Bishop Robert Barron's Sermons

Bishop Robert Barron's Sermons

United States

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

Episodes

“Tell John What You See and Hear”  

Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where John the Baptist has been arrested and wonders from his jail cell whether Jesus “is the one or should we look for another?" When this inquiry is conveyed to Jesus, the Lord does not respond theoretically, but rather by pointing to things that are happening, namely, God's grace is making people whole again. “Go tell John what you see and hear".

Eden, The Mountain, and The One Who Baptizes with Fire  

This week's readings take us to chapter 11 of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah looks back to the garden of Eden and the world in right alignment with God, and then looks forward to the Messiah who will set right what has gone wrong in God's world. Sin interrupts right order, justice, and goodness. The righteous king will restore justice when he rules on his holy mountain.

The Mountain of the Lord  

This week we enter into the great season of Advent. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how every nation streams towards God's holy mountain. As you enter the Advent season, think about this holy mountain. Is the mountain of the Lord higher than every other mountain for you? Do you stream toward it with your whole being?

Three Aspects of Christ’s Kingship  

We celebrate, as the very last Sunday of the liturgical year, the feast of Christ the King. Think perhaps of the way that a king would come last in a great formal procession: so this feast comes as the culminating moment of the Church year.What I should like to do in this sermon is to explore three dimensions of Christ’s kingship, one inspired by each of our three readings for today so that we might marvel at the sublimity of what a strange and surprising king he is.

A Theology of Work  

I’m pretty sure that in thirty years of priesthood I've never preached on this Sunday's short second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, and I realize now, as I peruse it, what a little gem it is! Isn’t it fascinating that St. Paul, precisely in the context of a letter to his church on spiritual matters, endeavors to speak of work? When we do authentic work—of whatever kind—we participate in God’s ongoing creation and providence. Don’t follow the instinct to secularize work; but rather see your daily labor, however humble, as part of God’s plan to bring you to joy.I’m pretty sure that in thirty years of priesthood I've never preached on this Sunday's short second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, and I realize now, as I peruse it, what a little gem it is! Isn’t it fascinating that St. Paul, precisely in the context of a letter to his church on spiritual matters, endeavors to speak of work? When we do authentic work—of whatever kind—we participate in God’s ongoing creation and providence. Don’t follow the instinct to secularize work; but rather see your daily labor, however humble, as part of God’s plan to bring you to joy.

The Martyrs and a Higher World  

The story conveyed in our first reading from the second book of Maccabees is one that resonates up and down the ages, one that still stirs our hearts today. It's the story of a martyr's death. We can talk about heaven; we can speculate about it. We can write learned treatises about it, and we can hope for it. But up and down the centuries, it is the martyrs from the ancient Maccabees to the Christians slain by ISIS that most vividly witness to the promise of heaven. They literally bet their lives on it.

The Love of Predilection  

In Luke's Gospel we read the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, as chief tax collector, was considered a very bad man in first century Israel, but Christ greets him with love. It is the love of God that causes everything to be, and comes before everything we do. God does not love us because we do good; we do good because God loves us.

Prayer and Pride  

The entire point of religion is to make us humble before God and to open us to the path of love. Everything else is more or less a footnote. Liturgy, prayer, the precepts of the Church, the commandments, sacraments, sacramental—all of it—are finally meant to conform us to the way of love. When they instead turn us away from that path by devolving into a source of pride and pomposity, they have been undermined. Jesus' famous parable about the prayers of the pharisee and the tax collector from this Sunday's readings illustrates precisely this danger of coopting religion for the purposes of our ego.

The Integrated and Variegated Body of Christ  

Our first reading from the book of Exodus is illuminating at so many levels. On the surface, this is a report of an ancient war, more of a tribal dispute really, between two minor peoples. But read with a sensitivity to the multivalence of the Biblical text, this report clues us in to the spiritual warfare that always obtains in a fallen world. We should expect a battle when we walk the path of Christ.

Paul on the Meaning of “Gospel”  

Something I’ve found over the years is that people use the word “Gospel” to mean all sorts of different things. People say, “I’m committed to the Gospel.” “I want preach the Gospel.” “I want to live according to the Gospel.” But what precisely do people mean when they say these things? The word literally means “good news.” But what good news? We have a wonderful text for our first reading today from Paul’s second letter to his disciple and friend Timothy. One of the many things that makes it wonderful is that it contains a very pithy summation of what St. Paul meant by the word “Gospel.” When we unpack this summation, we hold the key to transforming the world.

What it Means to Live by Faith  

This Sunday's readings compel us to meditate on the meaning of faith. Paul Tillich, the 20th century theologian, said, "Faith is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary". Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God, which is simple enough to say, yet to live by faith means to surrender your entire life over to God, abandoning your own desires and becoming a servant under the realization that everything you have (including your very existence) is a grace, a gift. As we see in the lives of the saints, amazing things happen when we make this transformation; indeed, that which begins with a mustard seed of faith can grow, by the grace of God, to bless the whole world.

Rich Man, Poor Man  

Friends, I have spent the past 12 days in Rome for “baby Bishop school”, and just returned today. As such, I asked my Word on Fire team to reach into our archives for this week’s sermon. I’ll be working on new sermons, articles, and video commentaries in the days and weeks ahead. But in the meantime, I hope that this archived sermon will help you to understand and personally appropriate the Scriptures for this Sunday, which remind us that we cannot remain indifferent to the poor, whom the Lord has determined to be a privileged route of access to his life and presence.

A Warning Bell in the Night  

Most of us spur into action when we believe that our financial state is in dire straits. Why don't we act in the same way in regards to our spiritual state? Today people need the same spiritual concern that people had in the past. They need to want to establish a relationship with God, that which is of paramount importance. So wake up, and place God at the center of your life!

A Coin, A Sheep, A Son  

Our Gospel for today gives us three classic parables, each one exploring the notion which is at the very heart of the spiritual life, namely, that God is the one who searches for us. Why would God fret over one little soul? Why would He bother? Well, it’s His nature. It’s what He does. Moreover—as we see in the coin, the sheep, and the son—recovering a lost soul is what He rejoices in doing.

The Cost of Discipleship  

Our Gospel for today is breathtaking, first for what it says about Jesus and second for what it says about us. Jesus compels a choice the way no other figure does. Either he is who he says he is, or he is a bad man. The bland middle way that he is a great teacher simply won’t do. In the presence of the one who makes such an extraordinary claim, we have to make a decision.

Humility, Queen of the Virtues  

This week's readings focus on the importance of humility. Humility is the foundation for the whole of spirituality. In order to truly pursue truth and goodness, it is necessary to let go of the ego and realize that everything we have and are is a gift from God.

The Narrow Gate  

To gain eternal life is to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It is to walk the path of love, surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to flow through you to the wider world. Is this an easy task? No. The Gospel of Luke tells reminds us that the gate is narrow precisely because it is in the very shape of Jesus Himself, and entrance through the gate involves conformity to his state of being. The path of love is traveled by taking up one's cross every day.

Fate of the Prophet  

Our readings for today develop a theme that is uncomfortable. Authentically religious people, authentically spiritual people, will almost always be opposed. The logic behind this is simple and unanswerable: we live in a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down; therefore, when someone comes speaking the truth to us, we will think that they are crazy and dangerous. Jesus' word is meant to burn things up, to reduce things to cinders, to clear things out. A get-along attitude is never what Jesus is calling for. I know that we are uneasy with this idea, but the Bible isn’t. To love is to will the good of the other. Therefore, to love necessarily involves passionate opposition to what works evil in the other. True love destroys the false forms of order and community in order for the true community to emerge.

Faith and the Reasoning of the Religious Mind  

God cannot be analyzed scientifically the way one would study the things of the world, but God can be approached through religious reasoning, or Faith. Faith is often criticized as unintelligent tomfoolery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Catholic tradition reveals that Faith is a rational reaction to God in the religious person. It is the reasoning of the religious mind.

Bubbles, Everything is Bubbles  

The readings for this weekend have a tremendous cohesiveness. They all speak to a truth about our world that is hard to take in, that has to be repeated to each generation afresh, a truth that many older people have an easier time understanding than young people: nothing in this world lasts.

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