Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 2nd) – Cycle A

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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 ISAIAH 55:1‑3 FIRST READING

(“Listen, that you may have life.”)

1. Who is to come to the water and who is to receive grain and eat?   Isaiah 55:1

 

2. Who seeks water in vain, and what will the God of Israel not do?   Isaiah 41:17

 

3. What does Jesus say he will give us?   John 4:10

 

4. What do we not have to do to drink wine and milk? Isaiah 55:1

 

5. Who is the bread of life, and who will never be thirsty? John 6:35

 

6. What question is asked in verse 2 of Isaiah 55?

 

7. What are we to do to eat well, and in what shall we delight? Isaiah 55:2

 

8. What are we to do that we may have life?   Isaiah 55:3

 

9. What will he renew with us?   Isaiah 55:3

 

10. What is the covenant or promise made to David? 2 Samuel 7:12‑16

 

Personal ‑ An invitation to come to him is given over and over in these passages. In what way have you come to him without feeling you have to pay in some way? In what way do you see this invitation as a free gift?

 

 

THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:35, 37‑39 SECOND READING

(“…we are more than conquerors because of him who has loved us.”)

1. Fill in the following blanks:

What will separate us from the _______ of __________?

______________ or ____________, or _______________, or ____________, or ____________, or _______________, or the _____________?   Romans 8:35

 

2. Because of him who has loved us, what are we? Romans 8:37

 

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

 

4. Of what am I certain?   Romans 8:38‑39

 

5. List the ten things that cannot separate us from the love of God stated in Romans 8:38-39.

 

 

6. In whom does the love of God come to us?   Romans 8:39

 

7. What way are we to follow?   Ephesians 5:2

 

8. What does 1 Cor. 13:4‑8 say about love?

 

9. What separates us from God?   Isaiah 59:2

 

10. What is the way we come to understand love?   1 John 3:16

 

Personal ‑ In what way have you personally been a conqueror in your life? In what way are you experiencing the love of God in your life on a daily basis? Is your relationship with a family member or friend separating you from the love of God? What can you do to be reconciled with that person?

 

 

FOURTH DAY   READ MATTHEW 14:13‑21  GOSPEL

(“There is no need to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.”)

1. What had Jesus heard; how and where did he go? Matthew 14:1‑13

 

2. What did the crowds do?   Matthew 14:13

 

3. When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, what were his feelings and what did he do?   Matthew 14:14

 

4. Who, also, took pity upon someone and was moved to respond? Luke 10:30‑34

 

5. What does Mark’s Gospel say Jesus did when he saw the vast crowd?   Mark 6:34

 

6. As evening drew near, what did Jesus’ disciples suggest he tell the crowd?   Matthew 14:15

 

7. Jesus responded by telling them there was no need to tell them to disperse. What did he tell the disciples to do, and what was their response?   Matthew 14:16‑17

 

8. What did Jesus tell the disciples to do with the five loaves and two fish, and what did he order the crowd to do? Matthew 14:18‑19

 

9. When Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, where did he look, and what three things did he do with them? Matthew 14:19

 

10. What did the disciples do, and what happened to all those present?   Matthew 14:19‑20

 

11. How much was left over, and how many were present?    Matthew 14:20‑21

 

Personal ‑ In what way, this past week, have you lost the benefits of having your hunger filled through Jesus by either eating out or focusing on the preparation of the physical food?

 

 

FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:8‑9, 15‑18

(“You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:8‑9, 15‑18.

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

 

How can you apply this to your life?

 

 

SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 55:1‑3

This passage invites us to seek nourishment from the real source of food and water, not just a temporary source that satisfies only our bodies. Jesus tells us, as well as the woman at the well, that the water he gives us becomes a perpetual spring within us. We, then, are free from thirst forever, with eternal life (John 4:14).

There is a tremendous parallel in the functions of our spiritual and physical life. We spend money on food that lasts only a short time and meets only our physical needs. Can you imagine how people would react if there were notices in the community that all kinds of food and drink were to be given away for free? The response would be incredible and immediate. Yet that is what God is offering us right this very moment. He is offering us perpetual, living water and nourishment that will fill us spiritually. We can all receive this food for our soul, but first we must come to the Lord by responding to his call. We must listen to him, seek him out, and call upon the name of the Lord. God’s salvation is freely offered, but to nourish our souls we must openly receive it.

It is very important for us to remember that we will starve spiritually without his food, as surely as we will starve physically without our daily bread. As our bodies hunger and thirst, so do our souls. The living Word, Jesus Christ, can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls.

 

ROMANS 8:35, 37‑39

This passage affirms our faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ by clearly showing us that nothing, not even death itself, can separate us from God’s love. The power of the Holy Spirit frees us from falling into sin, and we know that power is at our side always. If you were standing in a courtroom and waiting for the verdict to be read, what would those words mean to you if you were on death row? We must remember that the whole world is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God’s holy law. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no hope at all. But thanks be to God, he has declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and the power to follow his will.

In the face of trouble or calamity, or when we are hunted down or devastated, the question continually arises, “Who can ever keep God’s love from us?” Are our trials and tribulations a sign that he doesn’t love us any more or that he even has deserted us? We need to hear, read, and believe the scriptures that tell us over and over that he will never leave us or take away his love from us. These words were written to a church that soon would undergo terrible persecution. In just a few short years, Paul’s words would turn into painful realities.

Today’s passage reaffirms God’s incredible love for his people. Today, in many countries throughout the world, these words are a tremendous reality. We must all be ready to lose everything we own and even be ready to face death itself. Christ did that and we are called to follow his example. It is very important for us to remember that no matter where we are or what happens to us, we can never be separated from his love. When suffering comes, it will not drive us away from God. On the contrary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it will bring us closer to God. We will be able to identify with him, and allow his love to heal us.

These verses contain one of the most comforting and healing promises in all scripture. We may have to face the hardship of persecution, illness, imprisonment, even death itself. Any one of these hardships could cause us to fear that we have been deserted by Christ. Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love, because his death is proof of how much he loved us. Nothing can stop his constant presence with us. God tells us how great his love really is so that we will be totally secure in him and we will not be afraid. Because of Jesus Christ, you and I need not fear tomorrow, because we, too, can live forever.

 

MATTHEW 14:13‑21

Galilee was a small part of the country, and there were people from many small towns who heard about Jesus and flocked to hear him speak. Jesus was filled with grief over the news about John the Baptist, his cousin, and like many of us in our time of grief, he needed to rest and be alone with his thoughts. The crowd saw where Jesus was heading and followed him by land from many villages.

Jesus sought solitude after the news of John’s death. However, he did not dwell on his grief, and he returned to his ministry. He had tremendous compassion for those who came to him. He pitied them and healed their sick, even while he grieved. How many times do we feel cheated when we need to rest or just simply be alone, and the pressures of our families, jobs, or communities prevent us from being able to minister to ourselves through taking time for God in solitude and peace.

Jesus listened to the disciples complain about the crowd and tell him to send them away to the villages and feed themselves. Can you imagine over 5,000 people out in the middle of no where all of a sudden being told to go look for a place to buy food? Jesus’ compassion was in full force when he told the disciples to feed the crowd. The disciples were shocked and said, “Where are we going to get the food and how are we supposed to do it?” Whenever we come up against something that appears to be “difficult to impossible,” it is common to complain and predict failure. The impossible to men becomes the possible through Christ; and the 5,000 people were fed with just five loaves and two fishes. Jesus even provided enough food to have leftovers. Do you believe this story? Do you believe that with Jesus all things are possible?

Jesus made room in his busy schedule to be alone with the Father. His time of solitude was not to sulk, but to be with his Father in prayer. He knew that this time would equip him to meet the challenges and struggles of life. Jesus took the bread and fish and looked to his Father and gave thanks, and blessed the meal. He then, in confidence, broke the bread and distributed it to the people. The disciples were flabbergasted, the people were ecstatic and Jesus was thankful to his Father.

What about today? There are many people tired and in need of food, not just physical food, but spiritual food. Who is to feed them? We are, according to today’s passage. We are the disciples of Jesus Christ, and by our baptism we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). We are to follow Jesus’ example and take time to rest in the solitude of God. We are not to dwell in grief and fall prey to self‑pity over our illness, misfortune or even death of a loved one. We are to give thanks, rise up and feed our brothers and sisters with the living, healing Word of God.

 

Application

The first reading tells us to seek nourishment from the real source of food and water, not just temporary nourishment. The second reading tells us nothing, not even death, can separate God’s love from us. The third reading shows us how God wants us to feed our brothers and sisters with his Holy Word, and not be caught up in any self‑pity.

This week, try to bring the Eucharist to someone you know who is sick or shut‑in. Feed your family this week by reading a scripture passage everyday at the main meal time. Make a family visit to help feed the poor at a local soup kitchen. Remember, whatever you do for the least, you do for Jesus!

Posted in Bible Studies.