Both the Old and the New
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 24, 2005 .
At the conclusion of chapter 13 of Matthew's Gospel, the chapter of parables, Jesus says, "the scribe who is learned in the Kingdom of God is like the householder who brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new." The one who is wise in the ways of God escapes the ideologies of both left and right--the idolatry of both the new and the old. Focused on God alone, he is able to see the value in both novelty and tradition.
The Irresistable Word
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 10, 2005 .
Our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, shows that God's word is not so much descriptive as creative: it produces what it says. In the very intelligibility of the material world, we can sense this reality-producing power. We can also sense it in the Biblical word, an invitation into divine friendship. But we encounter it most powerfully in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. To what extent do we permit this reality-changing Word to take root in us? That is the challenge of our readings for today.
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.
Habemus Papam (Part 2 of 2)
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 8, 2005 .
This week I continue my exploration of the life, career, and work of our new Pope, Joseph Ratzinger. In the years after the council, a split occured in the ranks of the Conciliar progressives, some calling for deeper and broader reform and others calling for a more careful appropriation of Vatican II. Joseph Ratzinger, along with Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Karol Wojtyla, belonged to this latter group. The commonality between Ratzinger and Wojtyla led to John Paul II's choice of Ratzinger as his Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Habemus Papam (Part 1 of 2)
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 1, 2005 .
This week and next, I reflect on the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, the man who now leads the church as Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger was strongly shaped by his Bavarian Catholicism, by his struggle against Nazism, and by the "nouvelle theologie," the new theology inaugurated by Henri de Lubac and others. This set of influences made him a unique and powerful voice at the Second Vatican Council. More on his post-conciliar career next week.
Falling in Love With God
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 3, 2005 .
So many of us skeptical moderns--intellectual heirs of Descartes-- identify with doubting Thomas. We too struggle with faith, ask tough questions, want proof. And to some degree, this is praiseworthy. But the trouble with systematic and persistent doubt is that it precludes the possibility of love, for love is always a surrender. "How blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed," because they have allowed themselves to fall in love with Jesus Christ.
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.
Light of the World, Salt of the Earth
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 6, 2005 .
The purpose of the Church is essentially extraverted. It exists for the sake of sanctifying the world. Thus Jesus tells his followers to be light for the world--that which illumines and clarifies the deepest truth of things--and salt for the earth--that which preserves, spices up and frees what is best in creation. We are most fully ourselves when we are a beacon for everyone else.
They Abandoned Everything
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 23, 2005 .
Our Gospel passage for today, taken from the 4th chapter of Matthew's Gospel, recounts the story of the call of the first disciples. When they encounter Jesus, the Capharnaum fishermen drop everything and follow him. This represents the compelling nature of Jesus' call: nothing is more important than conforming oneself to the Word made flesh.