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 SIRACH 27:30-28:7 FIRST READING
(“Forgive your neighbor’s injustice.”)
l. What are hateful things, and what does the sinner do with them? Sirach 27:30
2. What are we to keep in mind, and what does man’s anger not fulfill? James 1:19-20
3. What will the vengeful suffer, and for what reason? Sirach 28:1
4. Who says, “Vengeance is mine: I will repay?” Romans 12:19
5. If we forgive our neighbor’s injustice, what will happen when we pray? Sirach 28:2
6. What did Jesus say to the Father as he was dying on the cross? Luke 23:34
7. In whom has God forgiven us? Ephesians 4:32
8. If a person nourishes anger against another person, what can he expect from the Lord? Sirach 28:3
9. What are the questions asked in verses four and five of Sirach 28?
10. What are we to set aside, what are we to remember, and from what are we to cease? Sirach 28:6
11. Who are we not to hate, whose covenant are we to remember, and what are we to overlook? Sirach 28:7
Personal – Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you any anger you may be harboring against anyone. What gives you the strength to forgive when you were innocent and unjustly treated?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 14:7-9 SECOND READING
(“While we live we are responsible to the Lord.”)
1. What does not one of us do? Romans 14:7
2. What example did Jesus give us to follow on how to live, and what is no slave greater than? John 13:12- 16
3. While we live, to whom are we responsible? Romans 14:8
4. When we die, as what do we die? Romans 14:8
5. To whom do we belong in both life and death? Romans 14:8
6. The slave called in the Lord is what, and how have we been bought? 1 Corinthians 7:22-23
7. Why did Christ die and come to life again? Romans 14:9
8. Who is set apart by God to judge both the living and the dead? Acts 10:36-42
9. What is the blessed and only ruler called? 1 Timothy 6:15
10. What must every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father? Philippians 2:11
Personal – In what way have you submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Is it partial or total submission? How has this submission been visible to your family, friends, schoolmates, or work acquaintances?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 18:21-35 GOSPEL
(“My Lord, be patient with me and I will pay back in full.”)
1. Who was speaking, and what did he ask the Lord? Matthew 18:21
2. When Jesus told his disciples how to pray, what did he say to do regarding forgiveness? Matthew 6:12
3. What was Jesus’ reply to forgiving seven times? Matthew 18:22
4. To what may the reign of God be compared? Matthew 18:23
5. As the king began his auditing one was brought in who owed him a huge amount of money, what did his master order in payment of the debt? Matthew 18:24-25
6. What did the official do and say? Matthew 18:26
7. With what was the master moved, and what did he do? Matthew 18:27
8. What did that same official do when he met a fellow servant? Matthew 18:28
9. What did his fellow servant do and say, and what did he have done with him? Matthew 18:29-30
10. When his fellow servants saw what had happened, what was their reaction, where did they go, and what did they do? Matthew 18:31
11. When his master sent for him, what did he say to him? Matthew 18:32-33
12. What did he do in anger? Matthew 18:34
13. What did Jesus say his Heavenly Father would do, and what are we to do? Matthew 18:34-35
14. What judges the thoughts and reflections of the heart? Hebrews 4:12
Personal – For what major flaw in you did Jesus die on the cross and forgive you? What major flaw do you need to forgive in a brother or sister? Be specific.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 103:1-4, 9-12
(“Not according to our sins does he deal with us.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12.
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
“Father, forgive these people, they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).” Jesus asked his Father to forgive the people who were putting him to death. God answered that prayer by opening up the way of salvation to everyone.
Today’s passage reveals to us that vengeance for us comes from the Lord only (Romans 12:19). We are told that mercy will come only to those who show mercy and that we will be pardoned for our sins in the same measure that we pardon those who have sinned against us.
You and I do not ever have to refuse mercy to anyone, because we have been forgiven by Jesus Christ whose death paid the price of our redemption. His blood has washed us clean.
Because he has forgiven us, we can forgive others. The pain of being hurt physically, emotionally, sexually, or even spiritually, can be so devastating that it seems vengeance is more justifiable. Sometimes it seems more logical just to run away from the pain inside.
As you are reading this, let Jesus come into your heart and let him go to the point of the pain in your entire being. Say, “Come, Holy Spirit, give me the power to forgive as my brother Jesus forgives.” He will heal you and renew your mind (Romans 12:2). He will take up residence in your heart and he will give you a heart of flesh in place of that heart of stone. He will be your rock, your fortress, your refuge (Psalm 91). He will anoint your head with healing oil, and you will dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23).
We will learn to give mercy because he resides in our temple (1 Corinthians 6:20). We will pardon those who have injured us because we have been pardoned for all of our sins (Matt. 6:12). Let us remember to be quick to hear, slow to anger, and slow to speak (James 1:19, 20) for the wrath of a man does not show righteousness to God.
The only person who was ever born to die for us was Jesus Christ. He lived and died for all mankind. He died for all of the sinners in the world. His death paid the price that freed humanity from the bondage of Satan. All mankind did not decide to accept his incredible gift, and consequently, we see a tremendous conflict between good and evil. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus was born to be the suffering servant of mankind and to be its Lord and Savior. Today we see many people who live in the belief that it is their own talents and drive that determines their fate. We see many cultures who claim we have to be tough and independent to get ahead. Meekness is confused with weakness in many parts of our society. Love of God, family and country is considered by some to be sentimental foolishness.
Jesus called us to be foot washers in the world (John 13:3-17). He called us to be servants to our neighbors and to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34). He tells us our freedom has been bought at a high price, and that price was his blood (1 Corinthians 7:22-23). He calls from us a submission to him and a sub-mission to one another. We are to think of others first.
We are to put on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:2-11). We are called to live for Christ because he has died for us so that we might live forever. He is our Lord and when we die we will spend eternity in his loving presence.
I encourage you to stop what you are doing right now, get down on your knees, and confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life. He stands at the door of your heart. Open that door and invite him in, and let him heal you today (Rev. 3:20).
We are told in today’s Gospel that if we do not forgive those who have offended us, neither will God forgive us of our offenses to him. In the days of Christ there was a Jewish custom that a person had to forgive someone only three times for having offended you. It was considered acceptable to demand punishment on the fourth offense.
Peter thought he was being very generous by suggesting to forgive someone seven times. He was startled to hear Jesus tell him that, in effect, we should always forgive those who repentant, no matter how many times they ask.
Today’s story tells us the serious consequences that awaited those who could not repay their debts. It was not uncommon to see a debtor remain in prison for the remainder of his life. Think about that for a moment. Not one of us is capable of paying off our own debt to God. Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for us, and he paid the ransom for our sins with his life. If we were at any time to be judged as to how well we paid off our own debts, heaven would be empty.
How many times have you asked the Lord to forgive you and you received his forgiveness in the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation? How many times did you then go on to fall to the seduction of temptation. God, in his incredible mercy, has put no limit on the number of times we are allowed to fall.
The road to eternal life would be empty and very long if God limited us to only a limited number of times to be forgiven. We have a God who loves us so much that he stands knocking at the door to our hearts, patiently waiting to come in to heal us as well as to forgive us (Rev 3:20).
Today, Jesus impresses us with the fact that forgiveness is a decision, and it is a decision to love. Jesus tells us in the last sentence of today’s parable that his Father will do to us what we do to others (Matt. 18:35). Jesus tells us in Scripture that whatever we do to the least of his brothers, we do unto him (Matt. 25:31-41).
Jesus has shown us that his actions back up his words. While dying on the cross he looked up at his Father and said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called today to do no less, and that is to forgive others who have offended us.
The first reading shows us that vengeance comes from God, not from us. The second reading tells us that humility belongs to the character of Christ. The Gospel reveals that forgiveness is not an option for the Christian, it is a requirement that we extend it to others as God has extended it to us.
This week, approach a family member, friend, or co-worker against whom you hold a grudge, and ask them to forgive you. Holding on to any resentment, bitterness or unforgiveness towards them is what you ask in forgiveness. Remember, through forgiveness comes healing.