God’s Cleansing Anger
by Bishop Robert Barron . March 26, 2006 .
God sometimes expresses his anger at his people Israel. This is not an emotional snit into which God falls; rather, it is a way of expressing his passion to set things right. So God permits the destruction of the Temple and the carrying off of Israel into exile in order to purify and cleanse. When catastrophe befalls us, we should trust in the strange providence of God. God is always about the business of enhancing life.
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 Generous Landowner
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 18, 2005 .
The parable that Jesus tells in our Gospel for today is one of his most disturbing and confounding. Giving the same wage to those who worked for one hour and those who labored the whole day just seems unjust. The story is meant to place a question in our minds: what exactly is divine justice and how does it differ from our conception of justice?
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 17, 2005 .
We hear this week from the Apostle Peter, speaking to the Christian community about redemptive suffering. This is the suffering that comes from doing what is right, even in the face of opposition. What it accomplishes is redemption, that is to say, "buying back" for God the one who perpetrates the injustice. No one in our own American tradition understood this principle--and put it into practice--more thoroughly than Martin Luther King.
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.
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.
There is No Chaining the Word of God!
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 10, 2004 .
This week we once more hear from Paul's second letter to Timothy. He writes to his young friend from prison, chained in place by the Roman authorities. But he boldly tells Timothy that there is no chaining the Word of God. This confidence in the power of God's word is shared by all of the great saints up and down the centuries. John Paul II had it when he preached in his native Poland in the 1980's, effectively unchaining an oppressed people.
No Cowardly Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 3, 2004 .
We hear this week from St. Paul's second letter to Timothy. Paul, the old warrior, is passing on to his young disciple words of advice and encouragement. He tells Timothy that he has received "no cowardly spirit," but rather a spirit of boldness and confidence. Throughout the ages, in the saints and the martyrs, we have seen evidence of this courageous spirit that comes from the risen Christ. Did you know that the 20th century had more Christian martyrs than any other century? We can all still benefit from Paul's words.
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 26, 2004 .
We hear from the prophet Amos in our first reading for this Sunday. Amos stands at the very beginning of the great prophetic tradition of social justice. He sees that the very heart of the law is our collective concern for the orphan, the widow, the stranger, and the needy. This emphasis is continued in the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and it comes to particularly rich expression in the words of Jesus the prophet. We must listen with attention to Amos and allow ourselves to be deeply challenged by him.