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 EXODUS 17:3‑7 FIRST READING
(“God satisfies the thirst of the Israelites whose hearts had become hardened and rebellious.”)
1. What made the people grumble against Moses, and what did they say to him? Exodus 17:3
2. To whom did Moses cry out, and what did he say? Exodus 17:4
3. Where did the Lord tell Moses to go, whom was he to have with him, and what was he to have in his hand as he went? Exodus 17:5
4. What happened when Moses outstretched the staff at the river? Ex. 14:15‑16, 21‑22
5. Where did the Lord say he would be? Exodus 17:6
6. What did he tell him to do to the rock, and what would happen? Exodus 17:6
7. What was Moses’ response? Exodus 17:6
8. What was the place called where this happened, and why was it called this? Ex. 17:7
9. Before Moses outstretched the staff over the Red Sea, how were the Israelites acting? Exodus 14:11
10. What did they say to test the Lord? Exodus 17:7
Personal ‑ When the Israelites were thirsty they complained and went to Moses. Moses went to the Lord. Do you complain and grumble to others about your own situation, or do you humbly go to God with your request? Do you see yourself complaining and grumbling because you are thirsty? Examine your conscience each day before the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your thirst.
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 5:1‑2, 5‑8 SECOND READING
(“Through his Spirit has his grace been poured into our hearts.”)
1. How have we been justified? Romans 5:l , Romans 3:28
2. In whom is our faith? Galatians 2:16 , Romans 5:9
3. If we have been justified by faith, what are we with God through our Lord Jesus Christ? Romans 5:1
4. Through whom do we gain access by faith to the grace in which we now stand? Romans 5:1‑2
5. About what can we boast? Romans 5:2
6. In what is our hope? Acts 23:6
7. In whom can we find hope? Matthew 12:21
8. How will this hope leave us? Romans 5:5
9. What has been poured out in our hearts, and how has this been done? Romans 5:5
10. Fill in the following blanks: At the __________ __________ when we were still __________ Christ died for us ___________ ___________. Romans 5:6
11. What is a rare thing? Romans 5:7
12. How did God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10
Personal‑ In what way have you accepted the love of God for you personally through the death of his Son Jesus? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the great love of the Father for you by sacrificing his beloved Son Jesus at Calvary.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 4:5‑42 GOSPEL
(“The water that I shall give will turn into a spring of eternal life.”)
1. Where did Jesus’ journey bring him; and what were the Samaritans like, according to the following verses:
2 Kings 17:24‑29
2. What was the plot of land that Jesus entered and what did Jesus do when he got to Jacob’s well? Why did he do it and what time was it? John 4:5-6
3. When the Samaritan woman came to draw water, for what did Jesus ask her? John 4:7
4. What three points did the woman bring out and what are we to recall? John 4:9
5. What was the woman’s response to Jesus’ reply? What did Jesus say would happen to those who drink the water from the well? John 4:10-13
6. What did he say would happen to the person who drinks the water he has to give and what was the woman’s response? John 4:14-15
7. After she asked him for this water, what did Jesus tell her to do and what did he exclaim to her and what did she say he was? John 4:16-19
8. Where did she say her ancestors worshiped, where did she claim was the place where they say they ought to worship and where did Jesus say they would worship, and why? John 4:20-22
9. What two ways will authentic worshipers worship, and what is God? John 4:23-24
Personal ‑ Where is your place of worship? Do you spend time each day worshiping God as Spirit and Truth? Do you understand not what you worship, but whom you worship, and why you worship him? Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to worship him as Spirit and Truth.
10. What did the woman say about the Messiah and who did Jesus say he was? John 4:25-26
11. What was the disciples’ reaction on their return? When the woman then left her water jar and went into the town, what did she say to the people? John 4:27-29
12. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him to eat something. What did he tell them, what was their reaction and what did Jesus tell them was his food? John 4:31-34
13. Jesus tells them to listen to him, open your eyes and see, the reaper already collects his wages and gathers a yield, for what reason? John 4:35‑38
14. Many believe in him because of what occurrence and when he stayed with the Samaritans for two days, what brought many more to come to the faith? John 4:39-41
15. What did they tell the woman? John 4:42
Personal ‑ Are people coming to believe in the Lord through your word of testimony? If not, what do you personally need to do? See John 4:34.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 95:1‑2, 6‑9
(“O, that today you would hear his voice.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9.
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
The Israelites, or as we have called them, the chosen people of God, were suffering under slavery and were in danger of being completely destroyed by their Egyptian captors. God chose for them a miracle, and a man would lead them in this miracle, and his name was Moses. God set them free from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea, and Moses led them toward the promised land of Canaan. The human condition produced a series of rebellious murmuring, as they soon forgot what God had done for them. They began to complain that the difficulties of the journey were too hard to bear. They complained so much that they accused God of leading them out to the desert and leaving them to die. Moses asked God again for another miracle, and God in his mercy and love, agreed, and water came gushing forth from a rock.
Many people today are like those who were on that journey. They desire freedom, but they do not want to pay the price for it. The place where Moses drew the water from the rock is called Massah and Meribah, which means testing place. The people with Moses cried out, “Is the Lord amongst us or not?” We need to trust the Lord, not test him, because he never goes back on a promise. Like the people in the desert, many people today wonder whether God has deserted them in their hour of trial.
All the past favors, all the good times are forgotten because at the beginning their level of sincerity with God was not very high. As we begin to murmur in protest and feel abandoned or rejected we need to remember that our God is a God of love, joy, mercy, gentleness, and healing. He has promised to take us, not just to Canaan, but rather to heaven, and he will.
ROMANS 5:1‑2, 5‑8
As we read this passage we need to keep in mind that the Christian reality of life has two sides. One side is that we are complete in Christ (our acceptance with him is secure). On the other side, we are growing in Christ (we are becoming more and more like him). We feel both the presence of Christ and the pressure of sin. We enjoy the peace that comes from being made right with God, but we still face the daily problems that make us grow.
We need to remember these two sides in our Christian advancement and then we will not be discouraged as we face temptations and problems. Paul tells us that as believers we now stand in a place that could never be achieved by our own merits. God not only declares us not guilty, but, in fact he has drawn us closer to him. Instead of being his enemies, we have, in the response of our faith, become his own children.
Paul tells us in scripture that faith, hope and charity are at the heart of the Christian life (l Corinthians 13). Our relationship with God begins with faith. This helps us to believe that we are delivered from our past. Hope gives promise of the future, and charity or God’s love fills our lives and gives us the ability to reach out to others. The amazing part of this passage is that while we were still sinners God allowed his only begotten Son to die for all of us.
Let that sink in… Christ died for us, not because we were good enough, but because he loved us so much. He knows what is going on inside of you. He knows the problems that you are having with your own personality and yes, he died for you, especially for you. We need to remember that whenever we feel uncertain about God’s love for us, he loved us even before we decided to turn to him. The Father loved us so much that he sent his Son down to die for us and his Holy Spirit gives us the power to repent, believe and rejoice.
Jesus had left Jerusalem because opposition was rising against him from the Pharisees. They resented his popularity as well as his message, which challenged much of their legalistic teachings. Jesus traveled north toward the region of Galilee and it was here that he met the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria. Samaritans were the object of tremendous racial abuse by the Jews, because when the Assyrians conquered Samaria, many of them intermarried with their conquerors.
The intermarriage resulted in a mixed race, impure in the opinion of the Jews, who lived in Judah, the southern kingdom. The Jews hated these people because they felt the Samaritans had betrayed their people and nation. Jesus was not compelled to live by such cultural restrictions and so he was not afraid to travel directly through Samaria. Jesus spotted the woman at about mid‑day. The woman probably came at that time to avoid meeting people because of her reputation.
Jesus knew that in the hot, blazing sun this woman needed a message about fresh and pure water that would quench her spiritual thirst forever. The woman was a Samaritan, had a bad reputation and was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman like this under any circumstance, but JESUS did. Jesus’s message is the Good News and it is a message of hope. Jesus’ message is for every person, regardless of his or her race, social position, or age.
Jesus crossed all economic, social and racial barriers by dying on the cross for each and every one of us. We, who call ourselves Christians, must be prepared to do no less than he did. Jesus knew who the Samaritan woman was, and what she was, and he made sure that she knew it. He made sure that she knew he saw her as a child of God and told her that he was the only well that would never run dry. She knew he was different, because he did not ridicule her, and he did not try to preach the law to her. He did not even attempt to tell her that she was a sinner. He did not have to; she knew that he was offering her life, not death. She ran and told the community, not a bit worried about what they would think. She told them that he revealed everything about her, and the towns people came running to see this “Messiah.”
We need to reflect on what the Samaritan woman did when she left the well. She went forth to proclaim the Good News. The nourishment about which Jesus was speaking did not just include prayer, bible study, attending church or receiving sacraments. We also are nourished by doing God’s will and helping to bring his work of salvation to completion. We are nourished not only by what we take in, but also by what we give out for God. The woman at the well did not make excuses that her family was not ready to believe. Take a look around and, like the woman at the well, you will find plenty of people ready to hear and listen to God’s Holy Word. Tell them.
The first reading tells us that even today, many people desire freedom, but do not want to pay the price for it. The second reading shows us that faith, hope, and charity are at the heart of Christian love. The Gospel reveals that Jesus will quench our spiritual thirst and that because of him we will never need to thirst again.
Jesus showed us that our looks and our reputations do not always tell others who and what we really are. This week look around at your family, friends, co-workers, church, and community. Pick out one person whom you think is a problem, and for a whole week, talk respectfully to them. Do not ignore them, but visit them in a hospital, prison or at home. We can make all the men and women of Jacob’s well feel loved if we follow Jesus’ example this entire week.