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 42:1-4, 6-7 FIRST READING
(“Here is my servant whom I uphold.”)
l. Fill in the blanks in the following scripture:
“Here is my __________ whom I uphold, my __________ ______ with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my ___________; he shall bring forth _____________ to the nations” Is. 42:1
2. To whom do the following scriptures refer?
Luke 1:38, 48 _________________, John 12:26 _______________,
Acts 3:13 __________________, Acts 4:29-30 _______________.
Personal – Do you see yourself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home or at work? Share how you are servant of Christ.
3. Who are the chosen ones? Read the following scriptures:
1 Chronicles 16:13 ___________, Tobit 13:11 _______________, Psalm 89:3-4 __________________, Psalm 106:23 _______________, Ephesians 1:3-5 __________________.
Personal – Do you feel you are among the chosen ones of God?
4. In the following scriptures, who are receiving the Spirit or have the Spirit of God working through them? 2 Samuel 23:1-2 ____________, Matthew 3:16 ______________, John 20:19-22 ______________, Acts 8:14-19 _______________.
Personal – Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life? If not, read Matthew 7:7-8 and see what you must do to receive this power.
5. In the following scriptures, who brings forth justice to the nations?
Deuteronomy 10:17-18 ______________________________, Psalm 9:8-9 _______________, Acts 17:31 ___________________.
6. In what way was this prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 fulfilled? Matthew 12:16-21
7. Whom has God grasped by the hand, formed, and set as a covenant of the people? Isaiah 42:6
8. Whom has he made a light to the nations, and what are we to do? Isaiah 42:6-7
Personal – Are you a light to others? Do those in your family, your work and your environment see the love of Christ shining out of you? If you are yielding to the Spirit of God dwelling in you, others will see the light.
THIRD DAY READ ACTS 10:34-38 SECOND READING
(“I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality.”)
1. Who was addressing the people, and what did he say? Acts 10:34
2. In the following scriptures, what does God’s Word say about showing partiality?
Leviticus 19:15 __________________________, 2 Chronicles 19:7 ___________________________, Wisdom 6:7 ________________________________.
3. What must we do to become acceptable to God? Acts 10:35
4. What does it mean to fear God? Daniel 6:27, Isaiah 8:13 and Malachi 2:5
5. Through whom is the good news proclaimed, and who is the Lord of all? Acts 10:36
6. What was reported all over Judea about Jesus, and where did it begin? Acts 10:37-38
7. What was the baptism John preached? Matthew 3:11 Acts 19:4
8. Who anointed Jesus, and with what? Acts 10:38
9. Did God intend for us to be anointed with the Holy Spirit? John 14:14-17
10. What is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit? John 14:25-26
11. What did Jesus go about doing, and who was with him? Acts 10:38
Personal – When you receive the Holy Spirit, do you also receive the power to go about doing good works and healing as Jesus did? Is this evident in your life?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:7-11 GOSPEL
(“…He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”)
1. What did John the Baptist proclaim about the One who was coming after him? Mark 1:7
2. Where do we draw our strength? Ephesians 6:10
3. What did John say he was not worthy to do? Mark 1:7
4. What are we to do under the mighty hand of God? 1 Peter 5:6
5. With what was John baptizing, and with what would the one to come baptize? Mark 1:8
6. For what is the water used by John in baptism, and what are the two things that result? Matthew 3:11
7. What did Jesus come to do? Luke 12:49
Personal – Has a fire been burning within you? When did it begin?
8. Where had Jesus been, and what happened in the Jordan River? Mark 1:9
9. On coming out of the water, what did John see? Mark 1:10 John 1:32
10. What came from the heavens, and what did he say? Mark 1:11
11. Who are the children of God? Romans 8:14
Personal – In what way have you become one of God’s children? Can you hear him saying to you, “This is my child in whom I am well pleased”?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 29:1-4, 9-10
(“Give to the Lord the glory due his name.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10.
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 42:1-4, 6-7
This week’s reading from Isaiah comes from a section sometimes called Second Isaiah (Chapters 40-55) and is generally considered to have been written by an unknown poet who prophesied near the end of the Babylonian exile. In 586 B.C. the city of Jerusalem fell, the walls and palaces were destroyed and the sacred temple burned. King Zedikiah and the rest of the population were marched to Babylon in chains.
From these chapters come the great messianic oracles known as the Song of the Servant. In each song a different viewpoint of the mysterious “servant” is given.
Isaiah is calling upon a figure who represents Israel and yet still addresses her. The “servant” is both a single individual and a nation as a collective individual. He talks about the qualities of the past, and he makes his “servant” very much a key figure of the future.
Isaiah points out that the servant’s role is not limited to Israel, but would become universal. He saw his people in chains and exiled to Babylonia, which was one thousand miles away from Judah. The need for a messiah was of great importance, and the hope of being restored to their lost homeland was in great danger of being completely demolished. The “servant” is being described as different from other leaders, not relying on military might or upon treaties with other nations. He will not be a victorious warrior or king, nor like other prophets shouting out their warnings. What the servant is will speak much louder than his words. The servant will be empowered by the same “Spirit” that rushed upon David when he was anointed king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:13). Isaiah exhorts the people to look to the servant as God’s chosen one. The servant’s destiny of suffering and glorification is fulfilled in the passion and glorification of Jesus Christ.
In this passage, Peter is preaching to the crowd that God shows absolutely no partiality. We see this truth being reaffirmed constantly in the Old Testament. The Lord shows no partiality, nor does he fear the famous or powerful (Lev. 19:15 and Wis. 6:7). God will have no part of activity like that. Peter challenges his listeners to fear the Lord and act upright, which means to be in reverence and awe of the Lord and to follow his commandments. We are told that fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13).
Peter tells the crowd that God has sent to all the people of Israel a Messiah, in whom he baptizes people in the power of the Holy Spirit. He preached that Jesus is Lord of all, a message that still is being presented today to a waiting, hungry world. The Good News began when John baptized people in the name of repentance. Jesus was baptized by God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have been anointed with the same power and Spirit as Jesus. Jesus went forth doing good works and healing the sick. Peter’s message is very much alive today as we see in our newspapers and television how bribes, fear of the powerful, and partiality to favored people can be very destructive to our society.
We are called to go forth in the power of the same Spirit and do good works and heal the sick in the name of Jesus (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants us to carry on through word and sacrament (Baptism and Confirmation), and to be witnesses to the world that he is alive here and now.
Today’s Gospel message speaks of great humility in John the Baptist. He was regarded as the first genuine prophet in 400 years. John would disappear very suddenly and shockingly as well, while Jesus the Messiah would go on to infinite greatness. John, who was very well known at the time, was pointing out how insignificant he was compared to the one who was coming. John states that he was not even worthy to untie the sandals of the coming Messiah. What John began with his ministry, Jesus finished. What John prepared, Jesus fulfilled. John’s baptism with water prepared them to receive Christ’s message and demonstrated a humility and a desire to turn away from sin. This was the beginning of the journey back to the kingdom of God.
When we received our baptism of the Holy Spirit, our whole being was transformed by the Spirit’s power. This kind of baptism is the result of the completed work of Christ. Jesus did not need to be baptized, because he was sinless. He deliberately chose to be baptized (1) to bring the message of salvation to all people, (2) to show that he was God’s Son and his mission was approved by his Father, (3) to begin officially his public ministry, (4) to identify with all our humanness and sinfulness, and last, but not least, (5) to give us an example to follow.
Today’s passage gives us a tremendous view of all three persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are that living temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), and our baptism has called us to lead others out of the darkness and into the light of Christ. We have received power (Acts 1:8), and we are commanded to be full of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Like John, we are called to be humble and still be bold. Baptism is an ongoing commitment that calls us every day of our life. It is not a one-time ritual ceremony; rather it is a life-changing, everyday encounter with the world through the eyes and mind of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist died for his faith. Jesus died for all people, and we are called to die to ourselves, repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 39).
The first reading reveals to us that the Messiah is to be a “servant”. The second reading reveals that God has no favorites. In the Gospel, God speaks to us, even today, with his voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
This week be a servant to your family, a friend or someone in the community who is sick. Be available, be specific, be consistent, and be ready to see the joy of Christ in their eyes as you live what you believe. Let the joy of the Father be reflected in the way you love others. “You are his beloved child, and he is well pleased with you.”