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 EZEKIEL 37:12‑14 FIRST READING
(“I shall put my Spirit in you and you will live.”)
- Who is Ezekiel? Ezekiel 1:1‑3
- Who is speaking, to whom is he speaking, and how is this done? Ezekiel 37:12
- How is prophesy put forth? 2 Peter 1:21
- What did the Lord say to the people? Ezekiel 37:12
- By his doing this, what will the people know? Ez 37:13
- What will he put in them and why? Ez 37:14
- Where will he settle them? Ez 37:14
- In what two ways does the Lord show them that he is the Lord? Ezekiel 37:12, 14
- What does the Lord say about what he promises? Ez 37:14
- What are some of the promises of God?
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Peter 3:13
1 John 2:25
Personal ‑ How do you stand on the promises of God? In what way do you believe God will do what he says he will do for you in his Word? God is faithful and promises you life to the fullest. How do the promises of God penetrate your whole being? Allow his Spirit which he has given you to comfort and guide you in all you do.
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:8‑11 SECOND READING
(“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he will give life to your mortal bodies.”)
- What happens to those who are in the flesh? Romans 8:8
- What does Jesus say in John 6:63 about the flesh?
- Whose Spirit dwells in us? Romans 8:9
- Who are those who do not belong to Christ? Romans 8:9
- How do we know we belong to God? 1 John 4:2, 15
- If Christ is in us, what happens to the body? Romans 8:10
- What does the spirit do, and for what reason? Romans 8:10
- Those who belong to Christ Jesus have done what with the flesh? Galatians 5:24
- If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, what will happen to our mortal bodies and who will do this? Romans 8:11
- How will this be done? Romans 8:11
Personal ‑ How much time do you spend praising and thanking the Lord for dying for you so you could have life? How often do you recognize the power of his Spirit in your life? What does your family see in you? Ask someone in your family or a friend to evaluate how often they see the fruits of the Spirit manifested through you. Galatians 5:22-23. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self‑control.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 11:1‑45 GOSPEL
(“I am the Resurrection and the Life.”)
- What was a certain man’s name who was sick, what were the names of his two sisters, and what had the one sister done with the Lord? John 11:1, 2; John 12:3
- What did the sisters inform Jesus, what was his response and even though Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus very much, what did he do? John 11:3‑6
- What did he finally say to his disciples, what was their protest and what did Jesus answer them? John 11:7‑10
- After he uttered these words, what did he add, what was the disciples response, what was Jesus talking about, and what did the disciples think? John 11:11-13
- What did Jesus say plainly about Lazarus, why was Jesus glad he was not there when he died, and when Jesus said “Let us go to him,” what did Thomas say? John 11:14-16
Personal ‑ How have you experienced fear of others-‑especially rejection-‑for following what you know God has called you to do or say? How have you been willing and obedient in following through? Have you been willing, as Thomas was, to die in order to stand with Jesus? How have you experienced rejection from your spouse, children, friends, work acquaintances, etc., because you have stood firm on God’s promises? Read Romans 8:35‑39 for reassurance.
- Who went to meet Jesus when she heard he was coming; who stayed home, and what did Martha say to Jesus? John 11:20-21
- Of what was Martha even now sure; what did Jesus say to her, and what was her response? John 11:22-24
- Who did Jesus tell her was the resurrection and the life, what did he say would happen to those who believe in him, and what will never happen to those who believe in him? John 11:25-26
- What was Jesus question to Martha, and what was her response. After she said this, she went back and called her sister Mary. What did she whisper to her, and what did she call him? John 11:26‑29
- What did the Jews do when they saw Mary get up quickly? How did Jesus feel when Mary fell at his feet and was weeping, what did he ask them, and what did they say? John 11:31‑34
- What did Jesus begin to do, and what was the reaction of the Jews to this? John 11:35‑36
- What did Jesus say, what did Martha say to him, and what did he say to her? John 11:39‑40
- Where did Jesus look when they took the stone away, and whom did he thank for having heard him, and of what was he always sure and why? John 11:41-42
- After he said this to the Father, what did he say loudly and how did the dead man come out? What did Jesus say to the crowd, and what did this cause many of the Jews to do? John 11:43‑45
Personal ‑ When you pray, in what way do you thank the Father, as Jesus did, for answering your prayer even if you have not yet seen the results? When you pray to the Father in the name of Jesus this week, practice thanking him for always hearing your prayer.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 130:1‑8
(“I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his Word.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 130:1‑8.
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 reveals the vision Ezekiel had of a valley filled with dried up bones or skeletons. The bones represented the Jews in captivity -‑ scattered and dead. Ezekiel probably felt as though he was speaking to the dead as he preached to the exiles, because they rarely ever responded to his message. But these bones responded, and just as God brought life into these bones, he would breathe life again into his spiritually dead people. This passage is a tremendous message of hope for us today.
How many times have you been in a church and felt as if you were in the valley of dry bones that Ezekiel talked about? The dry bones represented the people’s spiritually dead condition. Your church may seem like a heap of dried bones to you, spiritually dead and with no vitality. God promised Ezekiel that he was going to restore his nation and any church regardless of how dry or dead it appeared to be.
Don’t give up on your church. Don’t leave it, rather pray for renewal, for God can and will restore it to life. The Lord tells Ezekiel that he will put his Holy Spirit into his people and his nation will again come alive (Ezekiel 37:14). The Lord promises you and me that very same miracle. The hope and prayer of every church should be that God will put his Spirit into it (37:14).
God is at work right now calling his people back to him, bringing New Life to dead churches through prayer, bible studies, evangelization, and the receiving of the sacraments. There is a call out to the church and it’s a call to holiness, and agents of holiness are clergy who assist the people. “I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and you shall live and know that I am the Lord.”
Come back and celebrate with us, we no longer are the valley of dry bones. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit. We bring to our churches the Spirit of the living God. Come back and let him breathe his Holy Spirit and you will come alive, too.
The theme of this passage is like that of the first reading and of the Gospel. It is the theme of resurrection, and it tells us that before we were saved by Christ’s death on the cross, we were slaves to our sinful nature. But now we can choose to live for Christ because we are people of the Spirit, not of the flesh. The penalty of sin and its power over our lives died with Christ on the cross. This is an incredible assurance that our lives are secure in that we belong to Jesus Christ. This frees us to be completely obedient to his will and enjoy an unbroken fellowship with the Lord. This living in the spirit will affect all of our activities. It will touch our work, our worship, our role as a married spouse, our role as a parent, even our role as a child. You will have a stronger hunger and desire to spend more quiet time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. You will have a whole new outlook in your caring for others. Today many people wonder whether they really are Christians.
A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. People will see a difference in the way you live and act (Galatians 5:22‑23). You will learn how to pray (Romans) and you will be able to deal with the situations in your life with greater wisdom (Romans 8:28). You will receive power to do God’s will from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). You will be a tremendous partner in the building up of God’s church (Ephesians 4:12‑13).
Today there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit is ours through the justification of Jesus Christ. This means because of what Jesus did for us, we are entitled to complete access to his Holy Spirit, his Father and, of course, we become heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. You are a child of the Spirit! Rejoice and be glad!
Jesus had been preaching in the small towns and villages beyond the Jordan, when he received the news of Lazarus’ sickness. He knew that he would find Lazarus dead when he arrived in Bethany, but he also knew that he was going to perform a great miracle. The village of Bethany was just a little east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho. The two sisters thought that they had a right to expect help from the Lord. They stepped forward and claimed that help.
We need to realize that a claim upon the power of Christ is the right of every one of his children. Once we have been redeemed by him, we belong to him. The contrast between the two women was very noticeable. Martha was the doer and Mary was the people person. Martha was irritated because Mary was not doing her kind of work. There was a definite clash between drudgery and devotion. Martha was looking more at things instead of person. She was looking at the tasks of the house and all the chores instead of remembering that she was part of a greater partnership of love.
That day her devotion turned into drudgery and Jesus admonished her for overlooking his wants. He wanted her receptivity, her presence, and companionship, but she had other ideas about his wants. So she cleaned and cooked, while Mary listened and conversed with Jesus. He told this to Martha, and he is telling you this very same message today.
Do you place your attention on things instead of people? Do you worry more about what your home looks like when a friend stops by to say hello? Are you afraid to tell a friend about how unhappy you are with your job? Do your children seem like they are drifting away from their faith or family? Jesus shows us tremendous insight in Mary’s ability to talk, listen and wait on the Lord. We need to do this more often. We need to wait on the Lord. He will come to us in many different places and in many different ways. He told the women that he is the resurrection and the life, and we are not to worry.
Is he the resurrection of your life? Martha was an activist and Mary was a contemplative and they both were loved by Jesus. The activist pushes on to new frontiers and the contemplative waits and prays for God’s guidance and direction first. We need them both and Jesus looks to us to be bold and yet prudent in our walk to the kingdom. The Lord knew what he was doing in Lazarus’ life and he knows what he is doing in ours. Listen to him ‑ Listen to him ‑ Listen to him!
The theme is resurrection and the first reading shows the dry bones coming back to life and forming a new army of the Lord. The second reading tells us that if the Holy Spirit dwells within us we will then be controlled by the Spirit and not by the flesh and we will receive our reward in Heaven. The Gospel tells us that we need to put our attention upon Jesus and not on the temporary things of the world such as health, youth or power.
This week, listen to someone in your home and try to meet one of their needs: such as someone desiring to be understood, a car to be washed, a room cleaned, a child to be cared for, or lead someone in prayer.