CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE A
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 1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12 FIRST READING
(“I give you a heart so wise and understanding…”)
- Where did the Lord speak to Solomon, and what was known about that place? 1 Kings 3:4-5
- Who were Solomon’s parents? 2 Samuel 12:24
- What did God say to Solomon, and where did he say it?
1 Kings 3:5
- Why did God show great favor to Solomon’s father?
1 Kings 3:6
- What did Solomon say God has made him, and what did he
call himself? 1 Kings 3:7
- Because of his age, what did he recognize about himself? 1 Kings 3:7
- Whom would Solomon serve, and how many were there?
1 Kings 3:8
- What kind of heart did Solomon ask God to give him, and what two things would this help him to do? 1 Kings 3:9
- How did the Lord feel about Solomon’s request?
1 Kings 3:10
- God was pleased with Solomon because he did not ask for what three things? 1 Kings 3:11
- What did God say he would do? What kind of heart would
Solomon have, and would there ever be anyone like him?
1 Kings 3:12
- What has God given us through Christ? Ephesians 1:9
- Where is every treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3
Personal – What have been your requests from God this past week? How have you been praying for a loved one who may have strayed from the faith? After you have done the above study, what changes can you make in your prayers (requests from God)?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:28-30 SECOND READING
(“Those he called he also justified;”)
- What do we know God makes, and to whom does he make this happen? Romans 8:28
- For those whom God foreknew, what did he predestine them to share? Romans 8:29
- Of whom might the Son (Jesus) be the first-born?
- Through whom has God predestined us to become his adopted sons and daughters, and when did God plan this? Ephesians 1:3-5
- What did God do for them? Romans 8:30
- What did God do to those he called and in turn glorified? Romans 8:30
- How does God administer everything, and how were we
predestined? Ephesians 1:11
- What two things were our responses to being chosen in Jesus? Ephesians 1:13
- As was promised, with whom were we sealed? Ephesians 1:13
- How have we been justified?
Romans 8:30, Ephesians 1:7, 13
Personal – What is your response to what Jesus has done for you personally? Do your actions in public show your belief? How do you act in a crisis? Is the reality of what Christ has done in your life visible to others in all circumstances? Reflect on this.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 13:44-52 GOSPEL
(“Angels will go and separate the wicked from the just.”)
- The reign of God is like a man who finds a treasure. What does he do when he finds it? Matthew 13:44
- Again, like what is the kingdom of heaven?
- What did the merchant do when he found a really valuable pearl? Matthew 13:46
- What did Jesus say we would have in heaven if we sell all our possessions, and whom are we to follow?
- What does Paul consider a loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of his Lord Jesus Christ, and for Jesus’ sake, what has he forfeited?
- The reign of God is also like a dragnet thrown into the lake which collected all sorts of things. When the haul is brought ashore, what is done with what is worthwhile, and what is done with what is useless? Matthew 13:47-48
- What will it be like at the end of the world?
- What will the angels do? Matthew 13:49-50
- What is the question Jesus put to his disciples, and
what was their reply? Matthew 13:51
- By whom are we taught in order to interpret spiritual
things, and whose mind do we have? 1 Cor 2:10-16
- What is every teacher of the law like who is learned in the reign of God? Matthew 13:52
Personal – Take an inventory of your life and reflect on the areas where you have been worthwhile or useful for God. Also, reflect where you have not been worthwhile or useful for God. How can you become more useful? A good example of usefulness for God is Mother Teresa. Pray on this.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130
(“The revelation of your words give light,
giving understanding to the simple.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130.
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
1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12
Today’s passage from the book of 1 Kings, is about Solomon, the third king of Israel. He was called the wisest man who ever lived. He sealed many of his foreign agreements by marrying pagan women, and he allowed his lust for women and power to affect his loyalty to God. Solomon is an example to all of us how effective leadership can be blocked by an ineffective personal life. He was a tremendous politician, diplomat, trader, and collector of fine arts, but he was very disobedient to God in running his own household. He had it all and yet he failed to obey God, and he did not learn repentance until late in life. Today’s story brings out what is really lasting in life and what is temporary. Solomon was given a chance to have anything he requested and he asked for wisdom to be a good leader of his people. God was very pleased at his request.
We need to ask ourselves: if God gave us the same chance to have anything we wished, would we have responded like Solomon? We need to ask for this same kind of wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom to do what was expected of him, and today more than ever, we need to ask God for the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. Solomon, like many of us, received great gifts; but again, like some of us, he did not apply the benefits of these gifts to all areas of his life.
You and I need to reflect on our own lives and discern how much we are living for God instead of ourselves. Solomon was wise, but he did not put that wisdom fully into action. Wisdom is both the discernment to know what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge. Solomon asked for wisdom, not wealth, power or fame. God gave him all of this because of his generosity. Solomon sought only God’s Kingship, not anything else, and we too must do the same and have the courage to follow his way all of our life (Matt.6:33). You can be wiser than Solomon by putting God and his work first in your life. The real wise man is the one who has put on the mind of Christ and serves others rather than rules over others (Phil. 2:2-5).
Today’s reading from Paul to the Romans is one of the most powerful verses in the New Testament, and it is also one of the most misunderstood. God works out all things, not just a few isolated incidents, for our good. All that happens to many of us is not just good; sometimes bad things happen too. God is able to take them and turn them around for our long-range good. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. We must recognize that this promise applies only to those who love God and are fitting into God’s plans. We are called to trust in God, not in life’s treasures. We are called to look for our security in heaven, not here on earth (Cor. 3:2-4). Then, and only then, can we learn to accept pain and persecution on earth, because they bring us closer to God. This sounds rather hard; but when the force of some catastrophic event slams into your life, the healing power of God’s love can take you through the dark raging waters.
God does work things out for our good. Many times we do not see them at first, but time shows us how God was very much present when we thought we were all alone. God’s ultimate goal is for all of us to become like Christ (1 John 3:2). God’s Holy Word reveals to us that we can become the persons we were created to be. We need to remember that God’s purpose was that no one should perish. We are all called to serve and to glorify God. The sovereignty of God should always be a reason for rejoicing and confidence, not of puzzlement or doubt.
Remember, if God gave his Begotten Son to die for us, he is not going to hold back the gift of salvation. If Christ gave his life for us, he is not going to turn around and condemn us. No matter what may be happening to you, just rest in his redeeming grace and he will work things out for your ultimate good, simply because he loves you.
The kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a person must be willing to give up everything to obtain it. The kingdom of heaven is ours because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His death bought our freedom and eternal life with him forever in heaven.
We might ask, who would oppose us in our goal to obtain the kingdom of heaven. In many places the tyranny of governments strictly puts the pressure of threats and physical harm on Christians, and in many cases, subjects them to public ridicule. We need only look around and see how society treats those who object to abortion. The people who choose pro-life instead of pro-death are many times arrested and sentenced to jail (Matt. 10:18-19).
Today’s Gospel passage deals with a treasure found by accident and the value was so great that everything else was sold in order to possess the great treasure. How much of your treasures are you willing to let go in order that you might possess the greatest treasure in the universe? We cannot serve God and money, power or status. We are called as Christians to go out and tell others of this priceless treasure.
We need to show others that they too may possess this treasure by giving up their temporary treasures and claiming the treasure of treasures, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must never forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:39, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” Jesus taught that the kingdom was now and he was the real treasure, not power, money, sex, or status. He tells us again today that to gain his treasure, we must let go of the earth’s treasures and cling only to him. If you sometimes doubt your salvation, the forgiveness of your sins, or God’s work in your life, look at the evidence in Scripture and the changes in your life. About what do you spend most of your time thinking? Remember, where your treasure is, there is your heart also (Matthew 6:21).
The first reading this week shows Solomon really choosing a great treasure in asking for wisdom. In the second reading we see Paul going beyond the quick fix, and in faith proclaiming God’s will for those who believe in the Lord. The Gospel brings us into touch with the what and where of our real treasure.
This week, let us use our spiritual vision and see what God wants to do with our lives. Look around and choose someone in the family, or in school or at work, and show by your action that you want to serve them and that their interest comes first. Your treasure is serving others in the name of Jesus. Serve them by doing a chore for them, helping out at home, or spending time with your family. Do not let anything interrupt.