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).
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.