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 REVELATION 7:2-4, 9-14 FIRST READING
(“They prostrated themselves before the throne,”)
l. What was seen coming up from the east, what was he holding, and to whom did he cry out in a loud voice? Revelation 7:2
2. On whom has God the Father set his seal? John 6:27
3. With what were you sealed as the first installment of your inheritance towards redemption? Ephesians 1:13-14
4. What were the angels told not to damage until the seal was put upon whose foreheads? Revelation 7:3
5. How many had been marked, and from where were they? Revelation 7:4
6. Who were standing with the lamb, and what were they doing? Revelation 14:1, 3
7. What was John’s vision, before whom did they stand, and what were they wearing? Revelation 7:9
8. From whom did they say salvation comes, and where is he seated? Revelation 7:10
9. What did the angels standing around the throne do? Revelation 7:11
10. As the angels worshipped God, what did they exclaim? Revelation 7:12
11. What did one of the elders speak up and say, and who were the ones wearing the white robes? Revelation 7:13-14
12. What did the blood of Jesus do for us? Hebrews 9:14 and 1 John 1:7
Personal – How often do you worship the Lord during the day in practice for the time you will spend in eternity worshipping him?
THIRD DAY READ 1 John 3:1-3 SECOND READING
(“What we shall be has not yet been revealed.”)
1. What has the Father bestowed on us, what might we be called, and why does the world not know us? 1 John 3:1
2. How do we become a child of God? John 1:12, John 3:16
3. What did Jesus make known to us, and for what reason? John 17:25-26
4. What are we now, what has not been revealed, and what will happen when it is revealed? 1 John 3:2
5. What does Jesus do to our bodies? Philippians 3:20-21
6. Why should we remain in Jesus? 1 John 2:28
7. What is happening to us, and how is the veil lifted? 2 Corinthians 3:14-18
8. What does everyone do who has this hope based on him? 1 John 3:3
9. How do we make ourselves pure? 1 John 2:5-6
10. What is pure and true? Psalm 19:10
Personal – How have you become more like Jesus this past week? Be specific.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 5:1-12 GOSPEL
(“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me.”)
1. Where did Jesus go when he saw the crowds, and who came to him? Matthew 5:1
2. What did he do with the disciples, what did he say belongs to the poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness? Matthew 5:2-3, 10
3. What will happen to those who mourn and to those who are meek? Matthew 5:4-5
4. Where is God’s dwelling, and what will he do? Revelation 21:3-4
5. In what shall the meek delight? Psalm 37:11
6. What will happen to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and to those who are merciful? Matthew 5:6-7
7. Over what does mercy triumph? James 2:13
8. Who will the clean of heart see, and who will be called the children of God? Matthew 5:8-9
9. Whose heart is clean? Psalm 24:4-5
10. Who is to rejoice and be glad, for what reason, and who was persecuted before them? Matthew 5:10-12
11. What happened to those who proclaimed the name of Jesus, and what was their reaction? Acts 5:40-42
Personal – In which of the beatitudes do you find yourself blessed? In what way have you been persecuted for your faith by your family, friends, work associates or school friends?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 24:1-6
(“The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 24:1-6.
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
REVELATION 7:2-4, 9-14
This reading shows John is seeing a vision of the last terrible day and in particular the great tribulation which is to come. During the tribulation there will be a final assault by all the forces of evil and a final devastation of the earth. But before this time of horror and devastation comes, the faithful are to be sealed with the great seal of God so they may survive it. It is not that they escape from experiencing it, but that they may survive it.
A seal on a scroll identified and protected its contents. God places his great seal on his followers, identifying them as his own and guaranteeing his protection over their souls. This is why we have the Sacrament of Baptism, and it shows how valuable we are to him. Our physical bodies may be beaten or even destroyed, but nothing can harm the souls of those marked by God.
We see the seal of God that is placed on the forehead of the believers is the exact opposite of the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:6). These two marks place the people in two very distinct categories. There are those owned by God and those owned by Satan. Satan is always trying to imitate the great works of God.
The number of believers in today’s passage symbolizes completeness. All God’s followers will be brought safely to him. You will always be protected from spiritual harm when Jesus is Lord and master of your life and soul, and not even death can separate his love from you (Romans 8:39).
1 JOHN 3:1-3
As believers, our self-worth is based on God’s love for us and that he calls us his children. To belong and to be loved is the deepest need there is in a human being. The numbers in the mental hospitals and prisons would be drastically reduced if the people in those places really had a good self-image.
We are God’s children now, not just sometime in the distant future. We are children of the king, and we are heirs to his kingdom of heaven. We have been adopted into God’s family through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. To be called a child of God is a great privilege, and yet, we are not just called children of God; we are the children of God. By nature a man is a creature of God, but it is by grace that he becomes a child of God.
The Old Testament tells us that the Israelites are the covenant people of God. In the New Testament, by a deliberate act of adoption on the part of God, the children enter into his family. We become his children in the intimate and loving sense of the term only by an act of God’s initiating grace and the response of their own hearts in the Sacrament of Baptism. When we become children of God, our life has only just begun. We will continue to grow in the image and likeness of God by following the teachings and examples of Jesus Christ. We can do this through the power of the Holy Spirit and the loving guidance of the Catholic Church. One day you will be face to face with “ABBA,” your heavenly Father and your Loving Savior Jesus Christ, and what a wonderful joy it will be when he says to you, “Welcome, my obedient, loving child.”
This passage reveals to us the Christian attitude of being. Jesus is not calling his disciples to live in such a way that they will be blessed. he is in fact saying that because they are living in accordance with God’s will, they are already blessed. Blessed means being joyful, and this is a joy that no man or circumstance can take away.
This passage begins with Jesus sitting down as he began to preach. This was a signal that what he was saying was an official message, a message that was to be heard and responded to. When a Jewish rabbi was teaching officially, he sat to teach. We speak today of a professor’s chair, and the Pope only speaks “Ex cathedra” from his seat.
We hear Jesus say blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. The Jews had four levels of being poor. The first was just being unable to make ends meet, second was having no power, third was having no influence, and finally, having no earthly resources whatsoever and putting their whole trust in God. The Jews described the word poor as the humble and hapless man who puts his whole trust in God. This really means blessed is someone who realized his own helplessness and put his whole trust in God. He will become completely detached from things and will become completely attached to God. The man who is poor in spirit is the one who has realized that things mean nothing and that God means everything.
Do not think that poverty is a good thing. Jesus would never call living in slums, not having enough to eat, and poor health as being blessed. The poverty which is blessed is the poverty of the spirit. The kingdom of heaven awaits the one who realizes that God is his real treasure. Are you that person?
The first reading shows that God has placed his great seal on all of his believers through baptism. The second reading tells us that adoption means being selected and God chose you to be his child. The Gospel reveals that nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death (Romans 8:39).
This week, let yourself be completely poor in spirit. Let your attachment be only to people, not things. Look in your closet and see what clothes you do not really need and then give them to the poor. Look at your financial picture and see what you can cut out of your spending and give that expense to the poor.
Look at how you spend your time. Is it mostly for your benefit? Try to see where you can give more time to others in need. Mother Teresa says, “Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.” Blessed are you because you are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).