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 ECCLESIASTES 1:2; 2:21-23 FIRST READING
(“For what profit comes to a man for all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he had labored under the sun.”)
1. Who is Qoheleth, and what are his words? Ecclesiastes 1:1-2
2. How has a man labored, over what has he labored, who must he leave it to, and besides vanity what is it? Ecclesiastes 2:21
3. Why do we do honest (labor) work? Ephesians 6:7-8
4. What question is asked over that which a man labors? Ecclesiastes 2:22
5. For the sake of profit, what do many do, and what does the struggle for wealth do? Sirach 27:1
6. What chokes the word and bears no fruit? Mark 4:19
7. What did Jesus tell Martha? Luke 10:41-42
8. What is a man’s occupation, what happens to him at night, and what is this?Ecclesiastes 2:23
9. What has God made the wisdom of the world, and what will he do with it? 1 Corinthians 1:19-20
10. What is there in much worldly wisdom and sorrow? Ecclesiastes 1:18
Personal – In what way have you worked so hard that worry has kept you awake at night over your work? What is your purpose in doing this?
THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 3:1-5, 9-11 SECOND READING
(“Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices.”)
1. What did you do with Christ, what do you seek, and where is Christ seated? Colossians 3:1
2. Through what have we grown in union with him, and through what shall we also be united with him? Romans 6:5
3. About what are we to think, about what are we not to think, and for what reason are we to think this way? Colossians 3:2-3
4. About what things are we to think, with what are we not to occupy our mind, and where is our citizenship?
Philippians 4:8, Philippians 3:19-20
5. What will happen when Christ your life appears, and what are we to put to death? Colossians 3:4-5
6. What should not even be mentioned among us? Ephesians 5:3
7. What are we to stop doing, and what have we taken off? Colossians 3:9
8. What is being renewed, and for what is it being renewed?Colossians 3:10
9. What are we to put away, and in what are we to be renewed?Ephesians 4:22-24
10. Between what is there no distinction, and who is everything and in everything? Colossians 3:11
Personal – What are the things you seek in life, and about what do you spend most of your time thinking? What do you need to do to think about the things above and not of these earthly things?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 12:13-21 GOSPEL
(“Take care to guard against greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”)
1. What did someone in the crowd say to Jesus, how did Jesus address him, and what did he say? Luke 12:13-14
2. Against what did Jesus tell the crowd to guard, of and what did he say one’s life does not consist?Luke 12:15
3. What comes from a man’s greed, and it is better to be a poor man than what? Proverbs 19:22
4. What does not satisfy a man’s greed? Ecclesiastes 4:8
Personal – How can you guard against greed in your home or work?
5. What did Jesus go on to tell the crowd? Luke 12:16
6. What did the rich man ask himself, and what did he say he would do to store his bountiful harvest? Luke 12:17-18
7. Now that he had so many good things stored, what did he say he could do? Luke 12:19
8. About what should you not boast, and for what reason?Proverbs 27:1
9. What are you to tell the rich? 1 Timothy 6:17-18
10. What did God say to the man? Luke 12:20-21
Personal – What are the things you are storing that matter to God, and what do you need to give away?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 95:1-2, 6-9
(“Come, let us bow down in worship.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 95:1-2, 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
ECCLESIASTES 1:2, 2:21-23
Today’s reading is taken from the Book of Qoheleth, which in Greek means Ecclesiastes. The book is presented as coming from David’s son, King in Jerusalem. We see the author as a man of numerous experiences. His interest in human life and experiences is very broad.
This reading challenges us and raises more questions than it answers. We see man constantly searching for more out of life, and while he achieves a great deal, he seems frustrated and unfulfilled. He talks about vanity in the sense that everything is only temporary and to put all of our energy into things is foolish as well as in vain. He states that the wise man and the fool both die and whatever they have on earth goes to someone else to enjoy. He sees in the vanity of life that a man is blessed if he reverently honors his promise to God. The unjust man, on the other hand, will someday face great punishment.
A strong vanity of life appears to be great wealth because it also causes a man much worry and loss of sleep due to his fear of losing his wealth. Wisdom seems to help a man from being depressed and fills his life’s emptiness, but death seems to put an end to wisdom. Qoheleth showed through experience that even the just suffer and the unjust seem to go unpunished for a long time. He calls for patience and wisdom. He links obedience with authority to obedience to God. He sees life as something to be enjoyed rather than something to be endured. This reading brings to us the example of life’s experiences.
Today we see people who are very wise with very little formal education. We see in the wise person the knowledge that God is the only one who is permanent. Today’s passage tells us that to put our complete trust and faith in anything or anyone, other than God, is indeed this vanity of vanities.
COLOSSIANS 3:1-5, 9-11
In today’s passage, true Christian behavior is demonstrated by putting on a new nature and accepting Christ and then letting the old nature die. In Baptism, the Christian dies and rises again. Baptism means to submerge, drown, and sink. This is the death of the old nature. To rise is when we come up out of the water and, as Christ did in the resurrection, take on a new life. We rise from the waters of Baptism, a different person.
We change our behavior when we let Christ live within us so that he can shape us into what we should be, rather than what we may want to be. While the Christian’s real home is in heaven, it does not mean that he is to withdraw himself from the work and activities of the world. God never did tell us to leave this world; he did tell us to win over the world. The Christian sets his eye, his standard, and his ideal, not on the world but on that which is of God. He will go on using the things of the world, but he will use them in a new way.
As Christians, we are invited to place giving before getting, serving before the ruling, and forgiving above avenging. The Christian’s standard of values will be God’s standards, not men’s. The early Christians regarded Baptism as dying and rising again. The Greeks spoke of a man who was dead and buried as hidden in the earth, but the Christian who has died a spiritual death in Baptism is not hidden in the earth but hidden in Christ.
Today, the world tells us that the treasury of wisdom is hidden, acquired knowledge. Christians have the treasury of all wisdom in Jesus Christ. The Christian is in a continuing educational program. The more we know about Christ, the more we are being changed to be like him. Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who come to him. As Christians, we are called to build bridges, not barriers.
Today’s Gospel brings us right into the conflict that is threatening to tear the heart out of our communities. The conflict is between the people who have much of the so-called good life and those who are struggling just to make ends meet. Jesus is pointing to a higher issue, a correct attitude toward the accumulation of wealth. He tells us that life is far more than material goods and most important is our relationship with God.
When we bring our problems to God in prayer, he often shows us how we need to change and grow in our attitude toward these problems. Jesus tells us that we do not always have to wish for what we do not have, and he tells us the existing good life has nothing to do with being wealthy. This is the exact opposite of what the world is telling us. Advertisers spend fortunes telling people that if they buy a certain product, their lives will be happier, and more comfortable. In your community, how do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?
We must learn to concentrate on the good life; that is to live in a relationship with God and do his work. The man in today’s reading died before he was able to use what he had saved. Jesus asks what good is it to put all of our energy into what we need here on earth and not to prepare for our inevitable death. When a rich man or a poor man dies, they both will stand in judgment. It makes no difference how well they did in their earthly life. How powerful, rich, or educated you are will not be the question asked by the Lord. He will say, “What you did to the least of my people, you did to me.” (Mat. 25:31-46). You are to plan and save and be prudent with your life, but it is most important to make your life worthwhile by living it for others through Christ. When Christ one day asks you, “What did you do when you were on earth?” and if you say, “I loved others as you have loved me,” you will be one of the richest saints in heaven.
The first reading tells us “that you can not take it with you.” The second reading tells us to give before getting, serve before the ruling, forgive before avenging. The Gospel shows that we should seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be given to us.
This week, use what you have to help others and let your example be passed on to others. Let your comments be positive and offer to help whether it is a big project or a small one. Share your wealth generously. Your wealth is far more than your money. To those who love you and know you, your presence is priceless to them. Let people see Christ in you as you speak. Listen to them with the ears of Christ and see others through the eyes of Christ. You will be the richest person in your community because Christ wants you to give him away, so he can stay with you.