The Infinite Thirst
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 27, 2005 .
We are made for God, and therefore our hearts are restless until they rest in him. This longing is symbolized in the thirst of the woman at the well. Directing her away from all earthly goods, Jesus draws her to himself: "I will give you water springing up to eternal life." We hear the same invitation to the font of grace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Called, Set Apart, Sent
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 16, 2005 .
Cultural commentator Robert Bellah has characterized the typical American approach to religion as individualistic and driven by the desire for personal fulfillment. But this type of religiosity is inimical to the Biblical vision. Just listen to the opening line of our reading from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: "Paul, called by God's will to be an apostle of Christ Jesus." Paul is not actualizing his own agenda, but rather utterly turning himself over to the higher authority who has called him, claimed him, and sent him.
The Baptism of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 9, 2005 .
John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets, correctly discerns that Jesus is the Son of God, but what he finds disconcerting is that this God-man comes to him for baptism: "I should rather be baptized by you." This reversal--still stunning 2000 years later--is indicative of the Incarnation's purpose: God's desire to enter into the state and condition of the sinner out of love.
The Blooming Desert
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 12, 2004 .
We have another great image from the prophet Isaiah this weekend: the blooming desert. So many of the Biblical heroes--Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus himself--have to pass through the desert before they undertake their missions. It is only through this period of dryness, austerity, simplification, and spiritual prioritization that the blossoming of grace comes. Good Advent lesson for us.
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 5, 2004 .
In the eleventh chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which the Messiah will be embued. They include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. The good news is that these gifts are given to all of the baptized, all those who participate in the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. What precisely are these gifts and what difference do they make in our lives? Listen in order to find out.