CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY – 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)
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 does one do 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?
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
as the acceptable way in the Lord.”)
- With what five things are we to clothe ourselves, and for what reason? Colossians 3:12
- What are these five qualities called, according to
- 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? Colossians 3:17
- How are wives to act toward their husbands, and how are husbands to act toward their wives? 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 READ LUKE 2:22-40 GOSPEL
(“The child’s father and mother marveled at what
was said about him.”)
- What was done according to the law of Moses, what is written in the law, and what did Mary and Joseph offer in sacrifice? Luke 2:22-24, Leviticus 12:2-6, 8, Exodus 13:2
- What did Jesus say is the greatest commandment of the law? Matthew 22:37-38
- Who was in Jerusalem at the time, what was he like, for what was he waiting, and who was upon him? Luke 2:25
- What was revealed to the man by the Holy Spirit, who inspired him to come to the temple, and what did he do when the parents brought in the child Jesus? Luke 2:26-28
Personal – Simeon blessed God in his words. In what ways can you bless God in your words?
- What did Simeon call the Lord, what did he say he had done, and what did he say his eyes had witnessed? Luke 2:29-32
- How do we fulfill the law? Romans 13:8
- As Mary and Joseph were marveling over what was being said, what did Simeon do and say to them? Luke 2:33-35
- What did Jesus come into the world to do? John 9:39
- Where was Mary when Jesus was crucified? John 19:25
- For what reason was Mary pierced with a sword? Luke 2:35
- What is the sword of the Spirit? Ephesians 6:17
- Who was a certain prophetess, how old was she, where could she constantly be found, and what was she doing?
- What did the prophetess do both day and night, what did she give to God, about whom did she talk, and to whom? Luke 2:37-38
- After Mary and Joseph fulfilled the law, where did they go? In what did the child grow, with what was he filled, and what was upon him? Luke 2:39-40
- What was Jesus called? Matthew 2:23
- Where do we receive our strength? Philippians 4:13
Personal – In what ways have you been pierced with a sword? What does it mean to you to be pierced with a sword as Jesus and Mary were pierced? For what reasons have you been pierced?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 128:1-5
(“Happy are you who fear the Lord, who 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 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 a main virtue 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).
Today’s gospel is a powerful lesson on redemptive suffering. We read how a family follows the ceremonies of their religion and see respect, reverence, and obedience in all their actions. We hear the wisdom that comes from two old people in the temple. We need to reflect for a moment on how we listen with respect to elderly people in our lives.
Simeon told Mary that along with the joys of having such a wonderful child, a sword would pierce her soul. Mary felt that sword when Jesus was murdered on the cross at Calvary. Some parent’s souls are pierced many times from danger, sickness, and violence to their children. They suffer the hurt that happens to their child. Mary took on the hurt of her Son’s rejection and crucifixion. She did not strike back or cry out with vengeance. She suffered tremendously for her Son and for all of us. Jesus suffered tremendously and, like a lamb, he was slaughtered and never struck back. He and his mother were both pierced by the sword of suffering.
What makes suffering redemptive and what makes it useless? Suffering that leads us closer to God in our thoughts and actions is redemptive suffering. Suffering that leads us into ourselves is selfish and useless. We need only to look at our own families and see the suffering saints who have held us up in prayer.
St. Augustine’s mother prayed for 30 years for him to turn to God, and her prayers were answered. Pope John Paul II has been the object of assassination, and he constantly is the vision of a man at prayer with his God for his people. Pope John Paul II visited his would-be assassin in prison and extended to him God’s forgiveness and love as well as his own. Mother Teresa, 80, and with a bad heart is still doing something beautiful for God. She says, “Unless life is lived for others, it is not worth while.”
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. Let us celebrate by praying together for all the families in the world. Let us pray that all the families who are suffering will be like Mary and Jesus and let their sufferings be accepted for others. This is what redemptive suffering is all about, and this is bringing mankind closer to God.
This week we are celebrating the special feast of the Holy Family, and all the readings reflect some aspect of family. We see how the power and love of Holy Families can change a dark world into a community of light.
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, a friend, 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.