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.
To Heal the Brokenhearted
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 11, 2005 .
Our first reading for this Sunday is an especially sacred one in the Christian tradition, for it was precisely this passage from Isaiah that Jesus chose to comment upon when he first rose to speak at the beginning of his public ministry. Using Isaiah's imagery, Jesus spells out for us the meaning and purpose of his work: to heal the brokenhearted, to declare liberty to captives, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Virgin Shall Be With Child
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 19, 2004 .
The fourth and final Isaian image for this Advent season is the most powerful and the most mysterious: the virgin shall be with child. Never underestimate what God can do. As the angel said to Mary, "nothing is impossible with God." Even from our emptiness, God can bring forth salvation.
Spiritual Shock Therapy
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 5, 2004 .
The world of grasping, competition, violence, and egotism is the "real" world, right? And if I were to suggest that we can live in radical non-violence, love, compassion, and forgiveness, you would probably suggest that I am a utopian dreamer. But what Jesus shows is precisely the illusory, phony quality of the supposedly "real" world that we inhabit, and what he calls for is an immersion in the new universe that he calls "the Kingdom of God." His strategy: spiritual shock therapy. "Hate your mother and father, your children, your wife, your very self," he says to the uncomprehending crowds--and to us. His purpose is to shake us out of our complacency and into a whole new way of thinking, acting, and being.
Training in the Divine School
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 22, 2004 .
In the years following the Second Vatican Council, we became very hesitant ever to invoke the category of the divine punishment. Yet, this motif can be found throughout the Bible, both Old Testament and New. How do we properly understand it? Our second reading from Mass, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, gives us some important guidance. It places God's punishment in the context of love and discipline. God punishes us, not capriciously and arbitrarily, but out of a desire to bring us to deeper life, much as a parent will, from time to time, punish a child. I'm eager to hear your reaction to these reflections on a tricky but important theme in Biblical theology.