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 a 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 EXODUS 24:3-8 FIRST READING
(“We will do everything the Lord has told us.”)
1. What did Moses come to the people to do, and how did they answer him? Exodus 24:3
2. What did Moses do with the words of the Lord, and what did he erect early the next morning at the foot of the mountain? Exodus 24:4
3. What did the Lord tell Moses to announce to Joshua? Exodus 17:14
Personal? – What have you written down this week that was a word from the Lord to you?
4. Why did Moses send certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls? Exodus 24:5
5. Without what was the first covenant not even inaugurated? Hebrews 9:18
6. What did Moses do with the blood of the animals, and what did he do with the book of the covenant? Exodus 24:6-7
7. What did the people say when Moses read from the book of the covenant? Exodus 24:7
8. What did Moses do with the blood, and what did he say to the people? Exodus 24:8
9. Who and what did Moses sprinkle with the blood, and what happens to it according to the law? Hebrews 9:19-22
10. What is there none of without the shedding of blood? Hebrews 9:22
Personal – How does your life show that through blood you have been forgiven? In what way are you in one accord with those around you in heeding and doing all that the Lord has said?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 9:11-15 SECOND READING
(“…He is mediator of a new covenant.”)
1. As what did Christ come, what did he pass through which was not made by human hands, and to what did he not belong? Hebrews 9:11
2. What did Christ have to become like in every way to expiate the sins of the people? Hebrews 2:17
3. With whose blood did he achieve eternal redemption, and whose blood did he not need to achieve eternal redemption? Hebrews 9:12
4. Why did Christ not need to offer sacrifice day after day as did the high priests? Hebrews 7:27
5. What is it impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to do? Hebrews 10:4
6. What can the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes cleanse? Hebrew 9:13
7. How did Christ offer himself to God, and from what can he cleanse our conscience? Hebrews 9:14
8. How have we been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all? Hebrews 10:9-10
9. When we have been cleansed from all lawlessness, what are we eager to do? Titus 2:14
10. Of what is Christ the mediator, why has his death taken place, and what may those who are called receive? Hebrews 9:15
11. Who is the only mediator between God and the human race, and as what did he give himself? 1 Timothy 2:5-6
Personal – How has your conscience been cleansed? In what way do you have a guilty conscience, or in what way does your conscience bother you? Share with someone, and ask them to pray with you about it. And both listen to what the Lord is saying about this.
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 14:12-16, 22-26 GOSPEL
(“Take it, this is my body.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”)
1. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, what did they sacrifice? What did Jesus’ disciples say to him? Mark 14:12
2. Describe what is in Exodus 12:1-11. Concentrate on verse 11.
3. Jesus sent two of his disciples into the city. Whom did he say would meet them, and what did he tell them to do? Mark 14:13
4. Wherever the man entered, what were they to say to the master of the house? Mark 14:14
5. What would the master of the house show the disciples, and what were they to do? Mark 14:15
6. When the disciples went off and entered the city, what did they find, and what did they do? Mark 14:16
Personal – In prayer, have you asked the Lord about what he wants you to do? Have you followed his direction?
7. While they were eating, what four things did Jesus do with the bread? What did he say? Mark 14:22
8. What did Jesus do with the cup, and what did he say to his disciples? Mark 14:23-24
9. Why was Jesus’ blood shed? Matthew 26:28
10. What did Jesus say he would not do again until the day when He drinks it new in the kingdom of God? Mark 14:25
11. What makes us one body? 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
12. What did Jesus and the disciples sing, and when and where did they go? Mark 14:26
Personal – How can you participate more fully in Mass on Sunday? If there is any blockage from your participating fully, go to a priest and talk to him and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. No matter how deep the hurt, you can forgive everyone because Jesus has forgiven you.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 116:12-18
(“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 116:12-18.
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
Moses announced all the laws and regulations God had given him to all the people assembled there at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
Mt. Sinai is one of the most sacred locations in Israel’s history. This is the mountain where Moses met God in a burning bush, and where he made his covenant with Israel and Elijah. Elijah heard God “in the sound of a gentle whisper” in a cave on Mt. Sinai. We see God’s people learn about the potential blessings of obedience (Ex. 24:8-18), and the tragic consequences of disobedience (Ex. 32). Moses built an altar at the foot of this mountain with twelve pillars around the altar because there were twelve tribes of Israel. He then sent some young men to sacrifice the burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Israelites very often shared a sacrificial meal together. A burnt offering was sacrificed to God, and then the meal taken from the sacrifice was dedicated to God and eaten as a type of fellowship dinner.
We see Moses confirm and seal the covenant that God has made with his people through the use of blood. As the holy and almighty judge of us all, God condemns sin and judges it worthy of death. We see very clearly that in the Old Testament, God accepted the death of an animal as an atonement for a sinner. Blood symbolized the death of an animal as being a substitute for a sinner. Blood also symbolized that a life was spared as a result.
We see in scripture that the death of Jesus Christ was the only way that man could have a permanent atonement with God (Hebrews 9:9 – 10:24). The blood that was thrown against the altar in today’s reading shows that the sinner could again come before God because some thing died in his place. The blood that was thrown on the people showed them that their penalty for sin had been paid. They then could be reunited with God.
You can be reunited with God right now by confessing to him that you are a sinner, and ask him to forgive you. His blood has already ransomed you from darkness. Repent and believe in Jesus, and become a child of the light.
This reading tells us that Jesus came as a high priest and passed through a greater and more perfect sanctuary not made by human hands. Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, which was in the innermost room of the tabernacle. In that small room was contained the Ark of the Covenant. This was a chest that contained the original stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written. The high priest was the only one who could enter into this sacred spot. The peoples’ only access to God was through the high priest, who offered a sacrifice and used its blood to atone first for his own sins and then for the peoples’ sins (Hebrews 10:19).
Today’s reading shows us that trying to make ourselves good enough through rules and regulations has never been successful. Jesus shows us that by his blood alone our consciences are cleansed, and we are freed from death. We can now live to serve God because we are free from sin’s power. Today’s reading clearly speaks to us that if we are feeling guilty because we can not be good enough for God, then rejoice and take another look at what Jesus’ death means to us.
It is very important to realize that in the Old Testament the blood of sacrificed animals allowed the people to be ceremonially acceptable. The blood of Christ’s sacrifice transforms our lives and hearts and makes us clean on the inside. We can look at ourselves and see that if our hearts are not changed, following God’s rules is very unpleasant and difficult. We normally will rebel against being told how to live, but the Holy Spirit gives us new desires, and we find that serving God is our greatest joy. Many consider something as valuable, in our human way of thinking, because only a few can have it. God’s great plan of redemption, however, stands in sharp contrast to the human term value or valuable. He is the most valuable of all treasures, and he is available to all. His blood has made you free and valuable. Exercise your faith by sharing it and using it to serve God.
MARK 14:12-16, 22-26
All males over the age of 12 years were required to go to Jerusalem. This was the time of the Passover Festival. The term “Passover” means the night the Israelites were freed from Egypt (Exodus 12), when God “passed over” homes marked by the blood of a lamb while killing the first born sons in unmarked homes. The day of Passover was followed by a seven-day festival called the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. This feast recalled the Israelites quick escape from Egypt when they did not have time even to let their bread dough rise. The people had to bake the bread without any yeast. The whole week came to be called Passover week because it followed the special holiday.
Jesus told his disciples to go and prepare for the Passover meal in which they were going to participate. Many homes in the area had large upstairs rooms and the renting of these rooms for the Passover festival was quite common.
This meal that Jesus celebrated in today’s Gospel was the origin of the Lord’s Supper, or also known as the communion of the Eucharist. The sharing of Jesus’ body and blood is celebrated at every Catholic worship service, and in many other Christian churches the breaking of the bread is a major part of worship. At the first Lord’s supper, Jesus and his disciples ate a meal, sang Psalms, read scripture and prayed. He took the bread and wine and gave them new meaning as his body and blood.
Just as Jesus’ death on the cross seals a new agreement between God and mankind, the Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, and the Lord’s supper celebrates deliverance from sin by Christ’s death. Catholic Christians believe that the bread and wine actually become Christ’s body and blood. All Christians believe, however, that God is a part of the communion experience, blessing us as we remember Christ’s death until he comes again. We all become one body in Christ when we share his body and blood in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
The first reading reveals the sacredness of Mt. Sinai to the Israelites. The second reading tells us that we are the tabernacles of God. The Gospel tells us that Eucharist means unity and thanksgiving.
This week, share your faith with someone. Tell them what Jesus’ death means to you, and what it means to eat at the Lord’s table. You may be sharing this revelation with someone who is very hungry for spiritual food. It might be someone in your family, school or work. Jesus calls each one of us to feed his lambs. Go forth and share your faith, and feed his lambs.