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 ACTS 5:12-16 FIRST READING
(“Many signs and wonders were done among the people….”)
- By what means did many signs and wonders occur? Acts 5:12
- From where did the power to perform these signs and wonders come? Acts 1:8
- This power has been passed on to whom? Acts 2:38-39
- In what regard do the people place the apostles? Acts 5:13
- What did men and women in great numbers do? Acts 5:14
- What did the apostles say that they came to believe? Acts 4:4
- As a result of people believing and being added to their number, what did they do, and where did they bring the sick? Acts 5:15
- What happened to the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits? Acts 5:15-16
- Read the following Scriptures and tell what constitutes healing: Mark 5:34 – Luke 18:42 – Acts 14:9
- Read the following Scriptures and tell who was healed:
Matthew 8:16 – Matt. 12:15 –
Mark 6:56 – Acts 5:16 –
Personal – In what way do you see signs and wonders occurring in your home? In what way do you, your family, friends, and co-workers need healing? What do you think will bring about a healing? Meditate on this and then share it with someone.
THIRD DAY READ REVELATIONS 1:9-13, 17-19 SECOND READING
(“the first and the last and the one who lives”)
On what island did John find himself? Revelation 1:9
- See if you can find this island on a Bible map.
- With whom does John share and what three things does he share with them? Revelation 1:4, 9
- Why was John sent to the island Patmos? Revelation 1:9
Personal – In what way have you ever felt deserted or isolated for proclaiming God’s word and for having borne witness to Jesus?
- On the Lord’s day John heard something. What was it, and what did it say? Revelation 1:10-11
- For what did John turn around, and what did he see? Revelation 1:12-13
- What did he hold in his right hand and what came out of his mouth? Revelation 1:16
- When John caught sight of him, what did he do? Revelation 1:17
- What did he say to John? Revelation 1:17-19
- What did he tell him to do when he sees a vision, what he sees now, and what he will see in time to come? Rev.1:19
Personal – What were some thoughts or visions you had today that you could write down? How can writing your spiritual thoughts in a journal each night help you in your journey through life?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 20:19-31 GOSPEL
(Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.)
- On the evening of the first day of the week who appeared to the disciples, what did they do to the door, and for what reason? John 20:19
- What did he say to them, what did he show them, and what was their reaction? John 20:19-20
- What did he say again to them? John 20:21
Personal – Reflect on areas in which you do not have peace. Stop what you’re doing in that area and ask the Holy Spirit if it is an area that he is sending you or speaking through you, or is it an area of your own doing?
- In Verse 22 of John 20, what did Jesus do and say to the disciples?
- What must we do to receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38
6 If you forgive men’s sins, what will happen to them; and if you retain them, what will happen? John 20:23
- What did Jesus say to Peter in Matthew 16:19?
- Read Matthew 18:18; what does it say about binding and loosing?
- Who was absent when Jesus came to the disciples, what did they keep telling him, and what was his answer? John 20:24-25
- What happened a week later, what was the greeting, what did Jesus say to Thomas, and what was his response? John 20:26-28
- Whom did Jesus say are the blessed? John 20:29
- What did Jesus do, and why have these been recorded? John 20:30-31
- Where do you find your life? John 14:6 and John 20:31 Write out John 14:6.
Personal – What areas of life (education, job, athletics, hobbies, etc.) have you been pursuing? In what way can you focus more on the true fulfillment (Jesus) in life rather than on what you have been doing?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
(The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.)
Read and meditate of Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24.
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
It was like in the days of Jesus in Galilee all over again, so many were being healed by the apostles. No wonder the Jewish authorities grew jealous of their enormous influence. But threats, imprisonment, even the lash are no weapons with which to resist the power of God. The apostles demonstrated an almost unlimited amount of healing power. The healing was so spectacular that it seemed almost like magic. Peter parallels such items as Paul’s handkerchief (Acts.19:12) and the edge of Jesus’ cloak (Mt. 9:20). But Peter very carefully tells all that his healing power comes from God in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:12-16).
Today, many wonder if God really heals his people. Where are the people like Peter, Paul, and the other apostles? Why are people so reluctant to reach out and call for a healing? We see in today’s Scripture a high sense of expectancy by the people. We see them bringing their sick out into the streets and believing that a healing was going to take place. We need to bring that expectancy into our lives, and God’s healing power will explode today just as it did in the Scriptures. We need to fall on our knees and repent of our sin of unbelief and let God heal us through his signs and wonders.
We see people like St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and many Spirit-filled expectant Christians today who confidently call forth God’s healing power through their loving touch to the poor. His healing power was given to all who professed that He was Lord and, as in Scripture, everyone who called on Him was healed. His healing power is alive today through His Word, Eucharist, and the loving touch of His children. He is the healer yesterday, today, and forever.
It was common practice for groups to meet for teaching and discussion in the courts of the public buildings. Disciples listened to their teachers in the courts of the Temple. The Christians met in Solomon’s Porch; but knowing the authorities’ hostilities toward them, many kept their distance. Some Jews were afraid to join the meetings because they were in direct defiance of the Sanhedrin’s order as seen in chapter four of Acts.
Because of the fate of Ananias and his wife (Acts 5:1-11), those who want to follow Christ should seriously evaluate the cost of discipleship.
REVELATION 1:9-13, 17-19
Revelation shows us that John was a church leader who was well known to the seven churches in Asia Minor. The churches were located about 50 miles apart and formed a circle in what today is known as Turkey. These churches were like postal centers, and the entire book of Revelation apparently was sent to each one of the seven churches.
The Christians were entering a time of persecution and John, himself, was sent to the Island of Patmos which was a Roman penal colony. Roman authorities at this time were beginning to enforce the cult of emperor worship. Christians who held that Christ, not Caesar, was Lord faced great hostility. John, himself, was exiled for proclaiming the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus (v.9).
John wrote to the believers to resist staunchly the demands of emperor worship. John is also encouraged to write about what is current and what is to happen. We also need to write, read, and reflect on what the Lord is saying to us in our daily living. Like John, we are called to spread the word of God and testimony of Jesus. We need to write in our journal those daily inspirational thoughts that come from the Holy Spirit. We also need to stand up like John did to the idolatry of today’s world.
The gods of money, power, sex, and the media are very powerful and demand full tribute. We, like John, may be called upon to pay the price for our belief in Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mat. 28:16-20). Jesus gave John the great commission; he responded, and we are called to make the same response.
There is a story told about a primitive South American jungle tribe that had as its most important member someone who was called “A keeper of the flame.” Fire among this primitive people was a precious commodity and to start a fire often took long hours. Keeping the flame going was much easier. It was the very important task of the flame keeper to add wood to the fire at night and to be sure the fire never went out. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus’ final appearance was to prepare the disciples to continue to carry on his earthly ministry. His final words to his followers are basically words that will equip them to be “keepers of the flame.”
Jesus appeared to this small group of frightened men gathered in the upper room. He found them in the darkness of despair. Jesus greeted them, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19). Oh, how they needed to hear those words from him. A more frightened group of men could not be found anywhere in Jerusalem that night.
Jesus startled his disciples out of their despair by reminding them of a fundamental fact: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Jesus is saying, ” I need you to continue the work that I started.” Even though he would be seen leaving to ascend to heaven, the fire started by his life, death, and resurrection must not be extinguished. He must continue to teach, preach, heal, save mankind, and he will do it through his “keepers of the flame.” His new body will be composed of believers, and they will become Christ’s hands, feet, heart, and life upon the earth.
And what about us? Is the message and mission of Jesus continuing in our world? Are we fulfilling the mission entrusted to the small group of men who followed Jesus of Nazareth? What is our calling? The answer to these questions requires a closer look at this Easter appearance of Jesus. Meeting their Resurrected Savior transformed eleven terrified apostles into courageous “keepers of the flame.” The secret of their power is also our secret, and that is the peace of mind and heart.
The real power is the Holy Spirit, who gives us the Peace of Christ, and sends us out to fulfill the Great Commission. He gives us the power to fulfill this mission by giving us what we need most, “His living presence in our life.” There are four things we must be ready to do in a moment as “keepers of the flame”: pray, preach, give our testimony, and die. The mission of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is ours; and we must be ready to do what he has done also.
The first reading shows that Jesus is the healer yesterday, today, and forever. The second reading shows that like John, we are called to spread the Word of God everywhere. The Gospel tells us that we are called to be “keepers of the flame.”
To be a “keeper of the flame” in your family, you must take on the responsibility of making certain that the fire does not go out. You can do this by your prayer, leading your family in Scripture, attending the sacraments with them, encouraging them to give their lives to Christ, and letting them see in your actions that you are a real “keeper of the flame.”