THE BREAD OF LIFE
CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT – 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)
The first reading is a call to practical holiness. The second reading reveals the Messiah as a suffering servant. The Gospel tells us that our church is meant to be a place of worship.
This week, see what needs to be done by your family to make your church a place of worship. See what needs to be done by you to make your family see you as one who is becoming holy. Then go in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of his Holy Spirit, and in accordance with his Father’s will, DO IT.
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 2 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23 FIRST READING
(“for he had compassion on his people
and his dwelling place.”)
- Who added infidelity to infidelity, what did they practice, and what did they do to the Lord’s temple?
2 Chronicles 36:14
- What do those who indulge in sexual promiscuity and practice unnatural vice defile? Jude 1:7-8
- When did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his
messengers to those polluting the temple, and for what
reason? 2 Chronicles 36:15
- On whom does the Lord have compassion? Psalm 103:13
- In what is God great? Psalm 51:3
Personal – How have you experienced the compassion of the Lord, and how have you been compassionate with those around you?
- Whom did the people mock, and what did the Lord become? 2 Chronicles 36:16
- Whom did the Lord bring up against them, what happened to their young men, and whom did he deliver over to the king? 2 Chronicles 36:17
- What did they do to the house of God? 2 Chr. 36:19
- What happened to those who escaped the sword, and
what did they become? 2 Chronicles 36:20
- What did Jesus say a man is who commits sin, and where
does he not remain forever? John 8:34-35
- What was all this to fulfill? 2 Chronicles 36:21
- In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, what did the Lord inspire the king to do?
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
Personal – In what way have you heard the word of the Lord, and how will you fulfill it?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 2:4-10 SECOND READING
(“For by grace you have been saved through faith,”)
- In what is God rich, and what is great that he has for us? Ephesians 2:4
- When we were dead in our transgressions, to what did he bring us? Ephesians 2:5
- How does God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8
- With whom have we been raised up, where has he seated us, and for what reason? Ephesians 2:6-7
- If Christ is in us, what is dead and what is alive,
and why? Romans 8:10
- What will happen to him who insults the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29
- How have we been saved, through what have we been saved, and from whom is it not? Ephesians 2:8
- What has God given us, from what is it not, so no one shall do what? Ephesians 2:8-9
- How is no one justified? Galatians 2:16
- What should no human being do, and how should we boast?
1 Corinthians 1:29-31
- What are we to God, how are we created, and what has God prepared in advance so that we should live in them? Ephesians 2:10
- What is one who is in Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:17
Personal – What are the good works God has created for you to do? See Ephesians 4:11-16
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 3:14-21 GOSPEL
(“…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”)
- What did Moses make, where did he mount it, and what happened to those that looked at it? Numbers 21:9
- Why must the Son of Man be lifted up? John 3:14-15
- Whom does God love, whom did he give, and how may we have eternal life? John 3:16
- How is the love of God revealed to us? 1 John 4:9
- What did God send his Son into the world not to do, and for what reason did he send his Son into the world? John 3:17
- If anyone hears Jesus’ words and does not observe them, what condemns him? John 12:47-48
- What must we do in order not to be condemned?John 3:18
- From what has the one who believes in Jesus passed?
- What is the verdict? John 3:19
- Who does Jesus say he is? John 8:12
- What does everyone who does wicked things hate, toward what does he not come, and for what reason? John 3:20
- Who are those who rebel against the light?
- Who comes to the light, and how will his works be clearly seen? John 3:21
- Who is the light of the world, for whom must that light shine, and for what reason? Matthew 5:14, 16
Personal – How do those around you see the light of Christ within you, and how often do they see it? If you do not know, step out and ask those closest to you what they see in you. Take to the Lord in prayer whatever is revealed to you.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 137:1-6
(“If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 137:1-6.
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
2 CHRONICLES 36:14-17, 19-23
God warned Judah about its sin and continually restored the people to his favor, only to have them turn away. The people refused to listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, and eventually the situation of sinful living was beyond remedy. This happened to a people who worshipped the heathen idols of the surrounding nations. The people from the top, the leaders and high priests and many of the important people of Judah harbored rebellion in their hearts and led the nation into its downfall.
Today we see many of the same attitudes in many nations. There seems to be a race toward self-destruction. The traditional values seem to be more a part of history rather than our present and future. We have to beware of harboring sin in our heart and becoming a rebellious people. We may also reflect on our actions and be aware that the day will come for all of us when remedy is no longer possible and God’s judgment replaces his mercy. History has clearly shown us that sin often repeated, but never repented invites disaster.
This chapter closes with the end of the exile and the promise of a new future for the remnants of God’s chosen people. The temple represented the greatest dedication of worship the world had ever seen. Yet the temple was destroyed, the kings were gone, the people removed, and the nation was stripped to its very foundation. Fortunately there was a greater foundation, and that is God himself.
Today when it seems as if everything is being stripped away from us, we need to remember that we too still have God in his Holy Word, his presence, his sacraments, and in his promise that he would be with us for all ages (Matthew 28:20).
This reading reveals to us that we need not live any longer under sin’s power. Jesus Christ destroyed the penalty and power of sin through his death on the cross. We have been found through faith in Christ to be acquitted “not guilty” before God. This does not mean that God has taken us out of the world or turned us into robots. We still fall to sin on occasions. But now the difference is Christ’s incredible gift to us; we can choose to live for him or choose to ignore and reject him. We know that just as Jesus rose from the dead, so will our bodies be raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:12-19). We have been given the power to live the fully human, fully alive Christian life now (Ephesians 1:19).
Paul tells us of sitting with Christ in glory because we who have faith in him are united in his powerful victory. It is obvious that this gift of salvation is not a reward for something good that we have done. The fact is that it is a gift freely given and the response by us is not “How much do I owe you?” The response to his gift is “Thank you.” Many people feel obligated to try to work their way to God even after they have been made aware of this incredible gift. We can respond to the gift of our salvation and even our faith only with gratitude, praise and joyfulness. This unmerited gift to us from God is called “grace,” (Eph. 1:8), and it is not the result of any effort, ability, intelligence, or act of service to others on our part. We do good not to become good, but rather because of the goodness which is the Holy Spirit that resides within us (1 John 4:4). Out of gratitude and joy, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness and love. Let us remember that we are not saved merely for our own benefit. We are called to glorify him and build up his church (Ephesians 4:12).
In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus is telling the people that when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God sent forth a plague of venomous snakes to punish them for their rebellious attitudes. Those who were doomed to die from snakebite could be cured by obeying God’s command to look up at the bronze serpent on the pole that Moses was carrying. The bronze snake on the pole did not heal anyone, but their belief that God could heal them did it. This belief was demonstrated by their obedience in following God’s command.
Believers today can be saved from the sickness of sin by looking to Jesus’ death on the cross. We will be saved from sin’s deadly “bite” by looking to Jesus and believing he will heal us. To many people eternal life holds no great promise if it means the extension of a miserable mortal life on earth. To believe in Jesus Christ and gain eternal life is a life where there is no death, sickness, enemies, evil or sin. When we do not know Christ, we make choices as though this life were all we have. In reality, we believe this life is just an introduction to eternity.
We need to begin to evaluate from an eternal perspective all that happens to us each day. God sets the pattern of true love here. If we love someone dearly, we are willing to give the ultimate price for that person’s responsive love. God paid dearly with the life of his son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus offered us the new life he bought for us. He paid the price of our sins with his blood and life.
When you and I share the Gospel with others, our love must be like his. We must be willing to give up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s love. The darkness is very comfortable to some people because they do not want their lives exposed to God’s light. They are afraid of what it might reveal about themselves. It might call for a change and they do not want to change. Do not let others intimidate you in your desire to obey God and do what is right. They are afraid that you may expose some of the darkness in their lives. You are to keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to live in the light than in darkness. He has promised us eternal life if we believe in him (John 3:16). Take him up on that promise. He is a God who really delivers.
The first reading shows us that God restores those who repent. The second reading tells us that we do not have to live under sin’s power any longer. The Gospel promises eternal life if we believe in Christ.
This week show others how the light and love of Christ shines through you. By your actions show your kindness and gentleness to your family members, classmates or co-workers. Be specific and pick out a particular person each day and let the light and love of God light up your life by being patient and kind. Be generous and humble, not jealous or rude. Practice this for one week and you will light up your whole family, school and job. Let your light shine, let your light shine.