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.
- 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 SIRACH 3:2-6, 12-14 FIRST READING
(“He who honors his father atones for sins.”)
- Where does the Lord place a father over his children, and what does he confirm over sons? Sirach 3:2
- What happens to one who honors his father? Sirach 3:3
- What do we store up when we revere our mother? Sirach 3:4
- By what is the man gladdened who honors his father, and what happens when he prays? Sirach 3:5
- What will happen to him who reveres his father? Sirach 3:6, Exodus 20:12
- What is he doing who brings comfort to his mother? Sirach 3:6
- What are we to do, and what are we not to do when our father gets old? Sirach 3:12
- To whom are we to listen, for what reason, and whom are we not to despise? Proverbs 23:22
- How are we to treat our father, even if his mind fails? Sirach 3:13
- What will not be forgotten, and as what will it serve? Sirach 3:14
Personal – In what ways do you listen to and honor both your earthly father and your heavenly Father? In what ways has your earthly father become a burden to you in his old age? Compare your relationship with your heavenly Father and your earthly father. Repent where it is necessary.
THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 3:12-21 SECOND READING
(“You children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.”)
- With what five things are we to clothe ourselves, and for what reason? Colossians 3:12-13
- What are these five qualities called, according to Galatians 5:22?
- What are we to do with one another, and what are we to do over any grievance we may have for another? Colossians 3:13
- Why are we to forgive? Colossians 3:13
- What did Jesus say as he was dying on the cross, and to whom was he speaking? Luke 23:34
- In the Lord’s Prayer, what are we saying and what is the Father saying? Matthew 6:12-15
Personal – How have you sinned and received the forgiveness of God? In what way is that reflected by your forgiveness of others when they have hurt you?
- What virtue do we put on over all the rest? Colossians 3:14
- What must reign in our hearts, of what are we members, to what are we called, and to what must we dedicate
ourselves? Colossians 3:15
- What must dwell in us, how are we to treat one another, and how are we to sing gratefully to God? Colossians 3:16
- Whatever we do, in speech or action, in whose name are we to do it, and to whom are we to give thanks?
- How are husbands to act toward their wives, and how are wives to act toward their husbands? Colossians 3:18-19
- How are children to act toward their parents, and how are fathers to act toward their children? Colossians 3:20-21
Personal – What do you think causes the most break-ups in the family today? How do you think this can be remedied? In what ways are you obeying or disobeying what God says in Colossians 3:18-21. Reflect on this, and make changes where necessary. Remember, we receive grace from the sacrament of reconciliation.
FOURTH DAY LUKE 2:41-52 GOSPEL
(“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”)
- Where did Mary and Joseph go each year, and what did they do when Jesus was 12 years old? Luke 2:41-42
- When Mary and Joseph were returning home, what did they not know? Luke 2:43
- Where did they think Jesus was, what did they do, and where did they go when they did not find him? Luke 2:44-45
- What is not the will of your heavenly Father? Matthew 18:14
- Where did they find Jesus, what was he doing, and what was the reaction of all who heard him? Luke 2:46-47
- Who instructs us in everything? John 14:26
Personal – What have you learned the last time you sat and listened to your teacher?
- What was the reaction of Jesus’ parents when they saw him, and what did his mother say to him? Luke 2:48
- What did Jesus say to his parents, and what was their understanding of it? Luke 2:49-50
- What did Jesus do, what was he to his parents, and what did his mother do? Luke 2:51
- Who are we to obey, and who does this please? Colossians 3:20
Personal – How have you advanced in wisdom and knowledge of God’s will for you in your personal life?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 128:1-5
(“Happy are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 128:1-5.
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
SIRACH 3:2-6, 12-14
Sirach was a pious and learned Jew who lived in the second century B.C. He wrote a collection of sayings to help others live their lives in accordance with God’s Holy Word. In today’s passage he speaks of family. He shows us that the family unit has been honored as the foundation of the human race.
The foundation of the family was traditionally the father and he had the place of honor. The father was given the right to be respected and obeyed by his family. We see the mother also shares the authority with the father in the home. The authority of both parents in accordance with God’s Word is to be respected by the children.
This passage really applies very strongly to today’s families because the family structure is under a severe attack by Satan. Children who respect their parents are not only doing God’s will, but also are storing up spiritual rewards for themselves. Over the centuries it has been shown that children who respect their parents generally have children who will respect their parents.
We see that prayer is very important for a family’s growth and that all prayer is answered. The call to love, honor, and respect your parents carries with it the reward of your children’s care for you in your old age with love and respect, a long life thus becomes a sign of God’s blessing for those who follow his commands.
Children are called to give their aging parents loving care. The child who has learned to respect his parents is respecting God. No matter how feeble, mentally or physically, one’s parents may become, it is the children’s responsibility to care for them. This is not some social health care program’s slogan; this is in accordance with God’s Holy Word. God wants love, kindness, respect, honor, sacrifice, comfort, safety, etc.
Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome. He was told by a follower, named Epaphras, that recent converts to the Christian faith were being disturbed by false teachers. Paul’s letter spells out some very practical rules for the Christians; to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience. Paul is telling them that these virtues must be secure in their hearts in order for the community to live out the Christian vision.
Forgiveness is one of the main virtues of a Christian. This is what separates us from the non-believers. God wiped out all our sins in Baptism and is constantly waiting to wash away the sins of a repentant sinner in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We also must imitate God and be willing to forgive a repentant brother or sister. Paul again shows Christ as the head of the body and the source of unity, harmony and peace. We hear that it is not enough to know the doctrines of Christ, but we must live Christ’s life, and our lives must be witnesses of good and bearing fruit.
Today, as then, we are called to help each member of the family of God. Paul deals with the family by telling the husband to “love your wife,” and wives to be subject to the spiritual authority of the husband. Children are called to obey their parents. This may sound common today, but in Paul’s time, wives had few rights and were often considered to be the property of the husband. Paul’s call to “love your wife” brings her into equality and a full sharing in the authority of the family. Paul also tells fathers not to provoke their children. The authority of a father comes from God, and this authority is to lead, to love, and to serve his family. A loving father leads his children by serving them in the name of the Lord. A loving father puts on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:2-5).
According to God’s law, every male was required to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the great festivals of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Shelters (Deut. 16:16). In the spring the Passover was celebrated, followed immediately by the week-long feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus has just reached the age of adulthood, so he did not spend a lot of time with his parents during the festival. The people traveled in caravans to the city and it was common for the women and children to travel at the front. A twelve year old boy could have been in either group, and probably Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was with the other.
The caravan, however, left Jerusalem without Jesus, who was absorbed in his discussion with the religious leaders. He would have been eager to listen and ask probing questions. It was not his youth, but the depth of his thoughts that amazed the teachers. Mary searched frantically, and when she finally found him, she knew she had to let go of her child and let him become a man.
For parents, it is both sweet and painful to see our children as adults. But when the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of the hurt. Then our children can take flight and soar to the heights God intended for them.
This was the first hint that Jesus realized he was God’s Son. But even though he knew his real Father, he did not reject his earthly parents. God’s people do not reject family relationships or family responsibilities. If Jesus Christ obeyed his parents, how much more we should honor our parents.
The first reading emphasizes that the family unit has been honored as the foundation of the human race. The second reading shows false teachers are destructive to families and society. The Gospel reveals Jesus’ responsibility of obedience to his parents.
Today, let your suffering be for the Lord and for someone else in your family. Maybe you can offer your pain for someone who is on drugs or alcohol. Pick a family member, friends, or a co-worker, and pray for that person all week. Let your soul be pierced so that the heart of others will be laid bare and they will turn to God.