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 NEHEMIAH 8:2-6, 8-10 FIRST READING
(“Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God…”)
- What did Ezra, the priest, bring before the assembly, and who composed the assembly? Nehemiah 8:2
- What did Ezra do? When did he do it, and what did the people do? Nehemiah 8:3
- As Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his words, what did Jesus tell her sister Martha? Luke 10:39, 41-42
Personal – How much time do you take to listen to God speaking to you through his Word?
- On what did Ezra stand? What did he do with the scroll,and what did the people do? Nehemiah 8:4-5
- Whom did Ezra bless and what did all the people say and do? Nehemiah 8:6
- What was Paul’s wish in his letter to Timothy? 1 Timothy 2:8
- How did Ezra read from the book, and in what was he well versed? Nehemiah 8:8 and also see Ezra 7:6
Personal – When the readings are read from the Bible at mass on Sunday, who is speaking to you and how attentive are you?
- Why do we want to be instructed in the statutes of the Lord? Psalm 119:33-34
- Who was instructing the people, what did they say to them, and what were the people doing? Nehemiah 8:9
- What were the people told to do, what did they say the day was to the Lord, and what must be their strength? Nehemiah 8:10
Personal – In what way have you found strength by rejoicing in what the Lord has done for you?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-14, 27 SECOND READING
(“Now you are Christ’s body and, individually, members of it.”)
- Though it has many parts, what is a body? What do these parts make? 1 Corinthians 12:12
- In whom are we one body? Romans 12:5
- How were we baptized into one body, and of what were we given to drink? 1 Corinthians 12:13
- Between what is there no difference? What are we in Christ Jesus? Galatians 3:28
- How have we come near to God in one body? Ephesians 2:13, 16, 18
- Where is Christ, and what have the people done? Colossians 3:10-11
- What is the body, and what is it not? 1 Corinthians 12:14
- Who is the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 12:27
- Even though we have many parts in one body, how do the parts differ? Being one body in Christ, of whom are we members individually? Romans 12:4-5
- How does the body grow, and in what does it build itself up? Ephesians 4:15-16
Personal – What is your function at home or church? How does it unite you into the one body of Christ?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 1:1-4, 4:14-21 GOSPEL
(“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”)
- What have many undertaken to do, some being eyewitnesses from the beginning? Of what were they ministers? Luke 1:1-2
- How were the instructions given to the apostles? Acts 1:2-3
- What did Luke decide to do, and for what reason? Luke 1:3-4
- Why were these things written down? John 20:31
- How did Jesus return to Galilee? Where did news of him spread? What did he do in their synagogues? Luke 4:14-15
- What did Jesus do in Nazareth according to his custom? When handed the scroll to read, from what prophet did he read? Luke 4:16-17
- Who did he say was upon him? What has he done for him, and for what reason? Luke 4:18-19
- What does the One whom God sent speak? What has the Father given over to him? What will the one who believes in him have? John 3:34-36
- After Jesus sat down, what were all those in the synagogue doing? What did Jesus say to them? Luke 4:20-21
- How can one fulfill the scriptures or the law? Romans 13:8, 10
Personal – What has been spoken to you personally through the scriptures, and how have you fulfilled what was said? How attentive are you to hearing and obeying God’s Holy Word? Is there room for improvement? What can you do to improve your listening skills?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 19:8-10, 15
(“The ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just;…”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 19:8-10, 15.
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
NEHEMIAH 8:2-6, 8-10
Today’s passage is about the reforming of God’s people. We see Ezra as a strong religious leader and Nehemiah as a layman in a high government position, both working to restore more than just broken walls in Jerusalem. Nehemiah gathers the people to hear Ezra read God’s law.
Ezra rolled out the scroll of Moses’ law, stood on a wooden stage, and read from early morning until noon. He had selected people going among the crowd and explained the meaning of the passages that were being read. The people paid close attention and many were brought to tears and repented right there on the spot. They stood in the hot sun and continued to lift up their hands in praise.
Today, because the Bible is constantly available for many, it is often taken for granted. Many times we can become dulled to its words and immune to its teachings. Instead, we need to listen to God’s Holy Word very carefully. Then we need to study the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to help us answer the question, “How does this apply to my life?”
Ezra told the people they should be filled with joy because they had the opportunity to listen and understand God’s Word. He told them to celebrate and to give gifts to those in need. Today, when we celebrate and give to others, we are strengthened spiritually and filled with joy, and joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-14, 27
In today’s passage we see that it is not surprising that the Christian church at Corinth, to whom God gave a variety of gifts by his Holy Spirit, needed to be reminded that those seeking experiences for themselves were not in the best interest for the spiritual growth of the church. Christian unity does not imply uniformity.
The gifts come from a single source and are given for the good of the whole church. Every individual has a very important part to play in the life of the one body. This should prevent a universal scramble for the same gifts. The most important thing is not which gifts are most impressive, but which best serve to build up the church.
Paul makes an astounding statement when he says that by the one spirit we have all been baptized in such a way as to become one body, whether we be Jew or Gentile. He states that we have all been watered by the one Spirit. He is saying “you,” yes, “you are the body of Christ.” Christ is no longer physically in this world in the body; so if he wants something done within the world, he has to find a person to do it. We are called to be his hands to do his work, his feet to run his errands, and a voice to speak for him. The supreme glory of Christians is that they are part of the body of Christ on earth and that person is you.
LUKE 1:1-4, and 4:14-21
Luke was very much aware that there was a lot of interest in Jesus, and many people had written personal accounts of experiences with him. Luke set out to put these accounts into an historical, thorough, and complete form using all the available resources. Because it was important to Luke to know what was true, he relied heavily on eyewitness accounts.
Jesus arrived in Nazareth where he went into the synagogue and preached before an amazed audience. The synagogue was the real center of religious life in Palestine. There was only one temple and that was in Jerusalem. Wherever there were at least ten Jewish families, there must be a synagogue.
In every town and village it was in the synagogue that the people met to worship. There were three parts of a synagogue service. They were: (1) the worship part, (2) the reading of the scriptures, and (3) the teaching part.
Jesus’ example makes most excuses for not attending church sound weak and self-serving. We all need to make regular worship a part of our lives. Even Jesus was not accepted as a prophet in his hometown. We have a similar attitude – an expert is anyone who carries a briefcase and comes from more than two hundred miles from home. Do not be surprised when your Christian life and faith are not easily understood or accepted by those who know you well, because Jesus was not accepted either.
This week’s first reading tells us that God’s Word was proclaimed clearly and explained completely. The second reading shows that we are the body and Christ is our head. The Gospel reveals that a prophet is not recognized or accepted in his home town.
This week, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your gifts. Then share them with your family, friends, and community. Remember, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and he has anointed you to teach your family about him. You can feed your family, friends, and community God’s Holy Word.
Let the gift of healing be released in you by reaching out to someone who is hurting, sick or lonely. Do not be afraid to use your gifts. Just remember that you have been anointed by the Holy