THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
by Deacon Ken and Marie Finn at St. Dismas Guild
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 JEREMIAH 31:7-9 FIRST READING
(“I will lead you to brooks of water,”)
l. What does God say, and what has he done for his people? Jeremiah 31:7
2. Why do the people of God shout with exultation, joy and gladness? Isaiah 12:6 and Psalm 14:7
3. Upon whom do the survivors of the house of Jacob lean, and who will return to the mighty God? Isaiah 10:20-21
4. From where will the Lord bring back his remnant, and who will return? Jeremiah 31:8
Personal – Who do you see today as the remnant of Israel, and where do you see yourself?
5. Who will join Israel, and where will they go? Jeremiah 3:18
6. What will happen to the remnant that God brings back? Jeremiah 23:3-4,Isaiah 35:5
7. How did the people depart, and what will God do for them? Jeremiah 31:9
8. What did Jesus say would flow from within those who believe in him? John 7:37-39
9. What does God call himself, and what is Ephraim? Jeremiah 31:9, Exodus 4:22
10. Who is Ephraim? Genesis 41:50-52
Personal – Since you have been studying God’s Word, from where has your Heavenly Father led you out? To where is he guiding you and directing you? How have you gone from tears to rejoicing?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 5:1-6 SECOND READING
(“You are my son; this day I have begotten you;”)
1. Who is taken from among men and made a representative before God, and what does he offer? Hebrews 5:1
2. What is every high priest appointed to offer, and how does the high priest worship? Hebrews 8:3,5
3. Why is the high priest taken from among men able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring? Hebrews 5:2
4. Because of his weakness, for whom must he make the sin offerings? Hebrews 5:3
5. What did Moses tell Aaron to do? Leviticus 9:7
6. What comes from God that no one takes this honor upon himself? Hebrews 5:4
7. Who was called to be priest from among the Israelites, and what set them apart? Exodus 28:1-3
8. Who, in the same way, did not glorify himself in becoming high priest but received it from his Father who said what about him? Hebrews 5:5
9. Who does Jesus say glorifies him, and who does Jesus say he knows, and what does he keep? John 8:54-55
10. How long are we priests, and who is Melchizedek? Hebrews 5:6, Genesis 14:18
Personal – In what way have you shown the honor and respect due to the priests in your parish? Have you recognized them as some-one called by God for a special purpose? What is that purpose?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:46-52 GOSPEL
(“Go your way; your faith has saved you.”)
1. Who was sitting by the roadside, and what was he doing? Mark 10:46
2. When the beggar heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, what did he do and say? Mark 10:47
3. What did the people do, and what did the beggar continue to do? Mark 10:48
4. Whom are we to rebuke? Luke 17:3
5. When Jesus stopped, what did he say, and what did his followers say to the blind man? Mark 10:49
Personal – Does Jesus call you directly, through others, or both?
6. What did the blind man do, and where did he go? Mark 10:50
7. What did Jesus say to the man, and what did the man tell him? Mark 10:51
8. Where did Jesus tell him to go, and what did he say saved him? Mark 10:52
9. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1
10. How does faith come to us? Romans 10:17
Personal – In what specific way have you been healed by hearing God’s Word? How has he turned your blindness into the light of day?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 126:1-6
(“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”) Read & meditate on Psalm 126:1-6.
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
This promise of restoration was open to all the families of Israel, not only to the tribe of Judah. The restoration will include all those who trust in God. This restoration shows a God who reaches toward his people with loving kindness, motivated by a deep love. We hear God tell us that he has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). This was a tremendous statement by God to a people who had been through so much.
Today, he makes that same statement to you and me. He does not care where we have been or what we have done. He is very much interested in where we are right now, and he wants us to know that he has loved us with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah has seen Israel scattered, and the events leading to Jerusalem’s destruction had disoriented most of the people. The prophet knew that. After many words of warning about sin, this reminder of God’s incredible love is a fresh breath. We may often think of God with dread or fear, but if we look carefully, we can see him lovingly drawing us toward himself. The people were very excited to proclaim and hope that God has saved the faithful remnant of his people. That salvation will soon be manifested when God leads Israel back to Jerusalem from distant Babylon. Killing, slavery, blindness, lameness, homelessness evoke the horror of war and suffering that they had experienced; their salvation will be all the more extraordinary. The faithful remnant of God’s people have continued to experience the horrors of many tyrants and wars.
The Messiah whom we know as Jesus was their only hope of salvation. They looked to the future with hope because they knew the Messiah was coming. Today in many parts of the world there are faithful people of Jesus Christ experiencing the horrors of killing, blindness and lameness. In some parts of our world, to believe in Christ is to be ridiculed, rejected, and, in some instances, to be executed. The religion of humanism is taking a great toll on the people and upon the faithful remnant of today. The faithful remnant will be the witness of the Messiah who is present to his people. His power is within you (1 John 4:4) and you will make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus is leading us home today away from the many horrors of war that exist in many lands.
Today’s reading focuses on the meaning of Old Testament priesthood and situates Christ with regard to it. Every high priest is a human being whom God chooses to represent people in his presence and to offer worship. The type of worship, also called the liturgy, is offered as a redemptive sacrifice so that it atones for the sins of the believers. These high priests can treat sinners with great patience, because they are sinners also. The offerings they make are for their own sins as well as their people.
No one can assume this type of ministry on his own. Only God who called Aaron can call a person to take his honored role in Israel’s religious life. We must understand, to the Jews the high priest was the highest religious authority in the land. He alone entered into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation (Lev. 16). Like the high priest, the source of Christ’s high priestly office is not different, and like them, he received the priesthood from God.
Jesus as high priest mediates between God and us. As man’s representative, he intercedes for us before God. As God’s representative, he assures us of God’s forgiveness. Jesus has more authority than the Jewish high priest because he is truly God and truly man. In his sinlessness, he transcends the Old Testament high priest, but he did not glorify himself with his office. Unlike the priest who could go before God only once a year, Christ is always at God’s right hand interceding for us.
Today, call upon the Lord to stand in your place before God. Jesus has already paid the full ransom for you. We only need to confess our sins and repent in his name. The church has provided this incredible gift for us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest invites us to, once again, be reconciled with God in the name of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The world will know we are priestly people by the way we live.
Jesus was on his way to the Passover and being a well known teacher, he was surrounded by a large crowd of people, disciples and learners. Students of a teacher or rabbi learned while they listened as the teacher walked and talked. That was one of the most common ways of teaching. It was also the law that every male Jew of 12 years of age who lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem attend the Passover in the Holy City. So there would be even more than the normal crowds on the streets heading toward Jerusalem.
There were many who followed just to see this rebel who was about to invade Jerusalem. At the northern gate was a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He heard the tramp of feet and asked what was happening and who was passing. He was told that it was Jesus, and there and then he set up an uproar to attract Jesus’ attention to him. To those walking along and listening to their teacher, this was a great offence. They tried to silence Bartimaeus, but no one was going to take from him his chance to escape from his world of darkness, and he cried and shouted with such violence that the procession stopped, and he was brought to Jesus.
Beggars were a common sight in most towns, since most occupations of that day required physical labor, and anyone with a crippling disease or handicap was at a severe disadvantage and usually forced to beg, even though God’s laws commanded care for such needy people (Lev. 25:35-38). Blindness was considered a curse from God for sin; but Jesus rejected this idea when he healed the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:25).
To approach Jesus, the blind man had to overcome the disciple’s resistance. The blind man throws off the mantle of his former life, jumps up and approaches Jesus. He boldly calls out, “I want to see,” and Jesus instantly heals him. Jesus knew that because Bartimaeus called him the “Son of David” he knew that Jesus was the Messiah who was going to heal him.
The blindness in question was physical, yet Bartimaeus saw Jesus as the Messiah with spiritual vision. The blindness of many today is lack of faith, understanding, and acceptance. Spiritual vision on the other hand is faith. Ask Jesus to restore your sight today, and he will give you perfect spiritual vision.
The first reading tells us that God and Christ lead us home from exile. The second reading shows that Jesus Christ’s priesthood is perfect and eternal. The Gospel reveals that Bartimaeus had spiritual vision before he had physical vision.
This week, take a spiritual inventory of yourself. See where you are crippled and handicapped. Ask your spouse, clergyman or a close friend to help you. Do not let the noise of the crowd, job, or school distract you. Cry out for Jesus and pray and read his Word constantly this week. Keep a pad and pen near you, and write down any thoughts about your spiritual handicap. In the case of two blind men, one healing was gradual (8:25); the other was instant (10:52). Jesus heals both ways, and he wants you to have perfect spiritual health as well as good physical health.