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.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 5:27-32, 40-41 FIRST READING
(“We must obey God rather than men.”)
- Who was brought in and made to stand before the Sanhedrin? Who questioned them? Acts 5:17-18, 27
- What strict orders were the apostles given, and with what did they fill Jerusalem? Acts 5:28
- Whose name were they told not to speak about and what did Peter and John say was impossible? Acts 4:18-20
- What did Peter and the apostles say? Acts 5:29
- Who raised Jesus, and what did the apostles say they did to him? Acts 5:30
- Why did God exalt Jesus at his right hand as leader and Savior? Acts 5:31
- What do you receive when you repent? Acts 2:38
- Who is given the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32
- What happened to the apostles, and what were they told? Acts 5:40
- How did the apostles leave the Sanhedrin, and for what reason did they leave that way? Acts 5:41
Personal – In what way have you gone against the authorities in order to obey God rather than men? In what way have you spoken in the name of Jesus to your family, friends, co-workers or classmates?
THIRD DAY READ REVELATION 5:11-14 SECOND READING
(“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches…”)
- Who looked again and what did he hear and see? Revelation 1:1-2, Revelation 5:11
- As the angels cried out in a loud voice, who did they say was worthy and what did he receive? Revelation 5:12
- What did John the Baptist call Jesus? John 1:29
- How can we receive power and riches? Acts 1:8, Matthew 6:33
- How do we receive wisdom and strength? James 1:5, Philippians 4:13
- Who is not worthy of Jesus? Matthew 10:37-38
- Who was heard crying out, and from where? Revelation 5:13
- Whose knee should bend at the name of Jesus? Philippians 2:10
- Who should receive blessing, honor, glory, and might forever and ever? Revelation 5:13
- What did the four living creatures answer, and what did the elders do? Revelation 5:14
Personal – What has made you worthy to bear the name Christian? How do you find your self-worth? Revelation 5:12 and meditate on it.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 21:1-19 GOSPEL
(“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”)
- To whom did Jesus reveal himself, and what were they doing? John 21:1-3
- What time of day was Jesus standing on the shore and what did the disciples not realize? John 21:4
- What did Jesus call the disciples, what did he say to them, and what was their reply? John 21:5
- What did Jesus tell them, what happened as a result of their doing what he asked, and who recognized the Lord?
Personal – What has God asked of you, and what has been the result?
- What did the disciples see on shore, what did Jesus say to them, and what did Simon Peter do? John 21:8-11
- What did Jesus say to them, what did the disciples not dare to ask, what did Jesus do, and how many times was
this that Jesus revealed himself to them since his resurrection? John 21:12-14
- When they had finished breakfast, what did Jesus ask Simon Peter, what was his response, and what did Jesus
tell him to do? John 21:15
- What was Peter’s response the second and third time Jesus asked him if he loved him, and what did he tell him to do? John 21:16-17
- What did Jesus say would happen to Peter and what did this signify? John 21:18-19
- What did Jesus tell Peter to do? John 21:19
- Why should you follow in Jesus’ footsteps? 1 Peter 2:21
Personal – What have you done to show your love for Jesus? Who in your family, friends, work associates, or schoolmates have been fed by you this week?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
(“I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13.
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
ACTS 5:27-32, 40-41
We see in today’s reading God’s power working through a group of men. We might do well to ask ourselves what would we do if we were threatened by powerful leaders and faced imprisonment for talking about God. These men were beaten, arrested, and jailed and still went back to preaching God’s Holy Word when they were released.
When we are convinced of the power of Christ’s resurrection and have experienced the presence of his Holy Spirit, then we too will have the confidence to speak out for Christ.
The temple was a very busy place and many people stopped there to pray and worship at sunrise. These were the people the apostles met with the “Good News.” Today in our own marketplaces there is a tendency to keep our religion a private affair between us and our God. It is very difficult to see Christian people turn their eyes away from acts of wrongdoing because they “do not want to get involved.” Today we are experiencing a great amount of evil that is allowed to continue because the fear of man is greater than the fear of the Lord.
The apostles knew that the penalty for speaking out in the name of Jesus could mean death for them. The apostles knew their priorities. We should always try to keep peace with everyone (Romans 12:18), but conflict with the world and its authorities is sometimes inevitable for a Christian (John 15:18). There will be situations where you cannot obey both God and man, such as accepting the practice of abortion. Then you must obey God and trust in his word and not in man’s word or law.
Jesus himself encourages us to follow him in his own words: What happiness it is when others hate you and exclude you and insult you and smear your name because you are mine! When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For you will have a great reward awaiting you in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). We are called to live as Christ has asked, sharing our faith no matter what the cost. We may not be beaten or thrown into jail, but we may be ridiculed, ostracized, or slandered.
To what extent are you willing to suffer for the sake of sharing the Gospel with others?
As Catholic Christians, we have been taught that angels are spiritual beings created by God, who help carry out his work on earth. In some instances they are messengers (Luke 1:26) and in others, they protect God’s people (Daniel 6:23). The angels offer encouragement (Genesis 16:7), and give guidance (Exodus 14:9). There are both good and evil angels (Revelation 12:7-9), but because the evil angels follow Satan and not God, they have much less power and authority. The main role of the good angels is to offer continuous praise to God.
Today’s reading shows us that only the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is worthy to open the scroll. The scroll signifies for us the events of history and it is Jesus Christ who holds it, not Satan. Jesus Christ is Lord, and he alone is worthy to set into motion the events of the last days of history. Jesus Christ is pictured as a lamb which symbolizes his humble submission to God’s will. It is the lamb that becomes the focus in John’s vision. Christ, the Lamb, was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He alone is the only one who can save us from the terrible events revealed by the scroll.
Jesus is also pictured as a lion symbolizing his authority and power (Revelation 5:5). Christ the Lamb won the greatest battle of all, defeating all the evil forces and death, by submitting humbly to God’s will and dying on the cross. Christ the Lion is victorious because of what Christ the Lamb has already done.
We will enjoy the rewards of victory not because of our power and might, but through our humble submission to God. John, through his images of God, has shown us that it is in the act of humbly submitting our lives to God that we receive the power of God’s Holy Spirit to do it. We must never forget that anyone who comes in repentance and faith is accepted by God and will be part of his kingdom. Wherever you go, let people see the fruit of humility shine in you and people will see in you, very clearly, the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
In today’s Gospel Jesus commissions Peter to feed his flock. Jesus appears to the disciples while they are fishing and calls out to them. It is important to remember that these men were tremendously disappointed in the way events had turned out. They had followed a loving Messiah who promised eternal life and now was gone. They decided to go back to doing what they originally did before they heard of Jesus Christ, and that was fishing. It seemed almost comical to recall Jesus’ words, “I will make you fishers of men.”
When Jesus called out to them and asked if they had caught any fish yet, they said no, and Jesus proceeded to tell these professional fishermen how to fish. These words must have struck them with tremendous force. The thoughts that must have been racing through the minds of these men in the boat must have been awesome and even fearful. They had seen him, they knew him to be dead, and there had been those appearances in the Upper Room; but then he disappeared. They obeyed his command and the result was incredible. John, trying desperately to keep his emotions under control, said to Peter that it must be the Lord on the shore giving the advice.
Peter explodes and jumps into the water to swim, crawl, run, anything to get to Jesus as soon as he can. John knew it was Jesus because he saw him do a similar miracle on Lake Genneserat (Luke 5:1-11). There on the beach, the apostles experience Jesus cooking for them and eating with them.
Jesus leads Peter through the tremendous healing experience that removed the cloud of his denial. Peter denied Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. When Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to feed his sheep. You need to remember it is one thing to say that you love Jesus, but the real test is your willingness to serve him. Peter had repented and now Jesus asked him to commit his life. Peter’s life changed when he finally realized who Jesus was. Peter had faced his true feelings when confronted by Jesus, and we have to confront our true feelings too.
How would you respond today if Jesus asked you, “Do you love me, do you really love me?”
The first reading shows that we must obey God rather than man. The second reading reveals worthy is the lamb that was slain for us. The Gospel shows love is a decision, not a sentimental expression.
This week, show those around you that you are in obedience to God’s law by your actions, your words, and even in your thoughts. Show your family the humility of the Lamb of God that resides in you by your acts of kindness and gentleness towards them. You can show that you really love Jesus by feeding the sheep in your own household. You can do that by leading them in prayer, scripture readings, church fellowship, and worship through the sacraments.