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.
Spiritual Shock Therapy
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 5, 2004 .
The world of grasping, competition, violence, and egotism is the "real" world, right? And if I were to suggest that we can live in radical non-violence, love, compassion, and forgiveness, you would probably suggest that I am a utopian dreamer. But what Jesus shows is precisely the illusory, phony quality of the supposedly "real" world that we inhabit, and what he calls for is an immersion in the new universe that he calls "the Kingdom of God." His strategy: spiritual shock therapy. "Hate your mother and father, your children, your wife, your very self," he says to the uncomprehending crowds--and to us. His purpose is to shake us out of our complacency and into a whole new way of thinking, acting, and being.
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."
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.
He So loved the World
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 14, 2003 .
Today's feast, the Triumph of the Cross, is one of those remarkable Christian paradoxes. To describe an unspeakably brutal execution as a "triumph" seems either a bad joke or plain madness. But we Christians delight in this odd juxtaposition of agony and ecstacy, because we know the deepest truth of the cross is God's swallowing up of even the greatest sin. And so like Paul we glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. How have you perhaps sensed the triumph of the cross in your own life?
An Odd King
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 25, 2001 .
Christ is indeed King, but an odd one. For he reigns, not from a throne, but from a cross, and he is crowned, not with laurel leaves, but with a ring of thorns. What this feast teaches us is the meaning of true power. The power that creates the cosmos is not domination, but rather self-forgetting and self-sacrificing love.
The Downward Momentum of the Son of God
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 8, 2001 .
The Word entered into our flesh in order to bring the love and justice of God even to the darkest places. Jesus stands shoulder to shoulder with sinners in the waters of the Jordan, and, at the end of his ministry, he goes into the pain and anguish of death itself in order to save us.
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 11, 2001 .
We Christians, as Paul reminds us, have our citizenship in heaven. This means that, here below, we are "resident aliens," at work in the world, but our eyes fixed on a transcendent goal. This makes us, paradoxically enough, the best friends the world ever had.