The Mystery of the Wheat and the Weeds
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 17, 2005 .
In our Gospel for today, we hear the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus speaks of the mysterious, and often frustrating, intertwining of good and evil. Don't be too eager, he says, to tear out the weeds, for you might, in the process, compromise the wheat. Listen, as I try to search out the meaning of this important and complex parable.
The Irresistable Word
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 10, 2005 .
Our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, shows that God's word is not so much descriptive as creative: it produces what it says. In the very intelligibility of the material world, we can sense this reality-producing power. We can also sense it in the Biblical word, an invitation into divine friendship. But we encounter it most powerfully in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. To what extent do we permit this reality-changing Word to take root in us? That is the challenge of our readings for today.
Zechariah’s Strange Prophecy
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 3, 2005 .
We hear in our first reading from the prophet Zechariah. This post-exilic figure is trying to reassure the people that their Messiah will come and will restore their fortunes. But then he specifies the nature and quality of this hero: he will enter Jerusalem, not on an Arabian charger, but on the foal of a donkey--and he will effectively disarm the nation, destroying horse and chariot! What could this possibly mean? No one really knew until a young rabbi, some five hundred years later, rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey and mounted the victorious throne of a Roman cross.
What Are You Afraid Of?
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 19, 2005 .
"Who or what are you most afraid of?" is, I submit, a very important spiritual question. To answer it honestly is to know how and why your life is structured the way it is. The simple message of the the Gospel for this week is that one should fear, above all, the loss of friendship with God. More than the loss of money, health, power, the esteem of others, life itself, one should be afraid of losing intimacy with God. If that is truly your greatest fear, you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.
The New Israel
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 12, 2005 .
In our first reading from the book of Exodus, we hear the wonderful promise of God to Moses and his people that they would constitute a holy nation, a nation of priests. For the first Christians, this promise was fulfilled in Jesus and in the twelve apostles that he gathered round him. Peter, James, John, Thomas and their companions--with all of their faults--became the core of the renewed Israel. We the baptized are, in turn, their spiritual decendants, and we have, accordingly, the same purpose: to bring the whole human race into friendship with God.
The Conversion of Matthew
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 5, 2005 .
Our Gospel for this week is a literary and theological masterpiece. It subtly yet powerfully tells the story of the conversion of Matthew from tax collector to disciple. The call, the response, the rising up to a new form of existence, the radical re-creation of a human being, the primacy of grace, the introduction into a life of celebration: all of it is on display. Enter into this story, for it is yours.
The Liturgy: A Play of Priest, Congregation, and Ritual
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 29, 2005 .
On this feast of Corpus Christi, I would like to reflect on the sacred liturgy, the central prayer of the Church. According to Msgr. Francis Mannion, good liturgy is the result of a balanced play between priest, people, and rite. When the first becomes exaggerated, we find the clerical abuse of the liturgy; when the second is overstressed, we encounter the congregationalist abuse; and when the third is exaggerated, we have the ritualistic problem. What counts is the balance!
The New Pope and the Trinity
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 22, 2005 .
In my course on the Trinity here at the seminary, I have, for many years, been using Joseph Ratzinger's book Introduction to Christianity. In the pages of that text, our new pope presents the Trinity in terms of three theses: God's transcendence of the unity/diversity polarity; God's radical personhood; and the metaphysical primacy of relationality. In this sermon for Trinity Sunday, I will spell out briefly the meaning of each of these assertions.
The Falling of the Fire
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 15, 2005 .
On this great feast of Pentecost, we reflect on the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. God's Spirit has given to each baptized person some gift for the upbuilding of the church. When one finds that gift, he should center his entire life around it. There are three paths to the discernment of one's charismatic gift: prayer, listening to the church, and the stirring of the acorn. To find out what that last one means, listen to the sermon!
Habemus Papam (Part 2 of 2)
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 8, 2005 .
This week I continue my exploration of the life, career, and work of our new Pope, Joseph Ratzinger. In the years after the council, a split occured in the ranks of the Conciliar progressives, some calling for deeper and broader reform and others calling for a more careful appropriation of Vatican II. Joseph Ratzinger, along with Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Karol Wojtyla, belonged to this latter group. The commonality between Ratzinger and Wojtyla led to John Paul II's choice of Ratzinger as his Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.