The Chief of the Nations
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 29, 2006 .
Our first reading for Mass this week contains the most sacred prayer in the Jewish tradition, the "Sh'ma." In the Gospel, when asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus, a pious Jew, recites this prayer from the book of Deuteronomy. Listen as I explicate this central and decisive statement of Biblical faith.
The Daughter of Jairus and the Book of Leviticus
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 2, 2006 .
In order to understand the power of our Gospel reading for this week, we must attend to the book of Leviticus. In that great rule-book of Israelite life, we hear that contact with a hemorrhaging woman or with a corpse would result in ritual uncleanliness. When Jesus touches the hemorrhaging woman and the dead daughter of Jairus, he is not made unclean; in fact he makes them clean. In so doing, he redefines what it means to be a member of the true people of Israel.
The ‘De Profundis’ Prayer
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 25, 2006 .
Psalm 130 begins with the words, "out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord." Throughout the great tradition, the prayer ""de profundis,"" (out of the depths) has been one of the most powerful expressions of our reliance upon God. When our lives have bottomed out, when we are lost and at the end of our strength, we turn to God. The cry of the apostles in the boat, as the waves crash over the side and threaten to drown them, is a New Testament example of this prayer. Do you need to pray it today?
Walking on the Water
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 7, 2005 .
Often in the Bible, water functions as a symbol of chaos and sin: the waters at the beginning of creation, the waters of the Red Sea, the waters of Noah's flood, etc. Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the abyss in the beginning, so the Son of God walks on the waves. This signals God's lordship over all of the forces of destruction that confront us. As long as we look to Jesus, we can walk on those same waters with him.
Lazarus, Come Out
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 13, 2005 .
Our God hates death. Through the prophet Ezekiel, he said, "I will open your graves and have you rise from them." Jesus came to end the reign of death, to wrestle death to the ground. In the raising of Lazarus--which anticipates his own even more glorious resurrection--he fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel, calling the dead man from his grave.
The Man Born Blind
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 6, 2005 .
Blindness is a great Biblical symbol of spiritual blindness, the darkening and distortion of our vision. Jesus salves and washes the blind man in John's Gospel in order to restore his sight. In the same way, he washes us (in Baptism) and salves us (in the other sacraments) so that we might see with his eyes.
Meaning of the Miracles
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 7, 2003 .
Our Gospel story today concerns a man who is deaf and dumb. He is symbolically evocative of an Israel that had grown deaf to God's word and, accordingly, unable to speak God's truth clearly. We are meant to identify with him, for we too often allow God's voice to be drowned out by other sounds, and we too are frequently incapable of articulating our faith in a compelling way. The solution is to be plugged into Jesus, to listen to him and to allow him to speak through us.