Weekly homilies from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
When Your Faith Is Put to the Test
Friends, we come now to the Second Sunday of Lent, and we’re on both dangerous and very holy ground with the first reading from the twenty-second chapter of Genesis. The ancient Israelites referred to it as the “Akedah,” which means the “binding”: Abraham binds and is ready to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command. It’s hard to imagine another text in the Old Testament that has stirred up more puzzlement and opposition. I am with Søren Kierkegaard: if you don’t experience “fear and trembling” having read this text, you have not been paying attention. And it’s naming something of absolute centrality in the spiritual life.
Are Your Soul and Body at War?
Friends, we come now to the holy season of Lent. The Gospel for this First Sunday of Lent is Mark’s laconic version of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Mark does not give us the details we find in Matthew and Luke, but we do hear this mysterious observation: “He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.” We are given here a kind of icon of the union of the spiritual and the material, the soul and the body, in the human being—both the glory and the agony of human life. And a really good way to pray through Lent is reflecting on our own struggles in light of that icon.
Reaching Out to the Lepers
Friends, this week, our Gospel is the marvelous passage from Mark about Jesus curing a leper. These moments of healing stayed so deeply in the imaginations of the first Christians. What do we make of this particular healing of a leper? Let’s look at it from three angles: life on the margins of society, the shame of our own sin, and the absence from right worship.
Pray, Serve, Evangelize
Friends, the Gospel of Mark is a fascinating literary work. St. Mark seems to write in a breathless, staccato, even primitive manner, but the deeper you look, the more his Gospel appears iconic. He presents scene after scene in a very concentrated way, telling us some rather deep truths about the faith. Our Gospel for today from the first chapter is a good example of this. We see on clear display here what Pope Benedict described as the three essential tasks of the Church: it worships God, it serves the poor, and it evangelizes.
Surrender to the Holy One
Friends, the first reading from Deuteronomy today is of signal importance. Moses, speaking to the people before they enter the Promised Land, says, “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen.” These words haunted the mind of Israel. Moses was the supreme authority; there was no figure in the Old Testament more important. Who could be greater than Moses? We find the answer in the Gospel: Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy One of God, who speaks on his own authority.
Listen to the Voice of God!
Friends, though the book of Jonah is only a few pages long, there is something inexhaustible about it. It’s a biblical commonplace that God speaks to certain people and gives them missions, as he does with Jonah in our first reading. But God also speaks to us all the time, precisely in the voice of our conscience. Do you listen to the voice of God or not? Do you listen to what your conscience is telling you or not? If you do, you become a vehicle of grace for yourself and for all those around you. If you don’t, chaos ensues.
Thank you Bishop Barton for your teachings!
Thanks for the Fruit Bishop!
Thanks for teaching me about the fruits of the spirit. Thankful and grateful God bless and keep you Dear. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Bishop Barron has such a gift to help explain what it means to be a Christian and a Catholic. A must for all. This podcast has changed my life.