Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies
The Path to Healing Is a Humble Path

The Path to Healing Is a Humble Path

October 9, 2019

I have always loved the story of Naaman the Syrian, which is found in the second book of Kings, as part of the Elisha cycle of readings. It is, on the surface at least, a very simple narrative, but it packs a punch spiritually speaking.

Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

October 2, 2019

Last week, I plunged for the second time into the world of the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). I can’t tell you how many participants in the AMA posed some version of this question: How could an all-loving God possibly countenance so much violence, suffering, and pain? Most questioners turned up the heat by putting special emphasis on the suffering of children and of the innocent. Every single major theologian has wrestled with the issue, as well as many of our most important artists. And our first reading clearly indicates that people in biblical times wrestled with the very same issue.

Don’t Forget the Poor

Don’t Forget the Poor

September 25, 2019

When the conclave of 2013 was finishing up, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope, Cardinal Hummes of Brazil came up to him and whispered into his ear: “Don't forget the poor.” In emphasizing “a poor Church for the poor,” Pope Francis is continuing an ancient and powerful tradition that stretches right back to the Bible, including our first reading and Gospel for today.

Yes and No to Power

Yes and No to Power

September 18, 2019

Our first and second readings for this weekend beautifully sum up the Church’s classical attitude toward those in power. I’ve long argued that the most influential philosopher of the nineteenth century was Friedrich Nietzsche. For this very influential and quirky German thinker, power is the fundamental reality—a perspective that has found its way into our cultural and political realms. But the Bible is not in sympathy with either the demonization of—or the exclusive holding up of—power.

A Coin, A Sheep, A Son

A Coin, A Sheep, A Son

September 11, 2019

Our Gospel for today gives us three classic parables, each one exploring the notion that is at the very heart of the spiritual life—namely, that God is the one who searches for us. Why would God fret over one little soul? Why would he bother? Well, it’s his nature. It’s what he does. More to it, as we see in the coin, the sheep, and the son, recovering a lost soul is what he rejoices in doing.

The Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Discipleship

September 4, 2019

Our Gospel for today is breathtaking, first for what it says about Jesus and second for what it says about us. Jesus compels a choice the way no other figure does. Either he is who he says he is, or he is a bad man. The bland middle way that he is a great teacher simply won’t do. In the presence of the one who makes such an extraordinary claim, we have to make a decision.

Ignatian Detachment

Ignatian Detachment

August 28, 2019

It was a particular joy for me to visit the sites associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola on a recent film trip. But the most moving locale was a little church in Manresa built around the cave where the young Ignatius spent about nine months preparing himself spiritually for his life’s work. What he learned at Manresa is that our attachments to various created goods—money, power, pleasure, and honor—stand in the way of our responding to God’s will for us. 

The Narrow Gate

The Narrow Gate

August 21, 2019

The topic of the Gospel for today—the question of how many will be saved—stirs up such passionate feelings in people, and there is such enormous disagreement about it. Luke tells us that Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem and someone asks, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” And the answer comes back, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” But before we extrapolate from this exchange and consider the issue very generally, I would like to examine the historical setting of the conversation, which sheds a lot of light on what is really at stake.

Fate of the Prophet

Fate of the Prophet

August 14, 2019

Our readings for today develop a theme that is uncomfortable. Authentically religious people, authentically spiritual people, will almost always be opposed. The logic behind this is simple and unanswerable: we live in a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down; therefore, when someone comes speaking the truth to us, we will think that they are crazy and dangerous. Jesus’ word is meant to burn things up, to reduce things to cinders, to clear things out. A get-along attitude is never what Jesus is calling for. I know that we are uneasy with this idea, but the Bible isn’t. To love is to will the good of the other. Therefore, to love necessarily involves passionate opposition to what works evil in the other. Love destroys the false forms of order and community in order for the true community to emerge.

Fate of the Prophet

Fate of the Prophet

August 14, 2019

Our readings for today develop a theme that is uncomfortable. Authentically religious people, authentically spiritual people, will almost always be opposed. The logic behind this is simple and unanswerable: we live in a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down; therefore, when someone comes speaking the truth to us, we will think that they are crazy and dangerous. Jesus’ word is meant to burn things up, to reduce things to cinders, to clear things out. A get-along attitude is never what Jesus is calling for. I know that we are uneasy with this idea, but the Bible isn’t. To love is to will the good of the other. Therefore, to love necessarily involves passionate opposition to what works evil in the other. Love destroys the false forms of order and community in order for the true community to emerge.