New Wine and New Wineskins
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 26, 2006 .
The new wine that Jesus speaks of is the Gospel itself, the Good News that God has joined our human condition. In order to take in such a message and to conform our lives to it, we must expand. If we remain in the narrow confines of the old self, we won't be able to handle the richness and fullness of the Gospel message. So change! Conform yourself to the love that Christ is. Become like new wineskins.
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 22, 2006 .
The familiar theme of detachment runs right through all three of our readings for this week. Paul tells the Corinthians who are married to carry on as though they were not married and those who buy and sell as though they were not buying and selling. The point is that one should orient one's life totally to the absolute good who is God. When that orientation takes place, everything else--from spouses to material goods--can be let go of, can be seen in proper spiritual perspective. This detachment is, I argue, the conversion that Jesus speaks of in his inaugural address, which is our Gospel for today.
A Baby Born in Straw Poverty
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 25, 2005 .
Recently, I read an interview with Bono, the lead singer of the group U2. Asked about his religious beliefs, he replied, "I think that there is a love and a logic that lies behind the universe. So I believe in God. I also see, as an artist, the poetic appropriateness of that unspeakable power manifesting itself as a baby born in straw poverty. And that's why I'm a Christian." My sermon for today is just an elaboration of Bono's wonderful Christmas sermon.
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.
The Greatest Commandment
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 23, 2005 .
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind--and your neighbor as yourself." This is the way that Jesus summed up the law and the prophets. Finally, it is a matter of love, and the love of God and neighbor are tightly intertwined. I try to illustrate this principle by telling the life of Rose Hawthorne, a woman who loved God precisely by loving some of the most ostracized people of her time.
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.
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.
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.