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.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ SIRACH 27:4-7 FIRST READING
(“…a man’s speech discloses the bent of his mind.”)
- What happens when you shake a sieve, and when does a man’s faults appear? Sirach 27:4
- From what do we pray to be cleansed, and with what do we ask the Lord to find favor? Psalm 19:13, 15
- As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, where is the test of the man? Sirach 27:5
- Who has the king for his friend? Proverbs 22:11
- What does the fruit of the tree show, and what does a man’s speech disclose? Sirach 27:6
- What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23
- How is a tree known, what does the mouth speak from, and what will happen on the day of judgment? Matthew 12:33-37
- What should you not do before a man speaks, and for what reason? Sirach 27:7
- What defiles a person? Matthew 15:11
- How are you to set an example for those who believe? 1 Timothy 4:12
Personal – Look at yesterday and evaluate your speech. What effect did your speech have on those around you? How can you improve your speech?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:54-58 SECOND READING
(“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”)
- With what will this which is corruptible, and mortal clothe itself? 1 Corinthians 15:54
- In what do the children share, and what did Jesus’ death destroy? Hebrews 2:14-15
- What words of scripture have come true? 1 Cor. 15:54-55
- What is the sting of death and what is the power of sin? 1 Corinthians 15:56
- What does the law produce and where there is no law what happens? Romans 4:15
- How did you come to know sin, and how did you know what it means to covet? Romans 7:7
- For what are we to be thankful to God? 1 Corinthians 15:57
- Where does God always lead us, and what does he manifest through us? 2 Corinthians 2:14
- How should we be in our work for the Lord, and what are we to know? 1 Corinthians 15:58
- What will not happen to those blessed by the Lord? Isaiah 65:23
Personal – How have you experienced death and victory in your life? What does the phrase “to work for the Lord” mean to you?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 6:39-45 GOSPEL
(“…for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”)
- What did Jesus tell the people, what did he say about a blind person, and to whom is a disciple not superior? Luke 6:39-40
- Who will a disciple be like when fully trained? Luke 6:40
- What did Jesus say after he washed the feet of his disciples? John 13:15-16
- What do you notice in your brother’s eye, and what do you not notice in your eye? What can you not say to your brother? Luke 6:41-42
- What did Jesus call them, and what did he tell them to do? Luke 6:42
- What do the hypocrites do with their lips, and where are their hearts? Matthew 15:7-8
Personal – In what areas have you been correcting or trying to help others? Examine yourself in that same area and see whether you need to remove the plank from your eye.
- What does a good tree not bear, and what does a rotten tree bear? Luke 6:43
- How is every tree known and what do people not do? Luke 6:44
- What does a good person produce, and from where does it come? What does an evil person produce, and from where does it come? Luke 6:45
- From what does the mouth speak? Luke 6:45
- What are you to guard and for what reason? What are you to put away? Proverbs 4:23-24
Personal – Memorize Psalm 141:3. Use this psalm on a daily basis to see whether you have some great changes come from within your heart.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
(“The just man shall flourish like the palm tree.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16.
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
In today’s reading we can see both the negative and positive power of the spoken word. Many times, Scripture has shown us how irresponsible words of speech have affected the spiritual lives of many. It is very important for us to always remember that what we say and what we do not say can have enormous power in many situations.
Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time but controlling our desire to say what is not needed to be said and something we should not have said at all. Unfortunately, examples of wrongly using the tongue are several, such as gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teachings, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. Before we speak, we need to ask ourselves: is it true, is it necessary, and is it kind?
We show others what we are really made of and what is in our hearts by the way we speak. Scripture tells us that the damage the tongue can do to the human being is like comparing the tongue to a raging forest fire. The tongue’s wickedness has its source in hell itself. Satan uses a person’s speech to divide people and pit them against one another. A conversation that deals with joy and truth will be a conversation between joyful and truly free people. A person does not want to be flattered and does not need to be praised for his deeds either. A person wants to be respected and to be a product of a loving God, family and society. He can only be this when he asks what God wants of him, rather than what does God have for him.
Remember, a few words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship that took years to build. Remember, we are fighting in our own power and strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say. As Christians, we are not perfect; but we should never stop growing, and this means letting our speech disclose the love of God that overflows our hearts.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:54-58
In today’s passage, Paul is developing the idea that a man always needs to be changed to enter into a higher level of life. He insists that before we can enter the kingdom of God we must be changed. To believe in Christ is to not fear any change, including the one that haunts most men – death. Most people fear death because it is unknown to them. But to man, it comes to many, many more from the sense of sin. The sense of sin comes from being under the law, and that is exactly why Jesus came.
Jesus came to tell us that God is not law, but love, and that the center of God’s being is not legalism, but grace. When we die, we go out, not to a judge, but to a father who awaits his children coming home. Because of that, Jesus gave us the victory over death, and its fear is driven out in the wonder of God’s love. True love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). Death is no longer a source of fear, because Christ overcame it, and one day we will overcome it too.
Paul tells us that because of the resurrection we are to be ready and alert and see that nothing we do is wasted. Sometimes we hesitate to step out and do something beautiful for God because we do not think it is important enough or because we probably will not see any results of our efforts. We need to remember that everything we do for God is important, and the effect will last into eternal life. Do the good that you have the opportunity to do, knowing that your work will have long-term results.
Paul has told us very strongly something that we all need to hear very much today. God has won his victory over death and sin because they were defeated by Christ. By his resurrection, Christ has shown us that death and sin are not the last word, but only lead to life. He reminded the Corinthians then, and he reminds us today, that our “labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Today’s Gospel speaks to us about criticizing others. All through the ages, no matter what type of situation may have been present, almost everyone would agree that if you are critical, rather than compassionate, you will also receive criticism. If you treat others generously, gracefully, and compassionately, these qualities will come back to you in full measure.
We are called to love others, not to judge them. Jesus is telling the people to make sure that they are following the right teachers and leaders. He tells them, and us, to look for leaders who will show us what faith is as well as teach us what faith is. Jesus strongly states that we should not be so intent on watching what the other person is doing wrong and overlook our own spiritual walk with God. He encourages us to look for guidance from those who love in accordance with his Holy Word and teachings of his church. Jesus does not mean we should ignore wrong doings, but we are not to become so critical of others that we begin to become one of God’s frozen people instead of one of his chosen people.
We often rationalize our own sins by pointing out the same mistakes in others. We need to be able to address the term “hypocrite” and realize that the “hypocrite” is exactly the ones for whom Christ came and died. Many people do not go to church because that is where the hypocrites go on Sunday. Well, if that is where the hypocrites are, then you will certainly find Jesus there too. He came for the sick, and all sinners are sick. Jesus would be the first one to tell you that he wants his church to be a hospital for sinners and not just a haven for saints. Remember, it is not hypocrisy to be weak in faith, but it is hypocrisy to think that we are spiritually closer to God than someone else. What is in our hearts will come out in our speech and behavior.
The first reading shows us that when our speech is motivated by God, it is full of mercy. The second reading reveals that God is not the law, but God is love. The Gospel tells us the church is a hospital for sinners, not just a haven for saints.
This week let your heart be revealed to your family and friends by what you speak and how you act. A loving word by you can affirm, build up, strengthen and open a broken spirit in almost everyone. It is very important for you to listen to the people around you and ask the Lord to discern what you need to do to correct your decision. Let your family and friends really get what they see in you, and their vision be all that is of the Lord.