Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 29th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8 FIRST READING

(“This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.”)

l. What is Moses telling the Israelites to observe, and what will happen if they observe them? Deuteronomy 4:1

 

2. As the Israelites observe the commandments enjoined upon them, what are they not to do?  Deuteronomy 4:2, Deut. 13:1

 

3. What will happen to us if we add to God’s words? Proverbs 30:6

 

4. By observing his commands carefully, we will be giving evidence of having what two things? Deuteronomy 4:6

 

5. To whom will we be giving this evidence, and what will they say? Deuteronomy 4:6

 

6. To what is this wonder capable of leading us? 2 Timothy 3:15

 

7. What is the Lord, Our God, to us whenever we call upon him? Deuteronomy 4:7

 

8. What is being set before the Israelites this day, and what is said about it? Deuteronomy 4:8

 

9. What are God’s commandments? Psalm 119:144, 172

 

10. What are God’s ways of doing things? Revelation 15:3

 

Personal – In what way do you show wisdom and intelligence to those with whom you come in contact?  What are you contributing to your nation?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ JAMES 1:17-18, 21-22, 27 SECOND READING

(“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”)

1. From where does every good and perfect gift come? James 1:17

 

2. What is God, and what is not in him?  James 1:17, 1 John 1:5

 

3. What did God will to give us, and how did he do this? James 1:18

 

4. How have we been born?  1 Peter 1:23

 

5. Of what are we to rid ourselves, and what are we to welcome? James 1:21

 

Personal – How has the study of God’s Holy Word been a saving grace to you?

 

6. How can we deceive or delude our self?  James 1:22

 

7. Who is the wise man, and who is the fool? Matthew 7:24-27

 

8. Who will be justified? Romans 2:13

 

9. What is religion that is pure and undefiled before God? James 1:27

 

10. How do we escape the defilement of the world? 2 Peter 2:20

 

Personal – Who are the orphans and widows in your neighborhood, and how have you cared for them?  How have you kept yourself unstained by the world?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 GOSPEL

(“Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”)

1. Who gathered around Jesus, and what did they observe? Mark 7:1-2

 

2. What tradition did the Pharisees and all Jews keep? Mark 7:3-4

 

3. About what did the Pharisees and scribes question Jesus, and about whom did Isaiah prophesy? Mark 7:5-6

 

4. With what did Isaiah say these hypocrites honored him, and what was far from him?  Mark 7:6, Isaiah 29:13. Use a dictionary and write out the definition of hypocrite.

 

5. What is the first thing a hypocrite should do?  Matthew 7:5

 

6. In what way do they worship God, and what do they teach? Mark 7:7

 

7. What do the hypocrites disregard, and to what do they cling? Mark 7:8

 

8. What did Jesus say defiles or makes a person unclean, and what does not defile that person?   Mark 7:14-15

 

9. What happens to that which enters the mouth, and from where does that come which comes out of the mouth?  Mark 7:18-20

 

10. What comes from the heart, and what do these evils do? Mark 7:21-23

 

Personal – How much time do you spend on what goes into your mouth, and how much time do you spend on what comes out of your mouth?  How can you better deal with what comes out of your mouth?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 15:2-5

(“He who does these things shall never be disturbed.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 15:2-5.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8

In today’s reading Moses emphasizes the Law and Israel’s exalted status among the nations.  The Law was considered a blessing and a source of life, only if it was to be accepted and enforced with equal respect for all.  There was a great cry by the people to change some of the laws, and Moses told them that these laws were the work of God and therefore complete. Moses knew that mankind, with its limited wisdom and knowledge, could not do an editing job on God’s perfect law.  Moses knew that to make changes in God’s law is to assume a position of authority over God.

The religious leaders at the time of Christ did exactly that. They elevated their own laws to the same level as God’s. Moses said that a reputation for wisdom comes only by obeying God’s Holy Word. Today, we see many religious leaders in many countries trying to impress the people with how smart they are, how talented they are and with the size of their churches. The most authentic way to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ is not becoming colorful and exciting, not becoming rich or successful, but through obedience to God’s Holy Word, his sacraments, and the fellowship of a faith-filled community.

Do you fall into the trap of trying to make others think that you are intelligent, resourceful and very religious?  Do you try to be up on almost every subject, especially the subject of theology and administration?  Remember, in Christianity it is not what you do, it is whom you know.  If you really know Christ, then you will be seeking his guidance on every aspect of your life. When you come to know Christ, then and only then, will you be able to understand the difference between the law of rigidity and the law of love.

 

JAMES 1:17-18, 21-22, 27

In today’s passage, we hear James calling these first-generation Christians who believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah “The first children in God’s new family.”  We are called to be listeners and doers of the word.  When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think only our ideas have any lasting value.

We read in today’s passage’s that it is important to know what God’s word says, but it is much more important to obey it.  Our behavior and attitude reflect the effectiveness of our bible reading and study time. The message of obedience calls for a response, and it is in this responsive action of being a doer of God’s Holy Word that brings us real freedom.

Scripture is often called God’s law for free men or the law of liberty.  God’s law points out the sin in our lives and gives us the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness (Rom. 7:7-8). We know that as Christians, we are saved by God’s grace and not by any of our own doing.  Because of God’s grace we can live a holy life, and not by any of our own doing. This grace of God has given us the gift of salvation, which includes freedom from sin’s control. As believers, we are free to live as we should and in his grace we can. However, we are not free to live as we please, but rather, in our gratitude to Christ, by following his commandments of loving one another  as he has loved us. (John 13:34). We see that in today’s world it is not enough just to “talk the talk,” but we have to “walk the walk” of Christ, and that means loving others with actions as well as with good intentions.

The first century of the new church was a time of physical, emotional and spiritual help for the powerless in the new Christian communities.  By caring for these defenseless people, the church put God’s words into practice.  They gave because it was needed, not hoping for a return.  The early church showed what it means to serve others, and today Jesus Christ is calling us to be doers of the word, not just listeners.  Jesus himself tells us, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Today’s Gospel shows the tremendous importance of the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees and the experts of the Law. The religious leaders sent some investigators to check up on Jesus, and they did not like what they found. Jesus scolded them for keeping the Law in order to look holy instead of to honor God.  The prophet Isaiah accused the religious leaders of his day of the same thing (Isaiah 29:13), and Jesus used Isaiah’s words to accuse these men.

Mark explained some Jewish rituals because he was writing to a non-Jewish audience.  About four or five centuries before Christ, there came into being a class of legal experts on Jewish law, whom we know as the scribes. The scribes reflected on the great moral principles of the Ten Commandments and broke them down into hundreds of little rules and regulations. These rules were called “The Oral Laws” and they later were written down and known as the “Mishnah.”  Jesus told them that ceremonial cleanness did not purify the heart. To fail to achieve this ceremonial cleanness of washing this or that properly in Jewish eyes, was not to be guilty of bad manners, but to be unclean in the sight of God. The man who ate with unclean hands was subject to the attacks of a demon called “Shibta.”  To many Pharisaical and scribal Jews, religion was ritual, ceremonial and regulations. It was because Jesus considered God’s laws more important than all these regulations that they considered him bad and dangerous.

Jesus saw religion as loving God and loving his fellowman, and the scribes saw religion as rules and regulations. Jesus accused them of hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy means “actor,” but it goes beyond acting on the stage. It means acting without any sincerity behind it all.  Jesus struck at the core of hypocrisy by saying that love, not legalism, is the core of religion. Legalism takes account of a man’s outward actions; but it takes no account at all of his inward feelings. We may serve God outwardly and bluntly disobey God in inward things, and that is hypocrisy. We become hypocrites when we pay more attention to reputation than to character. True religion must always come from the simple listening and accepting of the voice of God. Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that we have a God who is always near.  The second reading shows that we are called to be “doers” of the word.  The Gospel reveals that Jesus goes way beyond legalism.

This week show your family, school friends, or work associates that what you do is morally right, not just what you say. Show your family members especially, that your image is of one who is yielding, bending, and open to God’s grace, not one who is locked in a legalistic rigidity of rules and regulations.

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 22nd) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ JOSHUA 24:1-2,15-17, 18 FIRST READING

(“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”)

l. Whom will Joshua gather together? Joshua 24:1

 

2. Whom did Joshua address, and what did he say to them? Joshua 24:2

 

3. What did Joshua tell the people to decide upon? Joshua 24:15

 

4. What two things could be decided upon, and how could they be obtained? Deuteronomy 30:15-18

 

5. Who did Joshua say would serve the Lord?  Joshua 24:15

 

Personal    If you have decided to serve the Lord as Joshua has, and someone in your household has not, how have you handled it?

 

6. What did the people say they had no intentions of doing? Joshua 24:16

 

7. What did the Lord God do for them and their fathers, what did he perform, and from whom did he protect them? Joshua 24:17

 

8. How has the Lord brought you and your family out of slavery? Acts 16:31

 

9. Whom did the Lord drive out of the land, and whom did the people say they would serve?   Joshua 24:18

 

10. What can no man serve, and for what reason?  Matthew 6:24

 

Personal    In what way have your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents served other gods?  Whom have you decided to follow, and for what reason did you decide this?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 5:21-32 SECOND READING

(“Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.”)

1. How should husband and wife act towards one another, and for what reason do they do this? Ephesians 5:21

 

2. How should wives be towards their husband, and who is the head of the wife? Ephesians 5:22-23

 

3. Why should a wife be submissive towards her husband? 1 Peter 3:1-2

 

4. Who is head of the church, and what has he done for the church?  Ephesians 5:23,25

 

5. In what are wives to be submissive to their husbands? Ephesians 5:24

 

6. How are husbands to love their wives, and what will this make her? Ephesians 5:25-27

 

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

 

8. Whom does he who loves his wife also love? Ephesians 5:28

 

9. What two things does a person do to his flesh as Christ does for the church? Ephesians 5:29-30

 

10. What happens to the man who leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife? Ephesians 5:31

 

11. In reference to what great mystery does Paul speak? Ephesians 5:32

 

Personal – If you are married, how do you see similarities of your relationship with your spouse to those of Christ with the church (church meaning the people of God)?  Be specific.  If you are not married, how can you see similarities of your parents to that of Christ and the church?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:60-69 GOSPEL

(“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”)

1. What did many of the disciples say to Jesus, and about what were they talking? John 6:34, 54, 60

 

2. What did Jesus ask his disciples? John 6:61-62

 

3. What does the Spirit give us, and what is the flesh to us? John 6:63

 

4. If we live by the Spirit, what will we not do? Galatians 5:16

 

5. What are the words that Jesus speaks? John 6:63

 

6. What did Jesus know from the beginning? John 6:64

 

7. Who draws people to Jesus? John 6:65

 

8. Who chose us and for what reason? John 15:16

 

9. What did many of Jesus’ disciples do? John 6:66

 

10. What was Simon Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question, “Do you also want to leave?” John 6:67-69

 

Personal – How have you experienced the spiritual new life through his Holy Word?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 34:2-3, 16-23

(“The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 34:2-3, 16-23

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

JOSHUA 24:1-2, 15-17, 18

Joshua called all the people together and reminded them of God’s goodness when God had blessed them so many times in the past. Joshua did that to encourage them to remain loyal and obedient to God, especially when times became difficult.  When we turn to Scripture, it is remarkable how unchanging is God’s love for us. Joshua challenged the people to make a decision. He wanted them to commit their lives to the Lord, who had proven his trustworthiness, or ask them whether they were going to obey the local so-called gods.

The challenge by Joshua is very appropriate for the people of today. Can you imagine what would happen if the spiritual and secular leaders of the world spoke through the modern technology of television and radio to the whole world, saying that the time has come to make a choice between life with God or death without him? Or that your life will be a blessing as he resides in you, or that your life will be a curse because you are an empty shell filled with illusions, if he does not?

Well, that would not be any more explosive than what Joshua did. He told them that they could not make it without God’s guidance and help. We have seen all through history that when men believe in false gods, it is only a matter of time before they are destroyed. Joshua, a true, fearless leader, states to the people, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Today we need to pray that our leaders will have the courage of Joshua.  What about you?  Do you have that same courage?   Are you ready to say to the world, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”?

 

EPHESIANS 5:21-32

Today’s reading deals with submission, a badly misused word. Being submissive does not mean becoming a doormat.  Jesus Christ, at whose name every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil. 2:10), submitted his will to the Father.  He did this willingly, openly, and unconditionally, and we honor Christ by following his example.  When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others.

In a marriage relationship both husband and wife are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ.  For the wife, this means willingly following her husband’s leadership in Christ.  For the husband, it means putting aside his own interests in order to care for his wife.  It means that submission is rarely a problem in homes where both spouses are in a strong personal relationship with Christ.  There are some people today who have distorted Paul’s teaching and have taken unlimited authority for themselves.  According to scripture, the man is the spiritual head of the family, and his wife affirms and goes along with his leadership.  Paul told wives to submit to their husbands, and while this teaching is not very popular today, there is no valid reason to discard it.

We must never forget that real spiritual leadership is service.  Christ served his disciples even to the point of washing their feet, and husbands are called to do no less with their wives.  Christ loved his church by teaching her, honoring her, sacrificing for her, suffering for her, being humiliated for her, providing for her, and even dying for her.  A husband is to do for his bride exactly what Christ did for his bride (church).  A husband may not be called to die physically for his wife, but he is called to die to himself.  He is called to die to his needs and tend to her needs first.  He can do that only when he has yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ, has chosen to give glory to the Father by saying, “Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, I believe in you and I will follow your commandment.”  Jesus tells all of us who believe in him, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).

 

JOHN 6:60-69

When we look at the Greek translation of the word “skleros,” we see that it does not mean, “hard to understand,” but “hard to accept.”  The disciples knew quite well that Jesus had been claiming to be the very life of God come down from heaven, and that no one could live this life or face eternity without submitting to him.  Today as it was then, it is not the intellectual difficulty which keeps men from becoming Christians; it is the height of Christ’s moral demand.  Man will never be able to understand God fully, and any honest thinker will accept that there must be a mystery.

The real difficulty of being a Christian is that it demands an act of surrender to Christ, and it demands a moral standard at the highest level.  Jesus tells us that the all-important thing is the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.  He goes on to tell us his words are Spirit and life.  Only Jesus can give us true purpose in life, and the power of his Holy Spirit to work out that purpose against the constant opposition that comes from without and within.  All spiritual renewal begins and ends with God, as he reveals truth to us and then lives within us as we respond to that truth.

Many of his followers found that they were not ready for this kind of message of renewal and deserted him.  The reasons they left could have been that they realized that he was not going to be the conquering Messiah-King they expected.  They were disappointed that he emphasized faith so much and not enough on doing good things.  He refused to give in to their self-centered requests.

As we grow in our faith, we may be tempted to turn away because Jesus’ lessons are hard.  Will your response be to give up, ignore certain teaching, or reject Christ?  Remember, we do not do good things to become good.  We do good things because of the good that is within us and that goodness is the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).  Today, ask God to show you what the teachings mean and how they apply to your life.  Then have the courage to act upon God’s truth.

 

Application

The first reading shows that to accept a challenge means to change.  The second reading shows submission means to give of self willingly and joyfully.  The Gospel reveals the high moral demand of Christianity.

This week, let the challenge of Joshua stir you to show that you and your household will serve the Lord.  To do this, you need to practice the gift of listening to the members of your family.  Listen to the hurt and rejection that others are experiencing.  Then in submission respond by serving their needs.  Your willingness to serve is a definite sign that the core of your submission is the power of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, to submit to another is difficult, and to submit means to love.  To love means to be in obedience to Christ.  To be obedient to Christ is to be submissive to one another.  Do you see how God’s love is so intertwined in our lives?

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ 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

 

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

 

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

 

4. 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

11. 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

10. 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

 

2. 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

9. 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

13. 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 (August 8th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ 1 KINGS 19:4-8 FIRST READING

(“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.”)

l. Who went to the desert, and what did he pray for as he sat beneath the tree? 1 Kings 19:3-4

 

2. Who did Elijah say he was no better than? 1 Kings 19:4

 

3. Who is another person who told the Lord he wanted to die, and what was the Lord’s response to him? Jonah 4:6-11

 

4. What does the Lord say about his ways of doing things? Isaiah 55:8-9

 

5. What did Elijah lie down and do, who touched him, and what did he order him to do?   1 Kings 19:5

 

6. What did Elijah find at his head, and for what did the angel of the Lord come back a second time?  1 Kings 19:6-7

 

Personal    What has caused you to want to give up and die? Bring it to the Lord and ask him to reveal his truth to you on this situation.

 

7. What did Elijah get up and do for the second time, and what did it do for him? 1 Kings 19:8

 

8. Where do we get our strength, and what gives you life? John 6:53

 

9. How long did Elijah walk, and where was he going? 1 Kings 19:8

 

10. In what are we to walk or live our life? 2 John 4

 

Personal – How has God provided a way out of a difficult situation for you?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 4:30-5:2 SECOND READING

(“So be imitators of God, as beloved children.”)

1. With whom were we sealed for the day of redemption, and whom should you not grieve?    Ephesians 4:30

 

2. What must be removed from us? Ephesians 4:31, also verse 29

 

3. What kind of shouting is acceptable? Psalms 47:1

 

4. How are we to be toward one another, and what has God done for us in Christ? Ephesians 4:32

 

5. What did Jesus say to the Father as he was being crucified? Luke 23:34

 

6. What do we have in Jesus? Ephesians 1:7

 

7. Whom are we to imitate, and what are we to him? Ephesians 5:1

 

8. How are we to imitate God? 1 John 2:6

 

9. How are we to live, and how did Christ show his love for us? Ephesians 5:2

 

10. Whose interest are we to look out for, and how should we regard others? Philippians 2:3-4

 

Personal – In what way can you take on the attitude of Christ in your home, work, parish, or school?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:41-51 GOSPEL

(“…the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”)

1. About what were the Jews murmuring?  John 6:41-42

 

2. What did Jesus tell them to stop doing? John 6:43

 

3. How did Jesus say we come to him, and what will he do on the last day? John 6:44

 

4. When Jesus was lifted up from this earth, whom did he say he would draw to himself?    John 12:32

 

5. What is written in the prophets, and who comes to Jesus? John 6:45

 

6. What shall be great among those taught by God? Isaiah 54:13

 

7. How do we understand what is taught by God? 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

 

8. Who has seen the Father?  John 6:46

 

9. Who has eternal life, and what does Jesus say he is? John 6:47-48

 

10. What happened to our ancestors, and what is this bread? John 6:49-50

 

11. Who does Jesus say he is, what will happen to those who eat this bread, and what does Jesus say the bread he gives is? John 6:51

 

Personal – How have you been strengthened by the bread that came down from heaven (Jesus), and in what ways do you partake of his body?  How has Word and sacrament at Mass affected your life?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 34:2-9

(“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 34:2-9.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

1 KINGS 19:4-8

Today’s passage shows us how a powerful prophet of the Lord allows fear to cripple him. We see Elijah running from the wicked Queen Jezebel after he had just destroyed her false prophets in a spectacular display of divine power. Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great victories, the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain.

Jezebel’s threat to kill Elijah completely drained him. To lead him out of this state of depression, God let him rest and eat. God then confronted him to get on with his mission in life, and that was to be God’s prophet. Elijah’s battles were far from over, and there was still much work for him to do.

We need to remember that when we feel a letdown after a great spiritual experience, God’s purpose for our life is not yet over.  Elijah fled to the safety and silence of Mt. Horeb, where God met Moses and gave his laws to mankind. God gave Elijah the strength to travel about 200 miles to that great sacred mountain without additional food.  Elijah, like Moses before him and Jesus after him, fasted for forty days and nights. Elijah thought he was the only person left who was still true to his calling.  He experienced victory and then discouragement, and that made him feel sorry for himself.  When we are tempted to feel we are the only ones remaining faithful, be assured that others are faithfully obeying God and carrying out their duties also.

 

EPHESIANS 4:30-5:2

Paul tells us in today’s passage that we can grieve the Holy Spirit by the way we live our lives. He warns us against foul language, meanness, improper use of language, quarrels, harsh words and bad attitudes toward others.  We do not have to act this way.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be forgiving, just as our Lord has forgiven us of our sins.  You need to reflect for a moment, right now. Are you pleasing or grieving God with your words, attitudes and actions?  You tell the world that the Holy Spirit within you is a sign that you belong to God and only God.

The law of Christ is summed up in love and forgiveness. They both are decisions and it is a sign to all that Christ is really present in us when through the power of the Spirit we decide to love and decide to forgive.  God does not forgive us because we forgive others; he forgives us out of his great mercy.  We want to be more like him as we become more open to his Holy Word, and having received his forgiveness, we are open to forgive others. It is very evident that those who are unwilling to forgive have not become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive, even those who crucified him (Luke 23:34).  Our love for others should be a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. Jesus loves each one of us like that.

 

JOHN 6:41-51

This passage shows that the Jewish leaders, like many people today, judged things by human values and by external standards. Their reaction to Jesus’ claim as to who he was produced the fact that he was only a poor Nazarene who was the son of a poor local carpenter. There was no way that someone who was so ordinary as he could be a special messenger of God.

Today’s Gospel really drives home the point that we should never neglect a message from God, because we do not care for the messenger. God has many messengers. His greatest message came through a Galilean carpenter and for that very reason the Jews disregarded it.  Their appraisal of him as a small town carpenter totally blurred their vision of him and interfered with accepting his claim of divinity.

Today many people reject Christ because they say they cannot believe he is the Son of God. In reality, the claims he makes on their lives are what they really object to.  They deny the messenger in order to protect themselves from the message. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time asked the same questions that many people ask today. How can Jesus give us his flesh to eat?  We need to know and believe that to eat his living bread means to unite ourselves with Jesus. We are united with him in several ways. One is by believing in his death and resurrection and by committing ourselves to living as he commanded us. Others include reading daily his Holy Word, by partaking of him in sacramental union and by trusting in the power of his Holy Spirit.

 

Application

The first reading shows us that God is our refuge, our fortress and our strength (Psalm 91).  The second reading reveals that we need to be, before we do.  The Gospel reveals that God delivers his message through many messengers.

This week, show what you believe by how you live. Show your family that you are in peace by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, his Holy Word, meditation and Christian fellowship.  Show them that because the Holy Spirit resides in you, you do not have to be afraid of anything or anyone.  Let them see you experience God’s love as you partake of his living bread in Holy Communion.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 1st) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ EXODUS 16:2-4, 12-15 FIRST READING

(“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.”)

1. Against whom were the Israelite community grumbling, and about what were they grumbling? Exodus 16:2-3, Exodus 16:8

 

2. What happened to some of them by grumbling and complaining? 1 Corinthians 10:9-10

 

3. What did Jesus tell the people?  John 6:43

 

Personal    In what way have you been complaining to someone else when in reality your complaint is toward God?

 

4. What did the Lord say to Moses, and why was he testing them? Exodus 16:4

 

5. How do we know for sure that we know God? 1 John 2:3-5

 

6. What did the Lord tell Moses he heard, what did he give them, and for what reason did he do this? Exodus 16:12

 

7. What came in the evening and the morning? Exodus 16:13-14

 

8. What did the people say, and what did Moses tell them? Exodus 16:15

 

9. When we ask God for something, when does he give it to us? 1 John 5:14-15

 

10. Why do we ask for only what we need? Proverbs 30:8-9

 

Personal – How has God provided you with what you needed even though all you have been doing is grumbling to others about your needs?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 4:17, 20-24 SECOND READING

(“…be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”)

1. To what does Paul declare and testify? Ephesians 4:17

 

2. What happens to the mind when we refuse to honor God and thank him? Romans 1:21

 

3. If we learned Christ and were taught in him, what did we learn? Ephesians 4:20-21

 

4. What comes through Jesus? John 1:17

 

5. Of what should we get rid? Ephesians 4:22

 

6. How should we be renewed? Ephesians 4:23

 

7. How can we be alienated from the life of God? Ephesians 4:18

 

8. In what is the new self created? Ephesians 4:24

 

9. What do we stop doing to one another, and in what is the new self renewed? Colossians 3:9-10

 

10. What does the new self put on?  Colossians 3:12-14

 

Personal  Identify some of the characteristics of your old self and of your new self.  When did the change take place, and what caused it?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:24-35 GOSPEL

(“Jesus explained…: I myself am the bread of life.”)

1. Who was looking for Jesus, and what did they say to him when they found him? John 6:24-25

 

2. Why did Jesus say they were looking for him?  John 6:26

 

3. For what did Jesus tell them to work, who is offering it to them, and what has God set on him?  John 6:27

 

4. What did Jesus say his food is? John 4:34

 

5. What did the people say to Jesus, and what was his response to them? John 6:28-29

 

6. What did they ask him to give them so they could see and believe in him? John 6:30

 

7. What did they say their ancestors were given, and who did Jesus say gives true bread from heaven?  John 6:31-32

 

8. What does the bread of God do? John 6:33

 

9. For what did the people ask, and what did Jesus give them? John 6:34-35

 

10. Who will never go hungry, and who will never thirst? John 6:35

 

Personal  Compare the time you take to work for the food on your table and the time you take for food for your soul.  How can you spend more time on working for heavenly food?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 78:3-4, 23-25, 54

(“He rained manna upon them and gave them heavenly bread.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 78:3-4, 23-25, 54.

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

EXODUS 16:2-4, 12-15

The description of the wilderness of sin was that it was a place of barrenness, rocks, sand and stone. The temperature was brutally hot, and it was windy during the day, and dry and frigid during the night. It was a perfect place for God to test and shape the character of his people. The Israelites were complaining once again about the dangers and inconveniences they experienced since leaving Egypt.  They longed to be back in Egypt, and they even forgot the horror of their slavery there.

We have all experienced circumstances that cause stress, and the natural response is to complain. The Israelites were not focusing on the cause of their stress, and that was their lack of trust in God. Many times we are like that and concentrate too much on what is bothering us and not enough on who is protecting and healing us. The Israelites were doing what many people do today, and that is to think about the quickest way to escape from the problem.  Remember, when pressure comes your way, resist the temptation to make a quick escape like running away or going back. Instead, concentrate in prayer on God’s power and wisdom to help you deal with the cause of your stress.

God promised to meet the Hebrew’s needs for food in the wilderness, but he decided to test their obedience. He has promised us eternal food, but he also calls us to obey him. We can learn obedience only by obeying his commandments. Jesus has commanded us to love one another, as he has loved us (John 13:34). We will be able to deal with the most barren wilderness ever imagined if only we remember that he is with us and will never leave us (Matthew 28:20).

 

EPHESIANS 4:17, 20-24

The way we live is really what we believe, and to be called a Christian, one should live like Christ.  People should be able to see the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, simply because of the way a Christian lives.  In today’s reading, Paul is telling the Ephesians to leave behind that old life of sin now that they are followers of Christ. He is telling us that same message today.

The Christian life is a process that continually leads a person into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of our life, we find that our thoughts and attitudes make a dramatic change for the better.  We keep changing all the time as we continue to listen to God. Paul tells us to put off the “old person” as if it were an old suit of clothes and to put on the “new person” as if it were a new suit.

As you look over the past year, do you see a process of change for the better in your thoughts, actions and attitudes? Although change may seem slow to you, it comes about if you trust God to change you. The old person was a person who was responsive to thoughts, actions and attitudes of evil. The new person that you are in Christ should consider yourself dead and unresponsive to evil desires, sexual sin, impurity, lustful desires, and materialism.  We find through experience that this is never easy, so we must make a conscious, daily decision to live according to God’s values and to rely completely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul appeals to the believers of all ages to uphold the commitment made in their baptism and urges them to remain true to their confession of faith. Guided by the Holy Spirit we have cast off the old life and put on the new life in Christ. This is what people see when they look at a Christian.  What do people see when they look at you?

 

JOHN 6:24-35

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is very direct in his reply to the waiting crowd of people. He tells them that they were blessed to see how God’s grace enabled a large crowd to be fed with just a small amount of food. He goes on to tell them that their thoughts should be turned to God who did these great things, instead of just thinking about receiving more bread. He tells them not to spend so much time and energy getting food which perishes and instead strive for the food which lasts forever and gives eternal life.

Jesus is speaking about two kinds of hunger. There is a physical hunger which physical food can satisfy and a spiritual hunger which that food can never satisfy. He was pointing out to them that all they were really interested in was physical satisfaction. Jesus wanted them to be aware of the other hunger which can be satisfied only by him. There is the hunger for truth, and in him alone is the truth of God. There is the hunger for life, and in him alone is the abundant life. There is the hunger for love, and in him alone is the love that outlasts even death. We need to remember always that Christ alone can satisfy the hunger of the human heart and soul.

We are told in this scripture that God has set his seal on him and that seal of God is truth. The seal of God has been placed upon all who believe in Jesus Christ, and that seal of truth was placed there by the Holy Spirit. In the ancient world it was not the signature but the seal that gave anything its proper value. We know that the truth of God is the beginning, the middle and the end of life. That is why Jesus can satisfy the eternal hunger. He is sealed by God, he is God’s truth Incarnate, and it is God alone who can truly satisfy the hunger of the soul which he created.

 

Application

The first reading reveals that the spiritual response to stress is obedience to God. The second reading shows that what we believe is the way we live.  The Gospel shows that only Jesus can satisfy the eternal hunger.

This week, feed upon God’s Word when the hunger pains of temptation or stress attack you.  Remember, Jesus can satisfy your hunger through prayer, reading his Word, receiving the sacraments, and Christian fellowship.  Let him be the bread of life for you every day, and you will see a dramatic improvement in your spiritual and physical health.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 25th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ 2 KINGS 4:42-44 FIRST READING

(“Give it to the people to eat,”)

l. What was brought to the man of God?  2 Kings 4:42

 

2. What did Elisha tell them to do with what they brought him? 2 Kings 4:42

 

3. What did Elisha’s servant say to him?  2 Kings 4:43

 

4. What did Elisha insist the servant do, and for what reason? 2 Kings 4:43

 

5. What did Jesus say about himself, and how does he say we will never hunger or thirst? John 6:35

 

6. What did Jesus say is true food and true drink, and what will happen to whoever eats and drinks this? John 6:55-56

 

7. What happened to those who had eaten, and who said this would happen? 2 Kings 4:44

 

8. What should we do with our surplus, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 8:14-15

 

9. About what are we not to worry, and what are we to seek?  Matthew 6:31-33

 

10. What is the question asked in Matthew 6:26?

 

Personal    In what way can you increase your faith in God regarding food?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 4:1-6 SECOND READING

(“..striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”)

1. What does Paul say he is in the Lord, and how is he urging us to live our life? Ephesians 4:1

 

2. For whose sake did Paul make himself a prisoner of Christ Jesus? Ephesians 3:1

 

3. How are we to bear with one another? Ephesians 4:2

 

4. For what are we to strive, and how are we to do it? Ephesians 4:3

 

5. What binds us together? Colossians 2:2

 

6. Of what is there only one, and to what were we all called? Ephesians 4:4-5

 

7. Where do we put our hope? Psalm 119:114

 

8. How do we abound in hope? Romans 15:13

 

9. Where is the one God and Father of all? Ephesians 4:6

 

10. From whom are all things, for whom, and through whom; and who is to be given glory?  Romans 11:36

 

Personal  In what way can you become one within your family, friends and church?   Referring to Ephesians 4:2, see how you can specifically apply this where there is disunity.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:1-15 GOSPEL

(“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”)

1. Why was a large crowd following Jesus, and where did Jesus go?   John 6:1-3

 

2. What question did Jesus ask Philip, and why did he ask him this?  John 6:4-6

 

3. What was Philip’s response, and what did Andrew say to him? John 6:7-9

 

4. What did Jesus have the people do, and how many men were there?   John 6:10

 

5. What two things did Jesus do with the loaves?  John 6:11

 

Personal    In what way do you give thanks for the food God has provided?  How do you distribute it to others?  What do you do with leftovers?

 

6. What did Jesus have his disciples do with the leftovers, and for what reason? John 6:12-13

 

7. What did the people say about Jesus when they saw what he had done?  John 6:14

 

8. Why did Jesus withdraw alone to the mountain?  John 6:15

 

9. For what reason did Jesus not want them to make him king? John 18:36

 

10. Who tried to tempt Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world? Matthew 4:8-9

 

Personal  In what way have others tried to put you in a position that you know is not where God is leading you?  How have you dealt with this?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:10-11, 15-18

(“The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18.

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 4:42-44

Today’s reading shows us that, like all the prophets, Elisha acts out God’s word as well as he speaks it.  Elisha was well aware that the amount of food that he had on hand was not enough to feed the hungry crowd. His disciple told him in no uncertain terms that there was no way the crowd was going to be fed enough food. Elisha used the phrase, “For thus says the Lord,” in verse 43, and this is his basis for relying on the promises of almighty God. In faith he stood on the word of God and acted upon that holy word.

This entire passage emphasizes the incredible hope and power in the fulfillment of the divine word. Elisha had his assistant carry out his command and feed the hungry crowd, and sure enough, there was not only plenty for all, but there was even some food left over for the poor.

A vital sign in today’s message is the faith of Elisha and the obedience of doing what God commands. Elisha was a tremendous witness to that crowd because he obeyed God and was not afraid of what looked like an impossibility. Today we need to draw strength from Elisha’s example, and remember it is the same loving, compassionate God who wants us to be nourished and made whole and healthy. Like Elisha, we need to reach out and in faith obey God’s holy word. Not only will we be fed, but we will find that there will be leftovers for us to feed others in his holy name.

 

EPHESIANS 4:1-6

This passage reveals to us that our unity is a sacramental sign of the church’s foundations. The one Body-Spirit-Hope-Lord-Faith-Baptism-Father make us all one. Paul tells us that we are all parts of the one body, and we have been given many gifts and abilities.  He also tells us that unity does not just happen; we all have to work at it.

Paul challenges us to live worthy of the name “Christian.” This name means belonging to Jesus Christ. Belonging means taking on the whole character of Christ which consists of being gentle, patient, understanding, forgiving, and peaceful. Every day wherever we go, people are observing us. Can they see Christ in us?   Paul’s message was written in prison, and today he speaks to all of us who are in some ways locked up in different kinds of prisons.  He tells us that no matter where we are or where we go, we go as Christ’s representative.

We know that no one is ever going to be perfect here on earth, so we must accept and love one another as Christians in spite of other people’s faults. We need to be especially loving to fellow believers. We need to be patient and gentle with someone whose actions or personality annoys us. It is very important that we do not dwell on that person’s weakness. Rather we can pray for that person and spend some time together building trust.

Unity in Christ is where the Holy Spirit wants to lead us, but we have to be willing to be led. We can do that by focusing on God’s will that we all be one in him. We can do that by loving one another as Jesus has loved us  (John 13:34).

 

JOHN 6:1-15

Jesus shows us the Father’s love and generosity in action. He shows us that the miraculous abundance of food reveals the abundance of divine love. At the sight of the crowd, Jesus knew that he and his disciples were not going to have any time for rest and meditation. He saw how hungry and tired the crowd was and turned to Philip and asked whether there was any place nearby where food could be purchased. Philip gave all the correct reasons why this request was impossible to fill.  Philip looked at what could not be done and Jesus looked at what could be done.

A small boy was found with a few loaves of barley bread and a few pickled sardines. Barley bread was the cheapest of all bread and was held in contempt by many. Barley bread was the bread of the very poor. The fishes were no bigger than sardines and were pickled to keep them from spoiling. There was no other way to transport the fish and keep them in an eatable condition.

Jesus took this very humble source of food and gave thanks to his Father for it. He then blessed the bread, broke it and distributed it. The crowd was filled completely, and enough was left over to bring to the poor in town.

Today, Jesus takes all of the losers, rejects, outcasts, and sinners, and sets us down to feed us with his body and blood. He does not give us barley; he gives us himself, and he gives himself to all who come forward and say, “I hunger and thirst.” His food gives us the strength and courage to love, to  forgive and to feed his lambs. They are in our families, our communities, our countries and all around the world.

Today Jesus tells us to feed his poor, just like he told Peter (John 21:15-17).  Today Jesus asks us the same question he asked Peter, “Do you love me?”  We are called to do just as Peter did, and that is to feed his sheep.

 

Application

In the first reading Elisha not only spoke God’s Word, he also acted on it.  We see in the second reading that unity does not mean uniformity, it means One in Christ.  The Gospel reveals that we are to feed others with God’s Word and our love.

This week, be a person of action and see where you need to put aside petty differences to achieve unity in your family, with your co-workers, in your school and in your parish activities. Remember, we can not feed his sheep if we are too busy feeding ourselves.

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 18th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ JEREMIAH 23:1-6 FIRST READING

(“As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.”)

1. What does the Lord say will happen to those who are shepherds and mislead and scatter the flock? Jeremiah 23:1-2

 

2. What does the shepherd who knows no discretion go after? Isaiah 56:11

 

3. What does the Lord say about those shepherds who pasture themselves? Ezekiel 34:1-2

 

Personal    In what way have you made a judgment on leaders in the church, and what do you need to do to rectify it?

 

4. What does the Lord say he will do for the remnants of his flock, and what will they do?  Jeremiah 23:3

 

5. What will the Lord appoint or raise up for the flock, what will they no longer have need to do, and how many shall be lost?  Jeremiah 23:4

 

6. What did the Son of Man come to do?  Luke 19:10

 

7. What does the Lord say he will raise up, and what shall he do?  Jeremiah 23:5

 

8. What will happen to Judah and Israel, and what is the name they will give him?  Jeremiah 23:6

 

9. How is the king’s throne made firm? Proverbs 25:5

 

10. How will the Good Shepherd pasture his sheep? Ezekiel 34:14-16

 

Personal – In what way has Jesus drawn you to himself personally?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 2:13-18 SECOND READING

(“He came and preached the Good News of peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near.”)

1. How have we been brought close to one another? Ephesians 2:13

 

2. What did Jesus do through his flesh?  Ephesians 2:14

 

3. What did Jesus make for us by the blood of his cross? Colossians 1:20

 

4. How was peace established? Ephesians 2:15

 

5. How were both circumcised (Jew) and uncircumcised (Gentile), reconciled to God? Ephesians 2:16

 

6. What has God given us through Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:18

 

7. What did Christ come preaching, and to whom did he preach? Ephesians 2:17

 

8. Where did Jesus say we will find peace, and what has Jesus done with the world?  John 16:33

 

9. How do we have access to the Father?  Ephesians 2:18

 

10. What must we have in Jesus that gives us boldness and confidence?  Ephesians 3:12

 

Personal  How do you approach the Father in prayer?  In what way are you at peace with yourself and those around you?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 6:30-34 GOSPEL

(“…and he began to teach them many things.”)

1. With whom did the Apostles gather together, and what did they tell him?  Mark 6:30

 

2. What are the names of Jesus’ Apostles?  Matthew 10:2

 

3. What did Jesus say to his Apostles, and what was keeping them from even eating? Mark 6:31

 

4. What day did God give to Moses as a designated day of rest? Exodus 31:15

 

5. What does Jesus say he will do for the tired and weary? Matthew 11:28-29

 

Personal    Where do you go, and what do you do when you are tired?

 

6. Where did Jesus and his Apostles go, and what did the people do?  Mark 6:32-33

 

7. What was Jesus’ reaction to the vast crowd when he got out of the boat?  Mark 6:34

 

8. On whom does the Lord have pity?  Psalm 72:13

 

9. To whom are the people being compared, and what did Jesus do for them?  Mark 6:34

 

10. Who teaches us and reminds us of what Jesus says? John 14:26

 

Personal  On a daily basis, in what way do you go to the Lord for direction in your life?  Is your tiredness from caring for others or from caring for yourself? Reflect on this.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 23:1-6

(“Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshed my soul.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 23:1-6.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

JEREMIAH 23:1-6

Today’s reading was an indictment against not only the civil leaders, but also against the religious leaders. Jeremiah lashed out at the religious leaders and told them that they were going to be held responsible by God for not showing his people how to follow the path of goodness.  Jeremiah then gave his people a warning that certainly holds true for all of us today. Jeremiah’s warning was that all leaders would be held responsible for those entrusted to their care.  Take a moment right now and reflect on whom God has placed in your care, and how you are handling this responsibility.

Jeremiah really shows us the contrast between the corrupt spiritual leaders of his time and with the coming Messiah. He then goes on to tell us that the new spiritual king would come from the line of a shepherd called David. The major cause of the corruption of the people was the false prophets who told the people that all was well and that they were very civilized and humane.  Jeremiah’s message from God was very unpopular because it showed the people how sinful they really were.

Today there are many false prophets running around the world trying to “tickle” the people’s ears with the same message that all is well. These false prophets may talk God’s message but they do not live his message.  They may even look like they are living the message, but the proof will be in their daily actions.  We can judge today’s prophets just like they did in the time of Jeremiah, and that is seeing how they live, teach, and preach in accordance with God’s holy word. The false prophets water down God’s message to make it easier to swallow. They encourage their followers to subtly disobey God, the church and civil authority. They try to appeal to the desires of their audience instead of being true to God’s holy word.

 

EPHESIANS 2:13-18

This reading shows us that only the peace of Christ can bring down the barriers of distrust. We have seen how the Jews despised and hated the Gentiles and through Christ that hatred is killed and a new unity has come. Before Christ’s coming, Gentiles and Jews kept apart from each other. Jews considered Gentiles beyond God’s saving power and therefore, without hope. Gentiles resented Jewish claims of spiritual superiority. Christ revealed the sinfulness of both Jews and Gentiles, and then he offered his salvation equally to both.

Only Christ breaks down the walls of prejudice and unites all in one body. Spiritual pride is very much alive today and binds us to our own faults and magnifies the faults of others. Do not be proud of your salvation. Instead, humbly thank God for what he has done, and encourage others not to give up. Jesus has broken down the walls people build between themselves. (Real reconciliation comes when one realizes that because Christ died that all might be free, then all who believe in him really are one family.) The walls come down when we approach God through his Holy Spirit.

The barriers that divide us from other Christians today are age, appearance, political and economic status, race, creed and color. The cross of Christ should be the focus of our unity. The Holy Spirit will help us to stretch ourselves beyond the barriers to the unity we are called to enjoy. The Jews were “near” to God because they already knew him through scripture and worship. The Gentiles were “far away” because they knew little or nothing about God. Neither group could be saved by good works or sincerity. In fact, salvation is available only through Jesus Christ. It is this incredible gift of Christ dying on the cross for all people that has made the gift of freedom available to all.

 

MARK 6:30-34

Today’s Gospel shows us that we need to be balanced in all that we do, especially when we are doing the work of the Lord. We see the Apostles trying to share with Jesus all of their experiences and the crowd seems to be pressing in on them. Jesus recognizes that his disciples need rest, and he invites them to come with him and take some time out for rest and meditation. The crowds saw where they were headed and ran ahead to be there when they arrived.  We cannot work effectively unless we have our time of rest, and rest and sleep will not come unless we have worked until we are tired.

Today’s passage reveals to us two dangers of life. First, there is the danger of doing too much. No man or woman can work without proper rest and quiet time in prayer with God. Much of the trouble in our own lives is that we do not know how to be still and listen (Psalm 46:10).  We need to ask ourselves how we can do God’s work without God’s strength in us. And how can we receive that strength unless we take the time to be alone and pour out our needs, and spend time in prayer and praise with Jesus Christ.

Then we also must recognize the second danger, and that is the danger of too much withdrawal.  Prayer time that does not lead to action is not real prayer. Remember, in scripture Jesus did not pray for the disciples to be taken out of the world. He prayed that they would win over the world (John 17:11-19).  We must never seek the fellowship of God in order to avoid the fellowship of man. Jesus knew his disciples needed rest because the crowds were going to be draining their strength again. He knows how weak we are, and he invites us to spend time alone with him. He will heal us and give us the rest and strength we need. A sheep without a shepherd has no defense against the dangers which threaten it. He is our Good Shepherd and we shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that accountability is for all the people.  The second reading shows us that Jesus Christ breaks down all barriers.  The gospel reveals that too much doing leaves too little being.

This week, take time to be rather than just to do. Spend some time with a family member, friend or associate, and concentrate on the other person’s needs, not your own. Every day, spend time alone in prayer and reading scripture with Jesus.

Take time to relax and rest with your family. Remember, a devoted Christian is a balanced Christian.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 11th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ AMOS 7:12-15 FIRST READING

(“The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’.”)

l. Who was Amos, and who was Amaziah? Amos 1:1,  7:10

 

2. What did Amaziah call Amos, and what did he tell him to do? Amos 7:12

 

3. What did Saul say to his servant about the man of God? 1 Samuel 9:7

 

4. Why did Amaziah tell Amos not to prophesy in Bethel? Amos 7:13

 

5. Where did Jacob set up a memorial stone, and what is it called? Genesis 28:18-22

 

6. What was Amos’ reply to Amaziah? Amos 7:14

 

7. Who took Amos from the flock, and what did he say to him? Amos 7:15

 

8. What did God do to Amos and David that was similar? 2 Samuel 7:8

 

9. Who are others whom God called to prophesy?  Exodus 7:1 and Jeremiah 26:12

 

Personal    Just as Amos was called by God from being a shepherd to being a prophet, how has God taken you from one place to another?  Have you ever wanted to say something to a family member or a friend, but hesitated because you knew it was something they did not want to hear?  What can you do about it?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 1:3-14 SECOND READING

(“In him we were also chosen.”)

1. With what has God blessed us?  Ephesians 1:3

 

2. When did God choose us, and what did he choose us to be? Ephesians 1:4

 

3. What did he destine us to become through Jesus Christ, and what has he granted us?   Ephesians 1:5-6

 

4. How have we been redeemed and forgiven of our sins? Ephesians 1:7, also 1 Peter 1:18-19

 

5. What has God made known to us?  Ephesians 1:8-10

 

Personal    What is the mystery God has revealed to you, and how have you made it known to those around you?

 

6. Of what is this the time, and what are we to do? Mark 1:15

 

7. How were we chosen, and according to whose will? Ephesians 1:11

 

8. Why do we exist?  Ephesians 1:12

 

9. What have we heard and believed, and with what have we been sealed? Ephesians 1:13

 

10. Whom does the world not accept?  John 14:17

 

11. What is the Holy Spirit to us?   Ephesians 1:14

 

Personal    What is the inheritance you have received from God? List the ways God has been a good Father to you.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 6:7-13 GOSPEL

(“So they went off and preached repentance.”)

1. How did Jesus send out the twelve, and over what did he give them authority?  Mark 6:7

 

2. How and where did Jesus send the seventy-two? Luke 10:1

 

3. What was Jesus’ instructions to the twelve? Mark 6:8

 

4. How are we instructed?  Romans 15:4

 

5. What did Jesus tell his disciples they could wear, and what were they instructed not to take?   Mark 6:9

 

6. For what are your feet prepared with shoes?  Eph. 6:15

 

7. What did Jesus tell the twelve to do when they entered a house, and what if they were not listened to or welcomed by the host? Mark 6:10-11

 

Personal    Share with someone a time when your message of the Good News was accepted and a time when you had to shake the dust from your feet.

 

8. What did the twelve go off and preach?  Mark 6:12

 

9. What was granted us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Acts 5:30-31

 

10. What did the twelve drive out of people, and for what did they use the oil?  Mark 6:13

 

11. What did the Good Samaritan pour over the beaten man’s wounds?  Luke 10:34

 

Personal    In what way have you brought the message of repentance to those around you?  Who gives you the authority to do this, and how did you receive it?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 85:9-14

(“I will hear what God proclaims.”)

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

AMOS 7:12-15

Many times prophets like Amos were seen as traitors because they spoke out against a corrupt ruling authority. They saw the prophet as an enemy rather than one who exposed sin and tried to help save the people of that nation.  In today’s reading we see Amaziah, the chief priest in Israel, becoming very defensive about maintaining his position, which he felt was more important than listening to the truth. Amos, on the other hand, said, “Yes, Lord” to being a prophet without any special preparation, education or upbringing.  Amos humbly obeyed God’s call to “go and prophesy to my people Israel.” Amos responded well to the test that all of God’s faithful servants have to experience.

The test that faced Amos and all other martyrs and saints in our time of salvation history is obedience. Today the core of love is obedience, and to be obedient is to be a holy person. Jesus was obedient, even unto death on a Cross (Philippians 2:5-11) for us. Amos shows us the incredible power that comes from being obedient to God’s will.

Amos had just been expelled from the church by the high priest, Amaziah. The high priest told him to go earn his bread some place else. He implied very strongly that Amos was a prophet for hire, because he did not want to hear Amos reveal the truth. Amos tells him in no uncertain terms that he is not an opportunist, nor does he keep company with evil people. Amos goes on to tell the high priest that he is just an ordinary man who makes a living as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees. He tells him that the Lord took him from his everyday life and told him to go and prophesy to the people of Israel. Amos knew the dangers of this type of vocation, and yet in obedience he said, “Yes, Lord.”

We too have been called simply because God has chosen each one of us, and he knows each one of us by name. Like Amos, we, too, are called to a vocation, and we are being called to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Math. 28:19). We are strongest when in obedience we say, “Yes, Lord.”

 

EPHESIANS 1:3-14

Paul wrote this passage from inside the walls of a Roman prison to the church at Ephesus. He wanted them to nurture and maintain the unity within the new and growing church. Ephesus was a commercial, political, and religious center for all of Asia Minor.

We see the beginning of heaven as being wherever God is, and, therefore, every blessing in heaven had tremendous meaning. We can be very grateful for all the good things that God gives us – salvation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, power to do God’s will. We can live with the hope of eternity with Christ. We do not have to wait until we die to enjoy these blessings, as they are ours to enjoy now. We are told that “God chose us” to emphasize that the offer of salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve to be saved, but because God is so gracious and freely gives salvation to us.

There is no way to take credit for God’s forgiveness or to find room for pride. God chose us and that makes us separate from the world.  We have been chosen, and the choice to respond to his incredible gift is left up to each one of us. God chose us and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, we are transformed into a new creation.  God has adopted us through the death and resurrection of Jesus to be his very own children. He has brought us into his family and made us heirs along with Jesus (Rom. 8:17). It was the blood of Jesus that gave us redemption and forgiveness. Redemption is the price paid to gain freedom for a slave (Lev. 25:47-54). Jesus, through his death, paid the price to release us from our slavery to sin.  We see that forgiveness was granted in the Old Testament on the basis of the shedding of the animal’s blood (Lev.17:11).

You and I are now forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus’ blood. We cannot be saved without the incredible, voluntary, and loving gift of God’s holy grace.  When you feel that your life is not very important to anyone, it is very important to remember that you have been chosen, that he has paid the price for you, and that you are a special gift in God’s eye. You are a precious present that brings him much joy. After all, you are family.

 

MARK 6:7-13

Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs so that as they evangelized, they could strengthen and encourage each other. He knew that many times they would face rejection and needed the support of a fellow believer. Our strength comes from God, but he meets many of our needs through teamwork with others.  Jesus told the disciples to take nothing with them except the bare necessities. He wanted them to rely completely on his power. He told them not to move around from house to house but to be steady and clear with their message.

The custom for pious Jews at that time was to shake the dust from their feet after going through Gentile cities or towns. This was to show their separation from Gentile influences and practices. The disciples showed by dusting their feet after leaving a Jewish town that the people had rejected Jesus and his message.

Jesus made it clear that the people themselves were responsible for their response to his message. The disciples were not to blame if the message was not accepted by the people. They were responsible for how faithfully and carefully they presented the message.

Today we are not responsible when others reject the teachings of Jesus Christ and even reject Christ personally. But we do have the responsibility to share the message of hope, the Good News, with others. We have been called by Christ to go forth and make disciples of all people. We, too, are called today to go forth and cast out demons and heal sick people. The challenge you and I must face is – do we really believe in the message of the Good News? We need to shake off the dust and move away from that place that does not know or agree that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. The unbelievers need to see that we are willing to lose friends, money, family, and even personal health before we would deny our Lord and Savior. The message is loud and clear, “I have given you every blessing under the heavens (Eph. 1:3).

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God uses ordinary people for extraordinary service. The second reading shows that God wants everyone under the heavens to enjoy his holy grace. The Gospel reveals that all Christians will be held accountable to Jesus Christ.

This week, be accountable to everyone in your family. Let your family be blessed by your presence and actions. Let your everyday events be filled with your joy and humility.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 4th) – Cycle B

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 a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ EZEKIEL 2:2-5 FIRST READING
(“As he spoke to me, spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.”)

l. Whom did the Spirit enter, and what did the Spirit do to him? Ezekiel 1:3 and Ezekiel 2:2

 

2. How did the one who was speaking address him, where did he send him, and what did he say about the Israelites? Ezekiel 2:3

 

3. Against whom had the Israelites sinned, and what did they not do? Jeremiah 3:25

 

4. Against what did the whole house of Israel rebel? Ezekiel 5:6

 

5. What do those who resist authority oppose, and upon whom will they bring judgment? Romans 13:2

 

Personal – In what way do you see any signs of rebellion in yourself toward God or those in authority over you? What do you need to do to change it?

 

6. Where did the one who was speaking send the son of man, and what did he say about the people? Ezekiel 2:3-4

 

7. What was Ezekiel to say to the Israelites, and what will they know whether they heed or resist? Ezekiel 2:4-5

 

8. What gives no excuse for their sin? John 15:22

 

9. What two things is Ezekiel not to fear? Ezekiel 2:6

 

10. Why are we not to fear the rebellious when we speak God’s word to them? Deuteronomy 31:6

 

Personal – How do you respond to someone who resists your warning when you have prayed and followed God’s lead in speaking to them?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10 SECOND READING
(“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”)

1. What was given to Paul, what did Paul call it, and why did he say it was given to him? 2 Corinthians 12:7

 

2. What does God do to the proud? James 4:6

 

3. How many times did Paul beg God to take this thorn in the flesh from him? 2 Corinthians 12:8

 

4. What did Jesus pray three consecutive times to the Father? Matthew 26:39, 44

 

5. What did the Lord say was sufficient for Paul, and what is made perfect in weakness? 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

6. Who comes to our aid in our weakness? Romans 8:26

 

7. What does Paul boast of most gladly, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in him? 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

8. For what do we have the strength, and who gives it to us? Philippians 4:13

 

9. With what is Paul content for the sake of Christ, and when he is weak, then what is he? 2 Corinthians 12:10

 

10. What are we to bear for the Gospel, and from where do we get our strength? 2 Timothy 1:8

 

Personal – What is in your life that keeps you from becoming proud? In what way have you been thankful for it?  

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 6:1-6 GOSPEL
(“…He began to teach in the Synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.”)

1. To where did Jesus return, and who was with him? Mark 6:1, Matthew 2:23

 

2. When the Sabbath came, what did Jesus do, and what was the reaction of many who heard him? Mark 6:2

 

3. How did Jesus teach? Mark 1:21-22

 

4. What were the questions the people were asking about Jesus, and what was their attitude toward him? Mark 6:2-3

 

5. By whom did Jesus say we will be taught? How will we be drawn to him, and about what were the Jews murmuring? John 6:41-45

 

6. Where did Jesus say a prophet is without honor, among whom, and where? Mark 6:4

 

7. What was Jesus not able to do in his own native place apart from curing a few sick people? Mark 6:5

 

8. How were some healed by Jesus? Mark 6:5

 

Personal How has Jesus healed you by his touch, and how have others been healed by his touch through you?

 

9. At what was Jesus amazed? Mark 6:6

 

10. Where is the righteousness of God revealed, and who is the one who will live? Romans 1:16-17

 

11. How did many come to believe in Jesus? John 4:41

 

Personal – How has your faith grown since you have been studying God’s Word?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 123:1-4
(“To you I lift up my eyes who are enthroned in heaven?”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 123:1-4.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

EZEKIEL 2:2-5

What a contrast we have in this passage. We have the immortal God address the mortal man by calling him “son of man,” emphasizing the distance between them. It is incredible that God even chooses to work his divine will on earth through imperfect beings. We are made from dust; yet God chooses to place within each one of us his life and breath.

Ezekiel was enormously blessed to have been able to experience this vision. He knew that because it came from God it did not matter whether he did not understand the full meaning of the vision. God saw in Ezekiel a hunger and thirst to know more about him. Ezekiel had an open and obedient attitude, and he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. God gave Ezekiel the power for the job ahead.

God does not expect us to understand everything about him, but he does expect us to be willing, obedient, and faithful servants to what we know is true and right. Today we measure success by consumer demand. Ezekiel’s measure of success did not depend on whether the people listened to him or not. The measure of success would be how well he obeyed God’s will and fulfilled God’s purpose for him.

We must always remember that God’s truth is not dependent on human response. God will not judge us on how well others respond to our faith, but on how faithful we ourselves have been. What God accomplished through us is very important, but the bottom line is what God accomplished in us. God was being very straight and direct when he called the people hard-hearted and stiff-necked. He called them that because they refused to admit their sin of rebellion. Is God today pointing at sin in your life? Do not be stubborn, confess your sin, and begin to live for God. You will be ready to stand before God tomorrow if you obey him today.

 

2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10

The source of Paul’s thorn in the flesh has never been revealed. We do know that it was a very chronic and debilitating type of physical problem which at many times kept him from working. This thorn was a hindrance to his ministry, and he prayed for its removal, but God refused. Paul’s illness kept him humble and reminded him of his constant need to keep in touch with God. Those around Paul benefitted as they saw God work in his life.

Are people helped by being in your presence? Do people see God alive and active in your life?

God did not remove Paul’s physical affliction, but he demonstrated his power very clearly in Paul’s weakness. The marvelous fact is that God is power, and he will always show up in people who are weak and who call out to him. This divine power should give tremendous courage and hope for all of us who may be physically and emotionally handicapped. We need to realize our limitations and turn to God to seek his pathways for effectiveness. Paul’s great strength was that he knew that he was nothing, nor could he do anything without Christ (John 15:5). Today, more than ever, we must not be seduced by modern technology, but rely on God for our effectiveness rather than on simple energy, effort, or talent.

We must never forget that our weakness can help us develop our Christian character. In admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength and even deepen our sense of worship. We are tempted to do God’s work on our own when we are strong in talent, time, or health. This always leads to pride, and then the long slide down. When we are weak, and when we allow God to fill us with his power, then we become stronger than we ever could be on our own. Our strength lies in realizing that he is the source of all gifts (Philippians 4:19).

 

MARK 6:1-6

Jesus was teaching and healing around the country, but the people of his hometown saw him only as a carpenter. They looked at Jesus and asked, “What are his credentials? Where did he go to school? He is no better than we are; he is just a common laborer.” The towns people were insulted that others could be impressed by him and even follow him. They completely rejected his authority because he was one of their peers. These people missed his message because they thought that they knew all that was needed to know about him. Prejudice and spiritual blindness kept them from the truth.

Today there are many people who still reject his message because it is too simple, too common, and too demanding. Today we have many people who refuse the message because they have too much power, wealth, education, or fame to be committed to such a servant like Jesus.

The Jews were looking for a mighty, powerful, educated warrior-type Messiah. They were not about to listen to some itinerant preacher talk about loving your enemy, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. They rose up in outrage and demanded to see his credentials, and then they tried to get him out of their part of the country.

Jesus has shown us in this Gospel message that if people do not give you any attention or respect for the work you do in God’s name, that does not make your work any less important. Jesus shows each one of us that we do not need to be respected or honored to be useful to God. If your friends, neighbors, or family do not respect your Christian lifestyle and ministry, do not let their rejection keep you from serving God. Today Jesus is seeking those who would respond to his miracles and message. What will be your response?

 

Application

The first reading tells us that obedience is the core of holiness. The second reading reveals that in our weakness is his strength. The Gospel shows us that being honored does not make what we do important.

This week show your love by being a servant for someone who is physically or emotionally weak. Let their weakness become strength in Christ through you. You can do this by visiting someone who is shut-in or imprisoned. You can read the weekly scriptures to a blind person. You can fix a meal for an elderly person in your home, family, or church. You can take someone who is lonely or depressed to a movie. You can telephone someone and pray with them. You can be God’s ambassador, and let his strength shine through you.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 27th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”  (JOHN 14:26)

FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

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

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ WISDOM 1:13-15; 2:23-24 FIRST READING

(“…the image of his own nature he made him.”)

l. What did God not make, and in what does he not rejoice? Wisdom 1:13

 

2. How did Jesus destroy the one who has the power of death? Hebrews 2:14

 

3. When sin reaches maturity, to what does it give birth? James 1:15

 

4. In what does God not delay?  What is he with us, and for what reason? 2 Peter 3:9

 

5. Why did God fashion all things, what are the creatures of the world, and what is there not among them?  Wisdom 1:14

 

6. What is undying? Wisdom 1:15

 

7. To what does the path of justice lead, and to what does the abominable way lead?   Proverbs 12:28

 

8. What did God form man to be, and in whose image did he form him?  Wisdom 2:23, Genesis 1:27

 

9. How did death enter the world, and who experienced it? Wisdom 2:24

 

10. How did sin enter the world?  What came through sin, and who has sinned? Romans 5:12

 

11. What do envy and anger do? Sirach 30:24

 

Personal   In what way in your everyday life are you a reflection of the image of God?   Give specific examples.  Whose image dominates your day? Reflect on this.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 8:7, 9, 13-15 SECOND READING

(“…by his poverty you might become rich.”)

1. What do you do in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in love?  2 Corinthians 8:7

 

2. How were you enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge? 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

 

3. What did Jesus Christ become for our sake, although he was rich, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 8:9

 

4. What did Jesus, though he was in the form of God, not regard himself as? Philippians 2:6-8

 

5. What did Jesus come to do? Matthew 20:28

 

Personal  In what way do you see yourself as poor?

 

6. What is Paul’s desire for the brothers?  2 Corinthians 8:13-15

 

7. Of what was the community of believers, and what was there not among them? Acts 4:32-34

 

8. What is a reason for working? Ephesians 4:28

 

9. What is it that is written? 2 Corinthians 8:15

 

10. What occurred when the Israelites gathered the manna? Exodus 16:16-18

 

Personal    How have you been sharing what you have with the needy?  Do you see the community of believers (those in your parish) being cared for equally, and if not, what can you do to change it?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 5:21-43 GOSPEL

(“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured.”)

1. As a large crowd gathered around Jesus, who came forward? What did he do upon seeing Jesus? Mark 5:21-23

 

2. What did he say would happen to his daughter if Jesus laid hands on her, and when Jesus went off with him, who followed them? Mark 5:23-24

 

3. What happened to the woman afflicted, how did she suffer, and was she helped by the doctors? Mark 5:25-26

 

4. After doing what three things do you give the doctor his place? Sirach 38:9-12

 

5. When the woman with the hemorrhage heard about Jesus, what did she do and what did she say? Mark 5:27-28

 

6. What immediately happened to the woman when she touched Jesus?  What did Jesus ask when he was aware that power had gone out of him? Mark 5:29-30

 

7. How did the woman approach Jesus, and what did he say saved her? Mark 5:31-34

 

Personal    How has your faith saved you?

 

8. What happened while Jesus was still speaking? Disregarding the message, what did Jesus tell the synagogue official? Mark 5:35-36

 

9. Whom did Jesus allow to accompany him inside, how were the people acting, and what did Jesus say to them?  Mark 5:37-39

 

10. How did the people react to Jesus; and, putting them out, whom did he take in with him? Mark 5:40

 

11. What did Jesus do and say to the child, and what was the girl’s response?  About what did Jesus give strict orders, and what did he tell them to do for the girl?  Mark 5:41-43

 

Personal  How do you see touching as having a healing effect on those around you?

 

 

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

(“You changed my mourning into dancing.”)

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

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

WISDOM 1:13-15, 2:23-24

This passage clearly reveals to us that death and sickness are not of God’s making.  They are, in fact, just the opposite of what God is.  Suffering, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, raises some very hard questions.  Why does God allow so much suffering to take place in the world?  This is a question that seems to be asked all through the ages.

God allows suffering to exist because he has given all mankind the freedom to accept or reject him and his teachings. He created each one of us in his image, and as we are told in Genesis, everything that God made was good. We can say this in another way: God does not make junk, but through one man, sin entered into the world, and the wages of sin are death (Rom. 6:23). Sin gave birth to death and suffering. We need only look around and we can see how much death and destruction are put upon the people of the world through pollution, toxic chemicals, drug abuse, alcoholism, abortion, and the incredible plague of war. Man has, in many cases, made God’s image a reflection of man’s image. Those who are in possession of this false destructive image induced by Satan experience all of death and destruction. This death and destruction also touches many innocent people, and it will be stopped only when people turn to the healing power of God. Nations have to stop plundering and destroying each other.

We are being called to the only real peace, and that is the peace of Christ. Jesus Christ died so that all men might have eternal life (John 3:16).  His death won for us freedom from Satan (death) even while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Our God is a loving and just God. All who suffer and repent are forgiven and all who suffer and are innocent, he glorifies in heaven, and they are with him forever.

 

2 CORINTHIANS 8:7, 9, 13-15

Today’s reading is a classic example of an old saying that goes like this: “It is not enough to talk the talk, you must also walk the walk.” We give others a clear message of what we really believe by the way we live our lives.  Today’s reading is not just an appeal to be a giver, it is a call to be a joyful giver. Giving is the natural response of love, and Paul was not ordering the Christians to give. He told them that actions speak much louder than words.

When you love someone, you want to provide for his needs. If we refuse to help, our love may not be as genuine as we say. Jesus gave up his rights as God to become man. Incarnation means God voluntarily became man. Jesus gave up his life for all, and he let himself take on the form of a mere slave. He was obedient even up to his death on the cross.

The Corinthian church had money and Paul challenged them to give of their time, talent, and money for the needy and the poor. Paul shares with us several principles of giving. Your willingness to give is more important than the amount you give. He states that if you give to others in need then you too will be helped in your need. You are called to give as your response to Christ, not for what you may get out of it.  Giving or tithing expresses a fundamental trust in God’s provision for our lives (Phil 4:19).

  Jesus chose to give us eternal life, and his giving continues as he gives us grace and power. Jesus tells us in scripture that whatever we do to the least of his brethren, we do unto him (Matt. 25:31-45).   Christians are called to share alms with the poor and those in need  (Luke 11:41).

 

MARK 5:21-43

In today’s Gospel there are all the elements of tragedy and hope. The passage begins with Jesus being confronted by a ruler of the local synagogue named Jarius. Many synagogue rulers had close ties with the Pharisees.  It was very likely that calling on Jesus’ help was not supported very much by Jarius’ peers. To bow before Jesus in front of all those Jewish people was a daring act of respect and worship on Jarius’ part. When his daughter fell ill, something happened to him, and he thought of Jesus. His prejudices were forgotten.  He must have regarded Jesus as an outsider, as one to whom the synagogue doors were closed. His dignity was forgotten. He, the ruler of the synagogue, came and threw himself at the feet of Jesus. His pride was forgotten. This was a man who forgot everything except that he wanted the help of Jesus.

We see a woman with an incurable condition desperately reach out and touching Jesus. Her disorder caused her to bleed constantly which would have made her ritually unclean (Lev. 15:25-27). She knew her bleeding would cause Jesus to be unclean, according to Jewish law, if she touched him. Still she reached out by faith and was healed.

Many times we feel our problems keep us from being close to God, but he is always present and ready to help us. We should never let our fear keep us from reaching out to him. Jesus said her faith caused the cure. Jarius’ faith caused him to seek out Jesus for his daughter. His faith caused his daughter’s cure. Genuine faith involves action. Faith that is not put into action is no faith at all.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that God does not make junk.  The second reading shows us that our actions speak louder than words.  The Gospel reveals God’s presence in all situations.

This week, by your actions, show what it is that you really believe.  Look for specific ways to be humble to your family, like the ruler in the synagogue.  Make a decision to put your family members’ interests before your own. Share the Good News of the Gospel with each member of your family. Love one another as he loves you.