Word on Fire’s story is truly a story of grace. What started in 2001 with a Catholic priest in Chicago airing his homilies at 5:15 a.m. on Sundays has grown into a global apostolate that reaches millions of people through new media.
Yet to this day, Bishop Barron’s weekly homilies remain one of his most popular resources, changing countless lives—including that of Word on Fire’s Producer Joseph Gloor. “There had never been a sermon before that rocked my world,” Joseph says in his testimony, “until I heard him preach the one on ‘Humility, Queen of the Virtues.’”
So we decided to gather together Bishop Barron’s 10 most popular homilies of all time. We hope you enjoy them, and please consider sharing them with friends and family members!
“The story of the call of Samuel is illuminating for our time of corruption and cleansing. I argue that the sex abuse scandal in the church should be read through the lens of this narrative.”
“This week’s readings focus on the importance of humility. Humility is the foundation for the whole of spirituality. In order to truly pursue truth and goodness, it is necessary to let go of the ego and realize that everything we have and are is a gift from God.”
“The great Lenten readings for Cycle A move in a kind of crescendo from thirst, to blindness, to death—all metaphors for spiritual dysfunction. This Sunday’s Gospel deals with death through the story of Lazarus who, after four days in his tomb, represents someone who is totally sunk in sin, totally dead spiritually. The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life no matter what we’ve done, no matter how dead we are.”
“To gain eternal life is to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It is to walk the path of love, surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to flow through you to the wider world. Is this an easy task? No. The Gospel of Luke tells reminds us that the gate is narrow precisely because it is in the very shape of Jesus himself, and entrance through the gate involves conformity to his state of being. The path of love is traveled by taking up one’s cross every day.”
“At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his disciples to salt, light, and a city set on a hill. All these things exist not for themselves, but for something else. In the same way, Christians are meant to make the world a better place. The Christian responsibility is to affect the culture as salt, light, and a city on a hill.”
“What a privilege we have in this week’s readings to hear from the book of Sirach, composed by an ancient sage who was deeply immersed in the Torah, the law, and the rituals of the temple. As such, he delivers one of the deepest truths of the spiritual life: God so respects our freedom, that he will allow us to experience life or death, good or evil. He will give us what we choose and, more to it, we will become what we choose. Each day, every moment, choose the path of love, and you will become the kind of person fit to live in heaven.”
“As we look into the famous Beatitudes described in this week’s Gospel, we learn that the Divine Mercy is the path to true joy. The more we allow the Divine Mercy to flow through us the more it grows in us. Once we eliminate the idolatrous rivals of wealth, pleasure, power, and honor and make Christ the priority in our lives, we begin to live like saints.”
“Our magnificent first reading is a short passage from the beginning of the twelfth chapter of the book of Genesis. We see that at this point in the creation story jealousy, rivalry, anger, murder, imperialism, arrogance, drunkenness, indeed a wickedness has spread over the entire face of the earth. So what does God do? He sends a rescue operation! The rescue operation is going to come in the form of a people trained to listen again to the voice of the Lord. During this season of Lent we must also become a people trained to listen so as to be rescued by the Resurrection.”
“Each one of this week’s readings speaks of holiness, letting the divine life enter into you so that you become set apart. To be holy is to love with a divine indifference, shining on the good and the bad alike. What a revolution this is! Think how different your life would be were you to love this way all the time, rather than measuring out your love based on merit. Dedicate your whole life to love, and you will be truly holy, set apart, a sanctuary.”
“This Sunday’s readings compel us to meditate on the meaning of faith. The twentieth-century theologian Paul Tillich said, ‘Faith is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary.’ Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God, which is simple enough to say; yet to live by faith means to surrender your entire life over to God, abandoning your own desires and becoming a servant under the realization that everything you have (including your very existence) is a grace, a gift. As we see in the lives of the saints, amazing things happen when we make this transformation; indeed, that which begins with a mustard seed of faith can grow, by the grace of God, to bless the whole world.”