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 HABAKKUK 1:2-3; 2:2-4 FIRST READING
(The just man, because of his faith, shall live.)
1. Who is crying out for help? Habakkuk 1:1
2. What is his complaint to God? Habakkuk 1:2
3. What comes through hearing? Romans 10:17
4. What did Habakkuk cry out to God and what does he say he does not do? Habakkuk 1:2
5. What is he saying is before him? Habakkuk 1:3
6. What was the Lord’s answer? Habakkuk 2:2
7. What does the vision (Habakkuk 1:2-3) still have and to what does it press? Habakkuk 2:3
8. What will the vision not do and what are we to do if it delays? Habakkuk 2:3
9. What does the rash man not have and what does the just man have and live by? Habakkuk 2:4
10. What is wealth and the proud? Habakkuk 2:4
Personal – What do you do when you do not hear the Lord and are called to wait for the answer? What comes forth from your mouth?
THIRD DAY READ 2 TIMOTHY 1:6-8, 13-14 SECOND READING
(“The spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit.”)
1. What is the gift of God Paul reminds Timothy to stir into flame and when did he receive this gift? 2 Timothy 1:5-6
2. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1
3. The Spirit God has given us is not what, but it is one that makes us what three things? 2 Timothy 1:7
4. Because of this we are never to be ashamed of what to our Lord? 2 Timothy 1:8
5. Where does your strength come from and what are we to bear? 2 Timothy 1:8
6. What have you heard Paul say in faith and love in Christ Jesus? 2 Timothy 1:13
7. With whose help are you to guard this rich deposit of faith? 2 Timothy 1:14
8. How can you guard what has been committed to you? 1 Timothy 6:20
9. Where does the Holy Spirit dwell? 2 Timothy 1:14
10. How do we honor or glorify God? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
11. Why should we take care of our body? Reread 2 Timothy 1:14 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Personal – In what way have you testified to your faith in Jesus Christ to your family, friends, fellow workers, or those you come in contact with every day? In what way can they see his Holy Spirit present in your body?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 17:5-10 GOSPEL
(“Increase our faith.”)
1. What did the apostles say to the Lord? Luke 17:5
2. What did Jesus say would happen if you had faith the size of a mustard seed? Luke 17:6
3. What else will we do if we trust and do not falter, and what will we receive? Matthew 21:21-22
4. What did Peter and John do to the beggar and how did they do it? Acts 3:6-8, 16
Personal – How can you measure the amount of faith you have? How can you increase the faith you have?
5. Who plows or herds sheep? Luke 17:7
6. What would you say to him when he comes in from the fields? Luke 17:8
7. When are we not to expect gratitude for what we do? Luke 17:9
8. When we have done all that we have been commanded, what are we to say? Luke 17:10
9. In order to become great, what are we to do? Matthew 20:26-27
10. What did the Son of Man come to do? Matthew 20:28
11. What did Mary call herself when the angel came to her? Luke 1:38
Personal – In what way have you taken on the serving attitude of Jesus and Mary? In what way are you willing to serve those in your family, your friends, and strangers?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 95:1-2, 6-9
(“Let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9.
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
HABAKKUK 1:2-3, 2:2-4
Habakkuk was extremely troubled with not only what was happening to his country, but why God seemed to show such indifference to the wickedness that was so common around him. He was a prophet during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36-24:5). He was very active between the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. and the invasion of Judah in 589 B.C.
Babylon was becoming a world power and Judah was certain to be her next victim. This passage shows us a dialogue between a prophet and his God. The other prophetic books bring God’s word to men; but this book brings man’s questions to God. Habakkuk was crushed by all the corruption he saw around him and he poured out his heart telling God what he thought.
We can really empathize with Habakkuk when we look at the corruption going on around us. We have abortion, pornography, prostitution, drugs, homosexuality, alcoholism, child abuse that matches anything Habakkuk saw. In short, today’s injustice is still overwhelming. We, like Habakkuk, say today, “Why does God seem to ignore the evil that is going around?” We may be asking, “Why are so many people doing evil things and not being punished for them?”
In the second part of the passage, we see God telling Habakkuk to write his response down and bring it to the people. God answers Habakkuk’s questions just like he will ours when like Habakkuk we pour out our hearts to him. God told Habakkuk that Judah would be punished by being destroyed by Babylon. God also tells Habakkuk, as well as us, that judgment, though slow to come, will certainly come.
Today, we hear that in regard to our civil courts of law. We are told justice may be slow, but it will be served. Many Christians, like Habakkuk, feel very angry as they see evil enjoying what seems to be the upper hand in the world. Habakkuk had a personal relationship with God and complained vigorously, and God responded to him personally. God’s message to us is the same as the one he gave to Habakkuk: Be patient, trust in God, keep God in your thoughts and actions, and stay close to his Holy Word. It isn’t easy to be patient, but it helps to remember that God hates sin even more than we do. God told Habakkuk, “Do not despair.”
Trusting God means trusting him even when we do not understand why things happen as they do. We need to remember, the just man shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)
2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Paul is encouraging his young protege to be faithful in his role as a leader in the Christian community. Timothy was experiencing great opposition to his message and to himself as the leader of his community. Timothy’s youth was his biggest disadvantage and Paul was encouraging him to persevere. Timothy had received special gifts of the Holy Spirit at his ordination, and Paul was telling him to call upon the Spirit for these gifts and use them regularly.
Timothy didn’t need new gifts, he needed the courage and discipline to hang on to the truth and use the gifts he had already received (1:13-14). Paul is encouraging him to step out boldly in faith and proclaim God’s Holy Word, and the Holy Spirit would be with him and give him power. We suffer the same as Timothy when we let people intimidate us, and it neutralizes our effectiveness for God. The same Holy Spirit that empowered Paul, Timothy, and other heroes of the bible will empower us.
We can overcome our fear of what some might say or do to us and get on with doing God’s work. Timothy may have been afraid to preach as he began experiencing rejection in the community. Today, we need to accept the fact that we will be persecuted too when we proclaim and live God’s Holy Word. Like Timothy, we too will enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit and his gifts of boldness and courage, when we yield ourselves in faith to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Timothy was a leader in transition. He had moved from being Paul’s helper to Paul’s replacement. He called upon the Holy Spirit to give him the courage to make the transition. We too can follow Paul’s advice to Timothy when we are in our transitions. Like Paul who knew even while in prison, that God was still in control, we need to reflect and then act on this powerful fact. No matter where we are in life, no matter what is happening to us, God is still in control.
How many times do we say the same thing to our Lord? “I need more faith, tell me how to get it.” Jesus casts doubt on the possession of any faith of the apostles. Maybe because they were one of the selected few, they put too much emphasis on who they were. They may have been too self-assured because he was with them. (Jesus describes the power that comes through faith using the similarity between their faith and a tiny mustard seed.) The disciples’ question was a valid one because they wanted the faith necessary to do what Jesus had been telling them to do.
Jesus implied that faith is not something you “get.” What is Faith? Faith is described best with two words: confidence and certainty (Hebrews 11:1). You have to reach out and take hold of faith. Picture someone tossing a book at you. If you respond properly, you will catch it. If you do nothing, the book will fall at your feet. Knowing how to catch it will be of no value if you do not reach out and respond.
Jesus wasn’t condemning the apostles for having substandard faith, he was trying to show them how important it would be in their ministry. We can only rise to the occasion if we know that within us is the solution (1 John 4:4). Our faith grows just like a mustard seed as we respond more and more to the power of the presence of God in our life. When we face a problem as big as a mountain, we need to take our eyes off that mountain and put them only on Christ. We need only remember Peter when in faith he stepped out of the boat to go to the Lord in the raging sea; but when he took his eyes off the Lord and placed it on the enormous waves, he began to sink (Matthew 14:28-30).
Today, we need to continuously keep in prayer and let our faith grow in Christian fellowship. We also need to partake in the sacraments of our church. We must remember that there is great power in even a little faith when God is with us. When we feel weak or powerless we need to re-examine our faith and make sure that we are responding to the presence of God’s power and not ours. In faith, we can all be like a mustard seed that begins very small and soon casts a shadow of comfort and healing over the entire world. In faith, we can see with the vision of God himself.
In the first reading, we are told to persevere, be patient, and trust in God. In the second reading, we hear the call to courage and discipline. The Gospel calls us to step out boldly and live our lives in faith.
This week let us, in faith, step out in boldness, discipline, and practice being a Christian leader wherever we are. This will mean being a servant for the Lord by serving someone else in our family, job, community, etc.