BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER MINISTRY
This year, our Bible Study and Prayer Ministry group is facilitating an adult faith formation program called MATTTHEW developed by Ascension Press with Jeff Cavins.
This study brings the Gospel to life. It draws us closer to Christ.
We will see Jesus as the awaited Messiah who fulfills the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, establishes the new law, and inaugurates the Kingdom of Heaven.
Set in the rich context of Jesus’ life, Matthew shows us who Jesus is and what his life and teachings mean for us today.
Bible Study meets on
- Monday mornings at 9:30 to Noon and
- Tuesday evenings from 6:45 to 9:15 in the Parish Hall.
We always welcome new members.
SYNOPSIS of the First Half of the Bible Study
Jesus was sent, out of love, by God the Father to take on our human flesh and our sins, and eventually healed us by conquering our sins by His death on the cross. He then gave us new life by enabling us to share in His resurrection. “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” – Mt. 2:21-23.
Ultimately, He spiritually unites us to his divine body, blood, soul and divinity. We experience this in a very real way in our participation in the Sacrifice of Holy Mass and in receiving Holy Communion or The Holy Eucharist. This is how Jesus is always present to us. “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Mt. 28:20
Jesus was born in poverty, in a stable, even though He is the greatest King there will ever be. This shows him identifying with our human adversity from the very day he began his earthly life. The same way Jesus accepted our humanity by being born in our world, we can only truly accept His divinity by allowing Him to be born in our hearts, by making Him the centre of our lives. Jesus’ official mission begins with his baptism by John the Baptist, which reveals him as the beloved Son of God and awaited Messiah (Saviour) promised to the people of Israel in the Old Testament scriptures. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased.” – Mt. 3:17
In our own baptism, we too, are named and identified as beloved children of God. Jesus then overcomes temptation by the devil in the desert, over a period of 40 days and 40 nights, and remains obedient and faithful to God the Father’s mission. Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” – Mt 4:10.
Similarly when we observe the season of Lent, we are asked to examine our own relationship, love, and faithfulness towards God our Father, and just how close our lives resemble Jesus model of living and commitment to His Father’s will.
Jesus then begins to preach. He presents us with a beautiful but challenging way of life that we must follow in order to enter His Kingdom. In the “Beatitudes” and “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus identifies people who are humble, despised or faced with adversity and hardships as being “Blessed”, a strong contradiction to the culture of the time. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Mt 5:11-12
He takes the Old Testament Law to a new level, asking people to love their enemies. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” – Mt 5:44-45
He tells people, including the religious leaders, to first fix their own lives and repent, before judging or condemning others. Jesus asks us to do the same. Jesus also begins to perform various miracles and heal people, including Gentiles (non-Jews) who at that time were thought to be excluded from God’s Kingdom. We too are asked to heal people by simple acts of love and mercy (small miracles!). We are also asked to extend our love to all people of all cultures, faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles, and must not judge or do harm to them. “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” – Mt 7:12
Jesus also chooses and commissions His disciples, empowering them to go out to the people and assist in His mission of healing and spreading the Gospel. We too are chosen and commissioned by Jesus to build the Kingdom in our everyday lives through our various roles. At home in serving our families; at work or school by assisting our employers, customers, colleagues, teachers, students, doctors, patients etc…; in our community by attending to the needs of the poor and those facing adversity; and in our parish by serving in our various church ministries and activities. “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” – Mt 10:7-8