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.
The Ways of Prayer
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 25, 2004 .
The Bible speaks often of prayer, that intimate communion and conversation with God. Our readings for this Sunday present, if I can put it this way, the rules of prayer. First, we must pray with faith and confidence; secondly, our prayer must be accompanied by forgiveness; thirdly, we must pray with persistence, and finally, we must pray in the name of Jesus the Lord. Why does our prayer not "work?" Perhaps it's because we are not following the rules.
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.
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."
Four Reasons to Love Your Enemies
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 22, 2004 .
One of the most challenging and disconcerting of Jesus' commands is to love our enemies. In this sermon, I will explore four reasons why this moral demand makes sense. First, it helps us to test the quality of our love; second, it tells us a great deal about ourselves; third, it makes us see that sometimes our enemies might be right; and fourth, it allows us sometimes to win our enemy back.
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 15, 2004 .
Detachment is a key theme in the spiritual masters. It means that we must detach ourselves from all of those created goods--sex, money, power, pleasure--that are not our ultimate good. When we do this, we experience a spiritual freedom that actually enables us to enjoy those things more. Luke's version of the Beatitudes is, I submit, all about this detachment.
The Great Reversal
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 28, 2003 .
Jesus turns upside-down a world turned upside-down by sin--and thereby sets it right. This subversive quality of the Lord is disclosed in the Luke's magnificent Christmas story. It is not to Caesar Augustus--in his pride, power, comfort, and freedom--that we should look, but rather to the humble, poor, and non-violent King, born in a stable in Bethlehem. The question that Christmas poses to us is this: which King do we follow, Caesar or Christ.
Feast of Christ the King
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 23, 2003 .
The final Sunday of the Liturgical year is dedicated to Christ the King. One of the earliest forms of Christian proclamation was "Jesus is Lord." This was meant to be provocative, since Caesar was customarily described as Lord of the world. The first Christians were saying that Jesus is the one who must in every sense command, direct, and order our lives. Is Jesus truly the King of your life? That's the hard question which this feast raises.
A Ransom for the Many
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 19, 2003 .
What does it mean to say that Jesus died for our sins? How precisely does his cross save us? The first Christians saw sin as a sort of imprisonment, like being held for ransom, and in the dying and rising of Jesus, they experienced freedom. What freed them was God's solidarity with them in their fear, even their fear of death. How do you experience the power of Jesus' death on the cross? How does it set you free?
Get Thee Behind Me, Satan
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 1, 2002 .
Last week we heard of the grace by which Peter correctly confessed the identity of Jesus. This week, we hear of his weakness. Opposing the cross, he becomes an ally of the dark powers. The Church is infallible and the Church is made up of sinners. When we forget one or the other, we fall into trouble.