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 JEREMIAH 31:31-34 FIRST READING
(“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”)
l. What will the Lord make with the house of Israel and the house of Judah? Jeremiah 31:31
2. For what reason, and who is the mediator of a new covenant? Hebrews 9:14-15
3. What will the covenant not be like, what did the Israelites do, and what did God do? Jeremiah 31:32
4. What did God command on the day he brought them out of the land of Egypt? Jeremiah 7:22-23
5. What did the Lord make with the house of Israel, and what will he place within them? Jeremiah 31:33
6. Where will the Lord write his law, what will he be to them, and what will they be to him? Jeremiah 31:33
7. What will he remember no more? Hebrews 10:16-17
8. To whom and what will they no longer have need to teach? Jeremiah 31:34
9. Who shall know the Lord, what will he do, and what will he no longer remember? Jeremiah 31:34
10. Who shall be taught by the Lord, and what shall be great within our children? Isaiah 54:13
11. What remains in us, and for what reason? 1 John 2:27
Personal – How have you responded to the new covenant that God has made with you? How has this affected your relationship with others?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 5:7-9 SECOND READING
(“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”)
1. When Christ was in the flesh, what and how did he offer himself? Hebrews 5:7
2. To whom did he offer prayers and supplications, and why was he heard? Hebrews 5:7
3. What did Jesus say to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, and in what way did he pray?
Matthew 26:38 and Luke 22:44
4. What did King Darius decree? Daniel 6:26-28
5. Son though he was, what did he learn from what he suffered? Hebrews 5:8
6. To what did Jesus become obedient? Philippians 2:8
7. What will many be made through the obedience of Jesus? Romans 5:19
8. How do we share Christ’s sufferings? Philippians 3:10
9. When Jesus was made perfect, of what did he become the source, and for whom? Hebrews 5:9
10. What are we to be, just as our heavenly Father is? Matthew 5:48
Personal – How have you suffered through your obedience to Christ in your dying to self for others?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 12:20-33 GOSPEL
(“…but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”)
1. What did some Greeks ask Philip? John 12:20-21
2. What did Philip and Andrew do? John 12:22
3. What did Jesus say had to come for the Son of Man to be glorified? John 12:23
4. What did Jesus say about a grain of wheat? John 12:24
5. What you sow is not brought to life unless it does what? 1 Corinthians 15:36
6. What does a grain of wheat produce if it dies? John 12:24
7. What happens to him who loves his life, and to him who hates his life? John 12:25
8. Whoever serves Jesus must do what? Where he is, who will also be there, and what will the Father do? John 12:26
Personal – Name some of the ways you have died to self for those around you, and what is the fruit you bear?
9. What must one do who wishes to come after Jesus? Matthew 16:24
10. What did Jesus say he was, and what question does he ask? What statement does he make about the hour? John 12:27
11. What did Jesus say, what did the crowd hear, and what did some say? John 12:28-29
12. For whom did Jesus say the voice came, what did he say was the time, and who would be driven out? John 12:30-31
13. Where did Jesus say he was going, and what has happened to the ruler of this world? John 16:10-11
14. Who is greater than the one who is in the world? 1 John 4:4
15. When Jesus is lifted up from the earth, who will he draw to himself, and why did he say this?John 12:32-33
Personal – How have you experienced Jesus drawing you to himself?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 51:3-4, 12-15 PSALM
(“I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15.
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
The old covenant had been broken so many times, and God in his mercy had restored the Israelites every time they repented. This reading reveals to us that the old covenant which was built on the Law of Moses would be replaced by a new covenant with the “Messiah.” The old covenant was written on the tablets of stone which Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai (Ex. 20). God showed the people the beauty of any true function of his laws in the ten commandments.
The law was designed to lead Israel to a life of practical holiness, and in today’s reading we see the old covenant being replaced by a new one that had the laws of God imprinted on our hearts rather than on tablets of stone. The foundation of the old covenant was Moses and the Mosaic law, and the foundation of the new covenant is Jesus Christ. The new covenant goes beyond Israel and Judah and encompasses the whole world.
A personal relationship with God is now available, and Jeremiah looked forward to the day when this new covenant would be a reality. But for us the new covenant is already here, and the Word became flesh (John 1:14). We have available to us right now a deep and personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This can be a permanent relationship with the God of all.
Do you long for a relationship like this? Then, right now, get down on your knees and invite him into your heart. Tell him you want him to bring his new covenant into your heart. Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus and you will be renewed forever and ever.
This reading really brings home the fact that Jesus found no pleasure in suffering and dying. He willingly chose to endure pain and humiliation in order to obey his Father.
At times we will find ourselves choosing to allow ourselves to undergo trials and pain and humiliation, not because we want to suffer, but because we want to obey God. In our time of trial, we can draw upon the example of Jesus’ obedience, and we find we can face anything when we know that Jesus Christ is with us. When we pray to the Lord, let our spirit be in obedience with his Holy Spirit. Many times we cry out to God in a spirit of disobedience and wonder why it seems as if he is not listening. All suffering is not of the Lord, and some suffering is very destructive and wasted. When our suffering turns us toward the Lord and we join our suffering with his, it becomes what is called redemptive suffering. It brings us through our suffering into a tremendous harmony with Christ. This harmony and peace can come only through obedience to his Holy Word. People are tremendously influenced by the courage, patience, long-suffering, and joy of a suffering, obedient person.
Jesus’ life was not a script that he passively followed. It was a life he chose to give. He chose to obey even when it began leading to his death. We need not fear suffering, whether it be from sickness, imprisonment, or persecution, because if we are obedient to his word, he will bring us to him in full glory and free us from all suffering. He offers salvation to all those who obey him.
Today’s Gospel is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not for those who are looking for a quick fix. The message is loud and clear, and it is a message of complete obedience. To obey completely means not to question at all. We are being told that unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.
We are told that to be a disciple of Christ we have to follow in his footsteps, and this means walking along the path of pain, suffering, and humiliation. We are being called to follow in his footsteps into the terror of Calvary and the shock of his death on the cross. To follow in Jesus’ footsteps is to renounce our own direction and follow his. To follow in his footprints we must be like the grain of wheat that dies. This means we must die to ourselves, our ego, our pet needs, our dreams, and our future.
We need not fear to follow in Jesus’ footsteps because he died to show his power over sin and death, and his resurrection proves he has eternal life. We can rejoice because he gives this same eternal life to all who believe in him. To live for Christ is to live for others by dying to ourselves. This does not mean that we want to physically die but means that we want to live only to glorify Christ. We may never be called to make a sacrifice like Jesus did, but we are called into obedience to him. Whatever the Father asks, we should do, and bring glory to his name. Jesus loved us so much that he went willingly to that cross of pain and death. His resurrection shattered Satan’s power over death (Col. 1:13, 14). We need never fear following in Jesus’ footsteps because he tells us in scripture, “There is one greater in you than there is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).
The first reading tells us that God has imprinted his law on our hearts. The second reading reveals that suffering can lead to obedience, and obedience leads to holiness. The Gospel shows us that following in Jesus’ footsteps is anything but glamorous and safe.
This week make a deliberate effort to give God the glory of your efforts rather than seeking attention and praise for yourself. This will help others to give glory to God for their efforts instead of seeking attention and praise for themselves.