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 GENESIS 15:5-12, 17-18 FIRST READING
(“I am the Lord who brought you from Ur…”)
- The Lord took Abram outside and said what to him? Genesis 15:5
- In whom did Abram put his faith, and as what was it credited? Genesis 15:6
- The righteousness Paul possesses comes from what? Philippians 3:9
- Read the following scriptures and tell how they apply to you. Romans 4:3, 9, 22, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23
- From where did Abram come? Genesis 15:7
- What question did Abram put to the Lord? Genesis 15:8
- What did the Lord tell Abram to do and what swooped down on the carcasses? Genesis 15:9-11
- What did Abram do when the birds of prey came? Genesis 15:11
- What happened to Abram as the sun was about to set? Genesis 15:12
- What are similar ways symbolizing the presence of God in these scriptures? Exodus 19:17-19, Acts 2:3-4
- What did the Lord do with Abraham on that occasion? Genesis 15:18
- In whom did the fulfillment of this covenant take place? Joshua 1:1-9
Personal – What is your relationship with God right now? How do you show that you believe the promises God has made in the Bible? What are some of the promises of God, and the covenants he has made with his people? Reflect on this and talk to God about it.
THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 3:17-4:1 SECOND READING
(“…continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord.”)
- Who are we to imitate, and who are we to take as a guide? Philippians 1:1 and 3:17
- How do many conduct themselves and what will happen to them? Philippians 3:18-19
- What is their god and their glory, and with what do they occupy their mind? Philippians 3:19
- Where do we have our citizenship, and for what do we wait? Philippians 3:20
- What will the Lord do to our bodies? Philippians 3:21
- According to what does he remake our bodies, and for what reason? Philippians 3:21
- Who does Paul love? Philippians 4:1
- Who does Jesus say his brothers are? Matthew 12:46-50
- What does Paul tell his brothers? Philippians 4:1
Personal – How much time do you spend taking care of your body? Are you looking forward to the Lord remaking this body? How can you “stand firm,” as Paul tells us to do?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 9:28-36 GOSPEL
(“This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.”)
- What did Jesus say eight days before he took Peter, John and James up onto a mountain to pray? Luke 9:27
- On what other occasions were Peter, John and James with Jesus? Luke 8:51-52 and Mark 14:32-33
- What did they go up on the mountain to do? Luke 9:28
- What happened to Jesus’ face and clothes as he prayed? Luke 9:29
- Who were suddenly conversing with Jesus? Luke 9:30
- How did they appear, and about what did they speak? Luke 9:31
- Upon awakening, what happened to Peter and those with him? Luke 9:32
Personal – How do you think you would react if while in prayer you fell asleep and awoke seeing Jesus, Moses and Elijah? Do you think this is possible?
- When the men were leaving, what did Peter say to Jesus? Luke 9:33
- While Peter was speaking, what overshadowed them? What was the reaction of the disciples? Luke 9:34
- What came from the cloud and what was said? Luke 9:35
- Who was standing there when the voice fell silent, and did the disciples tell anyone about this at that time? Luke 9:36
Personal – In what ways have you listened to Jesus this past week? Do you speak to him and then listen to what he has to say through his Word? What is it that God wants to do in you? Are you allowing God to transform you? As you do this you too will be transformed as it says in 2 Corinthians 3:18.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 27:1, 7-9, 13-14
(“Wait for the Lord, take courage;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 27:1, 7-9, 13-14.
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 15:5-12, 17-18
Abram was not promised wealth or fame, he already had that, but God promised that Abram’s descendants would be too numerous to count. Abram was an old man with no heirs to his own fame and fortune and we see God promising to change all that. Abram believes with all his heart, mind and soul. Abram’s faith was a strong response to the living presence and power of God in his life and his faith had made him right with God.
We too can have a right relationship with God by trusting him with our lives. Our outward actions, church attendance, prayer, good deeds, and even reading Sacred Scripture, by themselves, will not make us right with God. A right relationship is based on faith. We are confident that God is who he says he is and does what he says he will do. Righteous actions will follow a strong faith naturally as a by-product.
We have read of Abram’s mistakes and know that he was not perfect. Though human and sinful, Abram believed and trusted in God. It was faith and not perfection that made Abram righteous in God’s eyes. This same principle applies to us. Our first response must be to believe in God and to trust in him completely. God’s covenant with Abram was serious business. It represented an incredible promise from God and a huge responsibility from Abram. To confirm his promises to Abram, God gave him a sign, the smoking fire pot and the flaming torch. God confirmed his promise to you and to me when he gave us Jesus Christ, our personal Lord and Savior.
Paul challenges the Philippians to use him as a role model in their attempt to live like Christ. He did not mean that they should just copy him as if he were perfect, but they should focus on their lives being like Christ’s life. There was no written Gospel yet, so Paul could not tell them to read the bible to see what Christ was like. Paul therefore urged the people to follow his example as a personal testimony to his character.
We need to ask ourselves about what kind of follower would a new Christian become if he or she imitated us. There is an old saying that is pretty powerful, and it goes like this: “To some people, the only bible that they will ever read will be you.” Paul was very strong in his comment about the self-indulgent Christians. These are people who claim to be Christian, but do not live up to the model of being a servant of Christ. There is very little sacrifice in their attitude or actions. They satisfy their own desires before even thinking about the needs of others.
Freedom in Christ does not mean freedom to be selfish, it means the opportunity to serve. We can only become true servants of the Lord when we die to ourselves. This means putting others first, and it means that we all are called to “walk the walk, as well as, talk the talk.” Paul was very clear in stating that the bodies we receive when we as Christians are raised from the dead will be like Christ’s resurrected body.
Paul is encouraging his listeners to give thanks, and we might all give thanks today, because when Christ returns to take us into his eternal kingdom, we will be glorified and made completely perfect. Paul closes the reading by telling his listeners that he longs to see his brothers and sisters in the Lord. He longs to renew old friendships and he urges them to stay true to the Lord.
Today that plea is extremely important, and we are called to hold true to the Lord. The attack on us as Christians is enormous and only by being true to Jesus Christ and staying close in Christian fellowship through his Holy Word, church and sacraments can we be victorious with him.
Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of the mountain to pray together to his heavenly father. He took them there to show them who he really was, not just a great prophet, but God’s only Begotten Son. He just recently told them that they would not die before they had seen the kingdom of God (Luke 9:27). He was referring to the transfiguration. Jesus’ listeners were not going to have to wait for another future Messiah. He was telling them the kingdom was among them and would soon come in power through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, representing the prophets, appeared with Jesus and God’s voice singled out Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah with divine authority. Jesus would fulfill both the law and the prophets because he was the summation of it all. The brightness of Jesus’ face was being seen for the first time by the apostles. They were really seeing him for whom he really was. Moses saw the dazzling brightness in the clouds on the mountaintop and in the burning bush on the desert floor, but while he was alive, he never saw the brightness that radiated from the face of Christ on that mountaintop. The transfiguration or change was in the apostles because they were seeing Jesus in a totally new way.
Have you experienced the miracle of the transfiguration in your life? Have you asked Christ to come in and take up residence in your heart? He will gladly abide in you if you will abide in him (John 15:7). Jesus stands knocking on the door to our heart, and he will wait as long as it takes. Open that door of your heart today and look into the radiance and dazzling brightness of his face. He is waiting to share his transfiguration with you, and he wants you to witness to others the miracle of his love and forgiveness.
The apostles did not want to leave that mountain because the change was fantastic, and they did not want to take a chance of losing the excitement of the moment. Jesus is the chosen one and in him is all power and glory. He wants the apostles to come off that mountain and go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus is giving all of us the same command, and that is to leave the safety of the mountaintop, and go down into the dark, cold valleys and lead our children to safety (Matthew 28:20). And remember, whatever you do to the least of my children, you do unto me (Matthew 25:31-46.)
The first reading shows faith is the response to the living presence and power of God in our life. The second reading challenges faith-filled Christians to be Christ-like role models. The Gospel reveals that conversion to Christ brings upon us a complete transfiguration.
This week let others see in you a transfiguration. Show that Christ resides within you by your actions. Make a commitment to serve joyfully those around you, and others will notice the radiance and dazzling brightness that comes from you. You will bring more people to Christ by the good fruit you bear. Gal.5:22-23