Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

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Weekly homilies from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Bishop Robert Barron

    • Jan 31, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
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    Latest episodes from Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

    You Are the Salt of the Earth

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 31, 2023 14:13

    Friends, we are reading from the marvelous Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. This week, we hear Jesus compare his disciples to three things: the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a mountain. What do all three of these things have in common? They do not exist for themselves; rather, they exist for something else. How is your Christianity impacting the world around you—making it better and getting in the way of evil and wickedness?

    The Key to Happiness

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 25, 2023 15:33

    Friends, our Gospel for this Sunday is one of the great passages of the New Testament—namely, the Beatitudes from the fifth chapter of Matthew. "Beatitudo" just means happiness, and the one thing we all want is to be happy. Well, here is the Son of God telling us how—so let's pay close attention!

    Join Your Life to the Light

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 13:20

    Friends, this liturgical year, we are reading from the Gospel of Matthew, and Matthew is written precisely for a Jewish audience. This is why, over and over again, we find Matthew putting Jesus within an Old Testament context. And in our readings for this weekend, the Church juxtaposes a prophecy from Isaiah with its fulfillment in Matthew: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” This may not mean much to us today, but Matthew's audience of first-century Jews knew exactly what he meant.

    Behold, the Lamb of God!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 13:49

    Friends, we return this Sunday to Ordinary Time, and the Church gives us a rather extraordinary reading from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Seeing Jesus, John the Baptist says something that we repeat at every single Mass: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." Many Christians don't know what this phrase means; they think that it has to do with Jesus' gentleness or innocence. But John is drawing our attention here to who Jesus was—and the Good News of what he did for us on the cross.

    Be Attentive to Epiphanies

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2023 14:27

    Friends, we come today to the Feast of the Epiphany. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek meaning “intense appearance.” It is something that not only gets our attention but also reveals something of enormous significance. For the wise men of course, it was first the star; but the real epiphany was the baby King. We should be attentive in a similar way to these moments of breakthrough that speak to us of God—and we should respond.

    Go in Haste, Be Astonished, Treasure!

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 14:32

    Friends, on this Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, we hear three significant words in the Gospel from Luke: haste, astonished, and treasured. If God has broken into your life in some decisive way, if you've been given your mission, then don't about what the world says: move, act, go. When God manifests himself, the right response is astonishment. And then savor, treasure, reflect upon these astonishing things in your heart. In all these ways, we honor Mary, the Mother of God.

    God Became a Baby

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2022 13:04

    Merry Christmas friends! As you gather today with family and friends, it is likely that someone, at some point, will bring in a newborn. And everybody will want to see the baby. The whole room will stop whatever they are doing to see this child. There is something irresistibly charming about babies; they bring out the best in us and call forth love from us. Well, at the center of our Christmas celebration is a strange, astonishing fact: God became a baby. The all-powerful Creator of the universe, the reason why there is something rather than nothing, became a baby too weak even to raise his own head. This was a stroke of divine genius. Again and again the Hound of Heaven sought us out, and again and again we ran away. But who can finally resist the baby who is God?

    The Promise of Emmanuel

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2022 12:54

    Friends, many mythologies and philosophies in the ancient world held that time is cyclical; it just goes round and round. Many people today, on the other hand, hold that time is meaningless; it is just one thing after another. The Bible says no to both of those finally despairing understandings of time. As we see in the readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent, time has a trajectory; it moves toward its fulfillment in Christ, who is Emmanuel—“God is with us.”

    Wait for the Desert to Bloom

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 13:03

    Friends, today we come to the third Sunday of Advent, and the great image from Isaiah is that of the blooming desert. Many of us pass through desert times, dry periods of trial and training. But perhaps the Lord has drawn us into desert to awaken a deeper sense of dependence upon him. We must be patient; and in this season of waiting, we look toward Christmas—the great blooming in the desert.

    Go Meet John the Baptist

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 15:42

    Friends, on the second Sunday of Advent, the Church invites us to go meet the great Advent figure of John the Baptist. All the details of our Gospel—where the Baptist makes his appearance, why people come to him, his great theme, the images he uses—are important to enter into a spirituality of Advent.

    An Advent Challenge

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 13:18

    Friends, Happy New Year's Day! We come today to the beginning of a liturgical year—the first Sunday of Advent. There is a sort of a permanent Advent quality, a vigil quality, to the Christian life. We are waiting, watching; we want something we don't fully have. And as we prepare for the coming of the Lord, our Advent challenge is this: What is our “highest mountain”? Where do we offer worship? If it is not the mountain of the Lord—if we have fallen into a spiritual sleep—now is the time to wake up and stay awake, to get our lives in order, to stop making excuses.

    King of All, Warrior of Mercy

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2022 14:10

    Friends, we come to the great feast of Christ the King, which is always the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Think of the king coming at the end of a long procession into his palace; this is Christ the King at the end of the great procession of the liturgical year. What I want to do is look at three dimensions of Christ's kingship, one from each of the three readings today: our unity in Christ, Christ the warrior, and the weapons by which Christ wins the battle with the powers of darkness: his nonviolence and forgiving love.

    The Shaking of Three Worlds

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2022

    Friends, as we come toward the end of the liturgical year, we begin to look at the apocalyptic writings in the Bible. What's indeed revealed is the end of the world in one sense—not so much the end of space-time, but the breaking down of all the frames of reference that we use to understand our lives. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, something new had happened. Our Gospel for today, taken from the section of Luke called “the little apocalypse,” shows the shaking of three worlds: the world of religion, the world of politics, and the world of nature.

    The Reality of Life After Death

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2022 14:57

    Friends, our first reading and our Gospel for this weekend have a special resonance for our time because they both speak clearly about life after death. Our dominant secularist or materialist ideology says that matter in motion is all there is; the world came into being, and eventually it will pass out of being. On the other hand, an awful lot of Christians hold to something more Platonic than biblical, thinking of the afterlife as the soul escaping from the body to a purely spiritual place called heaven. But the biblical hope is for the resurrection of the body.

    You Have Been Loved Into Being

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 15:35

    Friends, our first reading from the book of Wisdom makes an extraordinarily important observation that's of both theological and philosophical significance—namely, that the very fact that something exists means that it has been loved into being. In light of that, we can read our famous Gospel about Zacchaeus as a story of the infinite love and mercy of God pouring into someone's life—and the conversion that follows.

    Finish the Race

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 15:36

    Friends, our second reading this week is from Paul's Second Letter to Timothy—one of the last letters we have from St. Paul. Now toward the end of his life, Paul passes on various pieces of wisdom to his young friend, including this: “I have finished the race.” The spiritual life is like a race; it includes different stages, from the promise, energy, and enthusiasm of the beginning to the experience of hitting the wall, where you can't go on. St. Paul experienced all of those stages, and his hugely inspiring words are for all of us: no matter where you are in the race, finish it.

    The Spiritual Life Is a Battle

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 14:42

    Friends, our first reading for this Sunday is about a battle between Israel and the Amalekites. To many of us today, this appears to be either an irrelevancy of history or an outrageous story about God sanctioning genocide. But Origen of Alexandria helps us to see that it is neither; rather, it is a story about the battle of the spiritual life. And in the soldiers, Moses, and Aaron and Hur, we see the variegated offices and functions within the Church engaged in that battle.

    Where You Stumble, Dig for Treasure

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 13:47

    Friends, our first reading for this Sunday is a section of the marvelous story of Naaman the Syrian from the Second Book of Kings. The spiritual lesson is this: where you stumble, dig for treasure. We all have some leprosy—some ailment or struggle or weakness that embarrasses us or makes us suffer. Precisely because it leads us on the path of humility, this leprosy, this debility, leads us to God.

    Stand Strong in the Spirit

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2022 14:10

    Friends, this week, our second reading is from Paul's Second Letter to Timothy. From prison, Paul writes to Timothy—the master to the disciple, the mentor to the mentee, the old soldier to the young soldier—and tells him to have courage, but to attach his courage to the weapons of wisdom and love. When one stands courageously, with wisdom, with love, with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then one is able to face down the powers of the world. When we try to fight them on their own terms, we try to conquer evil with evil, we make no progress toward the kingdom of God.

    How Are You Caring for the Poor?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 15:18

    Friends, Pope Benedict XVI memorably said that the Church does three essential things: it evangelizes, it worships God, and it cares for the poor. This week, the words of Amos the prophet and Jesus' parable of Lazarus and the rich man are meant to put us on the hook when it comes to the third task. How much do we care for those who are poor? Are we living lives of self-preoccupation and self-indulgence while our own brothers and sisters are suffering and starving at our gate?

    Don't Demonize—or Divinize—the Powerful

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 14:14

    Friends, the first and second readings this Sunday beautifully show both sides of Catholic social teaching: the balance between recognizing political, economic, and social power, and criticizing the abuse of that power. We should not demonize our leaders; we pray for them, and we recognize their importance. But we should not divinize them either; we are deeply aware of the ways that their power can be corrupted.

    God Is Crazy in Love with You

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 14:18

    Friends, in this Sunday's Gospel, we encounter the infinite, extravagant, radical love of the Creator for his creation. Jesus paints for us, in three parables, a portrait of God: he is, if I can borrow that lovely phrase from Catherine of Siena, “pazzo d'amore”—crazy in love with us, including the lost sheep and the prodigal sons.

    The Fair-Weather Fans of Jesus

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 15:14

    Friends, there are a lot of people today who might be intrigued by Jesus. They find him interesting, remember him as a spiritual teacher, or have warm feelings about him. But in today's Gospel, Jesus is saying to his fair-weather fans—those who are following him because he's fascinating and charismatic—that being his disciple is not a walk in the park; it is something of supreme spiritual and moral importance.

    Act Against Your Attachments

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 14:34

    Friends, at the heart of what St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches in the “Spiritual Exercises” is the idea of detachment. If we are to do the will of God, then we have to become detached from the worldly goods to which we are addicted. A basic principle of this detachment is “agere contra,” which is Latin simply for “to act against.” The idea is simple: if you are attached or addicted to some worldly good, then the best thing is to act against it—to press, aggressively even, in the opposite direction.

    How Many Will Be Saved?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 13:15

    Friends, I am admittedly a bit reluctant to talk about the topic of our Gospel for today—namely, this famously controversial matter of how many will be saved. I have talked a lot and written a lot about this issue, and people have very strong opinions about it: everybody will be saved, only a handful will be saved, and everything in between. There is a lot of energy around this question. In this homily, I would like to get at the question in a new and fresh way by looking at Jesus' answer in the Gospel.

    Let Christ Light a Fire in You

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2022 14:41

    Friends, the readings for this weekend are tough. Here is the principle behind them, one that is simple to state, but difficult to take in: in a world gone wrong, those who come to us speaking and embodying the truth are going to be opposed. In our first reading from Jeremiah and in Jesus' harsh, challenging message in the Gospel, we encounter the disruptive, burning, cleansing quality of authentic religion.

    Go on a Hero's Journey

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 13:55

    Friends, Joseph Campbell and, more recently, Jordan Peterson are very interested in the Jungian archetype of the hero's journey. We see it all over the literature of the world and popular culture, from "The Lord of the Rings" to “Star Wars." But it is also on display very strongly in the Bible. In our remarkable second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, the author reflects on faith as a sense of trust in God and a willingness to follow him on adventure—in short, as accepting the invitation to a hero's journey.

    You Can't Take It With You

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2022 14:44

    Friends, all three of our readings Sunday speak of a primordial spiritual truth—namely, the need to detach oneself from the goods of the world. This has nothing to do with a hatred of the world or a puritanical spirituality of flight from the world; rather, it has to do with knowing how to wear the goods of the world lightly. These goods—wonderful as they are—all finally crumble, evanesce, and disappear; they are not our ultimate good, and we are not meant to cling to them as though they were.

    What Is the Lord's Prayer About?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2022 15:20

    Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke's version of the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father. This prayer, which is probably recited millions of times a day all over the world, includes some of the best-known words on the planet. But what do they mean? It might be good for us to walk slowly through Luke's version to see what this great prayer is about—and what we are asking for when we pray it.

    Focus on the One Thing Necessary

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2022 14:17

    Friends, the Gospel for this Sunday is the wonderful story of Martha and Mary. But the Church sets this up in a really interesting way by giving us a first reading from Genesis 18—the mysterious story of Abraham being visited by three guests. The two stories together show us that the problem is not hospitality, nor being active as opposed to contemplative; rather, the problem is being focused on many things instead of the one thing necessary, in which everything else tends to fall into the right place.

    Christ Can Heal Us

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 14:58

    Friends, the Gospel for this Sunday is one of Jesus' best-known parables: the story of the Good Samaritan. Karl Barth, who learned it from the Church Fathers, taught that every parable of Jesus, at the deeper level, is finally about Jesus himself. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a good example of this principle; it is fundamentally about Christ healing fallen humanity.

    How Will You Evangelize Today?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 14:26

    Friends, as we continue now our reading of the Gospel of Luke, we have today a great portrait of the Church—what the Church looks like, what its central concerns are, and what the demands upon it are. The setting is Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples. Put yourself in that position: all of us baptized people are disciples of the Lord, and we're in a relationship with him. He is sending us out on mission.

    How Will You Evangelize Today?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2022 14:58

    Friends, as we continue now our reading of the Gospel of Luke, we have today a great portrait of the Church—what the Church looks like, what its central concerns are, and what the demands upon it are. The setting is Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples. Put yourself in that position: all of us baptized people are disciples of the Lord, and we're in a relationship with him. He is sending us out on mission.

    Following Jesus Comes First

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2022 14:00

    Friends, I'm going to be blunt with you: today's Gospel is really challenging. It cuts right to the heart of the ethical implications of the Gospel. There's something of a “be all, end all” quality about Jesus, something of an either/or. As he says, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” What follows from this is what I call the principle of detachment and clarification of motives. If Jesus is unambiguously the center of your life, then everything else has to find its place in relation to him. If the good things of the world become more important than following him, then something has gone off-kilter.

    Sacrifice, Covenant, Banquet

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2022 15:10

    Friends, we come this weekend to the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and the Blood of Christ. The Eucharist, as Vatican II famously said, is the source and summit of the Christian life—that from which Christian life comes and that toward which it tends. It's the alpha and the omega of our Christianity. Our three marvelous readings today bring forth three key aspects of the Eucharist: re-presented sacrifice, blood covenant, and spiritual banquet.

    What Is the Trinity?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2022 14:57

    Friends, Trinity Sunday has been called “the preacher's nightmare.” But while the Trinity remains a supreme mystery, Thomas Aquinas used a basic principle that helps us to get at it: beings, at all levels, tend to make images of themselves. The higher you go in the hierarchy of being, the more interior and the more perfect this principle becomes.

    Seek the Mark of the Spirit

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 14:00

    Friends, Happy Pentecost Sunday! On this great celebration of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, meditating upon the number three will tell us a lot of what we need to know about the Spirit, whose distinctive mark is not oppressive unity, nor conflictual diversity, but unity in diversity. The Church is one Body with many parts, animated by one Spirit manifesting many spiritual gifts.

    Come, Lord Jesus!

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2022 13:19

    Friends, on this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Church gives us the privilege of hearing the very last words of the Bible. If you're reading poetry, a novel, or even a great work of history, the last words are of tremendous importance. We hear today a kind of coda or denouement after the great climax of the biblical story, and it gives us a clue as to the identity of the Church.

    The Heavenly City

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 15:09

    Friends, in many ways, the second reading for this Sunday is the climax of the entire biblical revelation. We find a detailed description of the heavenly Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven to earth. There is no temple in this city because the whole city has become a temple. What began in the book of Genesis now comes to its fulfillment: the marriage of heaven and earth—the beautiful, integrated place of right praise.

    Rescued from the Depths

    Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2022 14:02

    Friends, on this Fifth Sunday of Easter, we continue our reading of the book of Revelation, leaping ahead toward the very end of the Bible. Looking at the arc of the whole story—from God's creation out of watery chaos in Genesis to the sea disappearing and a new creation emerging in Revelation—we see that God's final and definitive rescue operation, in the fullness of time, is his only Son. Jesus was sent all the way down into sin and death that he might rescue us who had fallen into those depths.

    The Great Army of the Martyrs

    Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2022 13:59

    Friends, during this Easter season we're reading from the book of Revelation, that marvelous, final book of the Bible. In today's reading, John sees mystically, across space and time, across the Christian centuries, all those people from all over the world who would give their lives for Christ. This army of martyrs compels a choice: Which army do we fight with? The army of the world, or the army of the Lamb, standing as though slain?

    Right Praise, Right Order

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 14:31

    Friends, the last stanza of a poem, the last chapter of a novel, or the last lines of a play are of extraordinary significance, but only if you've read the whole work up to that point. Similarly, to understand the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we have to attend to the great sweep of the story beginning in Genesis. The thrust of that biblical narrative—that we are meant to give God right praise, and from right praise follows right order—reaches its culmination in Christ, the Lamb who was slain, who brings the whole universe together in right praise.

    The Unveiling of a New World

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 14:46

    Friends, Revelation comes from the Latin “Revalatio,” which in turn translates the Greek “Apokalypsis”—which means, literally, “unveiling.” This final book of the Bible, which has fascinated Christians and non-Christians for two thousand years, is not primarily about the end of the physical world; rather, it is meant to unveil something that every generation of Christians needs to see—namely, a new world that God wants to be born out of the ruins of the old.

    Three Lessons of the Resurrection

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 14:52

    Friends, a very blessed and happy Easter to you all! The Resurrection of Jesus is the be-all and the end-all of the Christian faith. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then all bishops, priests, and Christian ministers should go home and get honest jobs. If he did rise from the dead, then he's the full manifestation of God, and he must be the center of your life. In light of that, I'd like to look at three great lessons that follow from this strange and decisive truth of the Resurrection.

    The Master Has Need of It

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 5, 2022 14:29

    Friends, in the Palm Sunday Gospel reading proclaimed before the procession, the Lord instructs two of his disciples to go into the village and untether a donkey. If there is any protest, they are to say, “The Master has need of it.” This is true of every baptized person: the Master has need of your gifts, of you, of the whole of your life. Once we understand this principle, everything is revolutionized—and we are liberated to be of service to Christ and his people.

    Refuse Scapegoating Violence

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2022 14:40

    Friends, this Sunday, we hear the story of the woman caught in adultery from the eighth chapter of John. René Girard thought that this story was particularly clear in showing the dynamics of what he called the scapegoating mechanism. And in the response of Jesus to the violence of the mob, we see the glory of God, who does not sanction this scapegoating frenzy, but rather meets the misery of our sin with his mercy.

    Everything He Has Is Yours

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2022 15:27

    Friends, our Gospel reading for this Fourth Sunday of Lent is one of the greatest stories ever told: the parable of the prodigal son. In a way, this parable about giving and receiving gifts tells us everything we need to know about our relationship to God.

    Who is God?

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 16, 2022 16:23

    Friends, on this Third Sunday of Lent, we have the privilege of reading one of the most important texts in the Bible: God addressing Moses from the burning bush. In this passage, the true God manifests his own identity: he is closer to you than you are to yourself, yet higher than anything you can possibly imagine. And he gives himself a name: “I Am Who I Am”—not a being among beings, but Being itself.

    Awaiting Resurrection

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 8, 2022 15:59

    Friends, all three of our readings for the Second Sunday of Lent emphasize the transcendent world, the goal of all our religious striving. St. Paul speaks of how the Lord Jesus “will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.” We get a glimpse of what this transformation, this metamorphosis, will be like in the Transfiguration of Jesus.

    Three Levels of Temptation

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2022 15:18

    Friends, we come now to the great and holy season of Lent, a time to get back to spiritual basics. This First Sunday of Lent, we hear Luke's account of the temptation of Jesus. What Jesus faces in the desert are three classical substitutes for God—three levels of temptation, three types of diversion from the ultimate good. Can we look honestly and directly at those things that will cause us to deviate from the path the Lord has for us?

    Beware of Blind Guides

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 22, 2022 13:18

    There are a lot of people claiming to be spiritual gurus, teachers, and guides today. But is the person to whom you've entrusted your life spiritually blind? Whom are you going to follow, and why? Toward the end of Luke's Sermon on the Plain, Jesus—the definitive spiritual guide—offers us important lessons that help us discern our spiritual guides.

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