Walking on the Water
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 7, 2005 .
Often in the Bible, water functions as a symbol of chaos and sin: the waters at the beginning of creation, the waters of the Red Sea, the waters of Noah's flood, etc. Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the abyss in the beginning, so the Son of God walks on the waves. This signals God's lordship over all of the forces of destruction that confront us. As long as we look to Jesus, we can walk on those same waters with him.
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.
A Royal Priesthood
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 24, 2005 .
St. Peter tells us in our second reading that all of us--all the baptized--constitute a royal priesthood. This means that we perform sacrifices, acts which reconcile divinity and humanity. The entire life of a disciple should be a sustained act of bringing people to God and God to people. We are bridge-builders, reconcilers, royal priests.
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 17, 2005 .
We hear this week from the Apostle Peter, speaking to the Christian community about redemptive suffering. This is the suffering that comes from doing what is right, even in the face of opposition. What it accomplishes is redemption, that is to say, "buying back" for God the one who perpetrates the injustice. No one in our own American tradition understood this principle--and put it into practice--more thoroughly than Martin Luther King.
The Man Born Blind
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 6, 2005 .
Blindness is a great Biblical symbol of spiritual blindness, the darkening and distortion of our vision. Jesus salves and washes the blind man in John's Gospel in order to restore his sight. In the same way, he washes us (in Baptism) and salves us (in the other sacraments) so that we might see with his eyes.
The Baptism of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 9, 2005 .
John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets, correctly discerns that Jesus is the Son of God, but what he finds disconcerting is that this God-man comes to him for baptism: "I should rather be baptized by you." This reversal--still stunning 2000 years later--is indicative of the Incarnation's purpose: God's desire to enter into the state and condition of the sinner out of love.
Magi Came From the East
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 2, 2005 .
We see in the visit of the Magi to the Christ child the first hint of the internationalism of Christianity. Precisely because Jesus is the Word made flesh, the very personal presence of God, he speaks to all nations and all peoples. The Christian message is meant to overcome all of the petty divisions that characterize the human race: "In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no man or woman."
The Good Samaritan
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 11, 2004 .
The story of the Good Samaritan is not merely a morality tale, an account of the kind of life we should lead. It is that, but, at the deepest level, it is also a telling of the basic story of sin, fall, and redemption. All of us sinners are the man beaten up and left half-dead by the side of the road. We cannot be saved by law or religion or our own works, but only by Jesus Christ and his grace. This best-known of Jesus' parables is finally a narrative of salvation.
A Portrait of the Church
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 4, 2004 .
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is the account of Jesus' sending of the seventy-two disciples. In the instructions he gives them, we can discern an outline of the life and work of the Church down through the ages. At our best, we are missionary church, empowered by prayer, marked by simplicity of life, bearing health and salvation, and proclaiming the reign of God.
Come, Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 30, 2004 .
The two great symbols of the descent of the Holy Spirit are wind and tongues of fire. Wind is powerful, unpredictable, destructive, like the Spirit which seizes us and takes us where we would rather not go. Tongues of fire signal impassioned speech on behalf of the Good News, a willingness to announce the Gospel publicly and even in the face of opposition. With the whole church around the world, we pray on this great feast of Pentecost for the coming of that troublesome and wonderful Holy Spirit.