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 EXODUS 22:20-26 FIRST READING
(“If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”)
l. Who shall we not molest or oppress, for what reason, and who is saying this? Exodus 22:20, Exodus 20:22
2. Whom shall we not wrong? Exodus 22:21
3. Who executes justice for the orphan and the widow? Deuteronomy 10:17-18
4. What will the Lord do if ever we wrong the widow or orphan? Exodus 22:22-23
5. Who was oppressed, how were they oppressed, and what happened to them even though they were oppressed? Exodus 1:11-14
Personal – In what way have you experienced oppression in your life, and in what way have you oppressed others?
6. If we lend money to one of our poor neighbors, how shall we not act towards them? Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:35-37
7. If we take our neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, when shall we return it to him, and for what reason? Exodus 22:25-26
8. If he cries out to God, what will God do, and for what reason? Exodus 22:26
9. How does the Lord act if we return to him? 2 Chronicles 30:9
10. How are we to act toward one another, and for what reason? Ephesians 4:32
Personal – Look up in the dictionary the meaning of compassion. In what way can you show mercy and compassion to someone close to you? Follow through and do it; then share with someone.
THIRD DAY READ 1 THESSALONIANS 1:5-10 SECOND READING
(“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord.”)
1. The Gospel did not come to us in word alone, but also in what with much conviction? 1 Thessalonians 1:5
2. In what may we abound by the power of the Holy Spirit? Romans 15:13
3. Whom did the Church of Thessalonica imitate, and how did they receive the word? 1 Thessalonians 1:6
4. “So be imitators of God, as beloved children.” How are we to live, and whose example do we follow? Ephesians 5:1, 2
5. As the Thessalonians imitate God, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, what do they become? Why did they do this? 1 Thessalonians 1:7
6. What has sounded forth from the church of Thessalonica, not only in Macedonia and in Archaia, and where else, so that Paul has no need to say anything? 1 Thessalonians 1:8
7. From what did they turn in order to serve the living and true God? 1 Thessalonians 1:9
8. Whom are they awaiting from heaven, and from what does he deliver us? 1 Thessalonians 1:10
9. For what did God not destine us, but for what did he destine us to gain? 1 Thessalonians 5:9
10. How can we store up wrath for our self, and how does God repay everyone? Romans 2:5-8
Personal – Are people imitating you in your walk with the Lord? How are you bringing the power of the Holy Spirit to others? List the people you have tried to imitate.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 22:34-40 GOSPEL
(“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart with all your soul, and with all your mind.”)
1. When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, what did they do? Matthew 22:34
2. How may we silence the ignorance of foolish people? 1 Peter 2:15
3. What did one of them, a scholar of the law, do to test Jesus? Matthew 22:36
4. What did Jesus say was the greatest and first commandment? Matthew 22:37-38
5. What is the second commandment? Matthew 22:39
6. What was the first commandment given to Moses by the Lord? Deuteronomy 6:4-5
7. What will we do if we love Jesus (God)? John 14:15
8. How does God demonstrate or prove his love for us? Romans 5:8
9. What is a new commandment that Jesus has given, and how do we demonstrate our love for God? John 13:34
10. What depends on these two commandments? Matthew 22:40
Personal – How can you demonstrate your love for God with someone in your family, friends, school or business who appears to be steeped in sin?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 18:2-4, 47, 51
(“Extolled be God my Savior.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 18: 2-4, 47, 51.
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
God’s warning to the Israelites not to treat strangers unfairly comes through loud and clear. They well remember that they themselves were once strangers in Egypt. It is not easy coming to a new environment where you feel alone and out of place. Today’s reading shows how the Hebrew law protected the poor and less fortunate. God tells us that the poor, the powerless, and the aliens are very special to him, and they are not to be mistreated. In today’s reading we see a cloak being used as collateral for a loan. In Hebrew law cloaks were one of an Israelite’s most valued possessions. Most people owned only one and it was used as a blanket, a sack to carry things, a place to sit, and a pledge for a debt, as well as for clothing.
We need to take a long look at the way we treat refugees and immigrants who come into our country. Our sensitivity to their struggles and our expression of God’s love to them are clearly stated by our actions. We see that God is very clear on what happens to those who mistreat the poor, the widows, and the orphans. The challenge upon us today is to turn our concern and resources to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Much of the tragedy in our society today is the exploitation of the poor. We need only look around and we can see widows, orphans and elderly trying desperately to survive. Instead of being helped, many are forced into homelessness or into homes they cannot afford. They receive little or no health care, and many have little food available to them and their families. God warns us very clearly what he will do to those who abuse and oppress them.
A call to repentance needs to come into the hearts of the people, and a renewal of our covenant with God has to take place. We need to look at the poor and oppressed with the eyes of Jesus Christ. If we turn to the Lord and seek his will, he will bless us and our families. He will bless and honor us for loving his poor. Remember, what we do to the least of our people, we do unto him (Matthew 25:31-46).
1 THESSALONIANS 1:5-10
St. Paul continues to praise the Thessalonians, not only for their faith and courage, but for their Christian lifestyle. Suffering for his faith was not new to St. Paul, and the Thessalonians gladly accepted their sufferings in imitation of Paul and Christ, who had died for them. The spirit with which they accepted and lived the faith was an example to other young Christian communities in Greece.
Today’s reading was about people who turned from believing in idols to belief in the living God. Today much of religion is rhetoric and young people see right through it. Idolatry is out of control in many nations, and the gods of money, power, and pleasure have many people struggling in bondage.
There are some Christians who still live by and stand up for their Christian principles, thank God; but they are too few and far between. We need millions of sincere, active, spirit-filled Christians to stem the flood of materialism and worldliness which is upon us. The failure of Christians to live out their beliefs is what gives the anti-God movement its fuel.
We need to look at ourselves and ask what kind of Christian role model we are in our community. Am I imitating Christ and bringing others to him? Do I spend time alone with him in prayer and reading his Word? In order to be an imitator of him, I must do these things daily. There are those around us who are looking for the light and the truth. We have that light and truth. We are called to give that light to the world of darkness. Do we dare refuse to help our brothers and sisters who are in darkness and risk losing our own eternal salvation?
This Gospel reading seems to reveal the intentions of the Pharisees trying to catch Jesus in some legalistic or political error. The Pharisees and Sadducees had many disputes among themselves about this question. There were over 600 laws and they often tried to ascertain which were the more important ones.
Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment in the law of Moses. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. By keeping these two commandments a person keeps all of the Law. They summarized the ten commandments. Yet, we see Jesus telling them and us that if we really love God and our neighbor, we will keep the commandments without any great problem. Jesus tells us what we can do, rather than to worry about what we can not do. We show how much we love God by keeping his commandments. We love God with our mind and heart, soul and body.
Today the world is trying to keep up with being it’s own conscience and it’s own code of conduct. We are told in Scripture that filling our minds with thoughts that are of the Lord is how we love the Lord with our minds (Phil. 4:8). We know that the Spirit of the Lord within us is greater than the spirit that is in the world (1 John 4:4). This is loving God and our neighbor with all of our strength, and that strength is the Holy Spirit.
We are called to love God with all of our heart, and it is with the heart of Jesus that we love others as he has loved us (John 13:34). We can not say we love God and hate our neighbor; if we do then we are liars (1 John 3:20). Jesus sums it all up on how to love others the way he loves us when he says, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me” (Matthew 25:31-46).
The first reading shows God’s intense love for orphans, widows, and the oppressed. The second reading reveals that the core of Christianity is in the witness of its believers. The Gospel brings home the power of loving God and neighbor completely.
This week, before you speak, ask yourself what would Jesus say in this situation. Before you do anything, ask yourself what would Jesus do in this situation. God is love and we should try imitating him in what we say and do. Then we will be not only loving and obedient to his commandments but also capable of loving others as he has loved us.