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 AMOS 8:4-7 FIRST READING
(“Hear this, you who trample upon the needy.”)
1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking in Amos 8:4-7? Amos 8:1-2
2. On whom do you trample, and whom do you destroy? Amos 8:4
3. What do you ask about the new moon and what is the new moon? Amos 8:5 and Numbers 28:9-15
4. For what reason did they want to know if the new moon was over? Amos 8:5
5. What does the Lord tell his people in Leviticus 19:35- 36?
6. How can you have a long life on this earth? Deuteronomy 25:13-16
7. What will they buy for silver and for a pair of sandals? Amos 8:6
8. What will they sell? Amos 8:6
9. By what has the Lord sworn, and what will he never forget? Amos 8:7
10. What does the Lord say about the pride of Jacob? Amos 6:8
11. When does the Lord forget what we have done in the past? Ezekiel 18:21-22
Personal – In what way have you cheated a poor person by remaining silent or by giving from your surplus rather than from your needs, at home, or at the offering at church on Sunday?
THIRD DAY READ 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-8 SECOND READING
(“God is one. One also is the mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”)
1. Who is writing this letter and to whom is he writing? 1 Timothy 1:1-2
2. What four things is he urging be offered for all men? 1 Timothy 2:1
3. For whom is he especially urging this and for what reason? 1 Timothy 2:2
4. What does he say about prayer of this kind and how does God feel about it? 1 Timothy 2:3
5. What does God want and for whom does he want this? 1 Timothy 2:4
6. What does he want all men to come to know? 1 Timothy 2:4
7. What is the truth and who is the truth? 1 Tim. 2:5, John 14:6
8. As what did Jesus give himself and for whom? 1 Timothy 2:6
9. When was this truth attested to? 1 Timothy 2:6
10. What has Paul been made and what is his wish? 1 Timothy 2:7-8
11. What is his wish that every man be free from? 1 Timothy 2:8
Personal – In what way have you been set free from anger and dissension? In what way are you following the example of Paul and teaching those around you what verse 5-6 of 1 Timothy 2 says?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 16:1-13 GOSPEL
(“You cannot give yourself to God and money.”)
1. As Jesus was speaking to his disciples what did he say the steward of a rich man was reported doing? Luke 16:1
2. What did the rich man say to his steward? Luke 16:2
3. What did the steward say to himself? Luke 16:3
4. As he thought of an idea, what would be the result of the people toward him? Luke 16:4
5. When the steward called in each of his master’s debtors what did he ask them, what was their answer, and what were the steward’s instructions? Luke 16:5-7
6. For what did the master give his devious employee credit, and for what reason? Luke 16:8
7. What are you to gain from this world’s goods? Luke 16:9
8. How are you to use this world’s goods? Matthew 25:35-36
9. When the goods of this world fail you, what will be yours? Luke 16:9, Matthew 25:34
10. Fill in the following blanks: The person who is ____________ in very small matters is also ______________ in great ones; and the person who is ___________ in very small matters is also ___________ in great ones. Luke 16:10
11. In verses 10-12 of Luke 16, what is the key quality being brought out in regard to money?
12. What must you do first before providing for yourself and your family? Matthew 6:33
13. What can a servant not do? Luke 16:13
Personal – In what way have you shown responsibility in your use of your worldly goods? Examine the last twenty-four hours. How much of your time was spent earning and spending money for this world’s goods and how much time was spent loving and giving to your brother or sister in need? “You cannot give yourself to God and money.”
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 113:1-2, 4-8
(“High above all nations is the Lord.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8.
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 is spoken to us by a person who was a shepherd. He was not a prophet or the son of a prophet. He did not go to some prestigious school, but he was called by God to bring a message of obedience to the people without any special preparation, education, or upbringing. Amos obeyed God’s call to go and prophesy to the people of Israel.
Obedience, then, as it is today, was the test of a faithful servant. He spoke out to the people in a time of peace and affluence, and his message was not well received. He told them, you do all the external things that are required of you very well, but in your hearts you are corrupt. The merchants kept the religious holidays, but not in spirit. Their primary goal was in making money, even if that meant not being really honest. We see that today in our society on special days like Christmas and Easter. The message on the surface is peace and goodwill but the bottom line to many is to make money.
The humanists call Christmas “Winter Vacation” and Easter “Spring Vacation,” and many Christians go right along with it, and their conduct is no different than the pagans in this passage or the ones that are right here in our present-day society.
They used phony weights and measures and cheated the poor. We do that today by electing corrupt politicians who make it legal to cheat the poor and make millions of dollars doing it. We need to reflect on this passage during the time that we call our “day off” (Sunday). Do we give that day to the Lord? Is that a day that our family knows will consist of praising the Lord and visiting family? Or is it a day when what we should get done during the week is being done because we are too busy making money on the other days? We need to reflect in prayer that God will give us the strength to open our hearts and give to him the first fruits of our efforts. We are these people in this passage, and we must respond in obedience to God’s call to feed his hungry, clothe his poor, and visit his sick because what we do to the least of our brother and sisters we do unto him (Matthew 25:31-46).
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-8
The church has a great calling. We are not only called upon to plead with men to turn to God but to plead with God the cause of men. Our God is so fantastic, he has let us have the incredible privilege of helping him change the world through our prayers. Our understanding of this can never be fully grasped because it is a true mystery of faith. But it is a reality because Paul urges us to pray for one another and he even tells us to pray for our rulers.
We might well remember that Nero was the emperor at this time (A.D. 54-68). It was under this wicked emperor that Paul was imprisoned, and he knew that soon he was to be beheaded. This proves to us that we must pray for bad rulers as well as good rulers.
Paul wrote this during a great persecution of the believers. Paul tells us that God longs to save us just as Peter did in Scripture (2 Peter 3:9). This means that while God wanted all to be saved, all did not accept his invitation. Paul tells us that the power of prayer affects all men and that power is available to us through intercessory prayer.
When we pray for someone else we stand in God’s presence, pleading for that person. Our Lord Jesus binds and casts out the demon spirit and leaves the person the freedom to choose to return to God’s loving way. Some people refuse this incredible gift and fail to become healed. Paul makes it clear that when we pray for someone we can go straight to our Lord and stand in his Presence, pleading for that person.
There is an old story about a Roman warrior who returned home in victory to find his brother about to be put to death in the Roman court. He stood in the back of the courtroom and without a word he held up the bleeding stub of the arm which had been cut off in battle. As the judge looked upon the wound, he said “For the sake of this brave warrior, his brother is counted innocent and free.” We should be condemned for our sins, but we look and see Jesus holding up his nail-printed hands, presenting his pierced feet and wounded side, pleading for you and me.
That is what the power of prayer can do. It brings the healing power of Jesus to anyone who is truly sorry. We need to be people of prayer and people of pure conduct. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16) and the prayers of the righteous man are very powerful (James 5:16).
Jesus tells the parable of the shrewd accountant in this passage. The story is about an accountant being confronted by his boss on charges of cheating the company. We will have to give an account of our actions to God someday just like the accountant had to do in this story (Romans 14:12). This man wasted the resources that he had through the use of his conniving and cheating with others in the business world. His love for money determined his course of conduct and he exercised corrupt authority and power with it. We need to reflect on these few verses about our involvement with money, trust, and integrity.
We are called by God to use our material goods in a way that will help us as we stand face to face with God on judgment day (Luke 12:33, 34). We notice the admiration coming from the boss toward the accountant for his shrewdness. We can easily be influenced by what the world calls admirable behavior, because worldly people are very clever, more so than Godly people. We are children of the light (John 12:36), and we are not called to be clever, we are called to be honest. We are not called to buy friendship through cheating or granting special favors.
Our entry into heaven is not based on how clever we are, or how many good deals we make in business, or how close we come to the line of integrity and still be legal. We are called to be righteous in all matters, small or large, profitable or otherwise. We can only be trustworthy in large matters by being trustworthy in small ones. We can only be trustworthy to others when we are always trustworthy to ourselves. Heaven’s riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth and power.
Many people have let money take the place of God in their life, and it has become their master. Make a few observations and see if you have become a slave to money. Do you worry about money frequently? Do you give up doing what you should in order to make more money? Do you spend a great deal of time caring for your possessions? Do you find it difficult to give away your money?
We can see that money is a hard and deceptive master. Money always promises power and control, but it often can not deliver on its promises. Money cannot buy health, joy, or eternal life. We are so much wiser, happier, and at peace when we let God be our master. Money is meant to be a servant of man and man is called to be a servant of God. God’s servants have peace of mind and security both now and forever.
In the first reading, we saw the dangers of greed, and in the second reading, we saw the power of prayer. We are told in the gospel that we cannot serve two masters.
This week, look around in your family or parish and pick out someone with whom you can share your worldly goods. Do something for that person without their knowing that it was you–like paying a bill, having the lawn mowed, doing an errand, etc. In short, do something beautiful for God this week; and remember, before you do anything for that person, pray that the Lord fill his or her life as he has filled yours.