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 2 KINGS 4:8-11, 14-16 FIRST READING
(“I know that he is a holy man of God.”)
l. Who came to Shunem, and who urged him to dine with her? 2 Kings 4:8
2. How often did he dine with the woman? 2 Kings 4:8
3. Whom did Elisha succeed, and what was to rest on him? 2 Kings 2:9-15
4. What did the Shunammite woman call Elisha? 2 Kings 4:9
5. What does he who welcomes a prophet or a holy man receive? Matthew 10:41-42
6. In what should we be generous? Romans 12:13
7. What did the woman arrange for Elisha? 2 Kings 4:10
8. What did Elisha do sometime later? 2 Kings 4:11
9. What did Elisha ask his servant Gehazi, and what did he say? 2 Kings 4:14
10. Elisha told his servant to call the woman, and as she stood at the door, what did he promise her? 2 Kings 4:15-16
11. What did she say, and what did she call Elisha? 2 Kings 4:16
Personal – What is your attitude when a priest comes to your home? What is your attitude toward what he says to you? In what way do you show hospitality to God’s chosen ones?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 6:3-4, 8-11 SECOND READING
(“His death was death to sin, once for all;”)
1. We who have been baptized into Jesus Christ, into what have we also been baptized? Romans 6:3
2. With whom have all who have been baptized into Christ clothed themselves? Gal 3:27
3. In baptism we were not only buried with him but also raised to life with Him because of what? Col 2:12
4. Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, what might we live? Romans 6:4
5. What do we believe if we have died with Christ? Romans 6:8
6. What will Christ, once raised from the dead, never do again? Romans 6:9
7. What was the last enemy to be destroyed? 1 Corinthians 15:26
8. For what was Christ’s death and for whom is his life? Romans 6:10
9. For whom did he die? Romans 6:10
10. In the same way, to what must we consider ourselves dead? Romans 6:11
11. For whom and in whom are we alive? Romans 6:11
Personal – In what way have you died to sin in your life? In what way are you living a life for God?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 10:37-42 GOSPEL
(“He who welcomes me, welcomes him who sent me.”)
1. Who is speaking in verses 37-42 of Matthew, and to whom is he speaking? Matthew 10:5 , Matthew 11:1
2. What did Jesus say about those who love father or mother, son or daughter more than him? Matthew 10:37
3. If a man wishes to come after Jesus, what three things must He do? Matthew 16:24
4. He who will not take up what and come after him is not worthy of whom? Matthew 10:38
5. To what does he who seeks only himself bring himself, and how does a person discover who he is? Matthew 10:39,
6. Whom does he welcome who welcomes us, and he who welcomes him also welcomes whom? Matthew 10:40
7. What does he receive who welcomes a prophet because he bears the name of prophet? Matthew 10:41
8. What does he receive who welcomes a holy man because he is known as a holy man? Matthew 10:41
9. What does Jesus promise us, and what does he call a disciple? Matthew 10:42
10. What will happen to any man who gives a drink of water to you because you belong to Christ? Mark 9:41
Personal – What is the cross that you have taken up in order to follow Christ? In what ways do you die to yourself on a daily basis in your home, at work, or at school? In what way are you supportive to your brothers and sisters in the Lord who are following Jesus?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 89:2-3, 16-19
(“The favors of the Lord I will sing forever.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 89:2-3, 16-19.
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
2 KINGS 4:8-11, 14-16
This passage reveals to us the need to show hospitality and respect to God’s chosen ones, his clergy. When a priest or deacon comes into your home, is your attitude loving, caring, and reverent? The Scriptures tell us that he who received the king’s messenger will, in reality, be receiving the king himself (Matt. 10:40-42). The Jews always felt that to receive a person’s messenger was the same as to receive the person himself. To welcome with love the messenger of our Lord Jesus was the same as to welcome Jesus himself.
The Shunemite woman knew that Elisha was a prophet and a special messenger of God and she trusted him with great respect. He promised her a gift of a son and she received this miracle of God from the prophet she respected so much.
Today there is a great amount of disrespect shown toward the clergy of Christian denominations. Many people fail to look at whom these people represent. There are failures among the clergy who fall into sin, but they still have been called to represent the Lord. David was terribly mistreated by Saul the King, but David never harmed a hair on Saul’s head. David respected the office of what Saul represented. God rewarded David for this compassion, respect, and obedience. God called David a “man after my own heart.”
Look at the clergy in your parish and see where you can help them, encourage them, but most of all, love them. You can love your clergy by praying for them daily and by inviting them to your home to share your lifestyle and hospitality. Elisha was amazed at the Shunemite woman’s hospitality, and today, our clergy need that hospitality and acceptance very much. Jesus said, “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” (Matt 25:31-46). This verse also applied to those who had given up the comfort of a loving family and the security of a permanent home and community and have gone out to serve a hostile world. How we treat our clergy is very well indeed how we treat Our Lord, Jesus. Remember, they are messengers of the King.
ROMANS 6:3-4, 8-11
The power of sin is broken through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death shattered the power of our sinful nature. Our old sin-loving nature was buried with Jesus by baptism when he died for our sins. Through baptism, we share his new life, and we shall rise as he did. Baptism means to sink, submerge, and to drown. We die to our old sinful nature and we emerge or rise in baptism with the Risen Christ. We have invited Christ to take up residence in us. He, in turn, welcomes us into his Holy Family of Christianity. He is present in his Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we become sons and daughters of God the Father and enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit and live and love others in the name of Jesus Christ.
In the church of Paul’s time, immersion was the usual form of baptism. This means that new Christians were completely buried in water. This symbolized the death and burial of the old way of life, followed by resurrection to life with Christ. It is very important to realize why baptism is so important to being a Christian. We are cleansed of sin and clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the power that we use to resist the devil and make him flee from us (James 4:7). We now have the incredible power to choose life over death because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. We know that the Spirit within us is far more powerful than he that is in the world (l John 4:4). Because of our baptism we have become adopted sons and daughters of the King. Jesus tells us that he has prepared a place in his Father’s house for each one of us (John 14:1-6). This passage gives us tremendous comfort and assurances as believers in Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we never need to fear death or wonder where we will go when we die (John 3:16).
Today’s Gospel message tells us that a Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones. Jesus showed that his presence demands a decision. This was true in Jesus’ time, and it is especially true in today’s world. Two things are happening today. Either the world is changing you or you are changing the world. A decision for Christ is a decision to make the world a better place to live.
As we take up our cross and follow Jesus, an inevitable conflict will follow. Our different values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others. Today’s message is that God should be our first priority, not friends or even family. God has called all of us to a higher mission than to find comfort in this life. To take up our cross and follow Jesus we must lay down other cares and priorities. We need to be totally committed to God (Matt. 10:39) and willing to face anything, even suffering and death, for the sake of Christ. We can see around us that the more people love this life’s rewards (leisure, power, popularity), the more they discover how empty they are.
Mother Teresa has a saying, “Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.” We can tell how much we love God by how well we treat others. God notices every good deed we do or don’t do, as if he were the one receiving it. We cannot all be prophets and proclaim the Word of God, but he who gives God’s messenger the simple gift of hospitality will receive no less a reward than the prophet himself. We must remember that even the prophet must get his breakfast and attend to his clothes. We must never forget to love, honor, and thank those who have the often thankless task of making a home, cooking meals, washing clothes, shopping for household items, and caring for children. It is God’s greatest task, and they will be far more likely to receive the prophet’s rewards than those whose days are filled with committees and comfortable homes.
The first reading teaches us to honor and respect the clergy. The second reading shows us that the power of sin is broken through baptism. The Gospel tells us that our first priority is loving God.
Let this week be a week of loving God by loving others. Husbands, take your wife out to dinner or some where to relax and enjoy. Husbands, watch the children so Mom can take a few hours to relax and pamper herself. Wives, take time to be present to your husband alone. Children, help your parents by cleaning up after yourself and do some errands for Mom. Parents, take time to play with your children and each other. Families, pray every day to God in thanksgiving and invite your priests or deacon to your home to pray and relax with you.