David and Mary
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 18, 2005 .
For the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church asks us to juxtapose stories of David and Mary. David decides that he wants to build a temple for the Lord, but God does not favor his plan; Mary hears what God wants to do through her, and she acquiesces. It is always a matter of following the promptings of the divine will and not our own desires, even when we are convinced that those desires are good and holy. Thomas Merton said, "Lord, the fact that I think I'm following your will doesn't mean that I am in fact doing so..." That acknowledgement takes great humility and spiritual perception.
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 2, 2005 .
In this striking parable of the vineyard, Jesus lays out both God's vision for the world as well as his plan of redemption. The Lord wants us to be fully and dynamically alive, and to assure that this happens, he gives us his only Son as a redeemer. In the course of my homily this week, I try to "decode" this wonderful story.
Jesus the Slave
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 25, 2005 .
Our second reading, from Paul's letter to the Philippians, contains one of the oldest texts in the tradition, a "hymn" that Paul received and adapted for his purposes. It speaks of a fully divine Jesus who was, nevertheless, willing to empty himself utterly and become a slave on our behalf. All of the drama, poetry, and power of Christianity is contained in that paradox.
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 Mystery of Light
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 20, 2005 .
On his way to Jerusalem, where he will be crucified, Jesus is transfigured before three of his disciples. This manifestation of glory, says Thomas Aquinas, was designed to encourage the disciples during the difficult days that would follow. It gives hope to us too. On the sometimes painful journey through this life, we see in the Transfiguration of the Lord a sign of what awaits us: a glorified life with God.
The Beatitudes: A Spiritual Program
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 30, 2005 .
In the great opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out, in short order, his ethical and spiritual program. It turns all of our customary expectations and prejudices upside down. To be "happy," fulfilled, we must empty the self, become meek, learn how to sorrow, hunger not for egotistic satisfaction but for justice, work for peace, and become the objects of persecution. Strange, puzzling, unnerving, counter-intuitive--and the key to joy.
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.