CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – 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)
In the first reading we are called to preach God’s message no matter how unpopular it may be. The second reading reveals that the time of salvation is now and we are called to be Christ centered instead of self centered. The Gospel shows us that to believe is to repent, and to repent is to become free.
This week, look around in your family, school, and work and see where you may need to repent. An oppressed, lonely, and helpless one may be someone who is very close to you. Ask God to reveal to you where you need to repent, and then go to that person in faith and ask his or her forgiveness.
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 daily spiritual life this week?
SECOND DAY READ DEUTERONOMY 18:15-20 FIRST READING
(” … to him shall you listen.”)
- What shall the Lord raise up, from where will he come, and what are we to do? Deuteronomy 18:15
- Who is the one whom Moses wrote of in the law and the Prophets? What will happen if we do not listen to him? John 1:45, Acts 3:19-23
- What did God say about his beloved son, and what are the disciples to do? Mark 9:5-8
- What did the Israelites request at Horeb on the day of the assembly and to whom did they say they would listen? Deuteronomy 18:16 Exodus 20:18-21
- The Lord said to Moses I will raise up a Prophet; what did he say would come out of his mouth, and what shall ` he tell the people? Deuteronomy 18:17-18
- What will happen if any man will not listen to my words and in whose name must the Prophet speak? Deuteronomy 18:19, Acts 3:23
- What does Jesus say will happen if we ask for anything in his name? John 14:12-14
- Who is the Word? John 1:1, 14
- If a prophet presumes to speak in the name of the Lord an oracle that the Lord has not commanded him to speak, or speaks In the name of other gods, what will happen to him? Deut. 18:20
- If a prophet arises among us who promises us a sign or wonder, urging us to follow other gods, what are we to do? Deuteronomy 13:2-5
- How will we know the false prophets? Matthew 7:15-20
Personal To whom have you been listening for counseling in your life? Do those you are listening to come in the name of the Lord?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 7:32-35 SECOND READING
(“I should like you to be free of anxieties.”)
- Who is writing this book and to whom is he writing?
1 Corinthians 1:1-2
- Of what would he like us to be free? 1 Corinthians 7:32
- What does anxiety do to a man’s heart? Proverbs 12:25
- About what is an unmarried man anxious, about what is a married man anxious, and what does that make him?
1 Corinthians 7:32-34
- In the parable of the Great Feast, what was one of the excuses for not accepting the invitation? Luke 14:20
- What will happen to a house divided against itself?
- Who broke down the dividing wall of hostility/enmity?
- About what is an unmarried woman or a married woman anxious? 1 Corinthians 7:34
- What did Jesus say happens at the resurrection?
- Why is Paul telling them about the married and unmarried? 1 Corinthians 7:35
- What does the Lord tell Martha about being anxious and about Mary? Luke 10:39-42
Personal – About what are you anxious right now? If you are married, how can you better budget your time, in order to spend more time with prayer and scripture and include your spouse?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:21-28 GOSPEL
(“The people were astonished at his teaching.”)
- When Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, what H did he do on the Sabbath? Mark 1:21
- What did Jesus do in Galilee and for what purpose did he say he has come? Matthew 4:23 and Mark 1:38-39
- About what were the people astonished, and like whom did he teach? Mark 1:22
- At what were the Jews amazed, where did Jesus say his teaching came from, and who will know whether his teaching is from God or whether he speaks on his own? John 7:15-18
- Who has established the existing authorities? Romans 13:1
- What does the Son of Man have authority to do on Earth? Matthew 9:6-8
- Who was in their synagogue, what did he have, and what did he cry out to Jesus? Mark 1:23-24
- What did Jesus do and say to the man with the unclean spirit? Mark 1:25
- What did the unclean spirit do, and what came out of him? Mark 1:26
- Who was amazed about what, and what did they ask one ` another? Mark 1:27
- What spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee? Mark 1:28
- What has the grace of God done for us, and how are we to exhort and correct one another? Titus 2:11-15
Personal – How do you respond to authority, both civil and spiritual? Be specific, give some examples. What are the areas in your life that call for you to exercise authority, and how do you exercise that authority?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 95:1-2, 6-9
(“Oh, that today you would hear his voice.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
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
Today’s reading shows that the coming of Jesus Christ as the “Messiah” was not an afterthought, but part of God’s original holy plan. The people were afraid to hear God talk or even to see him. They were afraid his presence would be so overpowering, that they all would die. They wanted someone human who could speak for God and so Moses was their prophet. Today we have prophets who proclaim God’s holy Word all over the world and some of the prophets have abused the church, the people, and even God with their sinful conduct. God has called us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, and visit the imprisoned.
Some of our modern day prophets have taken tremendous amounts of money through television, books, tapes, and special appearances. These false prophets talk about poverty but dress like kings and queens and live in homes that are mansions. The penalty for false prophets was death. Today that penalty is still death, because the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23).
We hear the Lord telling the prophet to be a man of obedience and the people will listen to him. People respond to the leader who listens and is obedient to God in his own walk of life.
Paul tells us that he only preached the message of the cross, and Moses was told to tell the people that God had given him Ten Commandments for them to follow. To reject the prophet was to reject Christ and the Father would deal severely with anyone who is against his Son. To reject the church as it teaches to us in the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist would be to reject Christ. The Father will deal with us today just as severely as he did with the people of Moses’ time. Remember, you can tell a false prophet by his deeds, not his words.
1 CORINTHIANS 7:32-35
In today’s reading, we have to be very careful that we do not think that Paul is against marriage. He is trying to show that marriage calls for a commitment to God, to each other, and to family. Paul tells us that it is easier for unmarried persons to devote themselves more completely to God than for married persons
to do so.
Many single people feel tremendous pressure to be married. Many think that their lives can be complete only with a spouse. Paul is saying that an unmarried person has the potential of a greater focus on Christ and his work. If you are unmarried, use your special opportunity to serve Christ wholeheartedly.
Paul is talking about the potential of more time alone with God for the unmarried. Whether you are married or unmarried, the core of your spirituality will be your prayer life with the Lord. This will take time and it has to be prime time, not spare time. There are many books on how to pray, but none of the material makes sense unless you spend time personally alone with the Lord. Spending time reading, meditating on scripture, and then listening to the Lord is what makes the unmarried or married person spiritual. When married men or women have developed a love affair with Jesus on a daily basis, they will find that love affair being carried over into their marriage. When unmarried men or women develop a love affair with Jesus on a daily basis, they will then, like Christ, love the unlovable, kiss the unkissable, wash the unwashable; wherever they go they will bring the gift of love with them, simply because they are loved.
Capernaum was a thriving city with wealth, sin and decadence. This was an ideal place for Jesus to challenge both Jews and non-Jews with the Good News of God’s kingdom. Most Jewish teachers often quoted from other well-known teachers to give their words meaning and authority. Jesus did not do that, because he knew exactly what scripture said and meant. He taught with authority, because he knew the source of his real authority. The people were amazed at the power of his teaching and even when he was confronted by the demon, he ordered him out with total authority. Jesus was in full authority, because he was in full obedience to his Father’s will. His authority was not from the Law, or the scribes; his authority came from doing his Father’s will and being one God with the Father.
Jesus tells us in the story of Martha and Mary that Mary has the best gift and that gift is the art of listening. Jesus could command authority because he listened and respected the authority of his heavenly Father. He wants us to call on his authority whenever we are confronted by evil spirits of evil situations. We can always have access to his authority as long as we are doing the will of his Father.
The Church commands with the authority of Jesus, because of his promise and command in Matthew 16:18-19: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” We can call on that authority in Jesus’ name, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, tell that mountain to go into the sea, cast out demons, heal the sick, or give sight to the blind.
This week’s first reading reveals how the prophets listened. The second reading encourages time to be spent with the Lord. The Gospel shows the authority and power in Jesus’ teachings.
This week, listen to those around you and see who is in deep need of spiritual healing. Take time each day to present this person to the Lord, and in Jesus’ name and through the power of his Holy Spirit, seek healing for that person. Jesus’ authority will reach through you and bring a healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Stay in the Father’s will by being obedient to Jesus’ command to “Love one another as I love you.” (John 15:12)