TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Aug. 26th) – CYCLE B

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THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY

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 JOSHUA 24:1-2,15-17, 18     FIRST READING

     (“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”)

l.   Whom will Joshua gather together?   Joshua 24:1

 

2.   Whom did Joshua address, and what did he say to them? Joshua 24:2

 

3.   What did Joshua tell the people to decide upon? Joshua 24:15

 

4.   What two things could be decided upon, and how could they be obtained?   Deuteronomy 30:15-18

 

5.   Who did Joshua say would serve the Lord?  Joshua 24:15

 

Personal – If you have decided to serve the Lord as Joshua has, and someone in your household has not, how have you handled it?

 

6.   What did the people say they had no intentions of doing? Joshua 24:16

 

7.   What did the Lord God do for them and their fathers, what did he perform, and from whom did he protect them? Joshua 24:17

 

8.   How has the Lord brought you and your family out of slavery? Acts 16:31

 

9.   Whom did the Lord drive out of the land, and whom did the people say they would serve?   Joshua 24:18

 

10.  What can no man serve, and for what reason?  Matthew   6:24

 

Personal  –  In what way have your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents served other gods?  Whom have you decided to follow, and for what reason did you decide this?

 

THIRD DAY            READ EPHESIANS 5:21-32      SECOND READING

          (“Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.”)

1.   How should husband and wife act towards one another, and for what reason do they do this?  Ephesians 5:21

 

2.   How should wives be towards their husband, and who is the head of the wife?  Ephesians 5:22-23

 

3.   Why should a wife be submissive towards her husband? 1 Peter 3:1-2

 

4.   Who is head of the church, and what has he done for the church? Ephesians 5:23,25

 

5.   In what are wives to be submissive to their husbands?  Ephesians 5:24

 

6.   How are husbands to love their wives, and what will this make her?  Ephesians 5:25-27

 

7.   What does love do, and what does it not do?  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

8.   Whom does he who loves his wife also love?  Ephesians 5:28

 

9.   What two things does a person do to his flesh as Christ does for the church?  Ephesians 5:29-30

 

10.  What happens to the man who leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife?  Ephesians 5:31

 

11.  In reference to what great mystery does Paul speak? Ephesians 5:32

 

Personal – If you are married, how do you see similarities of your relationship with your spouse to those of Christ with the church (church meaning the people of God)?  Be specific.  If you are not married, how can you see similarities of your parents to that of Christ and the church?

 

FOURTH DAY              READ JOHN 6:60-69                GOSPEL

(“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”)

1.   What did many of the disciples say to Jesus, and about what were they talking?  John 6:34, 54, 60

 

2.   What did Jesus ask his disciples?  John 6:61-62

 

3.   What does the Spirit give us, and what is the flesh to us? John 6:63

 

4.   If we live by the Spirit, what will we not do?  Galatians 5:16

 

5.   What are the words that Jesus speaks?  John 6:63

 

6.   What did Jesus know from the beginning?  John 6:64

 

7.   Who draws people to Jesus?  John 6:65

 

8.   Who chose us and for what reason?  John 15:16

 

9.   What did many of Jesus’ disciples do?  John 6:66

 

10.  What was Simon Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question, “Do you also want to leave?”  John 6:67-69

 

Personal – How have you experienced the spiritual new life through his Holy Word?

 

FIFTH DAY           READ PSALM 34:2-3, 16-23

(“The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.”) Read and meditate on Psalm 34:2-3, 16-23

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

                    JOSHUA 24:1-2, 15-17, 18

Joshua called all the people together and reminded them of God’s goodness when God had blessed them so many times in the past. Joshua did that to encourage them to remain loyal and obedient to God, especially when times became difficult.  When we turn to Scripture, it is remarkable how unchanging is God’s love for us. Joshua challenged the people to make a decision. He wanted them to commit their lives to the Lord, who had proven his trust­worthiness, or ask them whether they were going to obey the local so-called gods.

The challenge by Joshua is very appropriate for the people of today. Can you imagine what would happen if the spiritual and secular leaders of the world spoke through the modern technology of television and radio to the whole world, saying that the time has come to make a choice between life with God or death without him? Or that your life will be a blessing as he resides in you, or that your life will be a curse because you are an empty shell filled with illusions, if he does not?

Well, that would not be any more explosive than what Joshua did. He told them that they could not make it without God’s guidance and help. We have seen all through history that when men believe in false gods, it is only a matter of time before they are destroyed. Joshua, a true, fearless leader, states to the people, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Today we need to pray that our leaders will have the courage of Joshua.  What about you?  Do you have that same courage?   Are you ready to say to the world, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”?

 

                       EPHESIANS 5:21-32

Today’s reading deals with submission, a badly misused word. Being submissive does not mean becoming a doormat.  Jesus Christ, at whose name every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil. 2:10), submitted his will to the Father.  He did this willingly, openly, and unconditionally, and we honor Christ by following his example.  When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others. 

In a marriage relationship both husband and wife are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ.  For the wife, this means willingly following her husband’s leadership in Christ.  For the husband, it means putting aside his own interests in order to care for his wife.  It means that submission is rarely a problem in homes where both spouses are in a strong personal relationship with Christ.  There are some people today who have distorted Paul’s teaching and have taken unlimited authority for themselves.  According to scripture, the man is the spiritual head of the family, and his wife affirms and goes along with his leadership.  Paul told wives to submit to their husbands, and while this teaching is not very popular today, there is no valid reason to discard it.

We must never forget that real spiritual leadership is service.  Christ served his disciples even to the point of washing their feet, and husbands are called to do no less with their wives.  Christ loved his church by teaching her, honoring her, sacrificing for her, suffering for her, being humiliated for her, providing for her, and even dying for her.  A husband is to do for his bride exactly what Christ did for his bride (church).  A husband may not be called to die physically for his wife, but he is called to die to himself.  He is called to die to his needs and tend to her needs first.  He can do that only when he has yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ, has chosen to give glory to the Father by saying, “Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, I believe in you and I will follow your commandment.”  Jesus tells all of us who believe in him, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).

 

                          JOHN 6:60-69

When we look at the Greek translation of the word “skleros,” we see that it does not mean, “hard to understand,” but “hard to accept.”  The disciples knew quite well that Jesus had been claiming to be the very life of God come down from heaven, and that no one could live this life or face eternity without submitting to him.  Today as it was then, it is not the intellectual difficulty which keeps men from becoming Christians; it is the height of Christ’s moral demand.  Man will never be able to understand God fully, and any honest thinker will accept that there must be a mystery.

The real difficulty of being a Christian is that it demands an act of surrender to Christ, and it demands a moral standard at the highest level.  Jesus tells us that the all-important thing is the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.  He goes on to tell us his words are Spirit and life.  Only Jesus can give us true purpose in life, and the power of his Holy Spirit to work out that purpose against the constant opposition that comes from without and within.  All spiritual renewal begins and ends with God, as he reveals truth to us and then lives within us as we respond to that truth.

Many of his followers found that they were not ready for this kind of message of renewal and deserted him.  The reasons they left could have been that they realized that he was not going to be the conquering Messiah-King they expected.  They were disappointed that he emphasized faith so much and not enough on doing good things.  He refused to give in to their self-centered requests. 

As we grow in our faith, we may be tempted to turn away because Jesus’ lessons are hard.  Will your response be to give up, ignore certain teaching, or reject Christ?  Remember, we do not do good things to become good.  We do good things because of the good that is within us and that goodness is the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).  Today, ask God to show you what the teachings mean and how they apply to your life.  Then have the courage to act upon God’s truth.

Application

The first reading shows that to accept a challenge means to change.  The second reading shows submission means to give of self willingly and joyfully.  The Gospel reveals the high moral demand of Christianity.

This week, let the challenge of Joshua stir you to show that you and your household will serve the Lord.  To do this, you need to practice the gift of listening to the members of your family.  Listen to the hurt and rejection that others are experiencing.  Then in submission respond by serving their needs.  Your willing­ness to serve is a definite sign that the core of your submission is the power of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, to submit to another is difficult, and to submit means to love.  To love means to be in obedience to Christ.  To be obedient to Christ is to be submissive to one another.  Do you see how God’s love is so intertwined in our lives?

 

Posted in Bible Studies.