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 JEREMIAH 17:5-8 FIRST READING
(“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.”)
- What does the Lord say about the man who trusts in human beings? Where does he seek his strength, and from whom does he turn his heart away? Jeremiah 17:5
- Why do you not put your trust in man? Psalm 146:3
- What is worthless? Psalm 108:13
- Who else do we not trust? 2 Corinthians 1:9
- What happens to the man who turns his heart away from the Lord? Jeremiah 17:5-6
- What is the person who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord? Jeremiah 17:7
- What is Jeremiah telling Ebed-melech, the Cushite, will happen to him because he trusted the Lord? Jeremiah 39:18
- What does he that trusts the Lord not fear, and what does he bear? Jeremiah 17:7-8
- What makes you fruitful? Ezekiel 19:10
- What will happen to those who believe and trust in Jesus? John 7:38-39
Personal – In whom do you put your trust for your shelter, food clothing, protection, guidance, etc.? How much control does your spouse, banker, or insurance agent have on your well-being or mood for the day?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:12, 16-20 SECOND READING
(“But now Christ has been raised from the dead,”)
- As what was Christ being preached, and what were some saying? 1 Corinthians 15:12
- What was Paul preaching to the brothers? 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- If the dead are not raised, what is that saying about Christ? What happens to your faith, and what are you still in? 1 Corinthians 15:16-17
- Why was Jesus raised from the dead? Romans 4:23-25
- If you do not believe Christ was raised, what happens to those who have fallen asleep in Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:18
- Who are the most unfortunate or pitiable people of all? 1 Corinthians 15:19
- Who is in you, and for what is this hope? Colossians 1:27
- What has Christ done, and what is he to those who have fallen asleep? 1 Corinthians 15:20
- Who is the One who raised Jesus from the dead, where is he now, and what will he give you? Romans 8:11
- Of what is Jesus the head, the beginning, and the first born of the dead? What does this make him? Colossians 1:18
Personal – What are you hoping for when you pass from this life to the next in Christ?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 6:17, 20-26 GOSPEL
(“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!”)
- When Jesus came and stood on level ground, who came to hear Him? Luke 6:17-18
- Toward whom did Jesus raise his eyes, and to who did he say the kingdom of God belonged? Luke 6:20
- Who became poor for our sake? 2 Corinthians 8:9
- Who will be satisfied and laughing? Luke 6:21
- If we come to the Lord, what will he do? Isaiah 55:1-2
- When people hate you, exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil because of Whom, what will you be? Luke 6:22
- What did Jesus tell his disciples, and what will those who kill you think they are doing? John 16:1-2
- What are you to do, where is your reward, and what did your ancestors do? Luke 6:23
- Who has received his consolation, and what will happen to those who are full and happy now? Luke 6:24-25
- About whom did your ancestors speak well? Luke 6:26
Personal – What has been your reaction to your own poverty and mistreatment here and now? Give an example of your rejoicing and leaping for joy on account of your love of Jesus and for being persecuted for that love.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 1:1-4, 6
(“For the Lord watches over the way of the just,”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 1:1-4, 6.
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
Jeremiah is describing two kinds of people in today’s reading: the wicked and the righteous. The wicked trust false gods and military alliances instead of God and thus are barren and unfruitful. The people of Judah sought advice from everyone but God.
When we are driven by fear, we seem to look everywhere for advice and comfort, hoping to find an easy way out of our troubled situation. Instead, we should have gone to God first for direction. He will give us the help we need, but he prefers to be our source of everything throughout our lives. We can do this by reading his Word and actively seeking to do his will. We can maintain contact that gives us strength no matter what the problem.
In today’s reading, God was not happy with his people because they sought power and protection from other nations. He warned that these alliances may seem inviting, but in the long run, they will turn out to be harmful.
We are not to turn for direction from those who are of the world and not of God. Ask God to help you choose what the best and wisest action you should take is. Trusting in the Lord is the first step of obedience in following the Lord. We always make another marvelous discovery of the depth of God’s goodness and kindness when we step out and trust him.
Many people have grown up with a misunderstanding of God and right living. To live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God is found only by demonstrating a reverence for God and experiencing how good he actually is. You show reverence to God by showing deep respect and honor to one another. Jesus shows us how to reverence him when he tells us to love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12).
1 CORINTHIANS 15:12, 16-20
For Paul, the death and resurrection of Christ is the core of all Christian teaching. Paul states this very dramatically when he tells the Corinthian converts, “If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain.” The church at Corinth was in the heart of Greek culture and most Greeks did not believe that people’s bodies would be resurrected after death. They saw life after death as something that happened only to the soul. At that time Greek philosophy states that only the soul was the real person, and it was imprisoned in a physical body. At death, there was no immortality for the body, but the soul entered an eternal state. In contrast, Scripture stated that the body and soul will be united after resurrection. Paul did not want the Christian converts to fall back into pagan ideas about what really happens to a believer after death.
Today there are false teachers proclaiming that the resurrection of Christ was not really physical, but spiritual. We know that by his resurrection is revealed as “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Paul is telling the people that if Christianity has no eternal value, then what was the reason for going through the persecution and, in many cases, death?
The resurrection is the center of our Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead, we know that what he said was true — he is God. Because he rose, his death for our sins was validated, and we can be forgiven. Because he rose, he lives and makes intercession for us. Because he rose and defeated death, we who believe in him will rise also. Without the bodily resurrection of Christ, perseverance in faith, including the sacrifices involved in suffering and persecutions, is pointless and at best foolish.
LUKE 6:17, 20-26
In today’s reading we see Luke giving an account on the beatitudes similar to Matthew’s sermon (Matt. 5:1-12). Beatitude comes from a Latin word which means “blessing.” The beatitudes describe what it means to be a real follower of Christ. They are also a standard of conduct, and a way in which we can live our lives in accordance with the teachings of Christ. They are referred by many as the Christian attitudes of being well, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
There is tremendous conflict between the values of God’s kingdom and the values of the world. The beatitudes show what Christians can expect from the world, and what God will give them. Like a very sharp knife, the beatitudes cut away false piety from true humility. They also very clearly show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in God’s kingdom.
Jesus startled his listeners because each beatitude or blessing is in fact a challenge. The beatitudes are like flashes of lightning followed by a thunder of surprise and amazement. They take the accepted standards of the world and turn them upside down. The people whom Jesus called happy or blessed would be called wretches, misfits, or losers in today’s world. Jesus reaches into the core of what he is teaching when he stated that if we set our heart and bend our energies to obtain things which the world values, we will get them, but that is all we will get.
Jesus puts the challenge to us very clearly. Will we take the easy way which yields immediate pleasure and profit, or will we take the hard way which yields immediate toil and sometimes much suffering? Will we concentrate on the world’s rewards which are temporary or on God’s blessings which will bring us eternal life?
The first reading shows God, not man, as the source of all real power. The second reading says that because Christ rose from the dead, as a believer of him, so will we. In the Gospel we see that God’s reward is forever, and the world’s reward is temporary.
This week let your attitude be an action of love, gentleness, and strength. Show your humility by putting family needs before your own needs. You can only demonstrate this kind of power if you are strong in your private time alone in prayer with the Lord. Read Scripture daily, and he will give you direction in your daily actions. Show the people at school or work that because you are loved, you are capable of loving others. Remember, blessed are they who love, for they are of God.