Weekly homilies from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
An Advent Challenge
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 Adventchallenge 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Bishop Barton’s sunday homilies
Bishop Barton’s intelligent and thought provoking homilies are not to be missed. I always learn something and leave with a clearer understanding of scripture. Thank you!
Life-changing, faith affirming, a bright guidepost to accompany the mass readings through the wilderness of modern life. Bishop Barron and his staff are a great blessing.
I love listening to this podcast! Very well done!