Bible Study 23rd October 2018 – 29th Sunday, Focus – Isaiah 53

Bible Study – October 23rd 2018 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Opening Prayer – from the Divine Mercy

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Readings – Isaiah 53:10-11,  Psalm 32,  Hebrews 4:14-16,  Gospel – Mark:10:35-45

The old testament reading takes us to one of the most wonderful chapters in the entire bible.  It is of the utmost importance to Christians and the words really leap off the page.

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12

52:13 See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

14 As the crowds were appalled on seeing him – so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human-

15 So will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him, for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before.

53:1 ‘Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

2 Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground.  Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes;

3 A thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces, he was despised and we took no account of him.

4 And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.  But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God and brought low.

5 Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.  On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us.

7 Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.

8 By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause?  Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death.

9 They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

10 The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.  If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

11 His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content.  By his suffering shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.

12 Hence I shall grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for sinners.

 

Questions

  1. Who is this passage about?
  2. What does he look like?  (There are 2 descriptions)
  3. What does a shoot in arid ground mean?
  4. What event does this passage describe?
  5. What is it that he takes upon himself?
  6. What is the purpose of his doing this?
  7. What does he shall be lifted up mean?

I’m deliberately not answering these questions.  I am more interested in what you make of it.

Exercise

Take a highlighter (or underline) all the references to the crucifixion.

 

Tie in with the Gospel

Mark 10:45 – ‘For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.’

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Bible Study – October 16th 2018

Bible Study – October 16th 2018

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

And kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created

And you will renew the face of the earth.

 

Let us pray.

Lord, by the light of your Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.

In that same Spirit help us to relish what is right

And always rejoice in your consolation.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Scripture readings from 28th Sunday in ordinary time

Wisdom 7:7-11

Psalm 89

Hebrews 4:12-13

Gospel, 10:17-30

 

Is there a common theme?

Wisdom comes through in the first reading and the psalm.

 

There are also some good pointers for how to go about Bible Study.

Wisdom 7:7 – I prayed and understanding was given me.

Hebrews 4:12 – The word of God is something alive and active.

This takes us to another verse in the bible concerning scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy.

 

In summary Scripture, the Word of God, reaches into our innermost being.

 

The Gospel Reading – Mark 10: 17-30

  1. 17 – Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Bible pointer – John 3:16, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

 

  1. 19 – You know the commandments

Bible pointer Exodus 20:1-17 to see all 10 commandments and note who is speaking.

& Exodus 31:18 – When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.

 

vs 21 – Come, follow me

After Jesus says, to his disciples, how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God the disciples ask;

vs 26 – who can be saved

Let’s consider some more Bible pointers;

John 3:16

Acts 2:38 repent…and be baptised

Romans 10:9 – If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved.

 

How might we summarise this message of salvation?

  1. Believe
  2. Repent
  3. Be baptised
  4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit
  5. Persevere – come, follow me (walk the talk and live the life)

 

Or to put it in Catholic terms;

  1. Having receive the Sacrament of Baptism as an infant
  2. Believe – stay true to that baptism
  3. Repent – avail yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit – Confirmation (and keep on being filled)
  5. Persevere – attend Church and receive the Blessed Sacrament regularly                        put your belief into action in your daily life

 

Bible Pointers – James 2:26, Faith is dead if it is separated from good deeds.

Ephesians 2: 10, For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ                                              Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Vocation of the Laity

Catechism of the Catholic Church

ccc901 The Participation of lay people in Christ’s priestly office

“Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them.  For all their works, prayers and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord.  And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives.”

 

I was struck by the words of Preface IV of the Sundays in Ordinary time;

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,

Through Christ our Lord.

For by His birth He brought renewal

to humanities fallen state,

and by His suffering cancelled out our sins;

by His rising from the dead

He has opened the way to eternal life,

And by ascending to You, O Father,

He has unlocked the gates of heaven.

And so with the company of Angels and Saints,

we sing the hymn of your praise,

as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

          Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.

          Hosanna in the highest.

          Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

          Hosanna in the highest.

 

Closing Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you;

May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Amen

 

Holy Souls Parish Bible Study 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Bible Study – October 9th 2018

Opening Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

And kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created

And you will renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

Lord, by the light of your Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.

In that same Spirit help us to relish what is right

And always rejoice in your consolation.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Scripture readings from 27th Sunday in ordinary time

Genesis 2: 18-24

Psalm 127

Hebrews 2: 9-11

Gospel, Mark 10: 2-16

 

Is there a common theme?

 

One theme could be ‘The Human Family”

 

It is easy to see a link between the Old Testament reading and the Gospel; the foundational nature of marriage and what Jesus has to say about divorce.  The Psalm also has the theme of marriage about it.

The notes on the front of the bulletin are helpful in understanding the gospel.

If we look at a similar passage in Matthew’s Gospel we can see what the response of the disciples was.  Matthew 19: 10 ‘If such is the case between a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’

Strange that they don’t see marriage as something wonderful, special and precious.

Why is this?

We could look at a problem which has existed between men and women since the fall.  It is called the Adamic curse.  Genesis 3: 11-19 and in verse 16 God says to the woman ‘your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you.’

 

The reading from Hebrews is harder to fit in with the theme of the Gospel.  The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish Christian church.  We don’t know who wrote it though some think it was Paul because the name Timothy is mentioned at the end.  We have letters from Paul to Timothy in the bible.  The scholars say the style is very different to Paul’s other letters and so think it was written by somebody else.

I don’t think it was an accident the Father Neil used Eucharistic Prayer IV at Sunday evening’s mass.  Let’s have a look at that and see if it ties in with the reading from the letter to the Hebrews.

 

Closing Prayer

May the Lord bless you and keep you;

May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Amen

 

“Except there come a falling away first” – in relation to the Abuse scandal in the Catholic Church

The verse above is from the Second Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians Chapter 2 Verse 3.  It is in relation to the second coming of Christ and that that can’t happen “except there be a falling away first”.  King James Bible

In the Jerusalem Bible this is called the Great Revolt.  “It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place…”

Jesus speaks of this in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 24 Verse 10 “…many will fall away…”

How might people fall away?  Let’s have a look at the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13: 4-9  He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow.  As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  Others fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.   Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  Listen, anyone who has ears!’

And the explanation;

Matthew 13: 19-23  ‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower.  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path.  The one who received it on the patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy.  But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once.  The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure or riches choke the word and so he produces nothing.  And the one who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

In Matthew 24 the “falling away” which Jesus mentions is in relation to persecution.

How else might people fall away?  How does this relate to the current abuse crisis in the Catholic Church?

People might fall away through disillusionment.   Something happens which leaves them very disappointed in the church or very hurt by it.  They might question why they are in this church at all.

People might fall away because there is a challenge to their faith which is just too much too bear.

People might fall away because the church has lost credibility.  They feel like the foundation under them has been taken away or shown to be irretrievably rotten.

People might feel they are being put in a position of defending the indefensible and walk away.

All these four things are consequences of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.  We could be seeing that “falling away” which is a prelude to the very last days.

What might our response be?

This is a time to be sure and certain in our faith in Jesus Christ.  From the parable of the sower we want to deeply rooted in Christ to withstand all these things and heal the church and those damaged by it.  When we are speaking with others we should remember that it is Jesus we are presenting as Lord and Saviour and only secondarily the Church.  We do not defend the indefensible but continue to present Jesus to the world.  My personal take on this is that if after an encounter with Jesus a person wants to become a Catholic then that is a good thing, but if they want to go to some other church that is okay with me.  I’m not trying to be particularly ecumenical here just acknowledging the reality of those who proclaim that “Jesus Christ is Lord” in other churches.  All Christians who proclaim “Jesus Christ is Lord” can recognise each other without consciously practising ecumenism.

Having been on a personal journey through a number of other Churches, all of whom experienced scandals of one kind or another why do I remain with the Catholic Church. Answer – I love the mass.

If I can use a scripture at the risk of being misunderstood – In John’s Gospel Chapter 6, Jesus presents himself as the bread of life and says “If you do not eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood, you will not have life in you.”  Many find this teaching unacceptable and leave him.  He then says to the apostles, “What about you, do you want to go away too?”  Simon Peter answered,  “Lord, who shall we go to?  You have the message of eternal life.”

Now bearing in mind that Jesus is all truth, he is the one to stay with.

What might I say of a damaged Church?  Well, that the Church may be compromised but the message isn’t.  The Church has the message of eternal life and points to Jesus.  There is much work to do and it will be a long haul.  It is always much harder to build than it is to destroy.

On a flight to Portugal, to visit Fatima, on 11th May 2010 Pope Benedict XVI took questions from the media.  This was one of them;

Your holiness, what meaning do the Fatima apparitions have for us today?  In June 2000 when you presented the text of the third secret in the Vatican Press Office, a number of us and our former colleagues were present.  You were asked if the message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II to other sufferings on the part of the popes.  Is it possible, to your mind, to include in that vision the sufferings of the Church today for the sins involving the sexual abuse of minors.

Here is an extract from Pope Benedict’s answer;

The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world….  As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church,  from the sin existing within the ChurchThis too is something we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way, that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one had, but also the need for justice, forgiveness does not replace justice.

Telling words, attacks on the Church from within and without.  Even Jesus experiences  this when Judas betrays him.

To close I would recommend reading Matthew 24.  We have been in the last days since Jesus’ resurrection.  Could we be at the beginning of the very last days?

Except there be a falling away

Also have a look at the Third Secret of Fatima.

Reference

https://www.catholicfamilynews.org/blog/2018/7/2/sexual-abuse-and-the-third-secret-a-timely-reminder