CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
SECOND 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)
This week’s first reading shows us that patience is a virtue of God and man. In the second reading we see baptism as a pledge of forgiveness from God. The Gospel tells us to change our attitudes to those of the Good News.
This week, ask your spouse, children, friends and employers and employees where you need to change. Have them write out what they see as a needed change. See what is the most popular area of sin in you. Then each day practice some small action for about one week. Do not mention to anyone about the list. Your attitude will change with prayer, reading Scripture, going to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and through discipline. Watch for a very spiritual awakening for many people in your life.
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 GENESIS 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18 FIRST READING
(“…all this because you obeyed my command.”)
- To what did God put Abraham, and when God called to him, what was his reply? Genesis 22:1
- What will God not let happen, what will he provide, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 10:13
- What did God say to Abraham, and what was Isaac to
Abraham? Genesis 22:2
- What did Jesus say would happen if we gave up our children for the kingdom of God? Luke 18:29-30
- When Abraham with his son came to the place of which God had told him, what did he do, and what did he do with his son? Genesis 22:9
- What did he reach out and take, and for what reason?
- Who called out to Abraham, and what was his response?
- Why did he tell him not to lay a hand on the boy?
- When the Lord’s messenger called again to Abraham, what did the Lord say he would do for him for not withholding his son? Genesis 22:15-17
- In whom will all the nations find blessings, and for what reason? Genesis 22:18
- How do we remain in Jesus’ love, how did Jesus remain in God’s love, and what is his command? John 15:10,17
Personal – What have you given up for the kingdom of God? To what are you holding on? What do you need to do to receive the blessings that God wants to shower upon you?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:31-34 SECOND READING
(“It is God who acquits us.”)
- Who is writing this book, and to whom is he writing?
Romans 1:1, 7
- What are the two questions asked in Romans 8:31, and to what do they refer? Romans 8:30-31
- What did God do with his own Son, for whom did he do it, and what else will he give us? Romans 8:32
- What happens to those who believe in Jesus? John 3:16
- What does God have for a son who serves him?
See Malachi 3:17
- How does God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8
- What are we to God, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:33
- What was credited to Abraham as righteousness, in whom do we believe, and as what is that credited to us?
- What did Jesus do, where is he, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:34
- What happens to those who approach God through Jesus, how long does he live, and what does he do?
- What did Christ not enter, where did he go, and in whose behalf? Hebrews 9:24
- If anyone does sin, what do we have; for whom has he done this; and how are we sure to know him?
1 John 2:1-3
Personal – In what way have you been made right with God? What do you do when you sin? As Christ intercedes for you, how can you intercede for your loved ones?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 9:2-10 GOSPEL
(“This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.”)
- Whom did Jesus lead up a high mountain apart by themselves, and what happened to him? Mark 9:2
- What happened to Jesus’ clothes? Mark 9:3
- Who appeared, and what were they doing? Mark 9:4
- What are we to remember from Moses, and what was Elijah sent to do? Malachi 3:22-24
- What did Peter say to Jesus, what did he call him,
and what were their feelings? Mark 9:5-6
- What happened to the centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus on the cross? Matthew 27:54
- When Jesus asked his disciples why were they terrified, what was the next question he put to them? Mark 4:40-41
- What came casting a shadow over them, and what did the voice that came out of it say? Mark 9:7
- What did Moses say would happen to those who did not listen to Jesus? Acts 3:22-23
- When Moses went up the mountain, what covered it? What
settled upon Mt. Sinai, and what happened on the seventh day? Exodus 24:15-16
- When Peter, James, and John suddenly looked around, whom did they see? Mark 9:8
Personal – How clearly do you see Jesus to know what he is saying to you, so you can listen to him? How do you see Jesus? What is he like to you? What do his clothes look like, and what is he saying and doing? Reflect on this.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 116:10, 15-19
(“I believed, even when I said, `I am greatly afflicted;'”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 116:10, 15-19.
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
GENESIS 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18
In today’s reading from Genesis we see God testing Abraham, not to trip him up, but to develop his character. Just as fire refines ore to bring out the precious metals, God refines us through difficult times and events. We have two ways to go when we are tested, we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character.
Abraham went to fulfill an act of obedience that the world could not comprehend. Over the years he had learned tough lessons about the importance of obeying God. Obeying God in Abraham’s time or in our time is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something that we truly want. We should not always expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally.
God did not want the physical death of Isaac, but he did want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart. Abraham was showing God that he loved God so much that he would trust him in everything. Do you trust the Lord in everything in your life? God was testing Abraham, and he tests us. The purpose of God’s testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to him.
God also showed Abraham his ability to provide. We see the ram being offered as a substitute for Isaac, similar to Jesus being offered on the cross as a substitute for us. It is important for us to see how much God really loves us. He stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son; and yet God did not spare his own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross for us so that we can be spared from the eternal death we deserve, and instead receive eternal life with him.
Abraham received an incredible blessing for his obedience and that was that he was a positive influence upon others. Other lives would be changed as a result of knowing Abraham. You have been given a tremendous blessing also, and other people’s lives can be changed to the good too. How many lives will be changed because they have known you? This is really up to you.
Today’s reading is more than a theological explanation of God’s redeeming grace. It is a reading of comfort and confidence addressed to us. Have you ever thought that you were not good enough for God and that he will not save you? Do you ever feel that salvation and healing are for everyone else, but not you? Then this reading is especially for you. If God gave his only begotten son for you, then he is not about to hold back the gift of salvation to you (John 3:16). Jesus Christ did not give his life for you and then turn around and condemn you.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from God’s love. We really need to realize that when we accept Christ as Our Lord and Savior, we are declaring war on Satan. Then we will be attacked, tempted and condemned by Satan in order to break us away from God’s gift of salvation and love. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son just for you (John 3:16). Think about that. He knew that we would still be sinners, and he still went ahead with his plan of salvation (Romans 5:8).
God’s compassion is so great that he let Jesus take on all of the sins of the world in order that we might be clean, free, and justified to be his children. We do not have to fear being accused of loving God and serving him because we have his promise of salvation (John 3:16) and protection (Psalm 91). We are told that Jesus is pleading with God for us in heaven. He is our mediator and our representative at God’s right hand.
Prayer is our approach to Jesus. There are many different ways to pray, but come with reverence, for he is our King. We can come with bold assurance, too, because he is our friend and personal counselor. Remember, Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived who was born to die. His death for us won us the incredible gift of salvation; and now in heaven, he completely understands our weaknesses and offers forgiveness.
Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain. The transfiguration revealed Christ’s true nature as God’s Son. God’s voice called out Jesus from Moses and Elijah as the long-awaited Messiah with full divine authority. Moses was a sign of the law and Elijah was the sign of the prophets. Jesus was the fulfillment of both the Old Testament law and the prophetic promises of the future. Jesus was not merely one of the prophets, and he was not a reincarnation of Moses. As the Son of God, he far surpasses their authority and power.
Jesus is the source of all authority and power. We must listen to Jesus and then evaluate all the other authorities in light of his revelation. The apostles were startled and frightened as they looked upon Jesus and saw him for whom he really was. They were transfigured in their hearts and were able to see him with their hearts as well as with their eyes.
Jesus told them not to speak about what they had seen because they would not understand it themselves until Jesus had risen from the dead. They had been given the incredible gift of seeing the kingdom of God arrive in great power (Mark 9:1). They would see that when Jesus rose from the dead as his power over death would reveal to all that he is God. It was natural for the disciples to be confused about Jesus’ death and resurrection because they could not see into the future.
When Jesus becomes the Lord of our life, we will see him just as Peter, James, and John saw him. He will make our heart radiant and our mind clear and sharp. He will transfigure us right where we are. He knew that he could not stay up on that mountaintop, because he had come to transfigure the people in the lowly, dark valleys. We do not have to be confused or frightened because we have his Holy Spirit within us (1 John 4:4). The disciples saw the radiance in Jesus’ face because they saw him with spiritual vision. Scripture tells us, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has revealed to those who love him.” This is the transfiguration that God has revealed to us today through the Holy Spirit.
The first reading tells us that in our times of testing, we are growing in moral development. The second reading shows us the incredible power of God’s redeeming grace. The Gospel shows that being transfigured is letting the radiance of Christ shine in you and through you.
This week look for only the good points in those around you. Speak only about what is good about them. No flattery, just affirmation, and watch them go through a transfiguration right before your eyes. Try it.