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.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ 2 KINGS 4:42-44 FIRST READING
(“Give it to the people to eat,”)
l. What was brought to the man of God? 2 Kings 4:42
2. What did Elisha tell them to do with what they brought him? 2 Kings 4:42
3. What did Elisha’s servant say to him? 2 Kings 4:43
4. What did Elisha insist the servant do, and for what reason? 2 Kings 4:43
5. What did Jesus say about himself, and how does he say we will never hunger or thirst? John 6:35
6. What did Jesus say is true food and true drink, and what will happen to whoever eats and drinks this? John 6:55-56
7. What happened to those who had eaten, and who said this would happen? 2 Kings 4:44
8. What should we do with our surplus, and for what reason? 2 Corinthians 8:14-15
9. About what are we not to worry, and what are we to seek? Matthew 6:31-33
10. What is the question asked in Matthew 6:26?
Personal – In what way can you increase your faith in God regarding food?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 4:1-6 SECOND READING
(“..striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”)
1. What does Paul say he is in the Lord, and how is he urging us to live our life? Ephesians 4:1
2. For whose sake did Paul make himself a prisoner of Christ Jesus? Ephesians 3:1
3. How are we to bear with one another? Ephesians 4:2
4. For what are we to strive, and how are we to do it? Ephesians 4:3
5. What binds us together? Colossians 2:2
6. Of what is there only one, and to what were we all called? Ephesians 4:4-5
7. Where do we put our hope? Psalm 119:114
8. How do we abound in hope? Romans 15:13
9. Where is the one God and Father of all? Ephesians 4:6
10. From whom are all things, for whom, and through whom; and who is to be given glory? Romans 11:36
Personal – In what way can you become one within your family, friends and church? Referring to Ephesians 4:2, see how you can specifically apply this where there is disunity.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 6:1-15 GOSPEL
(“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”)
1. Why was a large crowd following Jesus, and where did Jesus go? John 6:1-3
2. What question did Jesus ask Philip, and why did he ask him this? John 6:4-6
3. What was Philip’s response, and what did Andrew say to him? John 6:7-9
4. What did Jesus have the people do, and how many men were there? John 6:10
5. What two things did Jesus do with the loaves? John 6:11
Personal – In what way do you give thanks for the food God has provided? How do you distribute it to others? What do you do with leftovers?
6. What did Jesus have his disciples do with the leftovers, and for what reason? John 6:12-13
7. What did the people say about Jesus when they saw what he had done? John 6:14
8. Why did Jesus withdraw alone to the mountain? John 6:15
9. For what reason did Jesus not want them to make him king? John 18:36
10. Who tried to tempt Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world? Matthew 4:8-9
Personal – In what way have others tried to put you in a position that you know is not where God is leading you? How have you dealt with this?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:10-11, 15-18
(“The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18.
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
2 KINGS 4:42-44
Today’s reading shows us that, like all the prophets, Elisha acts out God’s word as well as he speaks it. Elisha was well aware that the amount of food that he had on hand was not enough to feed the hungry crowd. His disciple told him in no uncertain terms that there was no way the crowd was going to be fed enough food. Elisha used the phrase, “For thus says the Lord,” in verse 43, and this is his basis for relying on the promises of almighty God. In faith he stood on the word of God and acted upon that holy word.
This entire passage emphasizes the incredible hope and power in the fulfillment of the divine word. Elisha had his assistant carry out his command and feed the hungry crowd, and sure enough, there was not only plenty for all, but there was even some food left over for the poor.
A vital sign in today’s message is the faith of Elisha and the obedience of doing what God commands. Elisha was a tremendous witness to that crowd because he obeyed God and was not afraid of what looked like an impossibility. Today we need to draw strength from Elisha’s example, and remember it is the same loving, compassionate God who wants us to be nourished and made whole and healthy. Like Elisha, we need to reach out and in faith obey God’s holy word. Not only will we be fed, but we will find that there will be leftovers for us to feed others in his holy name.
This passage reveals to us that our unity is a sacramental sign of the church’s foundations. The one Body-Spirit-Hope-Lord-Faith-Baptism-Father make us all one. Paul tells us that we are all parts of the one body, and we have been given many gifts and abilities. He also tells us that unity does not just happen; we all have to work at it.
Paul challenges us to live worthy of the name “Christian.” This name means belonging to Jesus Christ. Belonging means taking on the whole character of Christ which consists of being gentle, patient, understanding, forgiving, and peaceful. Every day wherever we go, people are observing us. Can they see Christ in us? Paul’s message was written in prison, and today he speaks to all of us who are in some ways locked up in different kinds of prisons. He tells us that no matter where we are or where we go, we go as Christ’s representative.
We know that no one is ever going to be perfect here on earth, so we must accept and love one another as Christians in spite of other people’s faults. We need to be especially loving to fellow believers. We need to be patient and gentle with someone whose actions or personality annoys us. It is very important that we do not dwell on that person’s weakness. Rather we can pray for that person and spend some time together building trust.
Unity in Christ is where the Holy Spirit wants to lead us, but we have to be willing to be led. We can do that by focusing on God’s will that we all be one in him. We can do that by loving one another as Jesus has loved us (John 13:34).
Jesus shows us the Father’s love and generosity in action. He shows us that the miraculous abundance of food reveals the abundance of divine love. At the sight of the crowd, Jesus knew that he and his disciples were not going to have any time for rest and meditation. He saw how hungry and tired the crowd was and turned to Philip and asked whether there was any place nearby where food could be purchased. Philip gave all the correct reasons why this request was impossible to fill. Philip looked at what could not be done and Jesus looked at what could be done.
A small boy was found with a few loaves of barley bread and a few pickled sardines. Barley bread was the cheapest of all bread and was held in contempt by many. Barley bread was the bread of the very poor. The fishes were no bigger than sardines and were pickled to keep them from spoiling. There was no other way to transport the fish and keep them in an eatable condition.
Jesus took this very humble source of food and gave thanks to his Father for it. He then blessed the bread, broke it and distributed it. The crowd was filled completely, and enough was left over to bring to the poor in town.
Today, Jesus takes all of the losers, rejects, outcasts, and sinners, and sets us down to feed us with his body and blood. He does not give us barley; he gives us himself, and he gives himself to all who come forward and say, “I hunger and thirst.” His food gives us the strength and courage to love, to forgive and to feed his lambs. They are in our families, our communities, our countries and all around the world.
Today Jesus tells us to feed his poor, just like he told Peter (John 21:15-17). Today Jesus asks us the same question he asked Peter, “Do you love me?” We are called to do just as Peter did, and that is to feed his sheep.
In the first reading Elisha not only spoke God’s Word, he also acted on it. We see in the second reading that unity does not mean uniformity, it means One in Christ. The Gospel reveals that we are to feed others with God’s Word and our love.
This week, be a person of action and see where you need to put aside petty differences to achieve unity in your family, with your co-workers, in your school and in your parish activities. Remember, we can not feed his sheep if we are too busy feeding ourselves.