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 DEUTERONOMY 6:2-6 FIRST READING
(“…The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!”)
l. How are we to have a long life, and who are we to fear? Deuteronomy 6:2
2. Who will prosper after us if we keep the commandments? Deuteronomy 4:40, Deuteronomy 5:29.
3. What did the Father promise us if we are careful to observe his commands? Deuteronomy 6:3
4. Who is dearer to the Lord than all other people? Exodus 19:5
5. Who is our God, and what did Jesus say about him? Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29
6. With what are we to love and serve the Lord? Deuteronomy 10:12
7. With what three ways are we to love the Lord our God? Deuteronomy 6:5
8. What is to be written on our heart? Deuteronomy 6:6
9. What is in our heart that we do not falter? Psalm 37:31
10. What do we treasure in our heart so we will not sin against him? Psalm 119:11
Personal – How have you shown your love for God? What shows others that he alone is your God and there is none other than him?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 7:23-28 SECOND READING
(“…He is always able to save those who approach God through him.”)
1. Who were prevented by death from remaining in office? Hebrews 7:23
2. Who has a priesthood that does not pass away? Hebrews 7:24, 28
3. What happens to those who approach God through Jesus, and what does he do for them? Hebrews 7:25
4. Where is Jesus? Romans 8:34
5. If anyone sins, what does Jesus do? 1 John 2:1-2
6. Why is it fitting to have such a high priest? Hebrews 7:26
7. Who is this high priest who passed through the heavens? Hebrews 4:14
8. What did Jesus do once and for all, and what did he have no need to do? Heb7:27
9. For what does Jesus live, and what must we consider ourselves? Romans 6:10-11
10. What does the law appoint, and who does the word of the oath appoint? Heb.7:28
11. Who is perfect? Hebrews 7:28, Hebrews 5:8-10
Personal – About what can you have Jesus intercede for you to the Father? Try keeping a prayer journal with dates and check the results each week.
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 12:28-34 GOSPEL
(“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)
1. What did one of the scribes ask Jesus? Mark 12:28
2. What did Jesus say his Father was, and how are we to love him? Mark 12:29-30
3. What did Jesus say was the second commandment, and what did he say about these two commandments? Mark 12:31
4. What is summed up in this saying (namely), “you shall love your neighbor as yourself, and what does love not do? Romans 13:9-10
5. What did the scribe say about God? Mark 12:32
6. What did the scribe say was worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices? Mark 12:33
7. To what does the Lord want us to be open? Psalm 40:7
8. What did Jesus see in the scribe, and what did Jesus say to him? Mark 12:34
9. Where does God’s kingdom rule? Psalm 103:19
10. What did no one dare to do? Mark 12:34, Matthew 22:46
Personal – In what way have you shown your love for God by loving your neighbor this week? Who in your life is considered your neighbor right now?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 18:2-4, 47, 51
(“I love you, O Lord, my strength,”)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
This passage shows us that the wandering in the desert was not only a punishment but also a test to show the people how utterly dependent they must be on God. For a nation that had wandered forty years in a parched desert to be close to a land “flowing with milk and honey” sounded like a paradise. They envisioned rich crops, rushing streams, gentle rains, and lush fields filled with livestock. The Israelites could have had all that forty years earlier, but their stubbornness and rebellion prevented it from happening.
Moses was now whetting their appetite for this beautiful land and clearly explaining the conditions for entering the land. The great Hebrew prayer known as the “Shema” from the Hebrew word “Hear” begins the prayer. This prayer was recited by devout Jews and was a proclamation of faith and a desire to serve God. Since Jesus was a pious Jew, the words of the Shema came to his lips when he was asked which commandment was the greatest (Mark 12:29). The rabbis agree also that of the 612 Jewish commandments of the Law, this was the most important. The prayer declares that their God (Yahweh) is the only true God. This was a very important insight for the people of Israel, because they were about to enter a land with many gods.
Both then and today there are people who prefer to place their trust in many gods. Today we see people who believe in the false gods of money, power, status, fame, youth, physical beauty, intelligence, drugs, alcohol, immorality, pleasure, and many forms of the occult.
This passage is often said to be the central theme of Deuteronomy. It sets a pattern that helps us to relate the Word of God to our daily lives. Today, more than ever, we are to love God with all of our heart, soul and might. We are to teach his commandments to our children, and to live our lives by the guidelines of his word.
The covenant of Christ is the covenant of the New Testament. This new covenant allowed the people to go to God directly through Jesus Christ. They no longer had to rely on sacrificed animals to gain God’s forgiveness. The new covenant is permanent because Jesus Christ lives forever as our high priest, and only Jesus saves.
We need to ask ourselves, what does it mean that Jesus is able to save completely? No one can add to what Jesus did to save us; our past, present, and future sins are all forgiven, and Jesus is with the Father as a sign that our sins are forgiven. Christ has paid the price for our sins once and for all. If you are reading this as a non-Christian, then let him come into your heart right now, and let his blood wash you clean. Confess your sins and repent in the name of Jesus. If you are a Christian, then you know that you need to be reconciled with God again. Jesus welcomes us back with the same joy as the good shepherd experiences when he recovered the one lost sheep in the fold. We have been blessed in the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remember, it is not enough to say I am sorry; we are called to repent (change) and get back into Christian worship and fellowship.
Jesus is our advocate, the mediator between us and God. The covenant of Christ is immediate access to our loving and just heavenly Father. Today much of the world does not realize how costly it was for Jesus to secure our forgiveness – it cost him his blood and his life (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Because Christ died once and for all, he finished all sacrifices. The Jews did not need to go back to the old system, because Christ, the perfect sacrifice, completed the work of redemption. His death brings us eternal life. How callous, how cold, how stubborn are those who refuse to accept this death, God’s greatest gift.
There is an old saying that is credited to St. Augustine. He stated, “Love God and do whatever you like.” There were many in the crowd that surrounded Jesus that would strongly disagree with that saying. The expert who asked Jesus the question was asking about something which was a living issue in Jewish thought, discussion and law. Jesus answered him by putting two great commandments together.
“Hear, Oh Israel! the Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” This single sentence is the heart of Judaism (Deut. 6:4). It is called the Shema which means to hear. It was the sentence with which the service of the synagogue always began and still begins. The three passages of the Shema were contained in the Phylacteries, (Matt. 23:5), little leather boxes which the devout Jew wore on his forehead and wrist. When the Jew was at prayer, the Shema was contained in a little box called the Mezuzah, which was and still is attached to the door of every Jewish house and the door of every room in it, to remind the Jew of God at his going out and his coming in.
When Jesus quoted the second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:18), he intended it to mean the Gentiles also. Jesus took an old law and filled it with meaning. Religion to Jesus Christ was loving God and loving people. He tells us that the only way in which a man can prove that he loves God is by showing that he loves men. Hosea had heard God say, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6). For some people it is always easier to let ritual take the place of love, and for some, it is easer to let worship become a matter of the church building, instead of a matter of the whole life.
The scribe had risen beyond his friends, and that is why he found himself in sympathy with Jesus. His next step was faith in Jesus himself, and this was the most difficult step to take. When you are uncertain about what to do, ask yourself what course of action best demonstrates your love for God and your love for others.
The first reading tells us that prayer and obedience are the foundation of love. The second reading shows us that Jesus saves completely. The Gospel reveals Jesus’ idea of religion as love of God and man.
This week, show your family that love, not ritual, dominates your actions. Take the time to look at those in your family, work and school and determine the ones whom you have great difficulty loving. This week, lift them up in daily prayer and make an effort to show them love in the form of meeting their needs. Love is a decision, and it is time for you to decide to love God and all your fellow men.