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 a 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 EZEKIEL 2:2-5 FIRST READING
(“As he spoke to me, spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.”)
l. Whom did the Spirit enter, and what did the Spirit do to him? Ezekiel 1:3 and Ezekiel 2:2
2. How did the one who was speaking address him, where did he send him, and what did he say about the Israelites? Ezekiel 2:3
3. Against whom had the Israelites sinned, and what did they not do? Jeremiah 3:25
4. Against what did the whole house of Israel rebel? Ezekiel 5:6
5. What do those who resist authority oppose, and upon whom will they bring judgment? Romans 13:2
Personal – In what way do you see any signs of rebellion in yourself toward God or those in authority over you? What do you need to do to change it?
6. Where did the one who was speaking send the son of man, and what did he say about the people? Ezekiel 2:3-4
7. What was Ezekiel to say to the Israelites, and what will they know whether they heed or resist? Ezekiel 2:4-5
8. What gives no excuse for their sin? John 15:22
9. What two things is Ezekiel not to fear? Ezekiel 2:6
10. Why are we not to fear the rebellious when we speak God’s word to them? Deuteronomy 31:6
Personal – How do you respond to someone who resists your warning when you have prayed and followed God’s lead in speaking to them?
THIRD DAY READ 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10 SECOND READING
(“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”)
1. What was given to Paul, what did Paul call it, and why did he say it was given to him? 2 Corinthians 12:7
2. What does God do to the proud? James 4:6
3. How many times did Paul beg God to take this thorn in the flesh from him? 2 Corinthians 12:8
4. What did Jesus pray three consecutive times to the Father? Matthew 26:39, 44
5. What did the Lord say was sufficient for Paul, and what is made perfect in weakness? 2 Corinthians 12:9
6. Who comes to our aid in our weakness? Romans 8:26
7. What does Paul boast of most gladly, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in him? 2 Corinthians 12:9
8. For what do we have the strength, and who gives it to us? Philippians 4:13
9. With what is Paul content for the sake of Christ, and when he is weak, then what is he? 2 Corinthians 12:10
10. What are we to bear for the Gospel, and from where do we get our strength? 2 Timothy 1:8
Personal – What is in your life that keeps you from becoming proud? In what way have you been thankful for it?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 6:1-6 GOSPEL
(“…He began to teach in the Synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.”)
1. To where did Jesus return, and who was with him? Mark 6:1, Matthew 2:23
2. When the Sabbath came, what did Jesus do, and what was the reaction of many who heard him? Mark 6:2
3. How did Jesus teach? Mark 1:21-22
4. What were the questions the people were asking about Jesus, and what was their attitude toward him? Mark 6:2-3
5. By whom did Jesus say we will be taught? How will we be drawn to him, and about what were the Jews murmuring? John 6:41-45
6. Where did Jesus say a prophet is without honor, among whom, and where? Mark 6:4
7. What was Jesus not able to do in his own native place apart from curing a few sick people? Mark 6:5
8. How were some healed by Jesus? Mark 6:5
Personal How has Jesus healed you by his touch, and how have others been healed by his touch through you?
9. At what was Jesus amazed? Mark 6:6
10. Where is the righteousness of God revealed, and who is the one who will live? Romans 1:16-17
11. How did many come to believe in Jesus? John 4:41
Personal – How has your faith grown since you have been studying God’s Word?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 123:1-4
(“To you I lift up my eyes who are enthroned in heaven?”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 123:1-4.
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
What a contrast we have in this passage. We have the immortal God address the mortal man by calling him “son of man,” emphasizing the distance between them. It is incredible that God even chooses to work his divine will on earth through imperfect beings. We are made from dust; yet God chooses to place within each one of us his life and breath.
Ezekiel was enormously blessed to have been able to experience this vision. He knew that because it came from God it did not matter whether he did not understand the full meaning of the vision. God saw in Ezekiel a hunger and thirst to know more about him. Ezekiel had an open and obedient attitude, and he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. God gave Ezekiel the power for the job ahead.
God does not expect us to understand everything about him, but he does expect us to be willing, obedient, and faithful servants to what we know is true and right. Today we measure success by consumer demand. Ezekiel’s measure of success did not depend on whether the people listened to him or not. The measure of success would be how well he obeyed God’s will and fulfilled God’s purpose for him.
We must always remember that God’s truth is not dependent on human response. God will not judge us on how well others respond to our faith, but on how faithful we ourselves have been. What God accomplished through us is very important, but the bottom line is what God accomplished in us. God was being very straight and direct when he called the people hard-hearted and stiff-necked. He called them that because they refused to admit their sin of rebellion. Is God today pointing at sin in your life? Do not be stubborn, confess your sin, and begin to live for God. You will be ready to stand before God tomorrow if you obey him today.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10
The source of Paul’s thorn in the flesh has never been revealed. We do know that it was a very chronic and debilitating type of physical problem which at many times kept him from working. This thorn was a hindrance to his ministry, and he prayed for its removal, but God refused. Paul’s illness kept him humble and reminded him of his constant need to keep in touch with God. Those around Paul benefitted as they saw God work in his life.
Are people helped by being in your presence? Do people see God alive and active in your life?
God did not remove Paul’s physical affliction, but he demonstrated his power very clearly in Paul’s weakness. The marvelous fact is that God is power, and he will always show up in people who are weak and who call out to him. This divine power should give tremendous courage and hope for all of us who may be physically and emotionally handicapped. We need to realize our limitations and turn to God to seek his pathways for effectiveness. Paul’s great strength was that he knew that he was nothing, nor could he do anything without Christ (John 15:5). Today, more than ever, we must not be seduced by modern technology, but rely on God for our effectiveness rather than on simple energy, effort, or talent.
We must never forget that our weakness can help us develop our Christian character. In admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength and even deepen our sense of worship. We are tempted to do God’s work on our own when we are strong in talent, time, or health. This always leads to pride, and then the long slide down. When we are weak, and when we allow God to fill us with his power, then we become stronger than we ever could be on our own. Our strength lies in realizing that he is the source of all gifts (Philippians 4:19).
Jesus was teaching and healing around the country, but the people of his hometown saw him only as a carpenter. They looked at Jesus and asked, “What are his credentials? Where did he go to school? He is no better than we are; he is just a common laborer.” The towns people were insulted that others could be impressed by him and even follow him. They completely rejected his authority because he was one of their peers. These people missed his message because they thought that they knew all that was needed to know about him. Prejudice and spiritual blindness kept them from the truth.
Today there are many people who still reject his message because it is too simple, too common, and too demanding. Today we have many people who refuse the message because they have too much power, wealth, education, or fame to be committed to such a servant like Jesus.
The Jews were looking for a mighty, powerful, educated warrior-type Messiah. They were not about to listen to some itinerant preacher talk about loving your enemy, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. They rose up in outrage and demanded to see his credentials, and then they tried to get him out of their part of the country.
Jesus has shown us in this Gospel message that if people do not give you any attention or respect for the work you do in God’s name, that does not make your work any less important. Jesus shows each one of us that we do not need to be respected or honored to be useful to God. If your friends, neighbors, or family do not respect your Christian lifestyle and ministry, do not let their rejection keep you from serving God. Today Jesus is seeking those who would respond to his miracles and message. What will be your response?
The first reading tells us that obedience is the core of holiness. The second reading reveals that in our weakness is his strength. The Gospel shows us that being honored does not make what we do important.
This week show your love by being a servant for someone who is physically or emotionally weak. Let their weakness become strength in Christ through you. You can do this by visiting someone who is shut-in or imprisoned. You can read the weekly scriptures to a blind person. You can fix a meal for an elderly person in your home, family, or church. You can take someone who is lonely or depressed to a movie. You can telephone someone and pray with them. You can be God’s ambassador, and let his strength shine through you.