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.
l. 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 GENESIS 3:9-15, 20 FIRST READING
(“He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”)
l. Who called to the man, and what did He ask him? Genesis 3:9
2. Whom did Jesus come to call? Mark 2:17
3. Why did the man hide himself? Genesis 3:10
4. With what are we longing to be clothed? 2 Corinthians 5:1-3
5. What did God ask the man? Genesis 3:11
6. What did the man say about the woman, and what did he do? Genesis 3:12
7. What did the Lord ask the woman, and who did she say tricked her? Genesis 3:13
8. What was Paul’s fear that the serpent may corrupt in the people of Corinth? 2 Corinthians 11:3
Personal – When you lose the peace of God within you, whom do you blame? Who is responsible?
9. What did the Lord say to the serpent, what did he say he would put between the serpent and the woman, and at what would he strike? Genesis 3:14-15
10. To what are we to be wise, and what will crush Satan under our feet? Romans 16:19-20
11. What did the man call his wife, and for what reason? Genesis 3:20
Personal – In what way can you protect your mind and thoughts from the evil one?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 1:3-6, 11-12 SECOND READING
(“…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.”)
1. Who is blessed, and with what has he blessed us? Ephesians 1:3
2. What two things does the Father show toward us? 2 Corinthians 1:3
3. How did God choose us to be before him, and when did he choose us? Ephesians 1:4
4. How do you become holy and without blemish? Ephesians 5:25-27
5. How did God destine us for adoption, and with what was it in accord? Ephesians 1:4-5
6. To whom did he give power to become children of God? John 1:12
7. What are we to praise? Ephesians 1:6
8. How were we chosen, and how does God plan and guide all things? Ephesians 1:11
9. What happens to those who are called according to his purpose, and how are we predestined? Romans 8:28-29
10. For what purpose do we exist? Ephesians 1:12
Personal – When things work out for your good, to whom do you give the glory? In what way do your actions show that you have been chosen by God?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 1:26-38 GOSPEL
(“May it be done to me according to your word.”)
1. Who was sent by God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, and when was he sent? Luke 1:26
2. To whom was he sent, and what was her name? Luke 1:27
3. What did the angel say to Mary, and what was her reaction to this greeting? Luke 1:28-29
4. What did the angel tell her not to do, and what did he say would happen to her? Luke 1:30-33
5. What did Jesus say to his disciples, and what cast out fear? Matthew 14:27, 1 John 4:18
6. What was Mary’s response to the angel telling her she would conceive and bear a son? Luke 1:34
7. Who did the angel say would come upon Mary, who would over-shadow her, and what would the child be called? Luke 1:35
8. What did the angel tell Joseph not to be, and how did he tell him the child was conceived in Mary? Matthew 1:20
9. What did the angel tell Mary about Elizabeth, and what did he say about God? Luke 1:36-37
10. What was Mary’s response, and what did the angel do? Luke 1:38
Personal – What specific plan does God have for your life? Have you responded as Mary did, “May it be done to me according to your word?” Think and pray about this.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 98:1-4
(“The Lord has made his salvation known,”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 98:1-4.
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
GENESIS 3:9-15, 20
Nothing really prepares us for the presence of the devil serpent in the garden. The ancient word “Nahash” brought fear into the hearts of the Israelites because they were forbidden to attend any type of liturgy that involved snake worship upon pain of violating the covenant. The mention of a serpent would identify something evil in the minds of the pious Israelites. The word Nahash and evil were synonymous and the serpent’s entrance into the garden brought sinful pollution.
This reading shows us how the serpent was cleverly working his way into new territory, and it shows the existence of evil forces outside the sphere of mankind. We see that God does not crash-in at people with death and punishment. In fact, God places himself on the side of people in the ongoing battle against the serpent.
The message of hope in this passage is that God always remains on man’s side. Sin, evil, and Satan are always the enemy of God and man. God states that Satan will be crushed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The good news is that Jesus has won for us the victory of eternal life. He defeated Satan on the cross at Calvary. We are assured of this because scripture tells us that it is so (John 3:16). God is with us, on our side, to save us from sin. If God is with us, who can be against us? In today’s passage the Messianic promise of ultimate salvation has been announced.
EPHESIANS 1:3-6, 11-12
Paul wrote this passage from inside the walls of a Roman prison. He had been a Christian for nearly thirty years, and he had taken three missionary trips and established churches all around the Mediterranean Sea. Ephesus was a commercial, political and religious center for all Asia Minor. The temple of the pagan Greek goddess Diana was located there. It is in this environment that we hear about blessings and heaven.
What is heaven? Heaven is where God is, and blessings mean all the good things that God has given to us, such as salvation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the power to do God’s will. We can enjoy these blessings now if we live in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us that God chose us to emphasize that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and freely gives it. There is no way to take credit for our salvation, or to find room for pride. God chose us, and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, we are transformed from sinner to a life of grace. God has adopted us as his own children through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). When you feel that your life is not worth much to anyone, remember that you are special in God’s eyes, a precious present that brings him great joy. God has offered salvation to you, and when your life seems chaotic, rest in this truth: Jesus is Lord, and God is in control.
In the old covenant, Jerusalem was the center and symbol of God’s union with his people. In the new covenant, the symbol is no longer a city, but a person, and she is Mary, the Mother of God. She seals the covenant’s beginning with the free gift of herself in love.
Mary was young and poor, all characteristics that, to the people of her day, would make her seem very unlikely to be chosen as the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah. But God chose her for one of the most important acts of obedience he has ever demanded of anyone.
You might feel that your situation in life today makes you an unlikely candidate for God’s service. Do not limit God’s choices, he can use you if you, like Mary, trust in him. Mary’s honor of being blessed to become the Mother of God brought her much pain and ridicule. Her peers would gossip about her; her fiance would come close to leaving her; her Son would be tortured and murdered on a cross as a convicted criminal. But through Mary, her Son would become the world’s only hope, and this is why Mary has been called by countless generations “Blessed among women.” Her submission led to our salvation.
If your blessings lead to sorrows, think of Mary, and wait patiently for God to finish working at his plan. Think of a small young teen-age girl who understood little and trusted much, and said humbly, and yet courageously, that she was a humble servant of the Lord, and he could do with her whatever was in accordance with his Holy Word (Luke 1:38).
The first reading shows us that God is always on man’s side, and Satan and sin are always the enemy. The second reading reveals that a blessing is something that God has given you: life, salvation, family, friends, etc. The Gospel shows courage is made up of obedience and trust.
This week let yourself, like Mary, experience being in accordance with God’s word. Take time every day this week to pray alone as she did throughout her life, to study God’s Holy Word, and to do what is necessary in work and school for you. Remember each day to take time to relax and enjoy yourself for a few moments. Develop each day a discipline of prayer, study, work, and leisure. God has chosen you, and you, like Mary, can say, “Yes, Lord, do with me whatever is in accordance with your Holy Word.”