THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
by Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ZEPHANIAH 2:3, 3:12-13 FIRST READING
(“Seek the Lord all you humble of the Lord.”)
- Who must seek the Lord? Zephaniah 2:3
- What happens to those who humble themselves?
2 Chronicles 7:14
1 Peter 5:5
- What happens to those who do not humble themselves?
2 Chronicles 33:23, 24
- What does it mean to humble yourself?
- What happens to God through those that are humble? Sirach 3:19
- From whom do we learn to become humble? Matthew 11:25, 29
- How should Christians act toward one another? 1 Peter 3:8
Personal – Read Philippians 2:3, 4. Put your name in the following first and third blank spaces, and insert the name of a person you have the most trouble getting along with, in the second and fourth blank spaces:
(1)_________, never act out of rivalry or conceit; rather think humbly of (2)__________as superior to (3)_________, looking to (4)__________interest rather than to my own.
- What three things must they seek? Zephaniah 2:3
- What may happen to these people on the day of the Lord’s anger? Zep 2:3. Also see Psalm 2:11, on how not to be affected by God’s anger
- What will he leave in your midst and in what shall they take refuge? Zephaniah 3:12
- What three things shall they not do, and what shall they do? Zephaniah 3:13
Personal – Are you one of God’s remnants? Do others see you as one of his remnants? What can you do to better glorify God? Meditate on this.
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31 SECOND READING
(“If anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.”)
- Who are among those called, and what are they to consider? 1 Corinthians 1:26
- What are these brothers not considered? 1 Corinthians 1:26
Personal – Who do you consider the well-born today? Who are the influential?
- Who did God choose to shame the wise, and who did God single out of this world to do what? 1 Corinthians 1:27
- How does the world see these people, and what was God’s reason for choosing the low born? 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
- Who has God chosen according to James 2:5?
- Who has given us life in Christ Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:30
- Was this new life in Christ Jesus accomplished by anything we have done? Ephesians 2:8-9
- Fill in the following blanks: He has made him our ________ and also our _________, our _________________and our
_____________ (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- Who gives wisdom, what is wisdom, and to whom does God give wisdom? 1 Kings 5:9, Ephesians 1:9, Job 28:28, Psalm 19:8
- As Jesus grew in size and strength with what was he filled? Luke 2:40
- With what does righteousness begin and end, and how will we receive justice? Romans 1:17, Luke 18:7
- What leads us to righteousness, and what must we do with our bodies to sanctify them? Romans 6:16-19
- How have we been sanctified? Hebrews 10:10
- How have we been redeemed? Ephesians 1:7
- How did we deserve to be justified by the gift of God through the redemption of Christ? Romans 3:24
Personal – At times, how do you find yourself boasting about your accomplishments? Think about this today, and when you begin to do this, discipline your mind to think on what Jesus has done for you in that situation.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 5:1-12 GOSPEL
(“Happy are the poor in spirit.”)
- When Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down, who gathered around him? Matthew 5:1
- What did Jesus begin to do, and where did Jesus do his teaching?
Personal – How and where do you teach about God’s ways? How can you follow Jesus’ example to teach whenever a need arises? In what way have you learned about how Jesus acted in certain situations to be able to share that with your spouse, your children, your friends, and those with whom you work?
- Who did Jesus tell his disciples would teach them when he was not there? Luke 12:12
- Whose is the kingdom of God? Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20
- Who shall be consoled? Matt 5:4; Luke 6:21; Psalm 126:5
- Who shall inherit the land? Matt 5:5; Psalm 37:11; Proverbs 2:21
- What will happen to those who hunger and thirst for holiness? Matt 5:6, Luke 6:21, Proverbs 21:21
- Mercy shall be whose, and who shall see God? Matt 5:7-8
- Who shall be called sons of God, and to whom does the reign of God belong? Matthew 5:9-10, 1 Peter 2:20
- Whose reward is great in heaven? Matthew 5:12
- When being persecuted, how should we act? Whom did they persecute before us and in what way? Matt 5:12, James 1:2, 2 Chronicles 36:16
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 146:6-10
(“The Lord sets captives free.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 146:6-10.
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
ZEPHANIAH 2:3, 3:12-13
The “day of Yahweh” was coming, the day when God would punish all disobedient nations. Judah, because of her pride and rebelliousness, was very much included. A small remnant of God’s people would survive the day of wrath if they became obedient to God’s commands. This same warning is issued for our benefit today. The chosen people (the Israelites) did not really believe this prophecy and their nation was subjected to incredible violence. We are that remnant today and we are called more than ever to bring his Word to those around us. Many people today are still waiting for a Messiah who will bring them recognition, wealth and power.
When Jesus finally came they were not ready for him and resented him. They condemned him to death on the cross. That cross became the banner around which the few faithful Jews and Gentiles (remnant) rallied. His kingdom on earth spread and in just 30 years after his death, Christianity was known and practiced in the entire civilized world.
Today the world is turning more and more into a pagan world, and the warnings of Zephaniah are ringing in our ears. God is opposed to the proud and arrogant of every generation. He will always bless and protect the poor and the humble because they believe in him. Self-reliance and arrogance found no place in God’s kingdom then and neither will it find any place in God’s kingdom today. Zephaniah shows us that only when we faithfully follow and obey God’s Word can we really ever be truly happy.
The Good Shepherd looks over his flock and provides them with the protection that they need. They know they can lie down in safety and rest in peace because he is always present among them. We need not fear any man or nation because Jesus tells us that through him, all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).
1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31
Paul tells us how fortunate we are to have a God who loves us so much that he chose to become just like us in every way but sin. He tells us that God calls us to be one of his children, not because of what we have done or what we may own or even how smart we may be. In fact, God has made salvation available to all, especially the lowly and humble. All anyone needs is faith in order to be saved. Salvation comes from believing that Jesus Christ died so that all of our sins would be washed away by his blood. Jesus’ death allowed us to become holy and spotless before God. We are justified in faith by what Jesus did on that cross, not by anything we ever did. This is tremendously Good News for us, especially those of us who are struggling in our own lives through sickness, poverty, tyranny or being from the wrong side of town. It’s incredible to realize that Jesus came to earth to die for all men and women, rich or poor, weak or strong, young or old.
Not everyone accepted Jesus and the result is that many are searching in the wrong direction for the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Faith is a response to the power and presence of the living God in our lives. Salvation is free, but it is not inherited. Each one of us has to personally accept the invitation from Christ. Paul’s words are great comfort and hope to the people in our world today. Much of the world is suffering through famine, tyranny, and lack of respect for human dignity. Jesus is present among all of us and he seeks out the oppressed and offers them full partnership in his kingdom in heaven and encourages all of us to bring that kingdom into reality here on earth now.
Jesus gave this sermon on a hillside near Capernaum, and it is believed that this “Sermon on the Mount” probably lasted several days. Jesus broke through the traditional view of the law and talked about the attitudes of men. He stressed that it is as important to be, as to do. We might even call them “The Be-Attitudes” of Christianity. Tremendous crowds were following Jesus, he was the talk of everyone. He preached with such simpleness and yet with much authority.
The disciples were Jesus’ closest companions, and all of this attention certainly must have made them feel important, popular and maybe even prideful. Being with Jesus gave them plenty of notoriety, as well as being faith healers of a sort. Jesus warned them about the temptations they would face as his associates, and some think his sermon on the mount may have been directed to his disciples, as well as everyone else in the crowd.
We hear a lot of comments today that if you follow Jesus’ teaching, you will be successful, healthy, wealthy and wise. Jesus really tells us to expect not fame or fortune; but to expect mourning, hunger, and persecution. Jesus tells us not to look for our reward in this life. We will be rewarded but not necessarily here on earth. The beatitudes are a standard of conduct for all Christian believers. There is a strong contrast in values. The kingdom values deal with eternal life and worldly values deal with what is temporary. They contrast the superficial faith of the Pharisees with the real faith Jesus wants.
Today we are faced with the same challenge. We need to really take a look at our values and see if they are worldly values or kingdom values. The beatitudes cannot be a multiple choice, pick what you want and leave the rest. To be a real follower of Christ these have to be your be-attitudes.
The first reading talks about a day of warm healing for the humble and a day of wrath for the proud. The second reading shows us how God has chosen ordinary people to be eligible for salvation. In the Gospel, we hear the attitudes of Christ are to be our attitudes.
This week, let us reach out and give comfort to someone in our family. It might be nothing more than a letter of sympathy or a get well card. It could also be visiting someone who has lost a loved one and who is lonely.