O How We Need a Savior
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 27, 2005 .
Lent is, of course, a penitential season, but Advent is as well. We get in touch with our sinfulness during Advent precisely because we want to prepare ourselves for the coming of a Savior. If there is nothing to be saved from, then there is no point in rejoicing at the arrival of Jesus the Lord. The prophet Isaiah offers us a number of powerful images for sin in our first reading for this Sunday. It behooves us, as an Advent spiritual exercise, to meditate on them.
The Word Became Flesh
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 26, 2004 .
The words of Thomas Jefferson defined our nation; the words of Abraham Lincoln strengthened its resolve at a time of unprecedented crisis; the words of Martin Luther King effected a moral revolution; the words of Winston Churchill turned back an evil empire. Words--even puny human words--pack enormous power. Imagine the power of God's Word, made flesh in Jesus Christ. It unleashed a force that, 2000 years later, continues to change the world. Christmas is the day when we celebrate that power.
The Virgin Shall Be With Child
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 19, 2004 .
The fourth and final Isaian image for this Advent season is the most powerful and the most mysterious: the virgin shall be with child. Never underestimate what God can do. As the angel said to Mary, "nothing is impossible with God." Even from our emptiness, God can bring forth salvation.
The Blooming Desert
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 12, 2004 .
We have another great image from the prophet Isaiah this weekend: the blooming desert. So many of the Biblical heroes--Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus himself--have to pass through the desert before they undertake their missions. It is only through this period of dryness, austerity, simplification, and spiritual prioritization that the blossoming of grace comes. Good Advent lesson for us.
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 5, 2004 .
In the eleventh chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which the Messiah will be embued. They include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. The good news is that these gifts are given to all of the baptized, all those who participate in the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. What precisely are these gifts and what difference do they make in our lives? Listen in order to find out.
The Great Reversal
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 28, 2003 .
Jesus turns upside-down a world turned upside-down by sin--and thereby sets it right. This subversive quality of the Lord is disclosed in the Luke's magnificent Christmas story. It is not to Caesar Augustus--in his pride, power, comfort, and freedom--that we should look, but rather to the humble, poor, and non-violent King, born in a stable in Bethlehem. The question that Christmas poses to us is this: which King do we follow, Caesar or Christ.
Three Advent Lessons
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 21, 2003 .
The readings for the final Sunday of Advent present us with three essential lessons. First, in the Biblical perspective, great things come from the small; second, never ever give up hope; and third, trust always in the power of God. These are the lessons of Micah, Elizabeth, and Mary.
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 14, 2003 .
The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice! Sunday. God is a community of joy and the purpose of creation and redemption is to share that joy. Everything in Christian life--from law and ritual to doctrine and moral praxis--is meant to lead us into deeper joy.
The Steadfast Love of God
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 7, 2003 .
Everything in nature, culture, and the cosmos is passing away. Nothing here below finally lasts. Though certainly sobering, this is not, ultimately, bad news, for it orients us toward the one power that does last: the steadfast love of God. In the Gospel for today, the Word of God comes not to the mighty and powerful of the world, but to John who is living a life of renunciation and prayer in the desert. How important this message is for the setting of our priorities.
God’s Subversive Ways
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 29, 2002 .
The Christmas story is essentially a tale of subversion. Everything the world holds up as beautiful and worthy of attention is undermined: wealth, power, privilege, comfort. The icon of God is not the mighty Caesar Augustus, but the little child of Bethlehem, too weak to hold up his own head. Real power is love: there is the subversive message of Christmas.