Cougar Dad's Club

Cougar Dads Bible Study

Next meeting: Friday, December 7, 2018, 7:30-8:00am
Location: Karen Vickery office (Main floor - Lower School Intermediate Bldg)

Questions?  Contact Jason Neff, or 785.383.0927

Study Notes for Friday (12/7/18) meeting

Printable packet:


READ: Luke 3:1-6


In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberi-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysani-as tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 


“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 

Prepare the way of the Lord, 

make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled, 

and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, 

and the crooked shall be made straight, 

and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” 



PERSONAL MEDITATION - Fr. John Bartunek, from The Better Part


Preparing the Way


“For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by his teachings, in their hearts by his love, in each one’s life by the living according to his law and the imitating of his example”


– Pope Pius XI



Christ the Teacher


Isaiah’s prophecy, which summarizes John’s message, offers us two lessons. First it tells us what to do in order to get ready for Christ’s comings in our lives and those around us. We are to “prepare the way,” filling in valleys, leveling hills, straightening crooked roads, and smoothing out rough paths. The imagery comes from a typical scene in the ancient world (before concrete and asphalt highways). When a king or emperor made the rounds of his territories, his officials would travel ahead of him, making sure that the roads were safe and in good condition (roads were notoriously unreliable in Isaiah’s time, long before the establishment and spread of the Roman Empire), so that he wouldn’t be delayed and would be less vulnerable to enemy ambushes. Likewise, we are called to examine our own souls on a regular basis, especially in the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, to see where selfishness has encroached upon our relationships with God and with other people, and where laziness and self-indulgence have worn away our self-discipline. We may need to fill in some spiritual potholes or clear away some unwelcome debris, so that the graces God has in store for us in each season of our lives will be able to stream unhindered into our hearts.

Second, Isaiah tells us why we should prepare our hearts for Christ’s comings: “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” He reminds us that we (the entire human family, as well as each of us individually) need God’s grace. The peace, meaning, and joy that we thirst for above all else is out of our sinful reach; we need someone to bring it us, to search us out in this desert of our earthly exile and give us the waters of eternal life. Christ is the one to do this. He always wants to bring us closer to God, closer to the fullness of life that we long for. But he won’t force his way in; we need to ready ourselves to welcome him.




The penitential seasons of Advent and Lent give us an opportunity, twice a year, to clear away the barnacles that grow on the underside of our souls, usually because we allow the world to occupy space that is reserved for God.  As Catholics in America, we are typically well aware of the penitential nature of Lent...but why is it that we typically ignore the penitential nature of Advent?

I think there are two reasons.  First, to be quite frank, the Church in America has not done enough to emphasis the importance of doing penance while we await the coming of the Lord during Advent.  Second, and just as important, the world really works hard against a spirit of penance during celebrating Christmas a month, or more, ahead of time in stores, media, and the various secular holiday parties that occur.  It can be very difficult to maintain a notion of silent reflection and penance when nearly everyone around us is “shopping ‘till they drop” during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Christmas is a time for joy...but let’s not forget the quiet anticipation of Advent that is meant to precede Christmas.  Consider what you can do to help your family have a really meaningful Advent this year. In our family, we have decided on three things: 1) an Advent reflection and prayer after dinner each night around the Advent wreath, 2) we each selected something to sacrifice for the season, as we do in Lent, and 3) each family member has a “kindness bowl” that they draw a name from each day - and that person must perform some small, but meaningful kindness for the person they draw.  

O Come, O Come, Emanuel!





  1. Who were the "John the Baptists" in your own story of becoming a disciple of Christ and how did they do their job of bringing Jesus into your life?


  1. Think of someone in your life where you might be called to serve as John the Baptist.


  1. How can we take more seriously the Church's continual call to prepare ourselves for Christ's coming?


  1. What is one tangible thing you can do in your family to make Advent a more significant time of reflection, anticipation, and penance?



FURTHER STUDY: Catechism and Ignatius Bible Study Notes




696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”38 Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself.40 The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. “Do not quench the Spirit.”42 (1127; 2586; 718)



Ignatius Bible Study notes:


3:1–2 Luke situates John the Baptist’s ministry on the timeline of world events, intending readers to view him in the light of both civil and religious history. He moves from a wide focus to a more narrow one by considering the Roman emperor (Tiberius), Palestine’s local rulers (Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias), and Israel’s priestly leaders (Annas, Caiaphas).

3:1 Tiberius Caesar: The Roman Emperor from a.d. 14 to 37. His fifteenth year in office falls between a.d. 27 and 29. Pontius Pilate: The Roman procurator who governed Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from a.d. 26 to 36. Herod: Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. He governed Galilee and Perea from 4/1 b.c. until a.d. 39, while his half-brother Philip governed the regions northeast of Galilee from 4/1 b.c. until a.d. 34. Otherwise unknown, Lysanias governed the territory north of Palestine called Abilene.

3:2 the high-priesthood: Israel’s high priests held office one at a time. By NT times, Roman authorities appointed and deposed these priests at will. Annas: Ministered from a.d. 6 until his replacement in a.d. 15. His influence in Jerusalem endured long after his term of office (Jn 18:13, 24; Acts 4:6). Caiaphas: The son-in-law of Annas who ministered as high priest from a.d. 18 to 36.

3:4–6 Isaiah’s words announce the restoration of Israel and the world (Is 40:3–5). John is the desert voice calling Israel to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Just as roads were improved for the procession of ancient kings, so John prepares for Jesus’ arrival and the salvation of all flesh. ‚óŹ By citing the opening chapter of Isaiah’s central section (chaps. 40–55), Luke cues an entire symphony of biblical promises to be fulfilled by the Lord. He will rescue the poor and oppressed (Is 41:17; 42:7; 49:13), pour out the Spirit (44:3), restore Israel (43:5–7; 48:20; 49:5), come to Jerusalem as King (40:9–10; 52:7–10), destroy his enemies (41:11–13; 47:1–15), and show mercy to his children (43:25; 44:22; 55:7). At the summit of this stands the messianic Servant, whose mission is to bless the nations (42:1–4; 49:1–6) and atone for sin (50:4–9; 52:13–53:12). All of this is fulfilled by Jesus (2:32; 22:37; 24:46; Acts 3:13).


The Cougar Dads Club is open to all HSP men!  

The Dads Club offers HSP Dads an opportunity to interact and contribute through:

  • Periodic social activities - School kickoff social, Braves night, Pig Roast, and more!
  • Faith formation through bi-weekly Scripture reflections on the Sunday mass readings - our "Dads Cougar Convers(at)ions" (Friday mornings from 7:30-8 in the Vickery office at the Lower School Intermediate Bldg - main floor)
  • Cougar Dads service day at HSP

Our biweekly newsletter - the Cougar Dad Cave - is designed to keep Dads appraised of Dads Club and Dad-oriented HSP activities, as well as provide ongoing faith formation through Scripture, the Church, and other media relevant for fathers.

Email Jason Neff, Cougar Dads Club leader at for more information.