Offer Your Bodies as a Living Sacrifice
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 28, 2005 .
Paul tells the Christians in Rome to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice of praise. I suggest that this Pauline image provides a very good context for thinking about the moral life. We want our bodies--our lives--to be pure offerings to the Father. We don't want to give the Lord lips that have spoken calumny, hands that have reached out in violence, feet that have walked away from the poor and needy. The moral life should be seen not primarily in a legal framework--but a liturgical one.
The Conversion of Matthew
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 5, 2005 .
Our Gospel for this week is a literary and theological masterpiece. It subtly yet powerfully tells the story of the conversion of Matthew from tax collector to disciple. The call, the response, the rising up to a new form of existence, the radical re-creation of a human being, the primacy of grace, the introduction into a life of celebration: all of it is on display. Enter into this story, for it is yours.
The Liturgy: A Play of Priest, Congregation, and Ritual
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 29, 2005 .
On this feast of Corpus Christi, I would like to reflect on the sacred liturgy, the central prayer of the Church. According to Msgr. Francis Mannion, good liturgy is the result of a balanced play between priest, people, and rite. When the first becomes exaggerated, we find the clerical abuse of the liturgy; when the second is overstressed, we encounter the congregationalist abuse; and when the third is exaggerated, we have the ritualistic problem. What counts is the balance!
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 5, 2004 .
In the eleventh chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which the Messiah will be embued. They include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. The good news is that these gifts are given to all of the baptized, all those who participate in the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. What precisely are these gifts and what difference do they make in our lives? Listen in order to find out.
The Pharisee and the Publican
by Bishop Robert Barron . October 24, 2004 .
The Irish writer Iris Murdoch said that human beings are naturally self-absorbed and that what we need, consequently, are spiritual exercises that break us out of the narrow confines of our egos. Learning a foreign language can be such an exercise, as can a confrontation with real beauty. Authentic prayer--the kind exemplified in the humble petition of the Publican--also serves this purpose.
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?
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.
Jesus Yesterday, Today, and Forever!
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 13, 2004 .
Paul tells us that whenever we eat the body and drink the blood of the Lord, we proclaim his death until he comes. This means that the Eucharist involves a wonderful compression of time, past and future meeting dynamically in the present. When we gather around the Lord's table now, we call to mind the breakthrough moment of the Paschal Mystery and we anticipate the culminating moment of the end of time. In doing this, we charge the present with meaning and purpose.
The Ascension of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 23, 2004 .
The feast of the Ascension is meant to awaken hope. In Jesus, risen from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, our lowly human nature participates in the very life of God. In the light of the ascension, therefore, we are permitted to hope for a way of being, elevated and perfected beyond our imagining.