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 ISAIAH 53:10-11 FIRST READING
(“…the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.”)
l. What is the Lord pleased to do? Isaiah 53:10
2. Who did God crush in his infirmity? Acts 2:22-24
3. If Jesus gives his life as an offering for sin, what will be seen, and what will be accomplished? Isaiah 53:10
Personal – How is God’s will being accomplished through you?
4. Why was Jesus crushed? Isaiah 53:5
5. How can we have a long life? Ephesians 6:2-3
6. What will he see because of his afflictions and his anguish? Isaiah 53:11
7. Through his suffering, what did the servant do & what did he bear on himself? Isaiah 53:11
8. How are we justified? Romans 3:24-26
9. What must we do in order to get rid of guilt? Psalm 32:5
10. How was Jesus made perfect? Hebrews 2:10
Personal – In what way have you experienced freedom from guilt in your life?
THIRD DAY READ HEBREWS 4:14-16 SECOND READING
(“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace…”)
1. What should we not let go of since we have a High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who has passed through the heavens? Hebrews 4:14
2. Why did Jesus enter heaven? Hebrews 9:24
3. What was Jesus able to do, what do we have, and what did Jesus never do? Hebrews 4:15
4. What did Jesus have to become like so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people? Hebrews 2:17
5. By sending Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh, what did he do to sin? Romans 8:3
6. Why did God make Jesus to be sin even though he did not know sin? 2 Corinthians 5:21
7. How can we approach the throne of grace, and what will we receive and find? Hebrews 4:16
8. How did we receive this confidence? Hebrews 10:19
9. What does faith in Jesus give us? Ephesians 3:12
10. How do we receive grace and truth? John 1:16-17
Personal – How do you approach God in your time of need? Look up in the dictionary the word confident, and read its meaning.
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 10:35-45 GOSPEL
(“…whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.”)
1. What did James and John ask Jesus? Mark 10:35-37
2. When Peter said they had given up everything to follow Jesus, what did Jesus say would happen to them? Matthew 19:27-28
3. What was Jesus’ reply to James and John? Mark 10:38
4. What did Jesus say about the baptism with which he must be baptized? Luke 12:5
5. What was James and John’s response to Jesus, and what did Jesus say about the cup and the baptism? Mark 10:39
6. What happened to James the brother of John, and to John? Acts 12:2, Revelations 1:9
Personal – In what way have you suffered for the sake of Christ or what you believe?
7. What did Jesus tell James and John about sitting at his right or left? Mark 10:40
8. How did the ten react to James and John, and what did Jesus say to them? Mark 10:41-42
9. What did Jesus say about he who wishes to be great or first among them? Mark 10:43-44
10. What two things did the Son of Man come to do? Mark 10:45
Personal – How have you taken on the attitude of a servant in your home, at work, or at school? What can you change today in order to be more of a servant and thinking of the needs of others before yourself?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
(“For upright is the Word of the Lord,…”) Read and meditate on Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22.
What is the Lord saying to you through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The theme of the “suffering servant” was to be explained in great detail in the New Testament. In the Old Testament it was the story about God sending his servant who would be a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (53:3). Although he was innocent, it was God’s will “to crush him and cause him to suffer” (verse 10). His suffering was in a fascinating way like that of giving birth. The seed of this servant’s suffering had been planted long before in Adam’s act of disobedience. The pain was intense, but the purpose and the result of his suffering has been the bringing forth of life. The servant will see, after the suffering of his soul, the light of life and be satisfied. This righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their “iniquities” (verse 11).
The suffering servant of course is Jesus. And every word of Isaiah’s majestic account of what was to happen some five hundred years later on Calvary reminds all of us that God has not left us to suffer alone. God has stepped into history, our history. We have sinned, but it is God who suffers with us, and for us. When we describe the incredible compassion of a loving God towards his sinful people, we are describing the “suffering servant” called Jesus Christ. He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him. By his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-6). The prophecy came true in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has shown us that suffering is not absurd or foolish, it is heroic and saving. Jesus suffered and died so that we can live forever. The choice is ours to believe or not to believe.
Today’s passage emphasizes that Jesus is for us our high priest. We need to go back to the Old Testament to really understand the title of high priest. By the time of Jesus, the high priesthood carried with it a great deal of religious and hierarchical authority. Once a year the high priest alone entered the most Holy of Holies in the tabernacle to make sacrifice of the Day of Atonement for the forgiveness of sins of all God’s people. The significance of the high priesthood is found in the sacrificial service that the high priest alone could provide.
Today’s reading shows us that Jesus is our high priest and because he came as a fully live human being, he is able to sympathize with our weakness. It is only through him that we can approach God. Jesus is the high priest in the Melchizedekian tradition, which is a sacrifice of bread and wine, an offering of peace, rather than the Levitical tradition (Hebrews 7). Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God because he lives always to make intercessions for us (Heb. 7:25). Jesus, unlike the Old Testament high priests, did not need to make repeated sacrifices. As a high priest who offered his own blood, Jesus was able to do what the Old Testament priests could not do, and that was cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God (Heb. 9:14).
Jesus’ sacrifice takes away sin forever, releasing us from guilt, making us truly holy (Heb. 9:15). He is the only one who can bring us into a full relationship with God. His blood has washed us completely clean and through the power of his Holy Spirit, he will give us the strength to go forward and become his disciple and witness to everyone we meet (Acts 1:8).
In today’s Gospel we see a group of ordinary men, not a group of saints. They were plain and ordinary people, just like you and me, whom Jesus sent out to change the world.
The story tells us something about James and John, that they were ambitious and even a little greedy. James and John may have felt because their father could employ hired crews that they were entitled to a high place in this earthly kingdom, that they thought Jesus was going to create. Jesus knew that in their confusion they really did believe in him, bewildered as they may be. Jesus challenges their line of thinking by asking them if they were capable of drinking from his cup.
Jesus refers to the word baptized, meaning submerged like a ship that has been wrecked beneath the waves (Psalm 42:7). Scripture tells us about a flood and the torrent drowning the person (Psalm 124:4). What Jesus is really saying to them is, “Can you go through the terrible experience which I have to go through?” He was asking them, could they face being drowned (baptized) in hatred and pain and death as he would be. He was, in effect, telling the two disciples, and he is telling us the same message today, that without a cross there can never be a crown.
The standard of greatness in God’s kingdom is the standard of the cross. These two disciples were to experience real greatness later on when James was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:2),and John, though not martyred, suffered much for Christ. Jesus told them that all things and events were in God’s control. The other disciples were outraged that they were being left out. The argument probably raged on again for a while. Jesus took immediate action and strongly told them that the standards of greatness in his kingdom and in the kingdom of the world were totally in opposition. In the kingdom of the world, the standard of greatness is power. In the kingdom of Jesus, the standard is that of service. Today, Jesus is asking you the same question he asked them, “Whose standard of greatness is your standard?”
The first reading shows that service involves suffering for others. The second reading tells us that Jesus is high priest for us who are still on the way. The Gospel reveals that baptized means submerged, drowning, the symbolic way of dying with Christ.
This week, share your gifts and talents with those in your family. Give of your time and self freely, and do not worry about time limits. Serve others in your family with some very simple deeds like babysitting, cleaning someone’s house, washing a car, reading to a child or someone sick. Remember, “we are ordained to serve, not to be served.” Your family will recognize your greatness in the glory of your humility in service.