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Catholic Church

Both the Old and the New

by Bishop Robert Barron . July 24, 2005 .

At the conclusion of chapter 13 of Matthew's Gospel, the chapter of parables, Jesus says, "the scribe who is learned in the Kingdom of God is like the householder who brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new." The one who is wise in the ways of God escapes the ideologies of both left and right--the idolatry of both the new and the old. Focused on God alone, he is able to see the value in both novelty and tradition.

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.

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.

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.

Habemus Papam (Part 1 of 2)

by Bishop Robert Barron . May 1, 2005 .

This week and next, I reflect on the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, the man who now leads the church as Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger was strongly shaped by his Bavarian Catholicism, by his struggle against Nazism, and by the "nouvelle theologie," the new theology inaugurated by Henri de Lubac and others. This set of influences made him a unique and powerful voice at the Second Vatican Council. More on his post-conciliar career next week.

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