THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit. “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ EXODUS 16:2-4, 12-15 FIRST READING
(“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.”)
1. Against whom were the Israelite community grumbling, and about what were they grumbling? Exodus 16:2-3, Exodus 16:8
2. What happened to some of them by grumbling and complaining? 1 Corinthians 10:9-10
3. What did Jesus tell the people? John 6:43
Personal – In what way have you been complaining to someone else when in reality your complaint is toward God?
4. What did the Lord say to Moses, and why was he testing them? Exodus 16:4
5. How do we know for sure that we know God? 1 John 2:3-5
6. What did the Lord tell Moses he heard, what did he give them, and for what reason did he do this? Exodus 16:12
7. What came in the evening and the morning? Exodus 16:13-14
8. What did the people say, and what did Moses tell them? Exodus 16:15
9. When we ask God for something, when does he give it to us? 1 John 5:14-15
10. Why do we ask for only what we need? Proverbs 30:8-9
Personal – How has God provided you with what you needed even though all you have been doing is grumbling to others about your needs?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 4:17, 20-24 SECOND READING
(“…be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”)
1. To what does Paul declare and testify? Ephesians 4:17
2. What happens to the mind when we refuse to honor God and thank him? Romans 1:21
3. If we learned Christ and were taught in him, what did we learn? Ephesians 4:20-21
4. What comes through Jesus? John 1:17
5. Of what should we get rid? Ephesians 4:22
6. How should we be renewed? Ephesians 4:23
7. How can we be alienated from the life of God? Ephesians 4:18
8. In what is the new self created? Ephesians 4:24
9. What do we stop doing to one another, and in what is the new self renewed? Colossians 3:9-10
10. What does the new self put on? Colossians 3:12-14
Personal – Identify some of the characteristics of your old self and of your new self. When did the change take place, and what caused it?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:24-35 GOSPEL
(“Jesus explained…: I myself am the bread of life.”)
1. Who was looking for Jesus, and what did they say to him when they found him? John 6:24-25
2. Why did Jesus say they were looking for him? John 6:26
3. For what did Jesus tell them to work, who is offering it to them, and what has God set on him? John 6:27
4. What did Jesus say his food is? John 4:34
5. What did the people say to Jesus, and what was his response to them? John 6:28-29
6. What did they ask him to give them so they could see and believe in him? John 6:30
7. What did they say their ancestors were given, and who did Jesus say gives true bread from heaven? John 6:31-32
8. What does the bread of God do? John 6:33
9. For what did the people ask, and what did Jesus give them? John 6:34-35
10. Who will never go hungry, and who will never thirst? John 6:35
Personal – Compare the time you take to work for the food on your table and the time you take for food for your soul. How can you spend more time on working for heavenly food?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 78:3-4, 23-25, 54
(“He rained manna upon them and gave them heavenly bread.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 78:3-4, 23-25, 54.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
EXODUS 16:2-4, 12-15
The description of the wilderness of sin was that it was a place of barrenness, rocks, sand and stone. The temperature was brutally hot, and it was windy during the day, and dry and frigid during the night. It was a perfect place for God to test and shape the character of his people. The Israelites were complaining once again about the dangers and inconveniences they experienced since leaving Egypt. They longed to be back in Egypt, and they even forgot the horror of their slavery there.
We have all experienced circumstances that cause stress, and the natural response is to complain. The Israelites were not focusing on the cause of their stress, and that was their lack of trust in God. Many times we are like that and concentrate too much on what is bothering us and not enough on who is protecting and healing us. The Israelites were doing what many people do today, and that is to think about the quickest way to escape from the problem. Remember, when pressure comes your way, resist the temptation to make a quick escape like running away or going back. Instead, concentrate in prayer on God’s power and wisdom to help you deal with the cause of your stress.
God promised to meet the Hebrew’s needs for food in the wilderness, but he decided to test their obedience. He has promised us eternal food, but he also calls us to obey him. We can learn obedience only by obeying his commandments. Jesus has commanded us to love one another, as he has loved us (John 13:34). We will be able to deal with the most barren wilderness ever imagined if only we remember that he is with us and will never leave us (Matthew 28:20).
EPHESIANS 4:17, 20-24
The way we live is really what we believe, and to be called a Christian, one should live like Christ. People should be able to see the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, simply because of the way a Christian lives. In today’s reading, Paul is telling the Ephesians to leave behind that old life of sin now that they are followers of Christ. He is telling us that same message today.
The Christian life is a process that continually leads a person into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of our life, we find that our thoughts and attitudes make a dramatic change for the better. We keep changing all the time as we continue to listen to God. Paul tells us to put off the “old person” as if it were an old suit of clothes and to put on the “new person” as if it were a new suit.
As you look over the past year, do you see a process of change for the better in your thoughts, actions and attitudes? Although change may seem slow to you, it comes about if you trust God to change you. The old person was a person who was responsive to thoughts, actions and attitudes of evil. The new person that you are in Christ should consider yourself dead and unresponsive to evil desires, sexual sin, impurity, lustful desires, and materialism. We find through experience that this is never easy, so we must make a conscious, daily decision to live according to God’s values and to rely completely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul appeals to the believers of all ages to uphold the commitment made in their baptism and urges them to remain true to their confession of faith. Guided by the Holy Spirit we have cast off the old life and put on the new life in Christ. This is what people see when they look at a Christian. What do people see when they look at you?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is very direct in his reply to the waiting crowd of people. He tells them that they were blessed to see how God’s grace enabled a large crowd to be fed with just a small amount of food. He goes on to tell them that their thoughts should be turned to God who did these great things, instead of just thinking about receiving more bread. He tells them not to spend so much time and energy getting food which perishes and instead strive for the food which lasts forever and gives eternal life.
Jesus is speaking about two kinds of hunger. There is a physical hunger which physical food can satisfy and a spiritual hunger which that food can never satisfy. He was pointing out to them that all they were really interested in was physical satisfaction. Jesus wanted them to be aware of the other hunger which can be satisfied only by him. There is the hunger for truth, and in him alone is the truth of God. There is the hunger for life, and in him alone is the abundant life. There is the hunger for love, and in him alone is the love that outlasts even death. We need to remember always that Christ alone can satisfy the hunger of the human heart and soul.
We are told in this scripture that God has set his seal on him and that seal of God is truth. The seal of God has been placed upon all who believe in Jesus Christ, and that seal of truth was placed there by the Holy Spirit. In the ancient world it was not the signature but the seal that gave anything its proper value. We know that the truth of God is the beginning, the middle and the end of life. That is why Jesus can satisfy the eternal hunger. He is sealed by God, he is God’s truth Incarnate, and it is God alone who can truly satisfy the hunger of the soul which he created.
The first reading reveals that the spiritual response to stress is obedience to God. The second reading shows that what we believe is the way we live. The Gospel shows that only Jesus can satisfy the eternal hunger.
This week, feed upon God’s Word when the hunger pains of temptation or stress attack you. Remember, Jesus can satisfy your hunger through prayer, reading his Word, receiving the sacraments, and Christian fellowship. Let him be the bread of life for you every day, and you will see a dramatic improvement in your spiritual and physical health.