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 DEUTERONOMY 30:10-14 FIRST READING
(“If only you heed the voice of the Lord, your God,”)
1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking? Deuteronomy 29:1
2. If you heed the voice of the Lord and keep his statutes and commandments what will God do? Deuteronomy 30:9-10
3. What is this book called? Deuteronomy 30:10
4. In what way must you return to the Lord? Deuteronomy 30:10, 6:5
5. What does Moses say this command is not? Deuteronomy 30:11
6. What two places will you not find it, and what shall you say about it not being there? Deuteronomy 30:12-13
7. What two places will you find this command? Deuteronomy 30:14
8. What are you to do with the Lord’s command? Deuteronomy 30:14
Personal – In what way has your mouth spoken about the love that you have in your heart for the Lord? In what way have others in your family, friends, or work acquaintances seen and heard this love in you? Is the way you see yourself confirmed by the way others see and hear you?
THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 1:15-20 SECOND READING
(“Making peace through the blood of the cross.”)
1. Who is the firstborn of all creatures? Colossians 1:15
2. In the image of whom did he come? Colossians 1:15
3. In whom were heaven and earth created? Colossians 1:16
4. What are some of the things that were created for Jesus? Colossians 1:16
5. Apart from him, what came into being? John 1:3
6. He is before what, and how does everything continue its being? Colossians 1:17
7. Of what is he the head, and for what reason? Colossians 1:18
8. What pleased God? Colossians 1:19
9. How are we reconciled to God, and how has peace been made? Colossians 1:20
10. For what reason has he done this? Ephesians 1:14
Personal – In what way have you personally been at peace with God through Jesus? Write down when and how this happened. In what way have you shared this with someone else?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 10:25-37 GOSPEL
(“Then go and do the same.”)
1. Who stood up to pose a problem, how did he address him, and what did he say to him? Luke 10:25
2. When Jesus answered him, he answered with two questions. What were they? Luke 10:26
3. What was the lawyer’s reply in verse 27 of Luke 10?
4. What is the new command that Jesus gave us at his last supper? John 13:34 and 15:12
5. How did Jesus say the lawyer had answered him and from where did he get his answer? Luke 10:28, Deuteronomy 6:5, and Leviticus 19:18
6. What did Jesus say would happen to him if he followed that command? See Luke 10:28, and also Leviticus 18:5 to see what happens to a man who obeys his command.
7. What did he say to Jesus and what was Jesus’ reply about the man going from Jerusalem to Jericho? Luke 10:29-30
8. Who was going down the same road and what did he do, and then who came upon him and what did he do? Luke 10:31-32
9. What did the Samaritan do when he saw the man? Luke 10:34
10. What did the Samaritan do the next day? Luke 10:35
11. What did Jesus ask the lawyer, what was the lawyer’s answer, and what did Jesus tell him to do? Luke 10:36-37
Personal – In what way has the Lord given you an opportunity to be compassionate to a family member, a friend, a work acquaintance, a stranger this past week? How did you respond?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37
(“In your great mercy, turn toward me.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37.
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
This passage states that comfort, forgiveness, and restoration is not only possible for the Israelites but is desired by God. The nation of Israel must turn itself around and come back to the Lord. Only then will God restore his mercy and restore Israel to her rightful place in the land. Only through the covenant proposed by God to his people can the people regain happiness.
We hear in today’s reading that the keeping of the command (Deut. 30:11-14) is not as far-fetched as many of the shallow minds of the ages suggested. The author has stressed a powerfully spiritual message. The Law of God is not in some far-off courtroom or in some prestigious university. The Law of God is something very close to the heart of man. If this attitude prevailed toward the Mosaic Law, Jesus would not have had such conflict with the formalism of the lawyer. The Judeo-Christian positive law can be equated simply with God’s way of guiding the aspirations of the human heart toward him.
St. Paul shows us how close God’s law really is in Romans 10:6-10. Paul tells us that we don’t need to search the heavens for Christ to bring him down to help us, and we don’t need to go among the dead to bring Christ back to life again! Salvation is trusting in Christ; it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.
People have always looked for God through dramatic experiences, hoping for some life-changing encounter. Some people will travel far and wide to meet some famous spiritual leader, but God’s salvation is right in front of us. He will come into us wherever we are. All we need to do is yield and surrender to his gift of salvation. We need to stop searching and start yielding to his love and mercy.
We hear everyday at our Catholic Mass the proclamation of God’s Word bringing us salvation, healing, and restoration. Let us yield our ears to hear, our hearts to believe, and our tongues to speak and his gift of salvation will spread throughout the land.
This passage has some of the most powerful theological statements about Christ in the New Testament. Christ is praised as the Icon or image of the invisible God. He manifests God’s presence in his person. He is called the firstborn of all creation because everything else was created through his mediation. He existed before all creation and is preeminent among all creation. Paul shows us the scope of creation. He begins with heaven and earth, visible and invisible, power and might, thrones and dominions, principalities or power. This was all created not only for him and through him but, also, in him. Everything is subject to Christ, and through his creative power, creation itself continues on.
Paul speaks of Christ as the beginning, the starting point of redemption. He is the first to experience the resurrection of life and, therefore, is the firstborn from among the dead. By the frequently used word “all,” the cosmic dimension of Christ’s power and glory are emphasized. The restoration which he brings about is the peace that was accomplished by the shedding of his blood on the cross.
It is stated that Paul had never visited Colossae, evidently, the church had been founded by other converts from Paul’s missionary travels. The church, however, had been infiltrated by religious relativism by some believers who attempted to combine elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine. Paul attacks the heresy, confronts these false teachings and affirms the sufficiency of Christ.
We can see in today’s passage what happens when the head coach is absent and the team begins to flounder. Paul defends his teachings about Christ in a strong doctrinal discussion of the person and work of Christ. Paul was battling against a group of leaders called “Gnostics.” The Gnostics believed it took special knowledge to be accepted by God, even as they claimed to be Christian. They believed that Christ alone was not the way of salvation. Paul’s main argument was: it is not what one knows that makes him a Christian, but who he knows. To know Christ is to know God. The same danger exists today, and like Paul, we must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus calls for our heart, mind, and soul and we need only surrender to him and say yes.
The lawyer asked Jesus a question that on the surface seemed simple: “What must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus, in his role as a Hebrew Teacher or Rabbi, answered him with two questions: “What was written in the Law, and how did he interpret the law?” At that time, to an orthodox Jew, the definition of neighbor would have meant no one else but a Jew. Jesus relates to them a story that draws from them a definition of who is neighbor.
Jesus begins by telling the story of a man who was robbed and beaten and left in the roadway to die. The first person to come by the injured man was a priest, who was probably on his way to the temple to practice his sacred duties. The priest did not even touch the fallen man because, as scripture has it in Numbers 19:11, a priest would be banned from entering into the sacred temple for seven days after touching a dead person. His duty to the temple and community came before helping this particular man. The next person to come by was a Levite who was an assistant to the priests. The priests made the atonement sacrifice and were in charge of the altars and sacred services. The Levite, too, was caught up in his duties to his ministry, and his responsibility which was being an assistant to the priest in the temple and other religious duties.
Finally, along came a Samaritan who not only stopped to see what was wrong but became involved in trying to help. The man may have not been a Samaritan really, the name itself was used for people who didn’t exactly conform to existing standards. Today we might call that kind of a person a “maverick”, someone who is willing to take a risk. Jesus was called a Samaritan in John 8:48, obviously they thought he was not orthodox like them. The question Jesus puts to the lawyer, “Who do you think was neighbor to the man?” is the same question that is being asked of you and me. God’s love is so great that anyone who is in need is eligible for his help.
God wishes that no man perishes no matter his station in life. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul and strength by loving our neighbor the same way. Jesus even elevates this standard higher in John 15:12 when he calls us to love one another as he has loved us. The Samaritan had the love of God in his heart and he spoke his love into action with his deeds. We will be judged one day, not by our doctrine or creeds, but rather by how we loved our neighbor with all our heart, strength and soul. It is how we love our neighbor that signifies to the world how we really love God.
The first reading tells us that repentance must come before mercy can be expected. The second reading shows that Christ is praised as the image of the invisible God. The Gospel reveals that we will be judged by how we love our neighbor.
We can love, like the Samaritan, when we yield to God’s love and allow ourselves to love everyone and anyone just as Jesus loves us. This is a love that is willing to pay any price that is required. Let your family be the first to experience this kind of love from you. You can begin by dying to your own needs, become more aware of the needs of others, and respond to those needs.