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.
They Shall Look on Him Whom They Have Pierced
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 20, 2004 .
The book of the prophet Zechariah provides a sort of interpretive key for the life and ministry of Jesus. It tells us what the Messiah would do and what kind of figure he would be. The passage that we read from Zechariah for Mass this week emphasizes that the Messiah, curiously enough, would be "pierced." In our Gospel, Peter correctly identifies Jesus as the Messiah, but then he (and we) are given a lesson in what that means: the Son of Man must be rejected, persecuted and put to death. Jesus the Messiah saves the world precisely by being killed. To understand that is to understand everything about Christian faith.
Jesus Yesterday, Today, and Forever!
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 13, 2004 .
Paul tells us that whenever we eat the body and drink the blood of the Lord, we proclaim his death until he comes. This means that the Eucharist involves a wonderful compression of time, past and future meeting dynamically in the present. When we gather around the Lord's table now, we call to mind the breakthrough moment of the Paschal Mystery and we anticipate the culminating moment of the end of time. In doing this, we charge the present with meaning and purpose.
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.
Paul’s Basic Message
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 16, 2004 .
Last week we explored the central teaching of St. Paul: to live in Christ Jesus. This week, we draw out four implications from this teaching: the corporate nature of the church, a sacramental imagination, the gifts of the Spirit, and the acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord. In emphasizing these themes, Paul gave shape to the whole of Christian theology through the ages.
Being in Christ
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 9, 2004 .
Last week we looked at the life and times of Paul, the person who, after Jesus himself, is the most influential figure in the formation of the Christian church. In this week's sermon, I look briefly at Paul's central teaching, which I identify as "being in Christ." The phrase "en Christo," in Christ, appears 83 times in the letters of Paul, indicating how central it is to the Apostle's teaching and preaching. Christ Jesus is a new energy field, a new power, a new way of being, and the idea, as far as Paul is concerned, is to get into it--so that ultimately you can say, with him, "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me."
Paul the Apostle
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 2, 2004 .
During the Easter season, we are reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Though John, Philip, Peter, and James are all featured in Acts, the "star" of the text is clearly Paul, missionary and evangelist. Who was this extraordinarily important figure, the man that many say, after Jesus himself, was most influential on the development of Christianity? For the next three weeks, I will be exploring the life, thought, and work of Paul the Apostle.
The Strange Path of Love
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 1, 2004 .
Our second reading for Mass this weekend is one of the most beautiful and oft-quoted in the Biblical tradition: Paul's hymn to love in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Love--willing the good of the other--must undergird everything else in Christian life. Even the strongest faith, if it is unformed by love, is nothing; even the greatest pastoral outreach, if it is not for the sake of love, means nothing; even the most spectacular spiritual gifts, if they don't conduce toward love, are worthless. In light of this reading, we have the criterion by which to assess the quality of our lives.
The Lessons of Nehemiah
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 25, 2004 .
Our first reading for this week is taken from the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Nehemiah returned from exile in order to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to preside over the reconstitution of the Israelite nation. The Church, the new Israel, is a people with an identity grounded in tradition, law, word, and sacrament. When we allow those foundations to be destroyed, we are in danger of losing ourselves.