Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies
Clear a Path

Clear a Path

December 2, 2020

In our magnificent first reading from the prophet Isaiah, which is echoed in the words of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel, a voice cries out: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.” Advent is a great time for us to clear the ground, to make level the path, so as to facilitate what God, with all his heart, wants to do.

Longing for the Savior

Longing for the Savior

November 25, 2020

Advent, like Lent, is properly a penitential season. To enter into Advent, to prepare for the coming of the Savior, is to enter into our need for a Savior. How wonderful that on the First Sunday of Advent, the Church gives us a beautiful reading from the sixty-third chapter of the prophet Isaiah offering a series of images, each one meant to evoke this sense of loss and pain and helplessness. Until we enter into the power of these images, we won't know what it's like to long for the Savior.

God Will Shepherd His People

God Will Shepherd His People

November 18, 2020

Our first reading is taken this weekend from the last chapter of the marvelous book of Proverbs. After ruminating for many pages on different aspects of the wise life, the author concludes with a hymn of praise to a smart, industrious, dedicated, and pious wife. I would like to focus on the theology and spirituality of work implied in this passage. Our work makes us collaborators with God, who gives us the privilege of participating in his good governance of the universe.

A Spirituality of Work

A Spirituality of Work

November 11, 2020

Our first reading is taken this weekend from the last chapter of the marvelous book of Proverbs. After ruminating for many pages on different aspects of the wise life, the author concludes with a hymn of praise to a smart, industrious, dedicated, and pious wife. I would like to focus on the theology and spirituality of work implied in this passage. Our work makes us collaborators with God, who gives us the privilege of participating in his good governance of the universe.

God is Looking for Us

God is Looking for Us

November 4, 2020

Our first reading for this weekend from the book of Wisdom might easily slip past or through your mind, but it shouldn’t. It articulates what is arguably the central principle of biblical revelation: what I would call the primacy of grace. As I have often said, the Bible is not the story of the human quest for God. You can find that in a thousand books of philosophy or spirituality. Instead, the Bible is the story of God’s quest for us. In the spiritual order, it is always God who takes the initiative, God who sets the tone, God who is the master of the conversation.

The Meaning of All Saints Day
The Law of Israel

The Law of Israel

October 21, 2020

A careful reading of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, reveals that Israelite identity was determined through three sets of laws: liturgical, ritual, and moral. In Catholicism, the liturgical laws have been sublimated and the ritual laws largely set aside. But what about the moral law? In this case, Thomas Aquinas says, they remain unchanged, for they represent the first principles of the natural law—which is to say, those fundamental instincts that undergird all moral reasoning. In our first reading this week from Exodus, we hear wonderful precepts that continue to this day to shape the moral consciousness of the world.

Between Indifferentism and Tribalism

Between Indifferentism and Tribalism

October 14, 2020

Our first reading for this weekend is taken from that wonderful middle section of the book of the prophet Isaiah. This particular passage is fascinating and conveys a very important but often unremarked upon biblical truth: Israel is God’s chosen people—of all the nations of the world, God chose the Jews to be his special priestly people—but biblical revelation begins, in fact, with the creation of the world and the whole human race. God chooses Israel to play a priestly and prophetic role for the sake of everyone else and everything else.

Isaiah and God’s Holy Mountain

Isaiah and God’s Holy Mountain

October 7, 2020

Throughout the book of the prophet Isaiah, there are references to God’s holy mountain. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, we have still another reference to the holy mountain, and this is our first reading for the weekend. The mountain in question is, of course, Mt. Zion—which is to say, the mountain where the temple of the Lord is situated. The temple is the place where Israel comes together in right praise of God. Now, Isaiah is indeed talking about the Mt. Zion and the Temple that existed in his time, but it’s eminently clear from the language of his prophecy that he is also talking about the mystical Mt. Zion, the definitive temple, the place where the right praise of God has come to full expression.

The Lord’s Vineyard

The Lord’s Vineyard

September 30, 2020

Our first reading, taken from the fifth chapter of the prophet Isaiah, presents a classic trope within the Israelite tradition: the image of the vineyard as a representation of the people Israel. We hear that the author is going to sing a song of his “friend” and his vineyard. What becomes immediately clear is that the friend is the Lord God and the vineyard is the Lord’s holy people. This song is a love story indeed, but one that stresses the demands of love. 

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