Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 20th) – 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 JOB 38:1, 8-11 FIRST READING

(“Then the Lord addressed Job out of the storm,…”)

l. Who addressed Job, and where was he when he addressed him? Job 38:1

 

2. When we cry in distress to the Lord, what will he do to the storm around us? Psalm 107:28-29

 

3. When Moses stretched his hand over the sea, what did the Lord do? Exodus 14:21

 

 

4. When the sea burst forth from the womb, what did the Lord do?  Job 38:8, Genesis 1:9-10

 

5. What does the Lord set for the sea, and for what reason? Proverbs 8:29

 

6. When God set limits for the sea, what happened to the proud waves? Job 38:9-11

 

7. To what is there no limit?  Psalm 147:5

 

8. What happens to the waters at his command, and to what is there no limit? Sirach 39:17-18

 

9. What does the Lord still in the people? Psalm 65:8

 

10. Whom does the Lord see and know from afar? Psalm 138:6

 

Personal – How can you yield, like Job did, and let God be the one in control of your life?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:14-17 SECOND READING

(“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation.”)

1. What impels us, and to what conviction do we come? 2 Corinthians 5:14

 

2. What happened to our old self, and from what is a dead person absolved? Romans 6:6-7

 

3. By what do we now live? Galatians 2:20

 

4. For whom did Jesus die, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 5:15

 

5. Whether we live or die, to whom do we belong? For what reason did Christ die and come to life? Romans 14:8-9

 

6. How do we no longer know Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:16

 

7. Although we are in the flesh, with what do we not battle? 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

 

8. What is meant by, whoever is reconciled in Christ; what has passed away, and what has come? 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

9. For if we are God’s handiwork, in whom have we been created, and for what reason? Ephesians 2:10

 

10. How were we buried with Christ, and how might we live? Romans 6:4

 

Personal  What does being a new creation mean to you?  Are you still trying to hang onto something in the old creation?  How are you able to let go of the old?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 4:35-41 GOSPEL

(“Why are you lacking in faith?”)

1. What did Jesus say as evening drew on, how did they go, and were others with them? Mark 4:35-36

 

2. Why did Jesus tell his disciples to have a boat ready for him, and where was he going? Mark 3:9, Mark 5:1

 

3. What came up, and what was breaking over the boat? Mark 4:37

 

4. Where was Jesus, what was he doing, and what did his disciples do and say to him? Mark 4:38

 

5. What does Jesus say about those who hear his voice and follow him? John 10:28

 

6. When Jesus woke up, what did he do to the wind?  What did He say to the sea, and what was the result?  Mark 4:39

 

7. What two questions did Jesus ask his disciples? Mark 4:40

 

8. What did Jesus do and say to Peter? Matthew 14:31

 

9. What did Jesus do to the eleven, and for what reason? Mark 16:14

 

10. With what were those in the boat filled, and what did they say to one another? Mark 4:41

 

11. What does Jesus command and they obey him? Mark 1:27

 

Personal  What kind of storm is going on around you?  Who are you calling on to help you and how are you calling him?  What has Jesus’ response been to you in the past when you called out to him in a stormy time in your life?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 107:23-26, 28-31

(“His command raised up a storm wind which tossed its waves on high.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31.

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

JOB 38:1, 8-11

Today’s reading is a powerful example of our God being a God of order. God used Job’s lack of knowledge about how the earth was made to function in a natural order to reveal to him how little Job knew of God’s moral order.  If Job did not understand the workings of God’s physical creation, how could he understand God’s mind and character?

We are told in Scripture to be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:11). He is our God, our refuge, our strength, our fortress (Psalm 91), and he is our ultimate standard.  God is the only one who is to be the judge. There is no standard or criterion higher than God.  We see people in our society laugh and reject God’s authority, and for some, it seems like they are in complete control of their lives and destiny.  Scripture tells us that God is not one who likes things to be disorderly and upset (1 Cor. 14:33). Our God is a loving God, and a just God, and he will not turn his head or blink his eye while someone is disturbing his moral order. Scripture tells us that God says, “Vengeance is mine,” (Deut. 32:35) and it tells us that God will punish the evildoers in full for all their sins.

We are called, just like Job, to let God be the one in control of our lives. This does not mean that we become a robot. Rather, it gives us a tremendous level of freedom. We will know with certainty that God will never leave us. We will never walk alone anymore through the valley of the shadow of death.  God’s wisdom will become our strength. We will never be abandoned by God. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, not sickness, persecution, trials, divorce, or even death itself.  Our God is in control of the whole universe, and he has chosen us to be his very special children.  He is a God of order, and he wants us to live in harmony with each other and to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34).

 

2 CORINTHIANS 5:14-17

Paul boldly writes against any philosophy of life based only on human ideas and experiences. He tells us that Christians are brand new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore.  When we accept Christ as Lord of our life, life begins again with a fresh, new start. We are not reformed, rehabilitated or reeducated;  we are a new creation, living in vital union with Christ (Col. 2:6,7).

It is very important to remember that when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are giving him permission to take up residence in us.  We have told him that we want to abide in him and he to abide in us (John 15:7).  We are not merely turning over a new leaf, we are beginning a new life under a new Master. This means we must follow his leadership on a daily basis.

You can live for Christ by committing your life and submitting your will to him (Romans 12:1,2). You can continue to seek to learn from him, his life and his teachings (Col. 3:16). You can recognize the Holy Spirit’s power within you (Acts 1:8).

Paul used the illustration of our being rooted or connected to Christ. As plants get their nourishment from the soil, so we draw our strength, nourishment, and life itself from Christ. The more we abide (reside) in Christ, the less we will be fooled by those who make false claims to life’s answers. Paul really shows us that being a new creation means that in the sight of God, our motives are pure and our hands are clean. But suspicion will still be cast on us by people who knew us before we committed our lives to Christ.

We must always remember that a man’s message will always be heard in the context of his character. Paul tells the people that his conduct has been the result of wanting only to serve God. Our conduct should not have anything less than the motive of Paul. Many people thought Paul was a lunatic and they rejected him, beat him and jailed him for his conduct. Paul was not bothered that people thought he was a fool because he was a fool for Christ. Today, does the world think of you as a fool for Christ because of your conduct?

 

MARK 4:35-41

The Sea of Galilee was notorious for its storms because it is 680 feet below sea level and surrounded by hills. Some of the disciples were veteran fishermen who had spent their lives fishing on this lake, but in this storm they panicked and the storm threatened to destroy them all.  Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat where distinguished visitors would have been seated on a small seat placed on a carpet.  He seemed to be completely unaware and unconcerned with the storm.

We do this story a great injustice if we merely take it in a literalistic sense.  This was a physical storm, but storms come in other forms too.  When the disciples realized the presence of Jesus was with them, the storm became calm.  Once they knew he was there, fearless peace entered their hearts.

Think for a moment about the storms in your life and the situations that cause you great anxiety.  We can experience what Jesus’ disciples experienced in that boat. That voyage with Jesus was a voyage in peace even in a storm.  Let me repeat that again for you: In the presence of Jesus, we can have peace even in the wildest storms of life. Whatever our difficulties, we have two options, we can worry and think that Jesus is no longer concerned about us, or we can resist fear by putting our trust in him. When we feel like panicking, we need to confess our need for God, and then remember that he will give us peace in the storm of sorrow.  He changes the darkness of death into the sunshine of the thought of eternal life. He will give us peace in the tempest of doubt, tension, and uncertainty.

Ask his will, submit to it and the way to peace comes at such a time. He gives us peace in the storm of anxiety.  The chief enemy of peace is worry, and Jesus brings us his peace which is the unconditional love of God. Invite Jesus to calm the storms in your life and he will fill you with awe just as he filled the disciples with awe in that boat on the Sea of Galilee.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that our God is a God of order.  The second reading shows that we are not rehabilitated;  we are new creations.  The Gospel reveals that Jesus can calm any storm in our lives.

This week, ask the Lord to reveal to you what he wants you to do.  Be specific.  Ask his guidance about your role as a child, spouse, parent, or leader.  Look at the people in your family, school, or work and see whether you are part of a storm in their lives.  Submit to Jesus’ guidance, and he will heal the storm in your life.

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 13th) – 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 EZEKIEL 17:22-24 FIRST READING

(“As I, the Lord, have spoken, so will I do.”)

l. Who is speaking, and what will he plant on a high and lofty mountain?   Ezekiel 17:22

 

2. What shall the survivors of the house of Judah do? 2 Kings 19:30

 

3. What did Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesy in days to come? Isaiah 2:2 and Jeremiah 23:5-6

 

4. Where will God plant a majestic cedar, what will it put forth and bear, and what shall dwell beneath it? Ezekiel 17:23

 

5. What will happen to Israel in days to come, and with what will they cover the world? Isaiah 27:6

 

6. Who shall flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon?   Psalm 92:13

 

7. What will all the trees of the field know? Ezekiel 17:24

 

8. What two things will be brought low, and who will be exalted? Isaiah 2:12-17

 

9. What are we to hate?  Proverbs 8:13

 

10. What comes with pride, and what comes with the humble? Proverbs 11:2

 

Personal – How has the Lord brought you low, and how has he lifted you up? In what way has he made you bloom?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10 SECOND READING

(“We walk by faith, not by sight.”)

1. Who is writing this letter, and to whom is he speaking? 2 Corinthians 1:1

 

2. What are we to be always, and when are we away from the Lord? 2 Corinthians 5:6

 

3. By what do we walk? 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

4. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1

 

Personal –  What are you convinced of concerning Jesus Christ even though you have not seen?

 

5. Why would we rather leave the body? 2 Cor. 5:1 and 5:8. See also Romans 8:23

 

6. What are life and death?  Philippians 1:21

 

7. What do we aspire to do whether we are at home or away? 2 Corinthians 5:9

 

8. How are we to serve Christ and in this way be pleasing to God and approved by others? Romans 14:17-18

 

9. Where must we all appear, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 5:10

 

10. What must you not do, and for what reason? Romans 14:10

 

Personal – For what reasons are you looking forward to appearing before the judgment seat of God?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 4:26-34 GOSPEL

(“This is how it is with the kingdom of God.”)

1. What would a man scatter on the ground? Mark 4:26

 

2. What would a man not know as he would sleep and rise? Mark 4:27

 

3. Of its own accord, what does the land yield, and what does man do when the grain is ripe? Mark 4:28-29

 

4. What happens to those who die in the Lord, and who harvested the earth? Revelation 14:13-16

 

5. What happens at the resurrection of the dead, what is sown, and what is raised? 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

 

6. What did Jesus say about the kingdom of God, and what is the mustard seed when it is sown in the ground?  Mark 4:30-31

 

7. What is the tongue considered? James 3:5-6

 

8. What happens when the mustard seed springs up? What does it put forth, and who dwells in its shade? Mark 4:32

 

9. How does our faith grow? Romans 10:17

 

Personal    How has your faith grown, and what have you found to hinder your growth in faith?

 

10. How did Jesus speak the parables? Mark 4:33

 

11. What did Jesus do in private with his disciples? Mark 4:34

 

Personal – In your private prayer time with the Lord, how does Jesus speak to you through his Holy Spirit dwelling within you?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 92:2-3, 13-16

(“The just man shall flourish like the palm tree.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 92:2-3, 13-16.

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

EZEKIEL 17:22-24

This reading is a message of hope for the people of today, as it was in the time of Ezekiel.  It shows us what happened to a nation that put its hope in a foreign alliance.  The people relied on their ability to make treaties with neighbors instead of relying on the power of God. Only God could offer them a sign of real and trusting hope. God said he would plant a tender twig, called the Messiah, whose kingdom would grow and become a shelter for all who come to him (Isaiah 11:1).

We have seen this prophecy fulfilled in the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We experience false hope when we depend on foreign alliances, like pride, power, wealth and status. The Lord was the one who took a small twig and made it into a mighty fruit-bearing tree. Our gifts and talents come not from ourselves, but from God. We need only look around in our communities to see mighty trees that have fallen, and much damage has resulted in their crashing fall.

The Lord will bring the proud and haughty crashing to the ground, and he also will exalt the lowly and the meek. There is a tendency in our societies to identify meekness with weakness. The proud depend on themselves and others like themselves and end up in disgrace and complete humiliation. The meek never forget that they are a twig made by God and their growth into a giant, fruit-bearing tree is the result of God’s tremendous gift of grace. The meek, because of their humility and obedience to the Lord, become the strongest in the kingdom of God.  Scripture tells us that the proud end in failure, but the meek become wise (Proverbs 11:2).

 

2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10

Death is so frightening for many people because it is mysterious, unknown and final.  Yet we see in today’s reading that Paul was not afraid to die because he was confident of spending eternity with Christ.  This does not deny that facing the unknown and leaving loved ones do not bring some form of anxiety.  Leaving those whom we love hurts deeply, but if we believe in Jesus Christ, we can share Paul’s hope and confidence of eternal life with Christ.

Scripture tells us that if we believe in Christ, we shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).  For those who believe in Jesus Christ, death is not the last word.  Death is only a prelude to eternal life with God. When Christians leave the land of the dying, they enter into the land of the living. In fact, the only person who was ever born to die was Jesus Christ. His death won for us a victory over death.  Because of him, you and I can face tomorrow without fear.  Upon our physical death, our lives will continue in spirit and at the end of time in a new glorified body forever in the presence of our loving God.  It is this confident hope that inspires us to faithful service.

It is true that eternal life is a free gift, given through God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8,9). It is also true that our lives will still be judged by Christ. The gift of faith does not free us from obedience.  We must never use God’s gift as an excuse for laziness, because all Christians must give an account for how they had lived (Matthew 16:27). We must never forget that faith is the response to the living presence and power of God in our lives.  We can, like Paul, look forward to that “Day of the Lord” without any fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). And we have a God of love, who died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8) simply because he loved us so much.

 

MARK 4:26-34

Today’s Gospel reveals that spiritual growth is a continual, gradual process that reaches its fullness in spiritual maturity. Spiritual growth is very much like the slow, steady growth of a plant.  It is harvested when it reaches its time of fullness. Jesus’ example of the tiny mustard seed really identifies with the church. Our Catholic Church started out very small. It was not very long before it had grown into a worldwide Christian community of believers.

The tiny mustard seed is also like you and me, in that when we feel alone in our stand for Christ, we realize that God is building a worldwide kingdom through us. God has many faithful followers in every part of the world, and our faith, no matter how small, can join with others to accomplish great things.  Today our faith continues to grow through hearing his Word, and we need to proclaim his Word to all we meet, whether in our homes, work places or schools (Matt. 28:19).

Jesus spoke in parables to challenge the sincere seekers to discover the true meaning of his words.  He spoke out against hypocrisy and impure motives which were characteristic of the various members of the crowd listening to Jesus. We need to realize that only as we put God’s teachings into practice will we understand and see more of the truth. The truth is clear, but our ability to understand it is imperfect.  As we obey, we will sharpen our vision and increase our understanding (James 1:22-25).  Today, as in the days of this Gospel, those who truly listen to Jesus and obey his holy Word know what he is talking about.

 

Application

The first reading reveals that putting our hope in man rather than in God is a false hope.  The second reading shows us that belief is an action that calls for a response. We live the way we really believe.  The Gospel tells us that hypocrisy is defeated by truth.

This week, make a list of what areas in your life are a hypocrisy, and then confess that one area to a Christian brother or sister, so that he or she may pray that you will be healed (James 5:16). Pick out someone from your family, job, or school and be specific.  Remember, the prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). The truth of Christ will really set you free from hypocrisy (John 8:32). In one week you will experience a tremendous healing.  Write to us and share how God has answered your prayer.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (June 6th) – 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 EXODUS 24:3-8 FIRST READING
(“We will do everything the Lord has told us.”)

1. What did Moses come to the people to do, and how did they answer him? Exodus 24:3

 

2. What did Moses do with the words of the Lord, and what did he erect early the next morning at the foot of the mountain? Exodus 24:4

 

3. What did the Lord tell Moses to announce to Joshua? Exodus 17:14

 

Personal? – What have you written down this week that was a word from the Lord to you?

 

4. Why did Moses send certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls? Exodus 24:5

 

5. Without what was the first covenant not even inaugurated? Hebrews 9:18

 

6. What did Moses do with the blood of the animals, and what did he do with the book of the covenant? Exodus 24:6-7

 

7. What did the people say when Moses read from the book of the covenant? Exodus 24:7

 

8. What did Moses do with the blood, and what did he say to the people? Exodus 24:8

 

9. Who and what did Moses sprinkle with the blood, and what happens to it according to the law? Hebrews 9:19-22

 

10. What is there none of without the shedding of blood? Hebrews 9:22

 

Personal – How does your life show that through blood you have been forgiven? In what way are you in one accord with those around you in heeding and doing all that the Lord has said?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 9:11-15 SECOND READING
(“…He is mediator of a new covenant.”)

1. As what did Christ come, what did he pass through which was not made by human hands, and to what did he not belong? Hebrews 9:11

 

2. What did Christ have to become like in every way to expiate the sins of the people? Hebrews 2:17

 

3. With whose blood did he achieve eternal redemption, and whose blood did he not need to achieve eternal redemption? Hebrews 9:12

 

4. Why did Christ not need to offer sacrifice day after day as did the high priests? Hebrews 7:27

 

5. What is it impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to do? Hebrews 10:4

 

6. What can the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes cleanse? Hebrew 9:13

 

7. How did Christ offer himself to God, and from what can he cleanse our conscience? Hebrews 9:14

 

8. How have we been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all? Hebrews 10:9-10

 

9. When we have been cleansed from all lawlessness, what are we eager to do? Titus 2:14

 

10. Of what is Christ the mediator, why has his death taken place, and what may those who are called receive? Hebrews 9:15

 

11. Who is the only mediator between God and the human race, and as what did he give himself? 1 Timothy 2:5-6

 

Personal – How has your conscience been cleansed? In what way do you have a guilty conscience, or in what way does your conscience bother you? Share with someone, and ask them to pray with you about it. And both listen to what the Lord is saying about this.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 14:12-16, 22-26 GOSPEL
(“Take it, this is my body.”  “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”)

1. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, what did they sacrifice? What did Jesus’ disciples say to him? Mark 14:12

 

2. Describe what is in Exodus 12:1-11. Concentrate on verse 11.

 

3. Jesus sent two of his disciples into the city. Whom did he say would meet them, and what did he tell them to do? Mark 14:13

 

4. Wherever the man entered, what were they to say to the master of the house? Mark 14:14

 

5. What would the master of the house show the disciples, and what were they to do? Mark 14:15

 

6. When the disciples went off and entered the city, what did they find, and what did they do? Mark 14:16

 

Personal – In prayer, have you asked the Lord about what he wants you to do? Have you followed his direction?

 

7. While they were eating, what four things did Jesus do with the bread? What did he say? Mark 14:22

 

8. What did Jesus do with the cup, and what did he say to his disciples? Mark 14:23-24

 

9. Why was Jesus’ blood shed? Matthew 26:28

 

10. What did Jesus say he would not do again until the day when He drinks it new in the kingdom of God? Mark 14:25

 

11. What makes us one body? 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

 

12. What did Jesus and the disciples sing, and when and where did they go? Mark 14:26

 

Personal – How can you participate more fully in Mass on Sunday? If there is any blockage from your participating fully, go to a priest and talk to him and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. No matter how deep the hurt, you can forgive everyone because Jesus has forgiven you.

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 116:12-18
(“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 116:12-18.

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

EXODUS 24:3-8

Moses announced all the laws and regulations God had given him to all the people assembled there at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Mt. Sinai is one of the most sacred locations in Israel’s history. This is the mountain where Moses met God in a burning bush, and where he made his covenant with Israel and Elijah. Elijah heard God “in the sound of a gentle whisper” in a cave on Mt. Sinai. We see God’s people learn about the potential blessings of obedience (Ex. 24:8-18), and the tragic consequences of disobedience (Ex. 32). Moses built an altar at the foot of this mountain with twelve pillars around the altar because there were twelve tribes of Israel. He then sent some young men to sacrifice the burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Israelites very often shared a sacrificial meal together. A burnt offering was sacrificed to God, and then the meal taken from the sacrifice was dedicated to God and eaten as a type of fellowship dinner.

We see Moses confirm and seal the covenant that God has made with his people through the use of blood. As the holy and almighty judge of us all, God condemns sin and judges it worthy of death. We see very clearly that in the Old Testament, God accepted the death of an animal as an atonement for a sinner. Blood symbolized the death of an animal as being a substitute for a sinner. Blood also symbolized that a life was spared as a result.

We see in scripture that the death of Jesus Christ was the only way that man could have a permanent atonement with God (Hebrews 9:9 – 10:24). The blood that was thrown against the altar in today’s reading shows that the sinner could again come before God because some thing died in his place. The blood that was thrown on the people showed them that their penalty for sin had been paid. They then could be reunited with God.

You can be reunited with God right now by confessing to him that you are a sinner, and ask him to forgive you. His blood has already ransomed you from darkness. Repent and believe in Jesus, and become a child of the light.

 

HEBREWS 9:11-15

This reading tells us that Jesus came as a high priest and passed through a greater and more perfect sanctuary not made by human hands. Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, which was in the innermost room of the tabernacle. In that small room was contained the Ark of the Covenant. This was a chest that contained the original stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written. The high priest was the only one who could enter into this sacred spot. The peoples’ only access to God was through the high priest, who offered a sacrifice and used its blood to atone first for his own sins and then for the peoples’ sins (Hebrews 10:19).

Today’s reading shows us that trying to make ourselves good enough through rules and regulations has never been successful. Jesus shows us that by his blood alone our consciences are cleansed, and we are freed from death. We can now live to serve God because we are free from sin’s power. Today’s reading clearly speaks to us that if we are feeling guilty because we can not be good enough for God, then rejoice and take another look at what Jesus’ death means to us.

It is very important to realize that in the Old Testament the blood of sacrificed animals allowed the people to be ceremonially acceptable. The blood of Christ’s sacrifice transforms our lives and hearts and makes us clean on the inside. We can look at ourselves and see that if our hearts are not changed, following God’s rules is very unpleasant and difficult. We normally will rebel against being told how to live, but the Holy Spirit gives us new desires, and we find that serving God is our greatest joy. Many consider something as valuable, in our human way of thinking, because only a few can have it. God’s great plan of redemption, however, stands in sharp contrast to the human term value or valuable. He is the most valuable of all treasures, and he is available to all. His blood has made you free and valuable. Exercise your faith by sharing it and using it to serve God.

 

MARK 14:12-16, 22-26

All males over the age of 12 years were required to go to Jerusalem. This was the time of the Passover Festival. The term “Passover” means the night the Israelites were freed from Egypt (Exodus 12), when God “passed over” homes marked by the blood of a lamb while killing the first born sons in unmarked homes. The day of Passover was followed by a seven-day festival called the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. This feast recalled the Israelites quick escape from Egypt when they did not have time even to let their bread dough rise. The people had to bake the bread without any yeast. The whole week came to be called Passover week because it followed the special holiday.

Jesus told his disciples to go and prepare for the Passover meal in which they were going to participate. Many homes in the area had large upstairs rooms and the renting of these rooms for the Passover festival was quite common.

This meal that Jesus celebrated in today’s Gospel was the origin of the Lord’s Supper, or also known as the communion of the Eucharist. The sharing of Jesus’ body and blood is celebrated at every Catholic worship service, and in many other Christian churches the breaking of the bread is a major part of worship. At the first Lord’s supper, Jesus and his disciples ate a meal, sang Psalms, read scripture and prayed. He took the bread and wine and gave them new meaning as his body and blood.

Just as Jesus’ death on the cross seals a new agreement between God and mankind, the Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, and the Lord’s supper celebrates deliverance from sin by Christ’s death. Catholic Christians believe that the bread and wine actually become Christ’s body and blood. All Christians believe, however, that God is a part of the communion experience, blessing us as we remember Christ’s death until he comes again. We all become one body in Christ when we share his body and blood in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

 

Application

The first reading reveals the sacredness of Mt. Sinai to the Israelites. The second reading tells us that we are the tabernacles of God. The Gospel tells us that Eucharist means unity and thanksgiving.

This week, share your faith with someone. Tell them what Jesus’ death means to you, and what it means to eat at the Lord’s table. You may be sharing this revelation with someone who is very hungry for spiritual food. It might be someone in your family, school or work. Jesus calls each one of us to feed his lambs. Go forth and share your faith, and feed his lambs.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (May 30th) – 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 4:32-34, 39-40 FIRST READING

(“You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today.”)

l. Who created man upon the earth, and what are the four questions asked in verses 32-34 of Deuteronomy 4?

 

2. Why did God let the Israelites hear his voice? Deuteronomy 4:36

 

3. What did the Israelites find out after God spoke to them? Deuteronomy 5:24, 26

 

4. What will the Lord do to all the nations in which the Israelites were afraid? Deuteronomy 7:22

 

5. What must we know and fix in our heart? Deuteronomy 4:39

 

6. What must we keep, and what will happen to us and our children? Deuteronomy 4:40

 

7. What is the new commandment that Jesus left his disciples, and how do we know whether we are a disciple? John 13:34-35

 

8. What commandment promises a long life and prosperity? Deuteronomy 5:16

 

9. Who did Jesus say was his mother?  Matthew 12:49-50

 

10. What did Mary, the mother of God, say about the Mighty One (God), what does he extend to those who fear him, and to whom does he do this? Luke 1:49-50

 

Personal – How have you kept God’s commandments on an everyday basis?   How have you loved someone who has not been loving to you this past week?  See whether you can find ways to do this.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:14-17 SECOND READING

(“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”)

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

 

2. If we are guided by the Spirit of God, what are we not under? Galatians 5:18

 

3. Who did Jesus give power to become children of God? John 1:12

 

Personal – By whom are you being led?

 

4. What did we not receive, and into what does that make us fall? Romans 8:15

 

5. What did we receive, and what do we cry? Romans 8:15

 

6. As proof that we are children, whom did God send into our hearts, and what does he cry out? Galatians 4:6

 

7. God did not give us a spirit of what, but rather a spirit of what three things? 2 Timothy 1:7

 

8. What does God’s Spirit do with our spirit? Romans 8:16

 

9. If we are children of God, we are heirs and joint heirs of whom if only we do what?  Romans 8:17

 

10. If we suffer with Christ, what will happen to us? Romans 8:17

 

11. What are we to do to the extent that we share in the suffering of Christ, and when his glory is revealed we

may also do what? 1 Peter 4:13

 

Personal – In what way do you see yourself suffering with Christ, and do you see yourself as God’s child?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 28:16-20 GOSPEL

(“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.”)

1. Who went to Galilee, and what did Jesus order them to do? Matthew 28:16

 

2. When the disciples saw Jesus, what did they do even though they doubted?  Matthew 28:17

 

3. How will true worshippers worship the Father?  John 4:23

 

Personal – In what way have you worshipped Jesus this week?

 

4. What did Jesus tell his disciples?  Matthew 28:18

 

5. Who has authority over all people, who gave this to him, and for what reason?  John 17:1-2

 

6. When Jesus told his disciples to go, what did he tell them to do and in whose name were they to baptize them? Matthew 28:19

 

7. What were the disciples to proclaim, and what would happen to those who believed and those who did not believe? Mark 16:15-16

 

8. What would be preached in the name of Jesus?  Luke 24:47

 

9. What are the disciples to teach, and what did Jesus promise he would do until the end of the age?  Matthew 28:20

 

10. What does the name Emmanuel mean?  Matthew 1:23

 

11. Who teaches us everything and reminds us of all that Jesus said? John 14:26

 

Personal – What have you learned from Jesus this week that you can share with those you meet?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22

(“For upright is the Word of the Lord.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22.

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 4:32-34, 39-40

Today’s message is a powerful reminder to all nations that there is only one God, and that we who believe are his children. The people are being reminded by Moses that God loved them so much that an entire nation heard his voice spreading from the fire on a mountain top.   They are reminded that they were freed from the bondage of slavery, not by their power, but rather by the power of God.

God sent terrible plagues, mighty miracles, war, and terror upon nations far greater than their nation.  Moses told them that it was because God loved their ancestors and chose to bless their descendants that he personally delivered them from Egypt with a great display of power.  Israel was being told that as a nation it would prosper if it obeyed God’s laws.  God’s laws were designed to make his chosen nation healthy, just, and merciful. When they followed his laws they prospered.  This does not mean that no sickness, poverty or problems existed among them. Individual problems were handled as fairly as possible, but as a nation they still prospered.

Today God’s promise of prosperity, his constant presence,  comfort, and his direction about the way to live as we should extend to all believers.  We will face trials; Jesus assured us of that.  But we can and will avoid the misery that directly results from intentional sin. A nation that allows abortion, pornography, drugs, immorality, and rebellion to become a casual part of its accepted way of life is a nation that is heading toward disaster.

Today’s reading reminds us that if we remain faithful to the God who loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross for us, we will know the great heavenly treasure that awaits us. God will reward nations as well as individuals who seek a deeper personal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ.

 

ROMANS 8:14-17

In this passage Paul used the example of adoption in connecting the believers’ new relationship with God.  Adoption in the Roman culture was looked at with great respect.  Roman adoption was made more serious and difficult by the Roman  “Patria Potestas.” This was the father’s power over his family and was actually the power of life and death. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. Adoption from one family to another was a very difficult and serious step. In adoption a person had to pass from one “Patria Potestas” to another.

Paul, being a Roman citizen himself, knew the correlation between Roman adoption and being adopted into God’s family. In the Roman adoption the adopted person lost all rights and debts in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father. Paul tells us about this part of Roman culture so that we today can see the incredible significance of what it means to be adopted into God’s family and to be adopted by “Abba,” our heavenly Father.

When a person enters into the Christian family, he gains all the rights of a legitimate child and he becomes a full heir to his new father’s estate. He also gains all the privileges and responsibilities of a child in God’s family. You and I no longer need to be cringing, fearful slaves. Instead, we are the master’s children. We receive this wondrous gift in our sacrament of baptism, and we share in great treasures, such as, being his children, receiving his forgiveness, and the incredible gift of eternal life. Our Father, or “Abba” which means daddy, encourages us to ask him for whatever we need.

Being a child of God means being identified with Jesus Christ. This identification includes the suffering that Christians have faced in the past and will have to face in the future. The early Christians suffered persecution and death. Today in many countries, suffering includes economic and social persecution as well as physical persecution and death. In many countries of today’s world, Christians face pressures just as severe as those faced by Christ’s followers. We are called as Christians to live as Christ did; nothing we suffer, however, can compare to the great price Jesus paid to save us.

I pray that today you will be identified with Jesus and become a member of his family and an heir to all that our heavenly Father has promised.

 

MATTHEW 28:16-20

Today, in all the Catholic Churches throughout the world, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. When we talk about the Trinity we bring the authority of the Father, the power of the Spirit, and the loving sacrifice of the Son into one Being called God. There is no clear-cut explanation to this incredible mystery, but all throughout scripture we are presented with the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In today’s Gospel, we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations. We are being commissioned to go out into the darkness and bring others into our family of love and light. We have learned throughout scripture about a loving Father who loved the world so much that he chose to let his only begotten Son die for the sins of the world. He let his Son be the ransom for all of us who believe in him. We do not have that kind of power to make and carry out such a statement of belief, so God, in a true role of a loving Father, left us his Holy Spirit.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus, we can give glory to God the Father by going forth and bringing others into his healing presence. God gave Jesus authority over heaven and earth, and on the basis of that authority, Jesus told his disciples to make more disciples. These disciples preached, baptized, and taught with this same authority through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Jesus still commands us to tell others the Good News and make them disciples. When someone is dying or leaving us, their last words are very important to us. Jesus left the disciples with these last words of instruction. He told his disciples that they were under his authority, and that they were to baptize and teach the people to obey his commandments. He also told them that he would always be with them, even to the end of the world.

We are to go forth, whether it is next door or to another country, and make disciples. This is not an option; this is a command by Christ himself. We are not all evangelists, but we have all received gifts that we can use in helping to fulfill the great commission. As we obey, we have great comfort and joy in knowing that through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus, we are giving glory to God the Father. Let us all celebrate this special day called Trinity Sunday.

 

Application

The first reading reveals to us that God’s law is to be obeyed above man’s law.  The second reading tells us that being adopted into God’s family means being a full heir to his heavenly kingdom.  The Gospel calls us to be disciples of action and to go forth.

This week bring someone you know into God’s family.  Tell that person about Jesus, share your faith with him or her.  Let your witness be the spark that sets their heart on fire.  You may have to go no further than your family, school or work to find new members for God’s family.  In fact, you may find members of God’s family who need to be reminded that he is still with them even in their troubled times.   You are messengers of the King!

Pentecost Sunday (May 23rd) – 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 ACTS 2:1-11 FIRST READING

(“All were filled with the Holy Spirit.”)

1. What day had come, and where were the disciples gathered? Acts 2:1

 

2. What day was Pentecost celebrated after the Passover, what are other names for it?  Leviticus 23:15-16, Deuteronomy 16:9-10, Exodus 23:16 and Numbers 28:26.

 

3. What suddenly happened from up in the sky, and where was it heard? Acts 2:2

 

4. Read the following scripture, and tell what the Spirit gives to a person? Ezekiel 37:9, 14

 

5. What appeared, and what did it do?  Acts 2:3

 

6. What was Jesus’ promise just before he ascended to heaven? Acts 1:5, 8

 

7. With what were all filled, and how did they express themselves? Acts 2:4

 

8. What did the Spirit prompt them to do? Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31

 

9. Who was staying in Jerusalem at the time, and what did they hear? Acts 2:5-6

 

10. About what were they confused? Acts 2:6

 

11. What was their reaction? What did they ask, and about what were they so amazed? Acts 2:7-11

 

Personal – How can your family or friends identify the Spirit of God’s presence in you?  What comes forth from your mouth, and what do you need to do so people will be astonished by your words?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 12:3-7, 12-13 SECOND READING

(“No one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except in the Holy Spirit.”)

1. What is Paul telling the brothers that we cannot do in the Spirit of God, and what can be said only in the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:3

 

2. What is there different, but with the same Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:4

 

3. There are different ministries and works but the same God who accomplishes what?  1 Corinthians 12:5-6

 

4. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for what reason?  1 Corinthians 12:7

 

5. In what gifts should we try to be rich?  1 Corinthians 14:12.

 

6. Fill in the following blanks:  The body is _______________ and has __________________ members, but all the members, ____________________ though they are, are _________________ body; and so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

 

7. In the one Spirit, who were baptized into the one body? 1 Corinthians 12:13

 

8. What have all of us been given to drink? 1 Corinthians 12:13

 

9. Into whom have we been baptized? Galatians 3:27

 

10. When were we chosen and sealed with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13

 

Personal – From the above scriptures, how can you identify the manifestation of the Spirit in your life, and in those with whom you come in contact?   Reread 1 Corinthians 12:3, and take note of what comes forth from your mouth this week.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-23 GOSPEL

(“Receive the Holy Spirit.”)

1. Why did the disciples lock the doors of the place where they were? John 20:19

 

2. Who came and stood before them, and what did he say to them? John 20:19

 

3. When he had said this, what did he show them? John 20:20

 

4. What did the disciples do at the sight of the Lord? John 20:20

 

Personal    In what way has our Lord appeared to you when you have been gathered with others praying, and what has been your response?

 

5. What did Jesus say again, and what is his gift to us? John 20:21 and John 14:27

 

6. Whom has the Father sent, and who sends us? John 20:21

 

7. What did Jesus do to the disciples, and what did they receive? John 20:22

 

8. How did the Lord God form man, and how did he give him life? Genesis 2:7

 

9. If we forgive men’s sin, what happens to them, and if we hold them bound, what happens? John 20:23

 

10. What did Jesus say on the cross to the Father, and whom should we imitate? Luke 23:34

 

Personal – How do others see in you, spiritually and physically, the breath of his life?  How do others see you living out your sign of baptism through repentance, which means change?  How do others see you as you practice forgiveness of others, and ask others to forgive you?  How often do you feel the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and why?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34

(“When you send forth your spirit, they are created.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34.

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

ACTS 2:1-11

In today’s readings we celebrate the Feast of “Pentecost,” which means fifty (50). This was a feast that was celebrated about fifty days after Passover and was a feast of thanksgiving for the harvest. The first fruits of the crop were offered to God that day.  All Jewish men were expected to come to the temple for the feast.  The city was usually full to overflowing, and it was fitting that this day was chosen as the day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.

Today is, in reality, the birthday of the church, and the Christian religion was to be a church for the whole world.  The old law was given by God to Moses for the Jews only.  The new law, given by Christ and confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit, was for all peoples.  That means you, and that means today, right where you are.  The very fact that you are reading this Bible Study is proof that the power of the Holy Spirit is drawing you near to him.

Let today be the day that you fall upon your knees and invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and become the Lord of your life.  Take a few moments and confess to the Lord all that is twisted within you, and then ask him to let his Holy Spirit fill you with the power and peace that surpasses all understanding.  The celebration of Pentecost is for you as well as it was for the Jews in today’s passage.  Let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you, and you will enjoy that same gift that the Apostles had, the gift of speaking in tongues.

The signs and wonders of that incredible day brought huge crowds of Jews to the place where the Apostles were staying.  This was the day chosen for the Apostles to go forward and make disciples of all nations.  We are called also to go forward and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). The feast of Pentecost was a thanksgiving feast that was celebrated at the end of the grain harvest which began about seven weeks after the Feast of Passover.  This time of celebration was also called the Feast of Weeks. Jesus was crucified at the time of Passover and his Holy Spirit breathed life on the universal church during this time of harvest called Pentecost.

We are called today to harvest the crop of souls for the Lord.  The Lord needs some good laborers to work in the vineyard.  Are you ready to join the workers?

 

1 CORINTHIANS 12:3-7, 12-13

In this passage, we see that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given for the good of the whole community to help build up the body of Christ.  We should not refuse to use the gift of the Holy Spirit nor claim it as our own.  Paul clearly warns against listening to false teachers and shows us how to check out their credentials. We are to find out what they teach about Christ.

We see people today who mock Jesus Christ, not only with their words, but in the way they live.  We see people using their gifts to split communities apart, and then trying to tell us that they are only doing God’s will.  Anyone can claim to speak for God, and we need only to look at some of the leaders in some countries, and we see a lot of false messiahs running around.  God has given us many different gifts; but we must remember that they all come from the same spirit, and that they are to be used to help the community or church.  They will know we are Christians by the way we love and help one another.

Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body.  Every part is an individual, and has a specific job to do.  In their differences, all of the parts must work together for the good of the whole body.  Jesus Christ is the head, and the rest of us make up the body of Christ.  It is very important that we are not too proud of our abilities, and we must not compare ourselves with one another.  We are called to use our different gifts together, to spread the “Good News” to a world that is filled with “bad news.”  The church, which is the people who believe that “Jesus is Lord,” must be united in its belief in Christ. It must not let its leaders or members use any gifts to cause divisions or strife.

Faith in Christ is the core of Christian unity.  We are one body, with one spirit that is united in Christ with the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we were baptized into the Christian Faith, the Holy Spirit took up residence in us and we became the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

You, by your baptism, have been born into God’s family, and our common goal is faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

JOHN 20:19-23

Today’s Gospel passage reveals to us the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit being given publicly to the disciples of Jesus by Jesus himself.  This is a tremendous feast day in the church.  We look back, and we see that Advent was a time to prepare for the Incarnation of God (God becoming man).  Christmas was the happening of this great Incarnation act.  We then moved into Lent and began to prepare ourselves for the sufferings endured by Christ on our behalf during his holy week.  We celebrated victory in Jesus’ triumph over death which made possible our union with him in heaven.

Today, we celebrate in Pentecost the Holy Spirit being sent by Christ to abide within his church.  This means abiding in you, me, and all believers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit gives the Church the power to preserve, to teach, to explain, and to spread the gospel of “Good News,” which is a message of hope and love for everyone in the world.

This same Holy Spirit who came upon the disciples and all of the people in the upper room is the same Spirit who wants to abide in us.  We can let him come into our heart right now by getting down on our knees and confessing our sins to the Lord.  Invite him to come and take up residence in your temple, and let him take control of your life.  His power will flow through you, and your life will never be the same again.  His peace will be your peace, and it will be a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

The power from the Holy Spirit helps all of us live a life of holiness and wholeness.  We need to always remember that God’s plan for each one of us is to live a life that is abundant and full (John 10:10).  The Holy Spirit gives us the power in the name of Jesus to bind Satan and his cohorts, and in his Name to loosen the Spirit of life of the Lord Jesus to heal, to restore, and to forgive.  We can release others from the bondage of sin by our compassion and forgiveness.

We are more than conquerors; we are children of the Living God and we are called to set the captives free and give sight to the blind.  We do that by forgiving them, and loving them through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Pentecost – the harvest is now, the Kingdom of God is at hand, come and be fishers of men.  I pray that the Holy Spirit today will fill you with his love and power, and fill all of us with gratitude for all that God has done for us.

 

Application

The first reading tells us that “Pentecost” Sunday is celebrated as the birthday of the Church.  The second reading reveals that the gifts are for the good of the community.  The Gospel shows us that to receive the Holy Spirit is to receive power.  

Let us take a long look at our gifts, and then share them with others this week.  You might visit someone who is sick, or visit someone in jail.  You might write a letter to someone who is lonely, or cook someone a special meal.  Do something beautiful for God this week, and keep on giving your gift away.  God will never let you be without a gift – try it, you’ll like it.

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (May 16th) – 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 OFALL 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 of Sunday?

 

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

 

 

SECOND DAY READ ACTS 1:1-11 FIRST READING

(“He presented Himself alive to them…”)

1. What was dealt with before Jesus was taken up to heaven? Acts 1:1

 

2. How did Jesus instruct the Apostles He had chosen? Acts 1:2

 

3. After Jesus had suffered, what did He show His Apostles and how did He show them? Acts 1:3.

 

Personal – How have you been convinced that Jesus is alive today?

 

4. Why did Jesus tell His disciples not to leave Jerusalem? Acts 1:4

 

5. What did John baptize with and what would happen in a few days? Acts 1:5

 

6. What did the Apostles ask Jesus and what did He tell them? Acts 1:6-7

 

7. What did Jesus tell them they would receive when the Holy Spirit came down on them and what would that make them? Acts 1:8

 

8. As the Apostles were looking on what happened to Jesus and how did it happen? Acts 1:9

 

9. As they were looking up who appeared to them and what did they say? Acts 1:10-11

 

10. How will the Lord come down from heaven and what will happen to the living, the believers in Him? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

 

Personal – How are you preparing for Jesus’ return?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 1:17-23 SECOND READING

(“What is the surpassing greatness of His power for us who believe?”)

1. What is Paul asking our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, to give you? Ephesians 1:17

 

2. What three things does he want your innermost vision, the eyes of your hearts, to know? Ephesians 1:18-19

 

3. What do your eyes represent, and if your eyes are good what will your body be? Matthew 6:22

 

4. What is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path? Psalm 119:105

 

5. What is it like, this immeasurable scope of His power in us who believe? Ephesians 1: 19-20

 

6. Where is Christ seated? Ephesians 1:20-21

 

7. What has God put beneath Jesus’ feet and what has He made Him over the Church, His body? Ephesians 1:22

 

8. Who is the head of every man; who is the head of the woman and who is head of Christ? I Corinthians 11:3

 

9. There is one what? Ephesians 4:4

 

10. How is the body of Christ built up? Ephesians 4:11-12

 

Personal – How have the eyes of your heart been enlightened to the surpassing greatness of His power in you?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ MARK 16:15-20 GOSPEL

(“The Lord continued to work with then; throughout…. “)

1. What did Jesus tell his disciples to do and to whom? Mark 16:15

 

2. What happens to whoever believes in the gospel and is baptized? Mark 16:16

 

3. What happens to whoever does not believe in the gospel if it has been proclaimed to them? Mark 16:16

 

4. When is there no condemnation? Romans 8:1

 

5. What will accompany those who believe, in whose name will they drive out demons, and what will they speak? Mark 16:17

 

6. What will they be able to handle and drink? Mark 16:18

 

7. What will they do to the sick and what will happen to them? Mark 16:18

 

8. What happened to the Lord Jesus after he was through speaking to them and where was He seated? Mark 16:19

 

9. What did the Eleven go forth doing and what did the Lord continue to do? Mark 16:20

 

10. How did the Lord confirm the message? Mark 16:20

 

Personal – What signs are accompanying your belief in Jesus at home, at work or at school?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 47:2-3, 6-9

(“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ACTS 1:1-11

This passage begins with Luke addressing the Roman official called Theophilus. Luke was implying that Jesus’ work continues in Acts through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts is called by many the fifth Gospel in that it tells about the lives and events of the new Church.

Jesus showed the Apostles after His suffering and death His many wounds. He gave them many convincing proofs that He was alive. He told them that they would then receive the Holy Spirit and they would receive power and become His witnesses to the ends of the earth. He then was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight.

Today, He is still alive in the Power that lives within His Church and within you as a member of the community of His disciples. You have become a Temple of that Power by your Baptism and Confirmation. The Power that split the Red Sea for Moses lives within you. The Power that impregnated Mary with Jesus lives within you. The Power that baptized Jesus in the Jordan River lives within you. The power that raised Jesus from the dead lives within you. He is alive and He lives in you waiting to be given freely to the hurt, the lost, the sick, the lonely, and the captive throughout the ends of the earth.

 

EPHESIANS 1:17-23

In this passage St. Paul is praying and giving thanks for the gifts that have been given to the believers. We today are reminded to thank God for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge that are available to us today.

We grow in wisdom and knowledge through prayer, scripture, sacraments and Catholic Church teaching.

This follows an order of discipline and humility.

Our hope for the future is not an ambiguous feeling, on the contrary; it is a complete assurance of victory through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ. We see many on all sides fearing nuclear disaster, computer meltdown and the collapse of morals. We must always remember we belong to the God of the Universe, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. God’s great power is available to help us today through the Holy Spirit in the community of faith. Scripture tells us that with God nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13). Paul tells us in scripture that we do not have to fear anything or anyone because nothing can separate us from God and His love (Romans 8:31-39).

When we talk about the fullness of the Catholic Church, we are talking about Christ filling the Church with gifts and blessings. The Church itself is the full expression of Christ who Himself is the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). The image of the body shows the Church’s unity. We should not attempt to work, serve or worship on our own. There are no Lone Rangers in the Body of Christ. Each one of us is involved with all the others as we go about doing God’s work on earth.

 

MARK 16:15-20

We hear Jesus telling His disciples to go into the world and tell everyone the good news that He has reconciled us with God, and those who believe in Him can be forgiven and live eternally with God. The number one priority in the Church today is evangelization. We have disciples today in all parts of the world who are preaching this gospel to people who have never heard about Christ and also to people who have turned away from Christ. The driving power that carries Missionaries around the world proclaiming Christ is the Holy Spirit. As we grow in our relationship with Christ, we will experience with the Power of the Holy Spirit. We have heard about and seen the times when God intervenes miraculously to protect His followers. We have seen on occasions special powers given to them. Paul handled a snake safely (Acts 28:5) and some disciples did some healing (Matthew 10:1,Acts 31:7-8).We must always remember that we are to trust God, not test Him, by putting yourself in dangerous situations, but that should we find ourselves in danger, God will protect us.

The Church continues to lay hands on the sick and to pray for their healing, in body and in spirit, in the Anointing of the Sick. As a great blessing from God, the healing power of Christ is always at our disposal.

This passage emphasizes Christ’s power as well as His servant hood. Jesus’ life and teaching turned the world upside down. As believers we are called to be servants of Christ. Jesus’ physical work was complete when He ascended into heaven. Our work in His name continues on.

 

Application

The first reading tells us as the Apostles were looking on, Jesus was lifted up and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. In the second reading God seated Jesus at His right hand in the heavens and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, and in the Gospel the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God and the Lord worked with His disciples and confirmed the Word through accompanying signs.

This week let us go to someone who is sick in our family, our community or our parish, to pray with them. Proclaim the Good News to them that Jesus is alive as you lay hands on them. Pray for their healing and watch for the accompanying signs that God will perform, of hope, joy and peace, healing in spirit and in body, as God sees fit to bless them.

Sixth Sunday in Easter (May 9th) – 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 ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 FIRST READING
(“In every nation whoever fears the Lord and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”)

1. When Peter entered, what did Cornelius do? Acts 10:25

 

2. What did Peter do and say to Cornelius? Acts 10:26

 

3. What did Barnabas and Paul say about themselves, and what do they proclaim? Acts 14:15

 

4. What are we not to do, and for what reason? Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:8-9

 

5. As Peter spoke in truth, what did he say that God does not show? Acts 10:34 and also Romans 2:11

 

6. Who is God? What does he not have and accept? Deuteronomy 10:17

 

7. Why does the Lord not favor anyone? Job 34:19

 

8. Who is acceptable to the Lord? Acts 10:35

 

9. What happened to all who were listening to the word? Acts 10:44

 

Personal? – How have you experienced the Holy Spirit as you have listened to the Word of God?

 

10. What astounded the circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter? Acts 10:45

 

11. What could they hear them doing that astounded them? Acts 10:46

 

12. What was the question asked by Peter? Acts 10:47

 

13. What did Peter order, and what did they invite him to do? Acts 10:48-49

 

14. What does God know, and what does he grant us? Acts 15:8

 

Personal? – In what way do you show respect and fear of the Lord and act uprightly?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 4:7-10 SECOND READING
(“Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”)

1. What are we to do, what is of God, and who is begotten by God, and knows God? 1 John 4:7

 

2. What is the message we have heard from the beginning? 1 John 3:11

 

3. Whoever is without love does not do what, and what is God? 1 John 4:8

 

4. Whoever remains in love remains in whom, and who remains in him? 1 John 4:16

 

5. In what way is the love of God revealed to us? 1 John 4:9

 

6. Who has seen God and revealed him? John 1:18

 

7. What did God send his Son into the world not to do, but what did he send him to do? John 3:16-17

 

8. Where do we find life? 1 John 5:11

 

9. “In this is love, not that we have loved God,” but what? What did God send his Son to do? 1 John 4:10

 

10. How does God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8, 10

 

11. God set forth as an expiation Jesus through and by what? Romans 3:25

 

Personal? – How have you experienced God’s love for you personally?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 15:9-17 GOSPEL
(“This I command you: love one another.”)

1. How does Jesus love us, and in what are we to remain? John 15:9

 

2. How are we brought to perfection, and what will the world know? John 17:22-23

 

3. How will we remain in Jesus’ love, what has Jesus done, and why has he told us this? John 15:10-11

 

4. Why does the Father never leave Jesus? John 8:29

 

5. What will be made complete by asking anything in Jesus’ name? John 16:24

 

6. What is Jesus’ new commandment? John 15:12, John 13:34

 

7. What is there nothing greater than? John 15:13

 

Personal? – How have you laid down your life for your friends?

 

8. While we were still helpless, for whom did Christ die at the appointed time? Romans 5:6

 

9. How did we come to know love, and what ought we do for our brothers? 1 John 3:16

 

10. How do we become Jesus’ friends? John 15:14

 

11. What is a true friend more loyal than? Proverbs 18:24

 

12. What does Jesus no longer call us, and for what reason? What does he call us, and for what reason? John 15:15

 

13. Who does Jesus tell of what he has heard from the Father? John 8:26

 

Personal? – What has Jesus told you about the Father?

 

14. Who chose us, what did he appoint us to do, and what would happen? John 15:16

 

15. Why will Jesus give us whatever we ask in his name? John 14:13

 

16. What are we to the Lord, and what has he chosen us to be? Deuteronomy 7:6

 

17. What does God command us? John 15:17

 

Personal? – In what way does the fruit of love show forth in your life? Do others see joy in your service?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 98:1-4
(“…in the sight of the nation he has revealed his justice.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 98:1-4.

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

ACTS 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

The barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles did much to prevent the spread of the Gospel. God, however, overcomes all barriers and shows no favoritism in Peter’s time, nor does he in our day. God was making it crystal clear that the Good News is for everyone. Today, because our world is much smaller due to the media, the temptation to think that only a certain few are God’s favorite children is very deadly. We should not allow any barriers, such as language, culture, prejudice, geography, economic class or education, keep us from spreading the Gospel. In every nation hearts, minds, and ears are bent toward hearing God’s holy word, but someone must take it to them.

To want to know about God is not enough. People must find him, and then experience him. Leading others to Christ is a special vocation, and we always need to take time to listen to him (Psalm 46:10) so that we will be able to know and follow his will.

The “Good News” is for everyone because it is a message of hope. Cornelius was a very wealthy Gentile and a powerful military man. Peter, on the other hand, was a Jew and a common fisherman turned preacher. God’s plan included both of them just as they were, and today he includes us in his plan. A new chapter was written in history that day when a Jewish Christian leader and a Gentile Christian convert each discovered God at work in the other person. Cornelius needed Peter and his Gospel to know he could be saved. Peter needed Cornelius and his salvation experience to know that God was available to anyone who believed in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

We who are believers in Christ need each other to understand how God works. Peter was invited to share and teach more about his faith, and Cornelius was very eager to learn more about his new faith. Are you as eager to learn more about Jesus as new believers are eager? Spend as much time as you can around mature Christians and strive to learn from them. Remember, the rest of the world will know that we are Christians by the way we love one another.

1 JOHN 4:7-10

Love is a decision that involves a choice followed by an action. Love is not being sentimental or displaying mushy feelings. Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious. Love is never selfish or being rude. Love is being truthful and loyal, no matter what the cost. This kind of love is not natural; it is possible only if God helps us to set aside our own desires and instincts. The closer we come to Christ, the more we will be able to love others while expecting nothing in return.

Society wants us to believe that love is important because it is an expression of our feelings. In reality, love is a decision and Jesus is our example of what love is. He gave us everything of himself, even going to the cross and dying for those who cursed him, rejected and even killed him. The Holy Spirit is where we get the power to love in the face of rejections and ridicule.

God’s love always involved a choice and an action, and our love should be like his. Take a moment right now and ask yourself, “How well is my love of God displayed to others, in the choices I make, and in the actions I take?” God is love, and our world with its selfish views on what it calls love tries to contaminate its true meaning. The world thinks love is what makes you feel good and is willing to sacrifice moral principles and other rights in order to obtain such “love.” We need not be fooled, because it is not real love. It is the exact opposite – selfishness. Our definition of love must come from God who is holy, just and perfect. The world today must learn to love like God loves.

JOHN 15:9-17

The key passage in today’s gospel message is the words of Jesus telling his disciples that they have not chosen him, but he has chosen them. It was not we who chose God, but God in his mercy and grace approaches us with a call and an offer made out of his love. He chose us for love and to go out into the world to love one another. He chose us for joy in doing the right thing. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms. It is true that the Christian is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner, and therein lies his joy.

A joyful Christian is a loving Christian, and laying down your life for another is the ultimate way of proving it. We may at some time in our life have questioned this great command of Jesus. He would look us lovingly in the eye and tell us that no one can show greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friend – and he did that.

Jesus chose us to be his friends, and he wanted to abide in us more than we could ever want to abide in him. He has offered us an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men knew before he came upon this earth. It meant that we have the privilege to enter into the presence of the Master without any special announcement. Think about it, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings is always available when we call, even if it is for just a few moments.

Jesus chose us to be his ambassadors, and he chose us to send us out (Matt. 28:19) to make disciples of all nations. He chose us to come first to him, and then after we have spent time living with and in him (John 15:7), he sends us to go out to the world. He chose us to be his.

You have been chosen by Christ to go forth and make disciples of all nations because he loves you. He does not love you because of what you do, or who you are. He loves you because of who he is. You are a loving person because he loved you first by choosing you to be his friend. The Good News, my loving friend, is that he has chosen us to love and because of him we are more than conquerors.

Application

The first reading shows us that we are not to forget public worship. The second reading tells us that love is a decision, not a feeling. The Gospel reveals to us that God chose us; we did not choose him.

This week commit yourself to a choice and action of loving someone unconditionally. Choose someone in your family, school or work area. Pick someone who seems to be difficult to love. Pray each morning for the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Be specific in your choice and type of action. Be prepared for an incredible miracle in your life, and then share that miracle in your testimony.

Fifth Sunday in Easter (May 2nd) – 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 ACTS 9:26-31 FIRST READING
(“…he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.”)

1. Who arrived in Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples? Acts 9:4, Acts 13:9

 

2. What were the disciples towards Saul, and what did they not believe? Acts 9:26

 

3. What do I do when I become afraid? Psalm 56:4-5

 

Personal – When someone has wronged you and decides to do right, how do you respond?

 

4. Who was Barnabas, what did he do with Saul, and what did he report to the disciples about him? Acts 4:36, 9:27

 

5. What did Saul proclaim in Damascus about Jesus, what did all who heard him say, and what happened to the Jews?Acts 9:20-22

 

6. How did Saul move about, and how did he speak out in the name of the Lord? Acts 9:28

 

7. What did the servants ask the Lord to enable them to speak? Acts 4:29

 

8. With whom did Saul speak and debate, what did they try to do to him, and where did the brothers take him after learning of this? Acts 9:29-30

 

9. As the number of disciples continued to grow, who complained, and for what reason? Acts 6:1

 

10. What did the church enjoy, what was happening to the church, and with whose consolation did it grow? Acts 9:31

 

11. When did the Holy Spirit speak to the church at Antioch, and what did he say? Acts 13:1-2

 

Personal – In what way have you been a support to someone who has made a conversion?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 3:18-24 SECOND READING
(“Those who keep his commandments remain in him,”)

1. What are we called, how are we not to love, and how are we to love? 1 John 3:18

 

2. What are we to love? Romans 12:9

 

3. “My people come to you as people always do; they sit down before you and hear your words,” but what do they not do, and for what reason? Ezekiel 33:31

 

4. What is God greater than, and what does he know? 1 John 3:20

 

5. If our hearts do not condemn us, what do we have, what do we receive, and for what reason? 1 John 3:21-22

 

6. How are our hearts purified? Acts 15:9

 

7. When does God hear us? 1 John 5:14

 

8. What does our heavenly Father give to those who ask? Matthew 7:11

 

9. What is God’s commandment? 1 John 3:23

 

10. What is the work of God? John 6:29

 

11. How ought we to live if we claim to abide in Jesus? 1 John 2:6

 

Personal – How have you loved God and those around you in deed and in truth? Do your words contradict your actions?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 15:1-8 GOSPEL
(“You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.”)

1. What is Jesus, and what is the Father? John 15:1

 

2. What does he take away, and what does he prune so that it bears more? John 15:2

 

3. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23

 

4. Because of what are you already pruned? John 15:3

 

5. What is the word? John 17:17

 

6. As Jesus remains in us, in whom are we to remain? What can a branch not do on its own, and what can we not do? John 15:4

 

7. What will we bear if we remain in Jesus, and what can we do without him? John 15:5

 

8. What happens to the builders unless the Lord builds the house? Psalm 127:1

 

9. What will happen to anyone who does not remain in Jesus, and what will people do with them? John 15:6

 

10. What will happen to every tree that does not bear good fruit? Matthew 3:10

 

11. Ask for whatever we want and it will be done for us, if we do what? John 15:7

 

12. How is the Father glorified? John 15:8, Matthew 5:16

 

13. What will we be if we remain in Jesus’ word, what will we know, and what will it do to us? John 8:31-32

 

Personal – How have you abided in Jesus, and how do others see Jesus abiding in you through your actions? What kind of fruit do they see?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 22:26-32
(“The lowly shall eat their fill,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 22:26-32.

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

ACTS 9:26-31

When Barnabas brought Paul, who was still being called Saul, to Jerusalem to join the disciples, he found them very much afraid of him. We must remember that Saul was an arch-enemy of the Christian movement until he met the Lord on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-9). Soon after his conversion his name Saul (Hebrew emphasizing his Jewish background) was changed to Paul (Roman emphasizing the Gentile world). Ananias is told that Paul is the Lord’s chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15).

Barnabas was an early disciple of Christ and his name meant “son of prophecy.” He was a converted Jew and a Levite, so he knew very well the apostles’ fear of Paul’s reputation. Barnabas was the bridge between Paul and the apostles and boldly introduced the newly-converted Paul to them.

Today’s reading really challenges all of us to believe that with God nothing is impossible. We all know that it is very difficult to change our reputation and new Christians especially need sponsors. We must encourage, teach, and introduce new believers to other members of our Christian community. The challenge to us is to find ways by which we can become a Barnabas to new believers. Paul became a Christian and the church enjoyed a brief time of peace. The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We might do well to do the same in our world today. A real and lasting peace can come only when men and women are free, and it is only Jesus Christ that really sets us free (John 8:32).

 

1 JOHN 3:18-24

This letter of John was written so that we who believe will realize that we possess eternal life (1 John 5:13). John understood that to know God is to keep his commandments. Love, if it is genuine, comes from the heart and is directed toward God and man. A serious problem of John’s day as well as today is the question, “Am I saved, and if so, how can I know?” Throughout the entire letter John assures us believers that we can know. The phrase “we know” was used 13 times to signify that it is a part of the normal spiritual consciousness (3:14).

Today’s reading gives us an example of how to lay down our lives for others. How clearly do our actions say we really love others? Are we as generous with our money, possessions and time as we could be? Today many people feel that they do not love others as they should, and their conscience bothers them. How do we escape the gnawing accusations of our conscience? We certainly do not escape it by ignoring or rationalizing our behavior.

John tells us that only by right actions can our conscience be cleansed. God knows our hearts as well as our actions. If we are in Christ, he will not condemn us (Romans 8:1). If we are walking in the way of the Lord but still feel that we are not good enough, remember that God is much more powerful than our conscience. He knows that we belong to him and he will not allow anything to separate us from his love (Rom. 8:31-39).

We can come to God anytime and he will be there for us. Our conscience will be clear when we realize that fear has to do with punishment, but true love drives out punishment (1 John 4:18). Christianity is a religion of the heart, and outward compliance is not enough. Real love is an action, a decision, not a feeling. It produces sacrificial giving whether it be ourself, money, possessions or time. The greatest example of love is to lay down our life for others, which involved putting others’ needs first (John 15:13).

 

JOHN 15:1-8

Jesus teaches about the vine and the branches. The grapevine is a prolific plant and a single vine bears many grapes. In the Passover meal the fruit of the vine was a symbol of God’s goodness to his people. Jesus shows us the difference between two kinds of pruning. One type is separating and the other is cutting back the branches (15:3). Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth, but branches that do not bear fruit are cut off at the trunk. In other words, those who will not bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be separated from the divine flow of life.

The Christian character includes the qualities of excellent fruit, such as prayer, joy, and love. To abide in Christ is to live in Christ. It really means to take up residence with him. He will reside within us if we truly believe that he is God’s Son (1 John 4:15) and that we receive him as our Lord and Savior (John 1:12). We are called to keep his commandments (1 John 3:24), continuing in faith (1 John 2:24), and relating to the community of Christian believers, Christ’s body.

Many people today try to do what is good and right. Jesus tells us that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. What about us? Are we receiving the nourishment and life offered to us by our Lord Jesus Christ? A rich harvest honors the harvester, for he has gathered the fruits.

Be a disciple of the Lord and help bring people into a right relationship with Jesus Christ. If your relationship is not right, then take a moment right now and confess to him, ask his forgiveness, and enjoy the fruit of his harvest which is peace, joy, and love.

 

Application

The first reading tells us how to be a bridge for new believers. The second reading shows us that love is a decision, not a feeling. The Gospel reveals that to abide means to take up residence.

This week, be a bridge between family members, school or work associates. Try to encourage others to be the best that they can be. Let God’s love abide in you, and you will make a terrific Barnabas. Remember, be a peacemaker and be a friend, make a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.

Fourth Sunday in Easter (April 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 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 ACTS 4:8-12 FIRST READING
(“…in his name this man stands before you healed.”)

l. With what was Peter filled, and who is he answering? Acts 4:8

 

2. Who was great in the sight of the Lord, and with what was he filled? Luke 1:13-15

 

3. What did Peter say you need to do to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38

 

4. What did Peter ask the leaders about a good deed done to a cripple? Acts 4:9

 

5. What did Peter say to the cripple, and in whose name? Acts 3:6

 

6. What did Peter say all of the people of Israel should know, and how does the man stand before them healed? Acts 4:10

 

7. What happens to him who calls on the name of the Lord? Acts 2:21

 

8. Who are the builders, what did they do to the stone, and what has it become? Acts 4:11

 

9. How are we to be saved? Acts 4:10-12

 

10. How do we come to the Father? John 14:6

 

11. Who wills everyone to be saved and to come to full knowledge of the truth? 1 Timothy 2:3-6

 

Personal? – Who is Jesus to you? If he were to come for you tonight, what would you say to him? Where would you go?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 3:1-2 SECOND READING
(“Beloved, we are God’s children now.”)

1. What has the Father bestowed on us, and what may we be called? 1 John 3:1

 

2. To those who did accept Jesus, what did he give them power to become, and in what must they believe? John 1:12

 

3. What came through Jesus? John 1:17

 

4. In love, what did God destine us to be, and through whom? Ephesians 1:4-5

 

5. What is the reason the world does not know us? 1 John 3:1

 

6. What does Jesus, who knows the Father, keep? John 8:54-55

 

7. What are we now, and what has not yet been revealed? 1 John 3:2

 

8. Whom will we be like when it is revealed to us, and what will we see? 1 John 3:2

 

9. What will God do to our bodies? How will he do it? What will he bring into subjection to himself? Philippians 3:21

 

10. To whom has God revealed the Son, and to whom does he reveal things? Matthew 11:25-27

 

Personal? – When and how do you come to God in prayer as a child? Picture yourself as a small child, maybe with a hurt knee, and go to him and let him hold you and make it better.

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 10:11-18 GOSPEL
(“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”)

1. Who is the Good Shepherd, and what does he do for the sheep? John 10:7, 11

 

2. How did the God of peace bring up from the dead the Good Shepherd of the sheep? Hebrews 13:20

 

3. What does a hired hand, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, do when he sees a wolf coming? John 10:12

 

4. What will the foolish shepherd not do, and what may happen to him? Zechariah 11:16-17

 

5. Why does he have no concern for the sheep? John 10:13

 

6. What does the Good Shepherd know? John 10:14

 

7. What do the Good Shepherd’s sheep hear? Whom do they know, and what do they do? John 10:27

 

8. Whom does the Good Shepherd know? Who knows him, and what will they do? John 10:15

 

9. What does the Good Shepherd have that does not belong to this fold? What must he do with these, and what will they hear? John 10:16

 

10. What happened to those who were far off? What did he break down, and through what did he do it? Ephesians 2:13-14

 

11. Why does the Father love Jesus? John 10:17

 

12. How have we been consecrated? Hebrews 10:9-10

 

13. What is the command Jesus received from the Father? John 10:18

 

14. How did Jesus humble himself? Philippians 2:8

 

Personal? – How are you like the Good Shepherd, and how are you like the hired hand with your family, friends, co-workers, etc?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29
(“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29.

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

ACTS 4:8-12

Jesus tells us in scripture that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He also tells us that he has left his Spirit of truth to be always with each one of us who believe in him (John 14:16-17). Jesus has left us the same Spirit that was within Peter when he healed that crippled man.

The Holy Spirit that was given to the apostles by Christ has been given to us also. Yes, that’s right, to you. Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the power to heal, to prophesy, to preach, to teach, to forgive, and to love is within you and that this power comes from the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4)? If God wills that everyone be saved, and he leaves his Holy Spirit to empower us, why do so many people still reject him? Jesus tells us that all who abide in him and keep his commandments will experience his abiding in them. To abide means to live with, to take up residence, and to really know someone; one has to live with that person. Many people do not respond to the protection of the Holy Spirit’s power because it calls for obedience and obedience calls for humility. Jesus knew obedience and humility. In fact, it was in complete humility that he went in full obedience to his death on the cross.

Jesus, not the apostles, received the glory for the healing. In those days a man’s name represented his character and stood for his authority and power. Like the apostles, we must not emphasize what we can do but what God can do through us. Jesus’ name is not to be used as magic – it must be used by faith. When we pray in Jesus’ name, it is important to remember that it is Jesus himself who gives our prayers their power.

In this reading, Peter reminds the people and their leaders that they, the so-called builders of the community, had thought by rejecting a stone in the new building, they would prevent a new and permanent temple from being erected. But Jesus was more than the stone, he was the cornerstone. The church was the new temple, and Jesus was the cornerstone that held it together.

Scripture tells us that Jesus himself stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). Today all across the many nations, the Catholic Church is under attack from non-believers and lukewarm believers. The power of the Holy Spirit is filling up the hearts of believers and they are going forth and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), even in the face of persecution.

 

1 JOHN 3:1-2

Today’s reading reveals to us that we have been chosen to be part of God’s family. Every single person who has ever lived has always wanted to belong, to be accepted as we are and not for what we do, but we just do not know how to belong. To belong is to be loved unconditionally, not only when we are being productive or loving in return, but even when we are unlovable.

God has called us to be part of his family, but we still have to say “Yes, Lord” before anything happens. We do that when we become baptized and we begin our new relationship as a child of God. As believers, we have self-worth that is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, not some time in the future, and he is our “Abba” daddy. Some people have had fathers who were very harmful to them, and the memories of being physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulted are still very vivid and painful even, in some cases, after many years.

We see in today’s reading that God is our real Father, our permanent Father, and he heals all of his children through his loving Son, Jesus. This is tremendous good news for all of us, and it means that he encourages us to live like Jesus and to believe that Jesus and his Holy Spirit will empower us to overcome any type of injury. He tells us in scripture that nothing, not even death will separate us from him or his love (Rom. 8:31-39).

Our Christian life is a process that calls for us to be more Christ-like every day. Let us celebrate with thanks and praise for the gift of the loving, earthly father that he has given us, and let us pray also for the healing of the broken spirit of the many earthly fathers of yesterday and today.

 

JOHN 10:11-18

This Gospel is a powerful reminder that every living person on this earth is under the loving care and concern of our “Good Shepherd,” Jesus Christ. We call him the Good Shepherd because he not only took many risks for his flock, but he also died defending it.

A shepherd was someone who grew up knowing, caring and protecting a flock of sheep. He was born for that noble, lonely and very dangerous role. Shepherds were not in the business for money, and when danger such as wolves, lions or bears attacked the flock the shepherd would fight back to the bitter end. A shepherd had to show evidence that he fought against the attackers. The hireling, on the other hand, would run from the attack and expose the flock to very serious danger. The shepherd is committed to his sheep. The term “good shepherd,” like the term “good doctor,” meant not only did he have the necessary skills to do the job, but he also had a quality of love and gentleness.

Jesus was “The Good Shepherd” par excellence. He was not just doing his job; he was committed to love us and he laid down his life for us. Today the flock is the church and the Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ. Today there is the danger of the hirelings not taking proper care of their flocks. When the dangers of the world attack the flock, the hirelings of today’s church run away from their flocks.

The church is always liable to attack from the outside and it is also liable to trouble from the inside due to the tragedy of bad leadership. The second danger is by far the worst, because if the shepherd is faithful and good, there is a strong defense against the outside attack. But if the shepherd is a hireling and is faithless, then the foes can penetrate into the flock and severely damage it. The church’s first essential is a leadership based on the example of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. Let us hold our shepherds up in prayer constantly, so that they may become, not only shepherds, but “good shepherds.”

 

Application

The first reading challenges us to ask, am I ready to die? The second reading tells us that God is our permanent and loving Father. The Gospel shows us that we are being called to be “good shepherds.”

This week: Pray, listen, and love with your actions to your children. -Pray, listen, and forgive your father, dead or alive. -Pray, listen, and pray for forgiveness of all earthly fathers, that they will repent and seek healing in Jesus Christ. -Pray, listen, listen, and listen to your Heavenly Father.

Third Sunday in Easter (April 18th) – Cycle B

THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn

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 ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19 FIRST READING
(“Repent, therefore, and be converted,”)

1. Who is speaking? To whom is he speaking? Who has glorified his servant, Jesus? Acts 3:12-13

 

2. What did the people do to Jesus in Pilate’s presence, when Pilate was ready to release him? Acts 3:13

 

3. What did Jesus say about whoever denies him? Matthew 10:33

 

4. Whom did the people deny, and what did they ask to be done? Acts 3:14

 

5. Whom did the people put to death? What did God do, and what are Peter and John? Acts 3:15

 

6. Who will be Jesus’ witnesses, and what will they receive? Acts 1:8

 

7. Out of what did the people act, just as their leaders had acted? Acts 3:17

 

8. What did the people fulfill, and when did they hear this read? Acts 13:27

 

9. What did God bring to fulfillment? Acts 3:18

 

10. What must we do, and what will happen? Acts 3:19

 

11. Whom does God demand to repent? Acts 17:30

 

Personal? – In what way are you denying Christ in your life? Do you see the power of the Holy Spirit working through you as you love those around you? If you do not see the power of God in your life, ask him to show you where the blockage is, and repent and believe.

 

 

THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 2:1-5 SECOND READING
(“…whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.”)

1. Why is John writing? 1 John 2:1

 

2. If anyone does sin, what do we have, and who is he? 1 John 2:1

 

3. What has Jesus become, and what is he able to do? Hebrews 7:22, 25

 

4. What has Jesus done for our sins, and to whom else does he do this? 1 John 2:2

 

5. What is love? Who loves us? What did he do for us? 1 John 4:8, 10

 

6. How are we sure of knowing Jesus? 1 John 2:3

 

7. If we love Jesus, what will we do? John 14:15

 

8. What is the one who says I know Jesus, but does not keep his commandments, and what is not in him? 1 John 2:4

 

9. Who is a liar? 1 John 4:20

 

10. In what is the one who keeps Jesus’ word perfected? 1 John 2:5

 

11. What will the one who loves Jesus do, who will love him, and who will dwell with him? John 14:15-17, 23

 

Personal? – In what way have you kept the commandment of God today? Be specific. What can you do in your environment to improve the commandment to love others? How well do you really know God?

 

 

FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 24:35-48 GOSPEL
(“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.”)

1. What did the two recount about Jesus? Luke 24:30-31, 35

 

Personal? – How does Jesus reveal himself to you at Eucharist?

 

2. While they were still speaking, what did Jesus do, and what did he say to them? Luke 24:36

 

3. How did the disciples react, and what did they think they were seeing? Luke 24:37

 

4. What two questions did Jesus ask? Luke 24:38

 

5. What two things did he tell them to do, and what does a ghost not have? Luke 24:39

 

6. As he said this, what did he show them? Luke 24:40

 

7. How does God show his love for us, and what happened to all who touched Jesus? 1 John 4:9, Matthew 14:36

 

8. What did Jesus ask them while they were still incredulous for joy and amazed? Luke 24:41

 

9. What did they give Jesus, and what did he do with it? Luke 24:42-43

 

10. Who ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead? Acts 10:41

 

11. What did Jesus say about the law, the prophets, and the Psalms? Luke 24:44

 

12. What did Jesus tell his disciples, and what did they fail to comprehend? Luke 18:31-34

 

13. To what did Jesus open their minds? Luke 24:45

 

Personal – When did you become open to the scriptures?

 

14. What did Jesus say to them, and what would be preached in his name? Luke 24:46-47

 

15. What did he say the disciples were? Luke 24:48

 

16. Who will testify, and for what reason? John 15:26-27

 

Personal? – How long have you been with Jesus and how long has he been with you? And to what can you testify?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 4:2, 4, 7-9
(“You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 4: 2, 4, 7-9.

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

ACTS 3:13-15, 17-19

Peter spoke out boldly to his audience, and he certainly knew how to share Jesus Christ. He presented his message very clearly to them in stating who Jesus Christ was and how they rejected him. He told them why their rejection was fatal, and what they needed to do to correct the situation. He told them what he would tell you and me today, and that is that we still have a choice. God is still offering us freedom and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Peter challenged the people when he confronted them with “You disowned the Holy and Just One and you preferred instead the release of a murderer.” The crowd was made up of many people who were there or heard about the events in detail. Some of them probably even took part in condemning him. The confidence of the religious leaders was shaken when Peter told them that Jesus was alive again and that this time they could not harm him. Peter showed everyone in that crowd the significance of the resurrection, God’s power and triumph over death.

We all need to pray that we have the courage, like Peter, to see the opportunities to speak up for Christ. We create teachable moments when, by our actions, we show that Jesus is the Lord of our life. We may find that our audience is protesting against the injustice of abortion and pornography which is crippling the societies of many nations.

To speak out against the crowd and call for the teachings of Jesus Christ is not only courageous today, but in many areas very dangerous. The term servant comes to us from Isaiah 52:13, and the servant is the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He would be exalted because of his sacrifice which was to die for the sins of all people. We are all being called to be like Christ in his role as the suffering servant.

 

1 JOHN 2:1-5

John is speaking in a warm, fatherly way by addressing his audience as little children. We must remember that John was a very old man, and he had very many spiritual children. This reading is a tremendous comfort to people who are feeling full of guilt and condemnation. They know they have sinned and Satan is demanding the death penalty. We do not need to feel that way. In fact, the best defense attorney in the universe is pleading our case, Jesus Christ.

Our advocate is the judge’s son. He has already paid the price for our crimes, and we cannot be tried again for a case that is no longer on the docket. United with Christ is the ultimate of being safely protected. Do not be afraid to ask him to plead your case for he has already won it for you (Romans 8:33).

It is hard to put this kind of love and forgiveness into words. Can you imagine telling everyone that we would forgive them no matter what they had done? This is what God has done in Jesus. No one, absolutely no one, is beyond hope or forgiveness. All we have to do is turn to Jesus and commit our lives to him. We might ask, how can we be sure we belong to Christ? We need to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.

The results of true Christian faith are in the behavior, not in the intentions or pious words (1 John 3:23). This is why John, the beloved old apostle, can call us children and can assure us that by our behavior we indeed belong to Jesus Christ.

 

LUKE 24:35-48

Our Gospel today begins with the finishing of the story about how Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Now Jesus appears to the disciples behind locked doors, and they were terribly frightened. They thought they were looking at a ghost, but Jesus’ body was not just a vision or a ghost. The disciples, in spite of their shock, touched him as he asked. Then he asked for some food, and they watched him eat. Now his body was different from that of someone like Lazarus, in that Lazarus had just a restored body (John 11). Jesus was able to appear and disappear, and his resurrected body was even more real than before. His body was immortal like the kind we will be given at the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:42-50).

For several days Jesus traveled around the countryside before he returned to heaven. In the Book of Acts, Luke makes it clear that Jesus spent about 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. Jesus opened the disciples’ minds to understand the scriptures.

The Holy Spirit does for us what was done for the apostles, and that is to speak to each one of us right where we are. We need to pray the scriptures as well as read and study them. God speaks to us through his church, sacraments, fellowship, and, of course, his Holy Word.

Pray that God will give you a teachable spirit and watch how his Holy Words strike you into action. Today a hunger and a thirst are upon the land like never before. Peace is just an empty, meaningless word to so many people. The only real peace that is available is the peace that comes with repentance and forgiveness. Jesus tells us that there is forgiveness of sins, but we have to turn to him. The message today to all people of all nations is to repent or perish.

 

Application

The first reading tells us to have courage to speak out for Christ just as the apostles spoke out. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus is our defense lawyer and he has already won our case. The Gospel calls for all to call on his name and be witnesses to his penance and forgiveness.

This week look at your values and priorities. What is important to you? Where is God on that list? Think about how to put God first in each of your activities each day this week. Your example will cause others to repent and turn to the Lord.