Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

Bishop Robert Barron

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A weekly homily podcast from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

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924 episodes

Let Christ Light a Fire in You

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.

14m
Aug 09
Go on a Hero’s Journey

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.

13m
Aug 02
You Can’t Take It With You

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.

14m
Jul 25
What Is the Lord’s Prayer About?

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.

15m
Jul 19
Focus on the One Thing Necessary

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.

14m
Jul 12
Christ Can Heal Us

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.

14m
Jul 05
How Will You Evangelize Today?

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.

14m
Jun 29
How Will You Evangelize Today?

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.

14m
Jun 28
Following Jesus Comes First

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.

14m
Jun 21
Sacrifice, Covenant, Banquet

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.

15m
Jun 14
What Is the Trinity?

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.

14m
Jun 08
Seek the Mark of the Spirit

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.

14m
May 31
Come, Lord Jesus!

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.

13m
May 25
The Heavenly City

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.

15m
May 17
Rescued from the Depths

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.

14m
May 10
The Great Army of the Martyrs

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?

13m
May 03
Right Praise, Right Order

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.

14m
Apr 26
The Unveiling of a New World

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.

14m
Apr 19
Three Lessons of the Resurrection

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.

14m
Apr 12
The Master Has Need of It

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.

14m
Apr 05
Refuse Scapegoating Violence

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.

14m
Mar 30
Everything He Has Is Yours

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.

15m
Mar 23
Who is God?

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.

16m
Mar 16
Awaiting Resurrection

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.

15m
Mar 09
Three Levels of Temptation

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?

15m
Mar 02
Beware of Blind Guides

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.

13m
Feb 22
Give As God Gives

Friends, whenever we give or receive a gift, we're always caught in a difficult rhythm of exchange and mutual obligation. The great exception to this rule is God, who is utterly gratuitous in his giving. But in Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, we are invited to share, by grace, in the very way that God exists and that God loves, giving to those in need without expecting anything in return.

14m
Feb 16
To What Does Your Heart Belong?

Friends, when our heart belongs to anything in this world, we live in an empty and lifeless spiritual space. But when our heart belongs to the Lord, the rest of our life falls into right order around that center. Our readings this week raise a crucial question: To whom—or to what—does your heart belong?

14m
Feb 09
The Invasion of Grace

Friends, the spiritual life begins with an invasion of grace out of God's sheer, unmerited love. As we direct our lives toward the light, we become more aware of our sin in order to embark on our mission as vehicles of his salvation for the rest of the world.

14m
Feb 01
Give Away the Grace You’ve Been Given

Friends, Jesus tells us his messiahship is one of service, not self-interest. As sinners, we have a tendency to understand our religious lives in a self-interested way, but the grace God gives us is meant to be given away.

15m
Jan 25