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.
Falling in Love With God
by Bishop Robert Barron . April 3, 2005 .
So many of us skeptical moderns--intellectual heirs of Descartes-- identify with doubting Thomas. We too struggle with faith, ask tough questions, want proof. And to some degree, this is praiseworthy. But the trouble with systematic and persistent doubt is that it precludes the possibility of love, for love is always a surrender. "How blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed," because they have allowed themselves to fall in love with Jesus Christ.
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.
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.
Christ the Crucified King
by Bishop Robert Barron . November 21, 2004 .
Our first reading for Mass this Sunday is taken from the opening chapter of Paul's letter to the Colossians. There is no stronger statement of the absolute primacy, centrality, and importance of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament. Jesus, Paul tells us, is the beginning and the end, the icon of the invisible God, the one in whom all things exist and for whom they are destined. And then the Gospel shows us this cosmic King nailed to the cross. This wonderful irony is at the heart of the Christian proclamation: the King of the Universe is a crucified criminal, who utterly spends himself in love.
Will the Son of Man Find Faith on the Earth?
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 17, 2004 .
Our Gospel for this week ends with one of the most haunting lines in the New Testament. Jesus says, "when the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?" The Christian faith has faded away, even in lands where it was once vibrant: Egypt, Turkey, North Africa, etc. Will it endure in Western Europe, in our country? The cultivation of the faith is obviously God's work first, but it is also ours. What are we doing to make sure that the Christian Gospel is successfully passed on to the next generation?
See, Judge, and Act
by Bishop Robert Barron . September 19, 2004 .
Our Gospel for this week contains one of Jesus' most surprising and comical parables, the story of the unjust steward. Jesus finds something to praise in the man who is resourceful (and ruthless) enough to fend for himself when his whole world collapses. The lesson is clear: we disciples should be just as attentive, intelligent, and decisive when it comes to spiritual matters. We should see our relationship with God clearly, assess our spiritual health honestly, and act to set our lives in right order.
The Trouble With Honor
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 29, 2004 .
Some people organize their lives around the love of money; others do so around the love of pleasure or power. Still others make honor--the esteem of others--the central value. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus criticizes all of these false gods, and in today's passage, he focuses on this last problem. The key, he suggests, is to order one's life so that winning the esteem of God is all that finally matters. Why play to the fickle, unreliable crowd? In all of your thoughts, words and actions, play to the divine audience--and you will find liberation and joy.
Walking the Path of Faith
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 8, 2004 .
Our second reading this week is from the 11th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews, and it concerns that central virtue of the Christian life: faith. To believe is not to be naive, superstitious, or uncritical. It is not opposed to reason. Rather, it is a reasonable leap into the darkness of that which transcends what we can know and control. As such, it is analogous to the "leaps" made by a man about to marry, by a scientist embarking on an experiment the result of which he does not precisely know, by an adventurer about to embark on his journey of exploration.