CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE B
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 AMOS 7:12-15 FIRST READING
(“The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’.”)
l. Who was Amos, and who was Amaziah? Amos 1:1, 7:10
2. What did Amaziah call Amos, and what did he tell him to do? Amos 7:12
3. What did Saul say to his servant about the man of God? 1 Samuel 9:7
4. Why did Amaziah tell Amos not to prophesy in Bethel? Amos 7:13
5. Where did Jacob set up a memorial stone, and what is it called? Genesis 28:18-22
6. What was Amos’ reply to Amaziah? Amos 7:14
7. Who took Amos from the flock, and what did he say to him? Amos 7:15
8. What did God do to Amos and David that was similar? 2 Samuel 7:8
9. Who are others whom God called to prophesy? Exodus 7:1 and Jeremiah 26:12
Personal – Just as Amos was called by God from being a shepherd to being a prophet, how has God taken you from one place to another? Have you ever wanted to say something to a family member or a friend, but hesitated because you knew it was some¬thing they did not want to hear? What can you do about it?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 1:3-14 SECOND READING
(“In him we were also chosen.”)
1. With what has God blessed us? Ephesians 1:3
2. When did God choose us, and what did he choose us to be? Ephesians 1:4
3. What did he destine us to become through Jesus Christ, and what has he granted us? Ephesians 1:5-6
4. How have we been redeemed and forgiven of our sins? Ephesians 1:7, also 1 Peter 1:18-19
5. What has God made known to us? Ephesians 1:8-10
Personal – What is the mystery God has revealed to you, and how have you made it known to those around you?
6. Of what is this the time, and what are we to do? Mark 1:15
7. How were we chosen, and according to whose will? Ephesians 1:11
8. Why do we exist? Ephesians 1:12
9. What have we heard and believed, and with what have we been sealed? Ephesians 1:13
10. Whom does the world not accept? John 14:17
11. What is the Holy Spirit to us? Ephesians 1:14
Personal – What is the inheritance you have received from God? List the ways God has been a good Father to you.
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 6:7-13 GOSPEL
(“So they went off and preached repentance.”)
1. How did Jesus send out the twelve, and over what did he give them authority? Mark 6:7
2. How and where did Jesus send the seventy-two? Luke 10:1
3. What was Jesus’ instructions to the twelve? Mark 6:8
4. How are we instructed? Romans 15:4
5. What did Jesus tell his disciples they could wear, and what were they instructed not to take? Mark 6:9
6. For what are your feet prepared with shoes? Eph. 6:15
7. What did Jesus tell the twelve to do when they entered a house, and what if they were not listened to or welcomed by the host? Mark 6:10-11
Personal – Share with someone a time when your message of the Good News was accepted and a time when you had to shake the dust from your feet.
8. What did the twelve go off and preach? Mark 6:12
9. What was granted us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Acts 5:30-31
10. What did the twelve drive out of people, and for what did they use the oil? Mark 6:13
11. What did the Good Samaritan pour over the beaten man’s wounds? Luke 10:34
Personal – In what way have you brought the message of repen¬tance to those around you? Who gives you the authority to do this, and how did you receive it?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 85:9-14
(“I will hear what God proclaims.”) Read and meditate on Psalm 85:9-14.
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
Many times prophets like Amos were seen as traitors because they spoke out against a corrupt ruling authority. They saw the prophet as an enemy rather than one who exposed sin and tried to help save the people of that nation. In today’s reading we see Amaziah, the chief priest in Israel, becoming very defensive about maintaining his position, which he felt was more important than listening to the truth. Amos, on the other hand, said, “Yes, Lord” to being a prophet without any special preparation, educa¬tion or upbringing. Amos humbly obeyed God’s call to “go and prophesy to my people Israel.” Amos responded well to the test that all of God’s faithful servants have to experience.
The test that faced Amos and all other martyrs and saints in our time of salvation history is obedience. Today the core of love is obedie¬nce, and to be obedient is to be a holy person. Jesus was obedien¬t, even unto death on a Cross (Philippians 2:5-11) for us. Amos shows us the incredible power that comes from being obedient to God’s will.
Amos had just been expelled from the church by the high priest, Amaziah. The high priest told him to go earn his bread some place else. He implied very strongly that Amos was a prophet for hire, because he did not want to hear Amos reveal the truth. Amos tells him in no uncertain terms that he is not an oppor¬tunist, nor does he keep company with evil people. Amos goes on to tell the high priest that he is just an ordinary man who makes a living as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees. He tells him that the Lord took him from his everyday life and told him to go and prophesy to the people of Israel. Amos knew the dangers of this type of vocation, and yet in obedience he said, “Yes, Lord.”
We too have been called simply because God has chosen each one of us, and he knows each one of us by name. Like Amos, we, too, are called to a vocation, and we are being called to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Math. 28:19). We are strongest when in obedience we say, “Yes, Lord.”
Paul wrote this passage from inside the walls of a Roman prison to the church at Ephesus. He wanted them to nurture and maintain the unity within the new and growing church. Ephesus was a commercial, political, and religious center for all of Asia Minor.
We see the beginning of heaven as being wherever God is, and, therefore, every blessing in heaven had tremendous meaning. We can be very grate¬ful for all the good things that God gives us – salvation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, power to do God’s will. We can live with the hope of eternity with Christ. We do not have to wait until we die to enjoy these blessings, as they are ours to enjoy now. We are told that “God chose us” to emphasize that the offer of salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve to be saved, but because God is so gracious and freely gives salvation to us.
There is no way to take credit for God’s forgiveness or to find room for pride. God chose us and that makes us separate from the world. We have been chosen, and the choice to respond to his incredible gift is left up to each one of us. God chose us and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, we are transformed into a new creation. God has adopted us through the death and resurrec¬tion of Jesus to be his very own children. He has brought us into his family and made us heirs along with Jesus (Rom. 8:17). It was the blood of Jesus that gave us redemption and forgive¬ness. Redemption is the price paid to gain freedom for a slave (Lev. 25:47-54). Jesus, through his death, paid the price to release us from our slavery to sin. We see that forgiveness was granted in the Old Testament on the basis of the shedding of the animal’s blood (Lev.17:11).
You and I are now forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus’ blood. We cannot be saved without the incredible, volun¬tary, and loving gift of God’s holy grace. When you feel that your life is not very important to anyone, it is very important to remember that you have been chosen, that he has paid the price for you, and that you are a special gift in God’s eye. You are a precious present that brings him much joy. After all, you are family.
Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs so that as they evangelized, they could strengthen and encourage each other. He knew that many times they would face rejection and needed the support of a fellow believer. Our strength comes from God, but he meets many of our needs through teamwork with others. Jesus told the disciples to take nothing with them except the bare necessi¬ties. He wanted them to rely completely on his power. He told them not to move around from house to house but to be steady and clear with their message.
The custom for pious Jews at that time was to shake the dust from their feet after going through Gentile cities or towns. This was to show their separation from Gentile influences and prac¬tices. The disciples showed by dusting their feet after leaving a Jewish town that the people had rejected Jesus and his message.
Jesus made it clear that the people themselves were respon¬sible for their response to his message. The disciples were not to blame if the message was not accepted by the people. They were responsible for how faithfully and carefully they presented the message.
Today we are not responsible when others reject the teach¬ings of Jesus Christ and even reject Christ personally. But we do have the responsibility to share the message of hope, the Good News, with others. We have been called by Christ to go forth and make disciples of all people. We, too, are called today to go forth and cast out demons and heal sick people. The chal¬lenge you and I must face is – do we really believe in the message of the Good News? We need to shake off the dust and move away from that place that does not know or agree that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. The unbelievers need to see that we are willing to lose friends, money, family, and even personal health before we would deny our Lord and Savior. The message is loud and clear, “I have given you every blessing under the heavens (Eph. 1:3).
The first reading tells us that God uses ordinary people for extraordinary service. The second reading shows that God wants everyone under the heavens to enjoy his holy grace. The Gospel reveals that all Christians will be held accountable to Jesus Christ.
This week, be accountable to everyone in your family. Let your family be blessed by your presence and actions. Let your everyday events be filled with your joy and humility.