did Elisha ask his servant Gehazi, and what did he say? 2 Kings 4:14

 

 

  1. Elisha told his servant to call the woman, and as she stood at the door, what did he promise her?   2 Kings 4:15-16

 

 

  1. What did she say, and what did she call Elisha? 2 Kings 4:16

 

 

Personal – What is your attitude when a priest comes to your home? What is your attitude toward what he says to you? In what way do you show hospitality to God’s chosen ones?

 

THIRD DAY            READ ROMANS 6:3-4, 8-11      SECOND READING

(“His death was death to sin, once for all;”)

  1. We who have been baptized into Jesus Christ, into what have we also been baptized?   Romans 6:3

 

 

  1. With whom have all who have been baptized into Christ clothed them­selves? Gal 3:27

 

 

  1. In baptism we were not only buried with him but also raised to life with Him because of what? Col 2:12

 

 

  1. Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, what might we live?   Romans 6:4

 

  1. What do we believe if we have died with Christ? Romans 6:8

 

 

  1. What will Christ, once raised from the dead, never do again? Romans 6:9

 

 

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

 

 

  1. For what was Christ’s death and for whom is his life? Romans 6:10

 

 

  1. For whom did he die? Romans 6:10

 

 

  1. In the same way, to what must we consider ourselves dead? Romans 6:11

 

 

  1. For whom and in whom are we alive? Romans 6:11

 

 

Personal – In what way have you died to sin in your life? In what way are you living a life for God?

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 10:37-42              GOSPEL

(“He who welcomes me, welcomes him who sent me.”)

  1. Who is speaking in verses 37-42 of Matthew, and to whom is he speaking?  Matthew 10:5 , Matthew 11:1

 

 

  1. What did Jesus say about those who love father or mother, son or daughter more than him?   Matthew 10:37

 

 

  1. If a man wishes to come after Jesus, what three things must He do?   Matthew 16:24

 

 

  1. He who will not take up what and come after him is not worthy of whom?   Matthew 10:38

 

 

  1. To what does he who seeks only himself bring himself, and how does a person discover who he is?  Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35

 

 

  1. Whom does he welcome who welcomes us, and he who welcomes him also welcomes whom?   Matthew 10:40

 

 

  1. What does he receive who welcomes a prophet because he bears the name of prophet?   Matthew 10:41

 

 

  1. What does he receive who welcomes a holy man because he is known as a holy man? Matthew 10:41

 

 

  1. What does Jesus promise us, and what does he call a disciple?   Matthew 10:42

 

 

  1. What will happen to any man who gives a drink of water to you because you belong to Christ?   Mark 9:41

 

 

Personal – What is the cross that you have taken up in order to follow Christ? In what ways do you die to yourself on a daily basis in your home, at work, or at school? In what way are you supportive to your brothers and sisters in the Lord who are following Jesus?

 

FIFTH DAY           READ PSALM 89:2-3, 16-19

(“The favors of the Lord I will sing forever.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 89:2-3, 16-19.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

SIXTH DAY          READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

2 KINGS 4:8-11, 14-16

This passage reveals to us the need to show hospitality and respect to God’s chosen ones, his clergy. When a priest or deacon comes into your home, is your attitude loving, caring, and reverent? The Scriptures tell us that he who received the king’s messenger will, in reality, be receiving the king himself (Matt. 10:40-42). The Jews always felt that to receive a person’s messenger was the same as to receive the person himself. To welcome with love the messenger of our Lord Jesus was the same as to welcome Jesus himself.

The Shunemite woman knew that Elisha was a prophet and a special messenger of God and she trusted him with great respect. He promised her a gift of a son and she received this miracle of God from the prophet she respected so much.

Today there is a great amount of disrespect shown toward the clergy of Christian denominations. Many people fail to look at whom these people represent. There are failures among the clergy who fall into sin, but they still have been called to represent the Lord. David was terribly mistreated by Saul the King, but David never harmed a hair on Saul’s head. David respected the office of what Saul represented. God rewarded David for this compassion, respect, and obedience. God called David a “man after my own heart.”

Look at the clergy in your parish and see where you can help them, encourage them, but most of all, love them. You can love your clergy by praying for them daily and by inviting them to your home to share your lifestyle and hospitality. Elisha was amazed at the Shunemite woman’s hospitality, and today, our clergy need that hospitality and acceptance very much. Jesus said, “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Matt 25:31-46). This verse also applied to those who had given up the comfort of a loving family and the security of a permanent home and community and have gone out to serve a hostile world. How we treat our clergy is very well indeed how we treat Our Lord, Jesus. Remember, they are messengers of the King.

 

ROMANS 6:3-4, 8-11

The power of sin is broken through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death shattered the power of our sinful nature. Our old sin-loving nature was buried with Jesus by baptism when he died for our sins. Through baptism, we share his new life, and we shall rise as he did. Baptism means to sink, submerge, and to drown. We die to our old sinful nature and we emerge or rise in baptism with the Risen Christ. We have invited Christ to take up residence in us. He, in turn, welcomes us into his Holy Family of Christianity. He is present in his Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we become sons and daughters of God the Father and enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit and live and love others in the name of Jesus Christ.

In the church of Paul’s time, immersion was the usual form of baptism. This means that new Christians were completely buried in water. This symbolized the death and burial of the old way of life, followed by resurrection to life with Christ. It is very important to realize why baptism is so important to being a Christian. We are cleansed of sin and clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the power that we use to resist the devil and make him flee from us (James 4:7). We now have the incredible power to choose life over death because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. We know that the Spirit within us is far more powerful than he that is in the world (l John 4:4). Because of our baptism we have become adopted sons and daughters of the King. Jesus tells us that he has prepared a place in his Father’s house for each one of us (John 14:1-6). This passage gives us tremendous comfort and assurances as believers in Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we never need to fear death or wonder where we will go when we die (John 3:16).

MATTHEW 10:37-42

Today’s Gospel message tells us that a Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones. Jesus showed that his presence demands a decision. This was true in Jesus’ time, and it is especially true in today’s world. Two things are happening today. Either the world is changing you or you are changing the world. A decision for Christ is a decision to make the world a better place to live.

As we take up our cross and follow Jesus, an inevitable conflict will follow. Our different values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others. Today’s message is that God should be our first priority, not friends or even family. God has called all of us to a higher mission than to find comfort in this life. To take up our cross and follow Jesus we must lay down other cares and priorities. We need to be totally committed to God (Matt. 10:39) and willing to face anything, even suffering and death, for the sake of Christ. We can see around us that the more people love this life’s rewards (leisure, power, popularity), the more they discover how empty they are.

Mother Teresa has a saying, “Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.” We can tell how much we love God by how well we treat others. God notices every good deed we do or don’t do, as if he were the one receiving it. We cannot all be prophets and proclaim the Word of God, but he who gives God’s messenger the simple gift of hospitality will receive no less a reward than the prophet himself. We must remember that even the prophet must get his breakfast and attend to his clothes. We must never forget to love, honor, and thank those who have the often thankless task of making a home, cooking meals, washing clothes, shopping for household items, and caring for children. It is God’s greatest task, and they will be far more likely to receive the prophet’s rewards than those whose days are filled with committees and comfortable homes.

 

 

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (June 25th) – CYCLE A

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 20:10-13       FIRST READING

(“For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked.”)

  1. What does Jeremiah hear, and for what are those who were his  friends on the watch?   Jeremiah 20:10

 

 

  1. What will a false friend do? Sirach 37:4

 

 

  1. What will a friend do who is a friend when it suits him, and with whom are we to be on guard?   Sirach 6:8-13

 

 

  1. Who is with Jeremiah, and what will happen to his persecutors?   Jeremiah 20:11

 

 

  1. What did the Lord say to Jeremiah? Jeremiah 1:8, Jeremiah 15:20

 

 

  1. From what are malicious persecutors far? Psalm 119:150

 

 

  1. What does the Lord test and probe, and what does Jeremiah ask to witness?   Jeremiah 20:12

 

 

  1. Why does the Lord probe the mind and test the heart? Jeremiah 17:10

 

 

  1. To whom should we sing and praise, and whom has he rescued?   Jeremiah 20:13

 

 

  1. Why do we thank and praise the Lord? Psalm 109:30-31

 

 

Personal – How has the Lord rescued you from someone you thought was a friend? In what way do you sing his praises for what he has done for you?

 

         

THIRD DAY              READ ROMANS 5:12-15         SECOND READING

(“But the gift is not like the transgression.”)

  1. What entered the world through one man, what came to all, and what have all done?   Romans 5:12

 

 

  1. Through what did death enter the world, and who experiences it?   Wisdom 2:24

 

 

  1. What does envy and anger do? Sirach 30:24

 

  1. Where was sin up to the time of the law, and when is sin not accounted?   Romans 5:13

 

 

  1. What does the law produce, and where is there no violation? Romans 4:15

 

 

  1. What reigned from Adam to Moses, who dies even though they did not sin, and what was Adam? Romans 5:14

 

 

  1. What happened in Adam, and what happened in Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:22

 

 

Personal – How has sin and death affected your life?

 

 

  1. What is the gift not like? Romans 5:15

 

 

  1. What overflowed for the many? Romans 5:15

 

 

  1. How do we believe we have been saved? Acts 15:11

 

 

Personal – How has the grace of God affected your life? What does grace mean to you? From you, what is the result it has on others?

 

 

 

FOURTH DAY            READ MATTHEW 10:26-33              GOSPEL

(“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”)

 

  1. What are we not to be, and what is concealed that will be revealed?   Matthew 10:26

 

 

  1. What Jesus speaks to us in the darkness, where are we to speak it? What we hear whispered, where are we to proclaim it? Matthew 10:27

 

 

Personal – When the Lord speaks to you in your quiet prayer time, how do you make it known to others?

 

 

  1. What will happen to the person who does not speak? Psalm 32:3

 

 

  1. Of whom are we not to be afraid, and who are we to fear? Matthew 10:28

 

 

  1. With what are we not to make alliance, with whom are we to make alliance, and who are we to fear and be in awe? Isaiah 8:12-13

 

 

  1. What does not fall to the ground without the Father’s knowledge?   Matthew 10:29

 

 

  1. What is even counted, and why should we not be afraid? Matthew 10:30-31

 

 

  1. What will happen to us because of Jesus, what will not be destroyed, and what will secure our life? Luke 21:17-19

 

 

  1. What are we not to fear? Isaiah 51:7

 

 

  1. Who will be acknowledged before our heavenly Father, and who will be denied before him? Matthew 10:32-33

 

 

  1. What will happen to whomever is ashamed of Jesus and his words, in this faithless and sinful generation? Mark 8:38

 

 

Personal – In what ways have you acknowledged Jesus and his words to your family, friends, school friends and co-workers?

 

 

FIFTH DAY       READ PSALM 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35

(“For the Lord hears the poor,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35.

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 20:10-13

Jeremiah goes straight from the Hinnom Valley to the temple, and with his message challenged the people’s social and moral behavior. He was not afraid to give unpopular criticism. The people could either obey or silence him, and they chose the latter. Their false prophets told them what they wanted to hear. The priest in charge called Pashur, heard Jeremiah’s words and because of his guilt forced him into the wooden stocks. With his hands and feet made fast in the wooden stocks, and being ridicul­ed in front of the entire community, Jeremiah pours out his heart to God. Yet, even this did not stop him from making God’s Word known.

Jeremiah’s role as a prophet put him under terrific pres­sure. He has faithfully proclaimed God’s Word and has received nothing in return, only persecution and sorrow. He tried to with­hold God’s word, but it became like a fire in his bones.

Today, there are many places where people need to be chal­lenged about their moral behavior. The Jeremiahs of today are being ridiculed and silenced, and the false prophets “tickle their ears” with stories of how wonderful they are. When you feel like you are at the end of your rope, remember, there is never an end to hope. You will feel “the fire in your bones,” and you will feel compelled to share it with others, whatever the situa­tion.

 

ROMANS 5:12-15

The question, “How can we be declared guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago?” rages on. There are many who feel it is not right for God to judge us for Adam’s sin. Yet, each one of us identifies with Adam by our own sins. We are made of the same “high-fluting,” rebellious, exaggerating attitude and prejudices. We are judged for the sins we commit, because we are sinners. It is not fairness that we need, it is mercy.

Paul tells us once again that keeping the law does not bring salvation. Death is the result of Adam’s sin and for the sins we all commit. The Law was added to help people see their sinful­ness and to show them the seriousness of their offense and to drive them to God for mercy and pardon. This was true in Moses’ day, and it is still true today. Sin is a profound rupture between who we are and who we were created to be. The Law points out our sin and places the responsibility on our shoulders, but the Law offers no remedy for it.

In many nations, prisons are overflowing because accountability calls for discipline, and discipline calls for a commit­ment to an idea. When we are convicted of sin, the only way to heal is through Jesus Christ. Remember, only the truth can really set us free (John 8:32) and the truth is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

MATTHEW 10:26-33

Today’s Gospel reveals to us the cost of following Jesus Christ. Jesus helped his disciples prepare for the rejection many of them would experience by being Christian. Being God’s person will usually create reactions from others who are resisting him. The disciples experienced hardships not only from without (government, courts, etc.), but also from friends and family.

Living for God often brings on trials and tribulations, but with it comes the opportunity to tell the Good News of Salvation. We can always be confident because Jesus has “overcome the world” (John 16:33), and it is very crucial for us to remember that those who “endure to the end” will be saved (10:22).

You are of incredible worth to God, and you are never lost from his sight or touch. You never are to fear personal threats or difficult trials because they can not shake God’s love and Spirit from you. God placed a tremendous value on each one of us, and he lets us have the choice and the chance to say “No, Lord.” The closer you get to God, the more the world will reject and abuse us. They hated Christ and rejected Him; would we expect anything less? Those who stand up for Christ in spite of their troubles truly will have lasting value and will receive the acknowledgement of God and God’s love will sustain them through any kind of trial.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God’s Word is like a hammer that smashes away at the rocks of obstacles. The second reading tells us that death is the result of Adam’s sin, and life is the result of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The Gospel reveals fear as useless, and we must trust in God.

This week, ask yourself what you are doing to be a witness to your faith. How have you responded to the scourge of abortion in your community? See if you can help with letter writing, picket­ing, protesting, praying and voting on moral issues concerning abortion. You will be ridiculed and attacked, socially, emotional­ly, spiritually, and maybe even physically for your loyalty and belief.

This week, become a disciple of Christ and let the Spirit within you be a reminder that the spirit of the world has been defeated.