On the Road
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 10, 2005 .
The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is one of the best-loved in the Biblical tradition. It speaks to us of the manner in which we come to see the risen Jesus. When we look through the lenses of the Biblical revelation and the Eucharistic mystery, Jesus comes into clear focus. This, of course, is the structure of the Mass, with its liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist. The late great John Paul II understood this dynamic in his bones--which is why he travelled so widely to speak the word and make present the Eucharist.
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.
Getting Back to Basics In the Spiritual Life
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 13, 2005 .
On this first Sunday of Lent, the Church asks us to get back to the spiritual basics. We are compelled to consider once again the story of the Fall. God wants us to be fully alive, but fullness of life comes ultimately only as a gift of grace and not an accomplishment of the will. When Adam and Eve grasped at godliness, they violated the law of the gift: your being increases in the measure that you give it away. This sin is reversed in the Gospel story of the temptation. Jesus consistently resists the devil's suggestions and makes the Father's will the center of his concerns. In Jesus' resistance, the momentum of Eden is reversed.
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 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.
Christ the Crucified King
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 21, 2004 .
Our first reading for Mass this Sunday is taken from the opening chapter of Paul's letter to the Colossians. There is no stronger statement of the absolute primacy, centrality, and importance of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament. Jesus, Paul tells us, is the beginning and the end, the icon of the invisible God, the one in whom all things exist and for whom they are destined. And then the Gospel shows us this cosmic King nailed to the cross. This wonderful irony is at the heart of the Christian proclamation: the King of the Universe is a crucified criminal, who utterly spends himself in love.
Not One Stone Upon Another
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 14, 2004 .
Our Gospel for this Sunday opens with Jesus' disciples admiring the splendor of the Temple, the most beautiful, important, and impressive building they had ever seen. And Jesus, as is his wont, pulls the rug out from under them: "Not one stone of this temple will be left upon another, but it will all be torn down!" The Gospel emphasizes over and again that nothing in this world lasts, nothing here below is ultimate. Therefore we shouldn't spend our time and energy gawking at the glories of this world; rather we should see and act in the light of a glory to come.
Celibacy: An Eschatological Sign
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 7, 2004 .
There are celibates in the church because of what Jesus said in our Gospel for today. In the world to come, the Savior specified, people will not marry or be given in marriage but will rather be like angels, experiencing a communion so intense and complete that even the richest communion here below will be as nothing. It is according to God's providence, therefore, that there be certain people who, even now, live in accord with that eschatological hope. This is why the celibacy of priests and religious is a gift for the whole people of God.
Zacchaeus, Hurry Down
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 31, 2004 .
The story of Zacchaeus is an icon of the spiritual life. Even the worst of us have, deep down, a hunger for God and a desire to see Jesus. When we follow the promptings of that desire, wonderful things can happen. Of course, when Jesus enters our lives, he means business: "I am coming to stay at your house this day," he says to Zacchaeus. Christ will not be a peripheral interest, one value among many. Once we invite him in, he will be the Lord of our lives.
Training in the Divine School
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 22, 2004 .
In the years following the Second Vatican Council, we became very hesitant ever to invoke the category of the divine punishment. Yet, this motif can be found throughout the Bible, both Old Testament and New. How do we properly understand it? Our second reading from Mass, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, gives us some important guidance. It places God's punishment in the context of love and discipline. God punishes us, not capriciously and arbitrarily, but out of a desire to bring us to deeper life, much as a parent will, from time to time, punish a child. I'm eager to hear your reaction to these reflections on a tricky but important theme in Biblical theology.