Paul’s Basic Message
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 16, 2004 .
Last week we explored the central teaching of St. Paul: to live in Christ Jesus. This week, we draw out four implications from this teaching: the corporate nature of the church, a sacramental imagination, the gifts of the Spirit, and the acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord. In emphasizing these themes, Paul gave shape to the whole of Christian theology through the ages.
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."
Paul the Apostle
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 2, 2004 .
During the Easter season, we are reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Though John, Philip, Peter, and James are all featured in Acts, the "star" of the text is clearly Paul, missionary and evangelist. Who was this extraordinarily important figure, the man that many say, after Jesus himself, was most influential on the development of Christianity? For the next three weeks, I will be exploring the life, thought, and work of Paul the Apostle.
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 11, 2004 .
Easter is the dawn of a new creation. St. John tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early on the morning of the first day of the week. This is meant to call to mind the first day of creation, when God said, "Let there be light" and brought order out of chaos. From the meaninglessness of death, God brings eternal life. This is the central and revolutionary message of Easter.
The Lesson of the Prodigal Son
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 21, 2004 .
Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most memorable, carefully crafted, and inspiring stories ever told. In some ways, the whole of the Christian "thing" is summed up in this narrative. We have a God who invites us into the dynamism of his own life, and who relentlessly pursues us even when, in our stupidity and sin, we refuse to respond to the invitation.
The Adventure of Faith
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 7, 2004 .
We have a God of adventure, a God who is always out ahead of us. Faith, in the Biblical sense of the term, is not primarily the acquiesence to propositions; rather, it is an attitude of trust in the God who calls us beyond ourselves. We witness this faith in Abraham's willingness to follow where God leads, and we see it too in the disciples' willingness to follow Jesus on the path toward the cross. Do we settle for what we know and control, or do we venture into the darkness, trusting in what God promises? This is the great question that our readings for the second Sunday of Lent propose to us.
Jesus is Tempted in the Desert
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 29, 2004 .
Jesus is driven by the Spirit into the desert in order to be tempted by the devil. The three temptations--to sensual pleasure, to power, and to pride--respresent three fundamental ways that all of us can be distracted from the path that God wants us to walk. It is therefore a salutary Lenten exercise to attend carefully to the texture of Jesus' responses.
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 Strange Path of Love
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 1, 2004 .
Our second reading for Mass this weekend is one of the most beautiful and oft-quoted in the Biblical tradition: Paul's hymn to love in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Love--willing the good of the other--must undergird everything else in Christian life. Even the strongest faith, if it is unformed by love, is nothing; even the greatest pastoral outreach, if it is not for the sake of love, means nothing; even the most spectacular spiritual gifts, if they don't conduce toward love, are worthless. In light of this reading, we have the criterion by which to assess the quality of our lives.
The Great Wedding
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 18, 2004 .
The prophet Isaiah expresses the conviction of ancient Israel that God wants to marry his people, which is to say, to share his life fully with them. This espousing God becomes flesh in Jesus and hence it is altogether appropriate that the Lord's first public sign in John's Gospel takes place at a wedding. He has come that we might have life and have it to the full. The ""good wine"" of the wedding feast at Cana is now the ""good wine"" of the Eucharist by which all of us become partakers of God's inner life