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ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLE Study:

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Mass Notes is a weekly publication designed to help you obtain the maximum spiritual value of the weekly Sunday Mass readings. Readers can subscribe to the weekly email or simply read it online. 

BENEFITS OF READING THE SUNDAY MASS STUDY NOTES:

  • Helps you to gain a much fuller understanding of the Sunday Mass readings.
  • Provides a means for you to come to Mass much better prepared to hear and understand the readings and homily. 
  • Makes it easy for you to do your own personal Bible study each week. 

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Hi Jim, Thanks for the explanation of an word that is so important in the Scriptures and so easy to misunderstand=Love. There is probably not a more important word in any language. God teaches me a deeper definition of it daily.

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READ AND STUDY THE CATHOLIC MASS READINGS BEFORE YOU GO TO MASS THIS WEEK:

The Sunday Mass Study Notes are a detailed study of the Catholic Mass readings which go much deeper than is possible for the limited time available for the weekly homily. To get the most out of this Bible study we recommend that you print out and then work through the weekly edition before you go to Mass or watch it on TV. It's important to prepare for Mass as there is no way the priest can cover the Sunday Mass readings in the level of depth that you need to continue to growth in your faith.

Are you searching for the Sunday Catholic Mass readings for 2017 but did not look to the USCCB web site listing Catholic prayers, holy Scriptures for Sunday, the homily of the Mass, or other information on the Catholic Mass readings of the day? You have found the right place. Each week we produce a thorough study of the daily Mass reading for Sunday. We include the Catholic Bible verses you will be hearing in Mass that particular Sunday, including links to the USCCB United States Conference of Catholic Bishops online Bible readings for the Sunday Mass.   Would you like like to improve your prayer life, and truly understand the daily Scripture readings that follow on the liturgical calendar? Then the Sunday Mass Study Notes are for you. These are a way to read and understand the daily Catholic Mass readings for the Sunday Mass. Take a look at some of the sample that are posted below. See if you agree that these increase your prayer life and understanding of the Catholic Mass, not just the Christmas Mass, Palm Sunday Mass or Easter Mass, but each week on the USCCB liturgical calendar.

TAKE A Peek Inside:

Here is an excerpt from a recent edition:

Introduction to the First Reading:

The first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel Chapter 37. Here Ezekiel was given a prophecy concerning the future restoration of the Nation of Israel. This was one of a series of visions that God gave to Ezekiel the night before the messenger came to him with the news that Jerusalem had been destroyed (Ezekiel 21). Later in the Gospel lesson, we will see how Jesus made a tiny down payment on this promised restoration of Israel through the raising of Lazarus. As we study the text, it’s important to be diligent to distinguish between God’s promises to Israel versus those made to the people of God as a whole. Saint Paul explains God’s future plan for Israel in Romans Chapter 11. It’s also important to recognize how portions of the prophecy have already been fulfilled by the time we are reading this versus what is yet to be fulfilled - through both Israel and the Church. Though the Gentiles have been “ingrafted” into God’s kingdom (Romans 11:17), they are distinct from His Chosen People the Jews. Read the text, noting that we included the first eleven verses for context, as our readers note that we are prone to doing!

First Reading:

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." 4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.' 5 "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 'I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'" 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'" 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 "I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

God promised to restore the spiritually dead Israel to life through the sending of His Holy Spirit (v.14). We can say that this prophecy was at least partially fulfilled during several different events, but the final fulfillment will not happen until Daniel’s fortieth Week during the end times.  First, it was partially fulfilled during the times of the Old Testament when the Jews returned from exile in Babylon and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. Second, the prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jesus Himself entered the temple (Mark 11:15). Third, the prophecy was partially fulfilled after Jesus’ death and immediate entrance into heaven. We read from the Gospel of Saint Matthew:

51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:51-53).

Only Saint Matthew made mention of the miraculous mini-resurrection that occurred immediately after Jesus’ death. Imagine the appearance of a group of saints rising from the graves and walking about the City of God (Jerusalem)? These were not like the walking dead from the popular horror movies of our day, these were the “walking living” prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel!

Continuing on the partial fulfillments of Ezekiel’s prophesy, the fourth way in which it was fulfilled was at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of God was poured out onto the people in Acts 2:1-4. This was also the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy regarding the sending of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).

Taking into consideration the whole council of Scripture, the verses in Ezekiel and all of the other verses put together indicate that not only will Israel experience a spiritual awakening in the future, they, along with all of the believers in God the Messiah, will also experience a physical resurrection. In regards to the Nation of Israel, Ezekiel indicated that God would complete His divine plan through a future restoration of a national Israel. What form this will take, and whether the current re-gathering that is already happening will mature into final embodiment of what God has predicted is unknown.

As believers, we live with the hope of this resurrection, and this was the hope of which Paul spoke in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. There Paul said, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (1Thessalonians 4:14). He continued, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (vv. 16-17). Like what the saints experienced during their physical resurrection in Jerusalem immediately after Jesus gave His life for them, we too will experience resurrection. Later in the Gospel message we will see another of the types of “first fruits” of resurrection through Jesus raising of Lazarus.  Lazarus rising from the dead was different from what is promised to him and all believers because he died a second physical death (Hebrews 9:27).

The importance of the resurrection prophesied in Ezekiel is multidimensional. For one, it shows God’s power over death. Humans have devised a lot of ways to defeat common enemies that prematurely take physical life, but we have yet to find a cure for death. Jesus has conquered the grave, which shows that He is powerful enough to handle all the lesser stresses that we face (Eph. 1:18-20). I sometimes joke with people that if your problems require resurrection power or less, God’s got you covered. Anything above that, though, and you’re out of luck. Second, the bodily resurrection of the saints allows us to live with an eternal perspective. This gives us the impetus for a counter-cultural lifestyle that is able to give ourselves away for higher purposes, because we know that this life is not all there is. Third, if we have said good-bye to loved ones in the Lord, the resurrection of the saints comforts us that death has lost its victory and sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). We will see our loved ones again in the Lord’s presence.

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What People Are Saying about Sunday Mass Study Notes:

My mother, who is an avid reader of Mass Notes, sent me this comment regarding a past issue:

Hi, I enjoyed the notes for this week. Very insightful more than what the priest had to say today.  I am also doing the study  of Paul at (. . . ). It is very interesting to learn of all the Jewish laws. Do you think the Pharisees were more interested in outward appearance than what was in the heart specifically, how they posted the law over the door? It must have been a total transformation for Paul who was raised in such a strict home.  Thanks, Mom. 

 

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For a listing of readings for the Roman Catholic Mass visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Online Scripture verses for most Bible versions can be found at:
http://www.biblegateway.com/