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 ISAIAH 55:6-9 FIRST READING
(“Let him turn to the Lord for mercy.”)
l. Whom do we seek while he may be found? Isaiah 55:6
2. What must we do while he is near? Isaiah 55:6
3. With what must we seek the Lord? Jeremiah 29:13-14, Deuteronomy 4:29
4. What are we to let the scoundrel do, and the wicked man? Isaiah 55:7
5. To whom must the scoundrel and the wicked turn, and what will be given to them? Isaiah 55:7
6. In what is our God generous? Isaiah 55:7
7. What has the Lord done with our sins, and what is he asking us to do? Isaiah 44:22
8. What are the Lord’s thoughts and ways not like? Isaiah 55:8
9. As high as what are his ways above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts? Isaiah 55:9
10. What does God do, and what does he not do? Numbers 23:19
Personal – In what way have you experienced the greatness and mercy of God? In what way has he revealed to you that his way is far superior to the way you thought something should be done? What did you do when he revealed this to you?
THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 1:20-24, 27 SECOND READING
(“For, to me, `life’ means Christ, hence dying is so much gain.”)
1. Who is writing this letter, and to whom is he writing? Philippians 1:1
2. What does Paul firmly trust and anticipate? Philippians 1:20
3. In what does he have full confidence? Philippians 1:20
4. Of what does Paul not dare to speak when trying to win the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed? Romans 15:18
5. What does “life” mean to Paul, and what is dying? Philippians 1:21
6. What is the life Paul lives, of what is his human life, and in whom is his life? Galatians 2:20
7. If we are to go on living in the flesh, what does that mean? Philippians 1:22
8. To what is Paul attracted, and from what does he long to be free? Philippians 1:23
9. What is the more urgent, and for whose sake? Philippians 1:24
10. How are we to conduct ourselves, and if we do this, what will be clear? Philippians 1:27
Personal – What do you prefer, to live or die? Why? What spiritual insight has the Lord revealed to you personally in this reading? How can you apply it to your life?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 20:1-16 GOSPEL
(“Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”)
1. The reign of God can be compared to the owner of an estate who went out at dawn to do what? What did he reach with the workmen for the usual daily wage, and then, what did he do? Matthew 20:1-2
2. When the owner came out about midmorning, what did he see? What did he say to them? What did he say he would pay them? Matthew 20:3-4
3. What did the owner find at noon and mid-afternoon? What did he say to those he found in late afternoon? Matthew 20:5-6
4. What did they say to the owner, and what did he tell them to do? What did the owner of the vineyard say to his foreman? Matthew 20:7-8
5. When those hired late in the afternoon came for their pay, what did they receive? What did the first group suppose? Matthew 20:9-10
6. What did they receive, what was their complaint to the owner, and what was his response? Matthew 20:11-13
7. What did the owner tell them to do, and what did he intend to do? Matthew 20:14
8. In Matthew 20:15, what two questions did he ask the workers?
9. What do envy and anger do? Sirach 30:24
10. How does God give to all? James 1:5
11. Who will be first, and who will be last? Matthew 20:16
Personal – How do you see yourself, as the one receiving much for little done or as receiving little for much work done? How do you feel about this, and how do you deal with your feelings? Go to the Lord and repent of any envy you may have been holding. Seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145: 2-3, 8-9, 17-18
(“The Lord is gracious and merciful.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 145: 2-3, 8-9, 17-18.
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 tells us that first we seek his kingship and then all else will be added (Matt. 6:33). The desire to seek his will is a gift of grace from God. We are called to yield to that gift and then respond to it in faith. The Jews had a prayer called the “Shema” (Deut. 6:4-8) that supported this revelation.
We are called to relate the Word of God in our daily lives. God has emphasized the importance of parents to teach Scripture to their children. The church and Christian schools can not always be used to escape this responsibility. Today eternal truths are most effectively learned in the loving environment of a God-fearing home, just as in the time of Moses.
Jesus tells us that loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind is the greatest command and to love our neighbor as ourself is the greatest rule of all. These two commands of his encompass all of Scripture.
We need to know, study and live out his daily Word so that our ways will be his ways. He will reveal his holy will to us, but we have to hunger and thirst to seek for him, for he is a gentle and loving God who seeks us more than we seek him. He stands always ready at the door to our heart, waiting for us to let him come in (Rev. 3:20).
What is really incredible is that he wants to come in and dine with us. In the early Bible days, the act of eating with someone was a very special sign of friendship. You did not eat with just anyone. Jesus wants to become intimate with us. He wishes to reside in our temple (1 Cor. 6:20). He rushes in and he does everything. All we have to do is open our hearts and let him in. That is why his thoughts and ways are not like ours, because he wants only to heal and love us.
PHILIPPIANS 1:20-24, 27
This was not to be Paul’s final imprisonment in Rome. He knew that he could be either released or executed, and it was in this atmosphere that he was filled with joy. The secret of Paul’s joy while in prison was his personal relationship with Jesus. Today people desperately want to be happy, but are tossed and turned by their daily successes, failures, and inconveniences. In other words, they are looking to the wrong source for their joy. To those who do not believe in God, life on earth is all there will be for them. So as the television commercial states, they go for the “gusto,” or try to get as much as they can as quickly as they can.
Paul saw life as developing eternal values and telling others about Jesus Christ, and this is what a messenger of the king is called to tell his people. We are that messenger. We are that prophet and like Paul, we will have to tell others that money, popularity, power and prestige are only temporary values in this world. Similar to Paul, we are to speak out boldly for Christ and to become more like him in the way we live out our daily lives.
Paul sees dying as more superior than living, because he knew that in death he would be spared from the troubles of the world and would see Christ face to face (1 John 3:2,3). To be ready to die is to be ready to live for Christ. It is only when we die to ourselves and put on the “mind of Christ” that we are really able to live (Phil. 2:5-11). Once we know our purpose in life is to love others as Christ has loved us, then we are free to serve. Then, and only then, can we devote our life to what really counts without the fear of dying.
MATTHEW 20: 1-16
Today’s Gospel is not concerned with rewards but with salvation. It is a powerful teaching about the incredible gift called grace that God gives to us. The story is not quite how we earn our way to heaven, because that would be impossible. Jesus clarified the membership rules of the kingdom of heaven. Entrance to heaven is by God’s grace alone.
In today’s story, God is the estate owner and the believers are those who work for him. In early Christianity there were many who felt superior because of heritage or favored positions, just as today. There were those who felt superior because they had spent so much time with Christ and knew so much about him. The message in this story was a reassurance of God’s grace to the new believers.
We should not resent anyone who turns to God in the last moments of life, because, in reality, no one deserves eternal life. Many people we do not expect to see may be in the Kingdom. The thief who repented on the cross will be next to Jesus (Luke 23:40-43) as well as the people who have believed and served God all of their lives.
Think for a moment about your life. Do you resent God for allowing all those outcasts and sinners into heaven, and those who turn to him at the last moment of their lives? Are you ever jealous of what God has given to someone else? I challenge you to reflect on God’s gracious gift of grace in your life. Focus on the benefits given to you and give praise and thanksgiving for what you have received. He has given you eternal life (John 3:16). He has loved you so much he died for you. He has given you another chance to love every time you begin a brand-new day.
If you do not have any friends, then invite him into your heart to be your friend. (John 15:13-15). He will change your life immediately, and you will, in return, change others with your joy and testimony (Matt. 28:19). Jesus is our owner, our shepherd, and our Savior, and he wants us to be healed and made whole (John 10:10).
The bottom line is – the generous gift of God’s grace and our follow through on it are what allows us to be eligible to enter heaven. The result of accepting that grace in faith will be shown by the way we live our lives on earth.
The first reading tells us to first seek the kingship of God and then all else will be given unto you (Matt. 6:33). The second reading tells how personal relationships with Christ can bring joy and peace even in very difficult circumstances. The Gospel tells us how grace and our response to it bring us into heaven.
This week, show how you value yourself, your family, your school and your work associates by being very generous with your time, money, and talent. Some examples: Spend time with someone who is sick or lonely, financially help someone you know who is struggling, share with someone a talent or a gift that you have. Remember, grace is the presence of God in your relationship with others.