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Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies
14 minutes | Oct 4, 2022
Where You Stumble, Dig for Treasure
Friends, our first reading for this Sunday is a section of the marvelous story of Naaman the Syrian from the Second Book of Kings. The spiritual lesson is this: where you stumble, dig for treasure. We all have some leprosy—some ailment or struggle or weakness that embarrasses us or makes us suffer. Precisely because it leads us on the path of humility, this leprosy, this debility, leads us to God.
14 minutes | Sep 27, 2022
Stand Strong in the Spirit
Friends, this week, our second reading is from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy. From prison, Paul writes to Timothy—the master to the disciple, the mentor to the mentee, the old soldier to the young soldier—and tells him to have courage, but to attach his courage to the weapons of wisdom and love. When one stands courageously, with wisdom, with love, with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then one is able to face down the powers of the world. When we try to fight them on their own terms, we try to conquer evil with evil, we make no progress toward the kingdom of God.
15 minutes | Sep 20, 2022
How Are You Caring for the Poor?
Friends, Pope Benedict XVI memorably said that the Church does three essential things: it evangelizes, it worships God, and it cares for the poor. This week, the words of Amos the prophet and Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man are meant to put us on the hook when it comes to the third task. How much do we care for those who are poor? Are we living lives of self-preoccupation and self-indulgence while our own brothers and sisters are suffering and starving at our gate?
14 minutes | Sep 13, 2022
Don’t Demonize—or Divinize—the Powerful
Friends, the first and second readings this Sunday beautifully show both sides of Catholic social teaching: the balance between recognizing political, economic, and social power, and criticizing the abuse of that power. We should not demonize our leaders; we pray for them, and we recognize their importance. But we should not divinize them either; we are deeply aware of the ways that their power can be corrupted.
14 minutes | Sep 6, 2022
God Is Crazy in Love with You
Friends, in this Sunday’s Gospel, we encounter the infinite, extravagant, radical love of the Creator for his creation. Jesus paints for us, in three parables, a portrait of God: he is, if I can borrow that lovely phrase from Catherine of Siena, “pazzo d’amore”—crazy in love with us, including the lost sheep and the prodigal sons.
15 minutes | Aug 30, 2022
The Fair-Weather Fans of Jesus
Friends, there are a lot of people today who might be intrigued by Jesus. They find him interesting, remember him as a spiritual teacher, or have warm feelings about him. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus is saying to his fair-weather fans—those who are following him because he’s fascinating and charismatic—that being his disciple is not a walk in the park; it is something of supreme spiritual and moral importance.
15 minutes | Aug 23, 2022
Act Against Your Attachments
Friends, at the heart of what St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches in the “Spiritual Exercises” is the idea of detachment. If we are to do the will of God, then we have to become detached from the worldly goods to which we are addicted. A basic principle of this detachment is “agere contra,” which is Latin simply for “to act against.” The idea is simple: if you are attached or addicted to some worldly good, then the best thing is to act against it—to press, aggressively even, in the opposite direction.
13 minutes | Aug 16, 2022
How Many Will Be Saved?
Friends, I am admittedly a bit reluctant to talk about the topic of our Gospel for today—namely, this famously controversial matter of how many will be saved. I have talked a lot and written a lot about this issue, and people have very strong opinions about it: everybody will be saved, only a handful will be saved, and everything in between. There is a lot of energy around this question. In this homily, I would like to get at the question in a new and fresh way by looking at Jesus’ answer in the Gospel.
15 minutes | Aug 9, 2022
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.
14 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
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.
15 minutes | Jul 25, 2022
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.
15 minutes | Jul 19, 2022
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.
14 minutes | Jul 12, 2022
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.
15 minutes | Jul 5, 2022
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.
14 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
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.
14 minutes | Jun 21, 2022
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.
15 minutes | Jun 14, 2022
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.
15 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
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.
14 minutes | May 31, 2022
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.
13 minutes | May 25, 2022
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.
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