Weekly homilies from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
The Key to Happiness
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
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!
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
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!
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
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?
Bishop Barron is one of the great preachers of the Catholic Church. What he has to say is always informed, orthodox and challenging.