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.
What Are You Afraid Of?
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 19, 2005 .
"Who or what are you most afraid of?" is, I submit, a very important spiritual question. To answer it honestly is to know how and why your life is structured the way it is. The simple message of the the Gospel for this week is that one should fear, above all, the loss of friendship with God. More than the loss of money, health, power, the esteem of others, life itself, one should be afraid of losing intimacy with God. If that is truly your greatest fear, you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.
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.
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.
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.
There is No Chaining the Word of God!
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 10, 2004 .
This week we once more hear from Paul's second letter to Timothy. He writes to his young friend from prison, chained in place by the Roman authorities. But he boldly tells Timothy that there is no chaining the Word of God. This confidence in the power of God's word is shared by all of the great saints up and down the centuries. John Paul II had it when he preached in his native Poland in the 1980's, effectively unchaining an oppressed people.
No Cowardly Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 3, 2004 .
We hear this week from St. Paul's second letter to Timothy. Paul, the old warrior, is passing on to his young disciple words of advice and encouragement. He tells Timothy that he has received "no cowardly spirit," but rather a spirit of boldness and confidence. Throughout the ages, in the saints and the martyrs, we have seen evidence of this courageous spirit that comes from the risen Christ. Did you know that the 20th century had more Christian martyrs than any other century? We can all still benefit from Paul's words.
See, Judge, and Act
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 19, 2004 .
Our Gospel for this week contains one of Jesus' most surprising and comical parables, the story of the unjust steward. Jesus finds something to praise in the man who is resourceful (and ruthless) enough to fend for himself when his whole world collapses. The lesson is clear: we disciples should be just as attentive, intelligent, and decisive when it comes to spiritual matters. We should see our relationship with God clearly, assess our spiritual health honestly, and act to set our lives in right order.