Myth and History
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 6, 2006 .
In our second reading for this weekend, St. Peter tells us that, in sharing the Christian story, he was not trading in "cleverly concocted myths." There is a sharp distinction to be drawn between myth and history, and it matters enormously that Christianity is not a mythic system, but an historical religion. This feast of the Transfiguration gives us the opportunity to reflect on this difference.
The Call of the Prophet
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 9, 2006 .
Every baptized person is conformed to Christ: King, Priest, and Prophet. Thus speaking the divine truth (prophecy) is not the concern of priests and bishops alone, but of all members of the church. From Ezekiel and Mark, we can discern a number of qualities of the prophetic office. First, the prophet does not speak his own word, but God's. Second, the prophet is given a difficult assignment. And third, the prophet is summoned, not to success, but faithfulness.
The Da Vinci Code (Part 2 of 2)
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 28, 2006 .
This week I discuss two more themes that emerge in the Da Vinci Code: the Gnostic Gospels and anti-Catholicism. Much of the storyline of the Da Vinci Code flows from the controversial Gnostic tellings of the life of Jesus. These are, in fact, far less historically reliable than the canonical Gospels--not to mention less theologically sound. And the book as a whole should be classed in the genre of anti-Catholic screed. We shouldn't be hysterical about American anti-Catholicism, but we also shouldn't be naive about it. I promise that this is my last word about the Da Vinci Code! Next week we're back to the Scriptures.
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.
The Trouble With Religion
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 30, 2005 .
At its best, religion orients our lives to God and moves us away from the terrible preoccupation with our own egos. But at its worst, religion reinforces the ego and actually blocks our access to God. In his great polemic against the pharisees, Jesus warns us against this dysfunctional side of religious belief and practice.
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.
Zechariah’s Strange Prophecy
by Bishop Robert Barron . July 3, 2005 .
We hear in our first reading from the prophet Zechariah. This post-exilic figure is trying to reassure the people that their Messiah will come and will restore their fortunes. But then he specifies the nature and quality of this hero: he will enter Jerusalem, not on an Arabian charger, but on the foal of a donkey--and he will effectively disarm the nation, destroying horse and chariot! What could this possibly mean? No one really knew until a young rabbi, some five hundred years later, rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey and mounted the victorious throne of a Roman cross.
Habemus Papam (Part 2 of 2)
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 8, 2005 .
This week I continue my exploration of the life, career, and work of our new Pope, Joseph Ratzinger. In the years after the council, a split occured in the ranks of the Conciliar progressives, some calling for deeper and broader reform and others calling for a more careful appropriation of Vatican II. Joseph Ratzinger, along with Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Karol Wojtyla, belonged to this latter group. The commonality between Ratzinger and Wojtyla led to John Paul II's choice of Ratzinger as his Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
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.