Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

By Bishop Robert Barron

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Weekly homilies from Bishop Robert Barron, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Episode Date
He Must Increase and I Must Decrease
00:14:14

John the Baptist is one of the most important figures in Christianity, and provides a window into the tradition of the Jewish priesthood and the historical context of the day. John chose the river Jordan to baptize, a conscious move to display the forgiveness of sins against the backdrop of the Jewish history of Exodus and liberation. Yet while he was baptizing in the desert, likely an exercise in protest of the corruption in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was heralding the coming of Christ, one who will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jun 20, 2018
The Mustard Seed Principle
00:13:42

Our Gospel for today features one of Jesus’ most beloved parables: that of the mustard seed. How does God tend to work? What does the building up of the Kingdom typically look like? From the very small to the very great—and usually by a slow, gradual process. God, it seems, tends to operate under the radar, on the edges of things, quietly, clandestinely.

Jun 13, 2018
Sin and Blaming
00:14:47

In all the literature of the world, I don’t know of a richer account of who we are, what we’re called to be, and what goes wrong with us than the first chapters of Genesis—especially the third chapter, from which our first reading comes. And we see in our Gospel for today that what happens to us in the immediate wake of original sin—alienation, shame, self-centeredness, scapegoating—helps us immensely to understand Jesus and his work.

Jun 06, 2018
The Ultimate Blood Sacrifice
00:14:05

To truly understand what Jesus did at the climax of his life—and what the Catholic Church does at every Mass—we must understand the importance of blood sacrifice to Judaism in Jesus’ time. Everything that Moses did at Mt. Sinai, and all that was done for a thousand years in the temple, was summed up by Christ’s ultimate blood sacrifice on the Cross, offered for the reconciliation of God and humanity. And this ultimate lifeblood of God, sprinkled by Christ the high priest once for all, is what the Mass re-presents and makes sacramentally present to us.

May 30, 2018
The Trinity as Call to Action
00:13:50

It’s often joked that Trinity Sunday is “the preacher’s nightmare.” But while the Trinity can be viewed as the most arcane and inaccessible Christian doctrine, it’s also the most ordinary and obvious. Every Catholic invokes the Trinity whenever he crosses himself in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, every single baptized person has been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we’ve been sealed by the Trinity, brought within its dynamic, and sent out on mission.

May 23, 2018
Walking According to the Spirit
00:14:14

I’m delighted that on this Pentecost Sunday, I can reflect on one of my favorite passages in the New Testament. It is taken from the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In this passage, Paul gives those who belong to Christ their marching orders by laying out the works of the flesh—those attitudes and actions that stand against the way of love—and the works of the Spirit.

May 16, 2018
The High Priestly Prayer
00:14:06

As the Easter season draws to a close, we hear from one of the most magnificent passages in the Gospel of John—namely, the high-priestly prayer of Jesus the night of the Last Supper. It is by far the longest discourse by Jesus anywhere in the New Testament, and it contains the seeds of Christian spirituality in its entirety.

May 09, 2018
God’s Marvelous Choice
00:14:18

Today’s Gospel presents the distinction between a generic spirituality, which emphasizes our decision for God, and authentic Christian faith, which is the recognition that God has chosen us in Christ. It is God’s choice—his election of us in Christ as not only his followers but his friends—that matters most.

May 02, 2018
Four Spiritual Lessons from the Life of Paul
00:13:40

I would like to focus my attention this week on the magnificent first reading, taken from the pivotal ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. I say pivotal because this is the chapter in which the conversion of Saul is recounted. Hans Urs von Balthasar refers to Paul as one of the great archetypes in the life of the Church, and so we can benefit from a close study of the spiritual lessons from his life and his manner of discipleship.

Apr 25, 2018
Getting St. Peter’s Sermon Right
00:13:31

Our first reading for today proposes a very serious challenge to the inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism that is taken for granted in our culture today. The chief of the Apostles says, “He is the stone rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Stay with how uncomfortable this is—because in a way, that’s the point.

Apr 18, 2018
The Basics of Christian Proclamation
00:14:14
Apr 11, 2018
Divine Mercy
00:14:28

On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we remember the dedication of this day by Saint John Paul II in honor of St. Faustina’s vision of Christ, in which the Lord’s heart radiated forth with divine mercy for the world. But what does mercy mean? It designates the suffering of the heart, a type of compassion, a deep, loving identification with people in their suffering. It is the characteristic of God, for God is love. Nothing in the world would exist if it were not, at every moment, loved into being by God—a great act of tender mercy. How is this love made manifest in us? Precisely through following God’s commands and through forgiveness.

Apr 05, 2018
The Empty Grave
00:14:20

Many people enjoy visiting the graves of famous people, from Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, IL to St. Peter in the Vatican. We feel a sense of peace and finality around graves. But the one thing we would never expect in a cemetery is action. Yet that’s precisely what we find at the center of Christianity, as St. John recounts in today’s Easter Gospel.

Mar 28, 2018
The Return of the King
00:14:08

Entering Holy Week, we see numerous stirring examples of Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. From the direction he enters Jerusalem to his mode of transport, we find again and again how he is the one intended to reclaim the temple and prove to the world that he is indeed the son of God, chosen to save us through his revolutionary example of love and forgiveness.

Mar 21, 2018
Planting the Law Within Us
00:14:20

Jeremiah 31:31 contains the great prophecy that the Lord will one day place his law within our hearts. In the Old Testament, God’s law was written on stone and often appreciated as an imposition, a burden. But Jesus is the Law incarnate, the Torah made flesh. Therefore, when we eat his body and drink his blood, we take the law into our hearts, and thus we realize the prophecy of Jeremiah.

Mar 14, 2018
“Hesed” All the Way Through
00:14:04

The Divine Love is the great theme of the Bible, but one of the mistakes we can make is to project onto God our way of being. God’s love is unconditional, not fickle and vacillating. His love is hesed, which means “tender mercy.” This love is visible, par excellence, in the Incarnation.

Mar 07, 2018
Cleansing the Temple
00:14:02

The Temple, for Old Testament Jews, was everything. But St. Paul, who lived for many years in Jerusalem and knew the rituals of the Temple very well, told the Corinthians that their bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit. The account of Jesus cleansing the Temple in this week’s Gospel, brought together with Paul’s insight, provides us with with a wonderful Lenten meditation. Let Jesus swing that whip of cords around the Temple of your body; it’s time for a spring cleaning of the soul!

Feb 28, 2018
The Mystical Transfiguration of Christ
00:14:13

The story of the Transfiguration of Christ has beguiled the Christian mind for centuries. It is the clearest New Testament evocation of mystical experience, the experience of spiritual things within the ordinary and the keen conviction that the spiritual reality is greater and more beautiful than ordinary experience. “Mystical” means there has been contact with a Person: the person of God.

Feb 21, 2018
Angels and Wild Beasts
00:13:38

On this first Sunday of Lent, the Church asks us to meditate on animals and angels. For Christ, in his own person, joins together the disparate elements of creation, the spiritual and the material, angels and wild beasts. There are, of course, angels and wild beasts in all of us. We are all a microcosm of the ethereal and the corporeal, the spiritual and the physical.

Feb 14, 2018
The Leper and Evangelization
00:14:19

Our Gospel this week gives us one of the great scenes of healing in the ministry of Jesus, and as is usually the case, the Gospel writer composes the scene in such a way that it becomes an icon of the spiritual life in general. In our sickness, our weakness, our shame, our sin, our oddness—lots of us feel like this leper. And once we’ve been healed by the Lord, we feel the obligation to tell the world about it. 

Feb 07, 2018
How to Evangelize
00:14:08
Jan 31, 2018
A Prophet Like Moses
00:13:58

It is of particular importance this week that we read the first reading and the Gospel together, for the former sheds enormous light on the latter. In the first reading, Moses assures the people: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself.” Moses received the word from God, but this new prophet would be an authority greater than Moses. He would speak with the words of God. And in the Gospel reading from Mark, this is precisely who Jesus is revealed to be: the highest prophet and the Word of God made flesh.

Jan 24, 2018
Radical Christianity
00:13:59

When Christianity is reduced to deism or moralism, we turn the Gospel into a faint echo of the surrounding culture. But today’s readings propose something much more substantive than spiritual bromides or ethical directives. They suggest a new world breaking into the old. 

Jan 17, 2018
The Call of Samuel
00:14:21

The story of the call of Samuel is illuminating for our time of corruption and cleansing. I argue that the sex abuse scandal in the church should be read through the lens of this narrative.

Jan 10, 2018
Spiritual and Religious
00:14:21

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today’s Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation—when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born—we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Jan 03, 2018
Keeping Your Family Holy
00:14:13

The Bible is not particularly sentimental about families. What makes a family holy, as far as the biblical writers are concerned, is its willingness to surrender to the purpose of God. We see this in a number of key figures, including Joseph, Abraham, and Hannah.

Dec 27, 2017
Building a House
00:14:18

The readings for this dramatic fourth Sunday of Advent put us in the heart of a deep and abiding mystery: the mystery of God’s providence. Just when we are tempted to say, “nothing makes sense,” the Bible interrupts us to say, “wait.” God works in subtle ways, and often it takes years, even centuries, for God’s plan fully to be realized.

Dec 20, 2017
Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks
00:14:10

Our second reading today is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians—and it always takes my breath away. He says, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks.” For Paul, the coming of Jesus changed everything. His dying and rising turned everything upside down, so that the usual ways of thinking and acting are not longer valid. Grace has transfigured nature—and the three recommendations he gives are signs of this transfiguration.

Dec 13, 2017
Clear a Path
00:13:50

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.  

Dec 06, 2017
Watching for Grace
00:13:16

Every time Advent rolls around, I remind people to go back to the words of that most famous of Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” We hear, “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.” Until we can move into the spiritual space suggested by those words, we will not catch the meaning of this season.

Nov 29, 2017
He Reigns! The Solemnity of Christ the King
00:14:02

When Israel begins to long for a new David, the true David and true king of the world, we witness the longing for God. Jesus Christ is precisely this king: the Davidic king, and God ruling his creation. His ministry reveals the nature of his kingship, from the manger to the cross.

Nov 22, 2017
The Parable of the Talents
00:14:05

Your being increases in the measure that you give it away. That’s the law of the gift, and it can be found from end to end of the Bible. One application of this law has to do with faith itself. Your faith will grow only in the measure that you give it away, sharing it with others.

Nov 15, 2017
The Wise and Foolish Virgins
00:14:17

How do we wait? That is the question addressed by Jesus’ parable for today. While we wait for the second coming of the Lord, we should keep our lamps stocked with oil, that is to say, we should pray, study, love, do the works of mercy, and keep vigil. In so doing, we are ready for the arrival of the Bridegroom.

Nov 08, 2017
A Challenge to the Sons of Levi
00:14:57

Our readings for this weekend are tough for everyone, but especially for those who are in positions of leadership in the Church. I’ve been a priest for 31 years (and now a bishop for going on three), and I will confess that the words we hear from the prophet Malachi and the Lord Jesus about the corrupt religious leadership of their time and place are deeply challenging and unnerving.

Mass Readings

Reading 1 - Malachi 1:14 - 2:10
Psalm - Psalm 131:1-3
Reading 2 - 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13
Gospel - Matthew 23:1-12

Nov 01, 2017
The Great Commandment
00:14:03

Today’s magnificent Gospel should set the tone for your entire life. Trying to trap him, the Pharisees ask Jesus which of the commandments of the law is the greatest. His clear and simple answer is that we should direct all our love toward God, and therefore, love what he loves.

Oct 25, 2017
Caesar and God
00:14:18

Jesus places everything in its proper relationship to God. But he also chastises those who are involved in power games. God is ultimately in charge and rules over even Caesar.

Oct 18, 2017
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
00:14:12

Many devout believers find the parable of the wedding feast in the Gospel of Matthew difficult to understand. The story is meant to stir us up with its exaggeration, to signal the spiritual destruction that follows from refusing the divine invitation. We are meant to see how valuable an invitation we have received and how odd it is that we would choose to reject it.

Oct 13, 2017
The Vineyard
00:14:34

Today’s readings pose a question: how are we tending the vineyard? We have received so much from God, but are we making the world fruitful? Are we responding to the Lord’s invitation with the works of justice, love, peace, chastity, respect for others? Or are we more or less killing the messengers?

Oct 04, 2017
In the Form of God
00:14:26

Some skeptics suggest the divinity of Jesus is a myth, or a later invention of the Church, that Jesus was nothing more than an ordinary man or great teacher. But in today’s text from St. Paul, an exceptionally early text traced to within a handful of years of Jesus’ death, we find a clear declaration of the contrary. Jesus is described as being in the “form of God,” a staggering claim that affirms his divinity. Yet even still, he did not grasp at his godliness, but emptied himself and took the form a slave.

Sep 27, 2017
The Privilege of the Mission
00:13:48

Today’s Gospel reading is one of the most confounding. Many people struggle with this parable about the landowner and the workers, but as the old saying goes, where you stumble, that’s where you should dig for treasure. The parable offers a powerful reminder to focus on the mission of God’s kingdom, not who gets credit for it.

Sep 20, 2017
Not Your Life, Not Your Death, Not Your Choice
00:12:46

In today’s brief selection from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we learn, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.” This affirms that your life is not about you! It’s about God and God’s purpose for you. It’s about being drawn out of your comfort zone and into the adventurous space of divine mission. 

Sep 13, 2017
Judgment and Love
00:13:16

If there is one absolute in our secular culture today it is non-judgmentalism. Some people, seeking to defend this point of view from a Biblical perspective, will point to Jesus’ famous enjoinder: “Judge not and you will not be judged.” But what should be clear is that this cannot mean that we never point out moral failures—for Jesus does that all the time. How should we navigate the ways of judgement and love? Our second reading, from Paul to the Romans, is eminently helpful here.

Sep 06, 2017
Jeremiah and the Word of God
00:14:15

I’ve always loved the prophet Jeremiah, and not just as a literary/spiritual figure, but as a person. He was known as the “weeping prophet” and his nickname was “terror on every side.” Against that background, we listen to him in our reading for today and gain encouragement as we evangelize through struggle.

Aug 30, 2017
The Inscrutable God
00:14:22

I want to concentrate this week on our second reading, which is a very brief passage from Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans. It comes at the end of chapter eleven, which completes the Apostle’s consideration of Israel in relation to the Church. How do we make sense of the ancient Jewish tradition in light of the resurrection? How do we understand gentiles coming to the faith when salvation was supposed to be through the Jews, many of whom were rejecting the Christian faith? Looking into these questions, we learn about the inscrutability of God.

Aug 23, 2017
A Religion of Grace
00:14:17

Christians have said for centuries that everything is a grace, that no one deserves anything, and therefore we should never complain about inequities. How can this be fair that some people are clearly chosen by God while others are not? Well, with this dilemma in mind, let’s look at our first reading and our Gospel for today. These passages reveal that Israel is named a chosen people not for their own sake but for the sake of the whole world. The key to understanding grace is that it is given to be given away.

Aug 16, 2017
The Silent Presence of God
00:14:19

Elijah is a contemplative who has the eyes to see and the ears to listen. God does not appear in the glory of the world. Rather, he appears in a silent way. Weed out of your heart all of those fears and desires that prevent you from discerning the silent presence of God.

Aug 09, 2017
Transfiguration and Deification
00:14:16

The Transfiguration signals the purpose of religion. The first thing we notice is that Jesus’ appearance becomes more beautiful. Second, in his transfigured state, Jesus transcends space and time. Contemporary culture attempts to reduce all religion to ethics, but in Jesus’ transfiguration we see that the final purpose of our religious devotion is not that we become just nice people, but rather we become transfigured as sons and daughters of God.

Aug 02, 2017
All Things Work Together for Good
00:14:15

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the end of the eighth chapter of Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans. In this great book of the Bible, we learn that in Christ, God has disclosed his providential plan whereby he intends to reconcile all things to himself. I don’t know about you, but those words always give me comfort and peace. 

Jul 26, 2017
Wheat, Seed, and Leaven
00:14:20

The Gospel for this Sunday is taken from the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and it features three marvelous parables of Jesus. How rich are these parables! How inexhaustible in meaning! Take some time to read and contemplate these parables in light of your own suffering and faith as we seek together the Kingdom of God.

 

Jul 19, 2017
The Fecundity of Your Heart
00:14:14

God sows his Word into each of our hearts liberally. He does not solely give his grace to those he knows will bear fruit. He sows the Word in everyone, but it doesn’t flourish for each person due to circumstances (secularism, anxiety, the allurement of the world), but strive to counter that by letting the Word open you to the implications of his Lordship. God is always giving himself to you, listen and act.

Jul 16, 2017
The Yoke Upon Your Shoulders
00:14:13

What is it like to have Christ for a king? All three of this Sunday’s readings examine this very question in some way. The answer is to submit to his kingship and accept his yoke upon your shoulders to make your life an offering to his plan.

Jul 05, 2017
No Fear of Death
00:14:23

In our second reading for this week, St. Paul reminds the Christian community in Rome that baptism means an immersion into the dying of the Lord. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he had similarly told his followers that every eucharist is a participation in the dying of Christ. Why this preoccupation with death? Because it is only through this journey into Christ’s death and resurrection that we can effectively conquer the fear of death, which tends to cramp us spiritually. Once we have died witih Jesus, we can walk “in newness of life.”

Jun 28, 2017
Prioritizing Our Fears
00:14:06

As we return to the regular cycle of readings in Ordinary Time, we meet with a bracing spiritual teaching from the Lord Jesus. No matter who is threatening you, who is thundering denunciation, who is coming at you with furious intensity: don’t be afraid! Why? Because in Jesus Christ, you are connected to the very power of God, to that which is here and now creating the universe.

Jun 19, 2017
Every Word from the Mouth of God
00:14:21

This Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi in Latin. This feast displays the distinctiveness of Christian religion amongst all the other religions, philosophies, and world views. No other group of people is called upon to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the person they admire. Christianity is the strangest way precisely because we are given this distinct access into the Divine Life.

Jun 14, 2017
The Communication of Love
00:14:26

On Trinity Sunday we contemplate the mystery of God as a play of persons. The Father gives rise to the Son while the Father and Son give rise to the Holy Spirit. God’s unity is never compromised because the three are consubstantial, one in being. To begin to consider this mystery we must consider that love is what God is.

Jun 07, 2017
The Breath of Life
00:14:10

If you want the Holy Spirit, you have to declare the Lordship of Jesus. Love is precisely what the Holy Spirit is. Do you want life? Do you want meaning, purpose, the satisfaction of your deepest longing? Then be close to Jesus as he breathes out love. You will have what your heart is searching for. 

May 31, 2017
At the Right Hand of the Father
00:13:45

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements within the Christian narrative. The Ascension does not mean Jesus goes “up, up, and away” as if his presence leaves earth, but rather that he assumes the throne of heaven so as to direct matters here on earth.

May 24, 2017
The Spirit on the March
00:14:15

This Easter season, the Church has asked us to meditate on the Acts of the Apostles. Today Jesus tells us to wait for the coming of the Spirit, which will descend upon them and empower them in their work. It is up to Christians today to continue the work of the apostles and spread the mission of Christ.

May 17, 2017
The Paradox at the Heart of Christianity
00:13:55

Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, which describes the farewell discourse of Jesus the night of the Last Supper. I believe that the distinctive texture of Christian faith is on particularly powerful display here. I might urge all of you to spend time with this farewell discourse during the Easter season.

May 10, 2017
Apostolic Preaching
00:15:17

Our first reading for this weekend, taken from the second chapter of Acts, conveys one of Peter’s great sermons. If we listen attentively, we can learn a lot about good preaching, but also a lot about the nature of Christianity.

May 03, 2017
The Pattern of Love
00:14:14

Like the two disciples walking towards Emmaus, a symbol of worldly power and security, and away from Jerusalem, the center of sacrifice, we need to be stopped in our tracks. Christ appears to them, but they do not recognize him. They do not recognize him because they are walking the wrong way. The recognition of the pattern of Christ’s life does come until the Eucharistic act which presents the pattern of sacrificial love. Then they immediately go back to Jerusalem, the place of suffering love.

Apr 26, 2017
The Mystical Union of Christ and His Church
00:14:13

Jesus has come to bring us the divine life. Under his influence we become peaceful, unafraid, evangelizing, and forgiving. Through the Church, saints are made. This is because Christ is at the very center of the Church.

Apr 19, 2017
God’s Great Yes to Humanity
00:14:21

Easter Sunday represents God’s great yes to humanity. Throughout history, humanity has turned its back on God, but the Lord has constantly sent rescue operations to bring us back into community with him. The resurrection of Christ is the definitive rescue operation and is our great hope for salvation.

Apr 12, 2017
Into the Cacophony of Sin
00:14:52

On Palm Sunday, we are privileged to listen to one of the great passion narratives. In Matthew’s account, we see Jesus as a still-point in the maelstrom, as God’s fidelity amidst a cocaphony of sin. In the course of the passion, Jesus confronts betrayal, laziness, violence, untruth, abuse of power, self-destruction, and wanton cruelty–the whole panoply of human dysfunction. And he takes away this sin precisely by his obedience and his mercy.

Apr 05, 2017
Let Him Go
00:14:01

The great Lenten readings for Cycle A move in a kind of crescendo from thirst, to blindness, to death—all metaphors for spiritual dysfunction. This Sunday’s Gospel deals with death through the story of Lazarus who, after four days in his tomb, represents someone who is totally sunk in sin, totally dead spiritually. The voice of Jesus calls Lazarus, and all of us, back to life no matter what we’ve done, no matter how dead we are.

Mar 29, 2017
And Now I See
00:14:00

Our Gospel story for this weekend is the narrative of the man born blind. In the Bible generally and in John particularly, sight is used as a metaphor for spiritual vision or faith. Therefore, the man born blind is every one of us, born in the state of original sin. The Church, through the sacraments, offers us the salve of Christ’s Incarnation so we might be converted, healed, baptized, and attending Mass in right praise.

Mar 21, 2017
A Master Class in Evangelization
00:14:25

This Sunday we have the great privilege of hearing the story of the woman at the well, the definitive text on Christian evangelization. Take the time this week for a prayerful reading of this story and notice that as this woman seeks, she’s already been found! If only we would surrender to the God who is already always pursuing us! Then, we might realize how the Everlasting Lord is the only one who can quench the otherwise unquenchable thirst of our hearts. Make the effort this Lent to clear a path and set down your old buckets so that the water of Christ’s divine life can flow through you.

Mar 15, 2017
Listen!
00:13:50

Our magnificent first reading is a short passage from the beginning of the twelfth chapter of the book of Genesis. We see that at this point in the creation story jealousy, rivalry, anger, murder, imperialism, arrogance, drunkenness, indeed a wickedness has spread over the entire face of the earth. So what does God do? He sends a rescue operation! The rescue operation is going to come in the form of a people trained to listen again to the voice of the Lord. During this season of Lent we must also become a people trained to listen so as to be rescued by the Resurrection.

Mar 08, 2017
Three Shortcuts from the Cross
00:13:36

Our Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent covers the three “shortcuts” the Devil offered Jesus to lure him away from his central mission of the cross. The Devil chose these temptations because he knew that Jesus would not be primarily a social reformer, or a wonder-worker, or a political operator. He would be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Knowing who Jesus is and what he is about is indispensable as we commence the Lenten season.

 

Mar 01, 2017
Seek First the Kingdom of God
00:14:31

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given to you.” Make God the center of your life, and you will be spiritually ordered in Christ’s image. If you make wealth and security your center, you will be empty. You make the choice: will God be your center?

Feb 22, 2017
Be Holy, Be Perfect, Be a Temple
00:13:24

Each one of this week’s readings speaks of holiness, letting the Divine Life enter into you so that you become set apart. To be holy is to love with a divine indifference, shining on the good and the bad alike. What a revolution this is! Think how different your life would be were you to love this way all the time, rather than measuring out your love based on merit. Dedicate your whole life to love and you will be truly holy, set apart, a sanctuary.

 

Feb 15, 2017
Choosing the Way of Love
00:13:30

What a privilege we have in this week’s readings to hear from the book of Sirach, composed by an ancient sage who was deeply immersed in the Torah, the law, and the rituals of the Temple. As such, he delivers one of the deepest truths of the spiritual life: God so respects our freedom, that he will allow us to experience life or death, good or evil. He will give us what we choose and, more to it, we will become what we choose. Each day, every moment, choose the path of love, and you will become the kind of person fit to live in heaven.

Feb 08, 2017
The Responsibility of Christians During Troubled Times
00:14:18

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his disciples to salt, light, and a city set on a hill. All these things exist not for themselves, but for something else. In the same way, Christians are meant to make the world a better place. The Christian responsibility is to affect the culture as salt, light, and a city on a hill.

Feb 01, 2017
Blessed Are We
00:14:18

As we look into the famous “Beatitudes” described in this weeks Gospel, we learn that the Divine Mercy is the path to true joy. The more we allow the Divine Mercy to flow through us the more it grows in us. Once we eliminate the idolatrous rivals of wealth, pleasure, power, and honor and make Christ the priority in our lives we begin to live like saints.

Jan 25, 2017
A Great Light in the Darkness
00:14:45

This week’s reading from the prophet Isaiah emphasizes God’s tendency to bring the best from the worst situations, light from the darkness. Throughout the Bible we see wonderful things come from the most unexpected places, and this is reflected in our own lives as well. Often our greatest goodness can come from the darkest places of our beings.

Jan 18, 2017
Knowing Who We Are
00:14:24

The entirety of this Sunday’s second reading might be seen as so much boilerplate, throwaway lines that a writer used at the commencement of his letter, something like a formal salutation. But in point of fact, almost the whole of Christianity is contained in these lines, if we have but the eyes to see. So take out your Bibles today and revisit the beginning of 1 Corinthians. It will tell you pretty much everything essential that you need to know about yourself and your mission.  

Jan 11, 2017
To Treasure Revelation
00:14:24

There are three words that jump out at me from our Gospel reading for today’s feast: “haste,” “astonished” and “treasured.” Each one says something important about the spiritual life. When we know what God wants for us, we should act without hesitation; we should “go in haste.” When God breaks into our natural world, we should be astonished. And then, like Mary, we should learn to treasure God’s revelation in our minds and hearts.

Dec 28, 2016
Christ-Mass
00:13:55

Our Gospel for Christmas day is, of course, one of the most famous texts in the entire Bible: the Prologue to the Gospel of John. In many ways, it is the entire Gospel, indeed the entire Bible, in miniature. This scripture alludes to a feast day called “Christmas”, a name that has rarely been reflected upon, at least in my lifetime. The day is Christmas, because it signals Christ’s Mass. The only fitting way to celebrate is to go to the Mass!

Dec 21, 2016
History is Going Somewhere, And It Rhymes
00:13:43

As the Advent season comes to its climax, we are reminded that all of time and history comes to a kind of fulfillment in the Messiah. All of the strands of history are gathered together in him. To use the language of St. Paul, all of space and time is recapitulated in Christ. This Sunday our three readings show a pattern in history that spans seven centuries and calls out to us now two thousand years later: It’s all about Jesus.

Dec 14, 2016
“Tell John What You See and Hear”
00:13:53

Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where John the Baptist has been arrested and wonders from his jail cell whether Jesus “is the one or should we look for another?” When this inquiry is conveyed to Jesus, the Lord does not respond theoretically, but rather by pointing to things that are happening, namely, God’s grace is making people whole again. “Go tell John what you see and hear”.

Dec 07, 2016
Eden, The Mountain, and The One Who Baptizes with Fire
00:14:29

This week’s readings take us to chapter 11 of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah looks back to the garden of Eden and the world in right alignment with God, and then looks forward to the Messiah who will set right what has gone wrong in God’s world. Sin interrupts right order, justice, and goodness. The righteous king will restore justice when he rules on his holy mountain.

Mass Readings

Reading 1 - Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm - Psalms 72:1-17
Reading 2 - Romans 15:4-19
Gospel - Matthew 3:1-12

Nov 30, 2016
The Mountain of the Lord
00:14:28

This week we enter into the great season of Advent. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how every nation streams towards God’s holy mountain. As you enter the Advent season, think about this holy mountain. Is the mountain of the Lord higher than every other mountain for you? Do you stream toward it with your whole being?

Nov 23, 2016
Three Aspects of Christ’s Kingship
00:13:32

We celebrate, as the very last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Think perhaps of the way that a king would come last in a great formal procession: so this feast comes as the culminating moment of the Church year.What I should like to do in this sermon is to explore three dimensions of Christ’s kingship, one inspired by each of our three readings for today so that we might marvel at the sublimity of what a strange and surprising king he is.

Nov 16, 2016
A Theology of Work
00:13:56

I’m pretty sure that in thirty years of priesthood I’ve never preached on this Sunday’s short second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, and I realize now, as I peruse it, what a little gem it is! Isn’t it fascinating that St. Paul, precisely in the context of a letter to his church on spiritual matters, endeavors to speak of work? When we [...]

Nov 09, 2016
The Martyrs and a Higher World
00:14:03

The story conveyed in our first reading from the second book of Maccabees is one that resonates up and down the ages, one that still stirs our hearts today. It’s the story of a martyr’s death. We can talk about heaven; we can speculate about it. We can write learned treatises about it, and we can hope for it. But up and down the centuries, it is the martyrs from the ancient Maccabees to the Christians slain by ISIS that most vividly witness to the promise of heaven. They literally bet their lives on it.

Nov 02, 2016
The Love of Predilection
00:14:17

In Luke’s Gospel we read the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, as chief tax collector, was considered a very bad man in first century Israel, but Christ greets him with love. It is the love of God that causes everything to be, and comes before everything we do. God does not love us because we do good; we do good because God loves us.

Oct 25, 2016
Prayer and Pride
00:13:58

The entire point of religion is to make us humble before God and to open us to the path of love. Everything else is more or less a footnote. Liturgy, prayer, the precepts of the Church, the commandments, sacraments, sacramental—all of it—are finally meant to conform us to the way of love. When they instead turn us away from that path by devolving into a source of pride and pomposity, they have been undermined. Jesus’ famous parable about the prayers of the pharisee and the tax collector from this Sunday’s readings illustrates precisely this danger of coopting religion for the purposes of our ego.

Oct 19, 2016
The Integrated and Variegated Body of Christ
00:14:25

Our first reading from the book of Exodus is illuminating at so many levels. On the surface, this is a report of an ancient war, more of a tribal dispute really, between two minor peoples. But read with a sensitivity to the multivalence of the Biblical text, this report clues us in to the spiritual warfare that always obtains in a fallen world. We should expect a battle when we walk the path of Christ.

Oct 12, 2016
Paul on the Meaning of “Gospel”
00:14:06

Something I’ve found over the years is that people use the word “Gospel” to mean all sorts of different things. People say, “I’m committed to the Gospel.” “I want preach the Gospel.” “I want to live according to the Gospel.” But what precisely do people mean when they say these things? The word literally means “good news.” But what good news? We have a wonderful text for our first reading today from Paul’s second letter to his disciple and friend Timothy. One of the many things that makes it wonderful is that it contains a very pithy summation of what St. Paul meant by the word “Gospel.” When we unpack this summation, we hold the key to transforming the world.

Oct 05, 2016
What it Means to Live by Faith
00:14:24

This Sunday’s readings compel us to meditate on the meaning of faith. Paul Tillich, the 20th century theologian, said, “Faith is the most [...]

Sep 28, 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man
00:14:15

Friends, I have spent the past 12 days in Rome for “baby Bishop school”, and just returned today. As such, I asked my Word on Fire team to reach into our archives for this week’s sermon. I’ll be working on new sermons, articles, and video commentaries in the days and weeks ahead. But in the meantime, I hope that this archived sermon will help you to understand and personally appropriate the Scriptures for this Sunday, which remind us that we cannot remain indifferent to the poor, whom the Lord has determined to be a privileged route of access to his life and presence.

Sep 21, 2016
A Warning Bell in the Night
00:14:28

Most of us spur into action when we believe that our financial state is in dire straits. Why don’t we act in the same way in regards to our spiritual state? Today people need the same spiritual concern that people had in the past. They need to want to establish a relationship with God, that which is of paramount importance. So wake up, and place God at the center of your life!

Sep 14, 2016
A Coin, A Sheep, A Son
00:14:18

Our Gospel for today gives us three classic parables, each one exploring the notion which 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.

Sep 07, 2016
The Awful Gospel of the Cross
00:14:46

This week’s Gospel contains one of the greatest challenges Jesus ever offered to his disciples: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Here Christ is emphasizing the great spiritual principle of detachment. In order to live healthy spiritual lives we must love Christ most of all, with everything else finding its meaning in relation to God.

Aug 31, 2016
Humility, Queen of the Virtues
00:14:18

This week’s readings focus on the importance of humility. Humility is the foundation for the whole of spirituality. In order to truly pursue truth and goodness, it is necessary to let go of the ego and realize that everything we have and are is a gift from God.

Aug 24, 2016
The Narrow Gate
00:14:01

To gain eternal life is to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It is to walk the path of love, surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to flow through you to the wider world. Is this an easy task? No. The Gospel of Luke tells reminds us that the gate is narrow precisely because it is in the very shape of Jesus Himself, and entrance through the gate involves conformity to his state of being. The path of love is traveled by taking up one’s cross every day.

Aug 17, 2016
Fate of the Prophet
00:13:35

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.

Aug 10, 2016
Faith and the Reasoning of the Religious Mind
00:14:09

God cannot be analyzed scientifically the way one would study the things of the world, but God can be approached through religious reasoning, or Faith. Faith is often criticized as unintelligent tomfoolery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Catholic tradition reveals that Faith is a rational reaction to God in the religious person. It is the reasoning of the religious mind.

Aug 03, 2016
Bubbles, Everything is Bubbles
00:14:14

The readings for this weekend have a tremendous cohesiveness. They all speak to a truth about our world that is hard to take in, that has to be repeated to each generation afresh, a truth that many older people have an easier time understanding than young people: nothing in this world lasts. 

Jul 27, 2016
Abba Father, Bring us Jesus
00:13:53

The Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, is a request for Christ. As we examine this most famous prayer line by line, we see it’s all about Jesus. That He might come and have communion with us is precisely what we hope for when we cry out to “our Abba who art in heaven.”  

Jul 23, 2016
Martha, Mary, and the Attitude of Discipleship
00:14:04

Although the little story of Martha and Mary has been interpreted throughout the centuries as a parable dealing with the “active” and “contemplative” approach to the spiritual life, it can be read as Christ’s invitation to all people to partake in his inner circle of discipleship. Christ overturned the social conventions of his time by summoning all people to discipleship. Thus, we must remove all barriers to discipleship for all people.

Mass Readings

Reading 1 - Proverbs 8:22-31
Psalm - 

Jul 13, 2016
Hearing the Voice of God
00:14:08

During the 20th century, moral relativism was in vogue in elite cultural circles, but now it is the dominant moral outlook of the broader culture. Against this, C.S. Lewis argued for “the universality and inescapability of the moral law.” Although there are subtle moral differences between cultures, if we look close enough, we can discern fundamental moral agreements. The Catholic tradition says that this moral bedrock is a reflection of the Eternal Law in the mind of God. It is the voice of God within us. Listen to that voice.

Mass Readings

Reading 1 - 

Jul 06, 2016
Boasting in the Cross
00:14:14

St. Paul tells us in our second reading that he boasts in the cross of Jesus. To any of his hearers in the first century this would have sounded like madness. Paul can boast in this shameful thing precisely because God has raised Jesus from death and thereby placed the world-the realm of hatred, violence, and division-under judgment. Now we must have the courage to leave the world and enter into the new creation which is the body of Christ.

Mass Readings

Reading 1 - Proverbs 8:22-31
Psalm - 

Jun 30, 2016
Walking Truly and Completely with Him
00:13:42

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him.  If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.

Jun 22, 2016
Christ’s Identity and Mission
00:14:17

Today’s Gospel presents Luke’s version of the famous conversation that the Lord Jesus had with his disciples concerning his identity and mission. Authentic acceptance of Christ’s identity and mission engenders in us a willingness to accept in our own lives the necessity and saving power of the cross.

Jun 19, 2016
The Wages of Sin
00:13:55

In today’s first reading from 2 Samuel we learn about God’s dealings with David, the Israelite king who put himself on a path of sin that culminated in adultery and murder. David is forgiven but also cleansed, purified, and brought back to obedience to God precisely through the suffering unleashed by this double-sin. From David we learn how God’s grace is always available, but it is never cheap.

Jun 12, 2016
The Whole Gospel is About Resurrection
00:14:04

In today’s Gospel we learn about Jesus’ raising of the son of the widow of Nain. This is a prime exemplification of a key Gospel truth, namely, that everything Jesus said and did, in one way or another, is an anticipation of his resurrection.

Jun 05, 2016
Corpus Christi
00:14:21

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

May 29, 2016
Begotten Not Made
00:13:51

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity. The Nicene Creed articulates the mystery of the Trinity with the wonderful phrase “begotten not made,” meaning that the Son is not a creature but rather shares in the selfsame nature as the Father. The Holy Spirit is then the life-giving love breathed out between the Father and the Son.

May 22, 2016
The Holy Spirit and Mission
00:13:47

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, one of the truly great moments in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit comes to give many spiritual gifts, which prepare us to enter into relationship with Christ and embark on mission.

May 15, 2016
The Ascension of Jesus
00:13:52

Too often we read the Ascension as the moment when Jesus “went away,” when he left us on our own and went off to heaven, where we hope some day to join him. But the Ascension is not Jesus going away; it is Jesus assuming his position as leader of the Church’s life.

May 08, 2016
The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church
00:13:46

The Church Catholic is a living thing; an organism rather than an organization. Therefore, it is continually moving, changing, adapting, reacting, answering new questions, and responding to new challenges. That’s what we see in today’s readings at Mass, which show us the Church in action in its very earliest days, not by itseld but in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.

May 01, 2016
New Heavens, New Earth
00:13:42

Throughout the Easter season, we’ve had the privilege of reading from the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, the place where the entire Scriptural revelation comes to its climax. Our passage for this Sunday is taken from the 21st chapter, the penultimate chapter of the book. Hence, it is, if you will, the ringing finale of the entire Bible, the terminus ad quem of all of Scripture.

Apr 24, 2016
The Good Shepherd
00:14:17

One of the most enduring and endearing images of Jesus is that of the good shepherd who guides and lays down his life for his sheep. We cannot be indifferent in regard to him. We have to give our whole selves to him, without compromise or hesitation. Once we hear his voice, we have to drop everything and follow.

Apr 17, 2016
A Relentlessly Public Religion
00:14:02

The passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which is our first reading for this weekend, is surprisingly instructive for our time in the life of the Church. It witnesses to something that is essential to Christianity, namely, that we are a relentlessly public religion. This is not a privatized religion we’re talking about. This is a faith and a kingdom meant for everyone on earth.

Apr 10, 2016
Peter, John, and Thomas
00:13:53

Our wonderful readings for the second Sunday of Easter speak to us of three apostle, who were three pillars of the Church: Peter, John, and Thomas. Each one functions as an archetype for an essential feature of the life of the Church, and each are needed to balance and complete each other.

Apr 03, 2016
Three Easter Lessons
00:14:26

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the entire Christian faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we should all go home and forget about it. As St. Paul himself puts it: “If Jesus is not raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men.” But Jesus was, in fact, raised from the dead. And his resurrection shows that Christ can gather back to the Father everyone whom he has embraced through his suffering love.

Mar 27, 2016
The Master Has Need of You
00:14:05

In our Gospel reading for the Palm Sunday procession, Jesus sends his disciples into Jerusalem to prepare for his triumphal entry. They are told to untether a donkey and if there is any protest from the owner, they are to say, simply, “The Master has need of it.” Strictly speaking, God has need of nothing, since he is the unconditioned act of existence. God doesn’t need our praise or our good works or anything. But this phrase signals the wonderful truth that God allows us to cooperate with his grace so that we can participate in the work that he wants to do. He gives us what Aquinas called “the dignity of causality.” We are privileged to be instruments in his hands.

Mar 20, 2016
Misery and Mercy
00:13:44

In this week’s Gospel, we hear the story of the woman caught in adultery, a tale that has beguiled Christians and non-Christians for two millennia. The story displays our constant temptation to use knowledge of God’s law to hurt others, not to liberate them. We gossip, we scapegoat, we blame—and we convince ourselves that we’re just following the divine law in pointing out other people’s problems. But then enters Jesus, who affirms that the law’s primary purpose is to make us humble, to draw us to higher attainment. Without denigrating the law in the least, Jesus reaches out in mercy in order to brings sinners back to life.

Mar 13, 2016
The Prodigal Son Returns
00:13:58

Today we hear the greatest of Jesus’ parable, indeed what many people call the greatest story ever told: the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Even after hearing it 1,000 times, it continues to beguile us and draw us in. What’s the main spiritual lesson? We’re meant to receive the divine life as a gift, but then give it back.

Mar 02, 2016
Why the Burning Bush is Such Good News
00:14:02

Our first reading for this Sunday presents us with one of the most famous and commented upon texts in the entire Bible, in which God appears in a burning bush, a bush on fire but not consumed. God is present to it in the most powerful way, but nothing of the bush has to give in order for God to work with it and through it. When the true God comes close, things are not destroyed; in fact, they become radiant and beautiful.

Feb 28, 2016
The Glorified Body
00:13:52

The readings for this second Sunday of Lent awaken a sense of wonder, of a world beyond ours, a mystical consciousness. In the first reading with Abraham and in the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, we encounter mountains, darkness, voices, and dazzling light, all of which signal the breakthrough of a higher world.

Feb 21, 2016
Three Questions from the Desert
00:14:17

Lent is a time of paring down — a time spent in the desert, if you will — as exemplified by Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in these arid, barren lands. He was tempted three times by Satan, and rejected each attempt, giving glory to God at every turn. This is the lesson for us, that we make God the center of our lives and not test him. We are here to do his will, which is clarified through our own Lenten sacrifices.

Feb 14, 2016
Duc In Altum!
00:14:07

This week’s reading from the Gospel of Luke shows us that our encounter with Christ is an invasion of grace and that we must be ready to welcome that grace and go out into the depths, and ascend to the heights, at its calling.

Feb 07, 2016
The Primacy of Love
00:14:04

This week we hear from St. Paul’s brilliant meditation on Love. Everything in religion and theology revolves around Love. It is at the heart of everything. Nothing matters without Love, because God is Love. Putting Love at the center is the best way to organize and prioritize our entire lives.

Jan 31, 2016
Wall and Bridges
00:14:09

This week’s reading from the book of Nehemiah provides a reflection on the importance of keeping firm our religious identity and finding strength in our religious identity so we can go out into the world with confidence and grace. By keeping our strength in God we can go out into the world and Christify it.

Jan 24, 2016
The First of the Signs
00:14:16

The communion of humanity and divinity in Christ’s divine person can be likened to a marriage. Sin effects a kind of divorce between God and humanity, a break up of the marriage of God and his people. How wonderful, therefore, when the Messiah offers the first sign of his identity and mission that it as at wedding. This is an indication that the relationship of God and humanity will be transformed, reconciled and renewed in Jesus Christ.

Jan 17, 2016
Vitae Spiritualis Ianua
00:14:07

The first Sacrament one can receive in the Church, Baptism, defines our relationship with Christ. In it, we are reborn as part of his mystical body, and are gifted the grace of God’s love. Baptism lays the foundation for every other Sacrament we are to receive, and inextricably links us with the Trinity.

Jan 10, 2016
Following the Star
00:14:23

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today’s Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation - when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born - that we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Jan 03, 2016
Hannah, Her Son, and the Holy Family
00:12:55

Lots of people today will tell you what makes a family well-adjusted, functional, and peaceful. But in today’s readings for the Feast of the Holy Family, which center on two exemplary women, Hannah and Mary, the Church wants to tell us what makes a family holy.

Dec 27, 2015
Mary, David, and the Theo-Drama
00:14:04

In today’s readings we see the Theo-drama, the great story being told by God, confronting the ego-drama, which is the self-centered play we attempt to write, produce, direct, and star in ourselves. What makes life thrilling is to discover our role in the Theo-drama. This is precisely what has happened to Mary. She found her role—indeed a climactic role—in the Theo-drama, just as King David had several centuries before.

Dec 20, 2015
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
00:14:06

Our Gospel for this third Sunday of Advent is of extraordinary importance, for it speaks to us of the transformation, the transfiguration of the self, which is unique to Christianity. To be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to be immersed in the ocean of the divine love. When we are dipped into this reality, we become capable of something that neither Aristotle nor Plato nor the Founding Fathers nor the prophets themselves dreamed possible: we can love with the very love of God.

Dec 13, 2015
God Has Really Arrived in History
00:14:10

Christianity is not a mythic system. It is an historical religion that makes very concrete historical claims, and the first Christians were intensely interested in the historicity of what they were describing and preaching about. We see an example of this in St. Luke’s Gospel today. The evangelist tell us that something actually happened in history, something so strange, unexpected, and rare that it changed everything.

Dec 06, 2015
Advent and the Shaking of the Kingdoms
00:14:05

Our Gospel for this first Sunday of Advent begins where the readings for the end of last liturgical year left off, namely, with apocalyptic musings. We’re encouraged to look for the Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven, which signals the end of the world as we know it. But the Son of man is coming on the clouds of heaven even now in the life of the Church. Even now the true king, the successor of David, is in our midst. But we need eyes trained by the liturgy to see him.

Nov 29, 2015
What Does it Mean to Say that Christ is King?
00:13:56

The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. This day reminds us what the Christian thing is all about: that Jesus really is the king, the Lord of our lives, that we belong utterly to him, and that we can say, with St. Paul, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

Nov 22, 2015
Daniel and the New Kingdom
00:13:55

Our first reading for this weekend is from the utterly fascinating book of Daniel. Daniel is an example of apocalyptic literature, and apocalyptic books reveal something of decisive significance. We see that significance when Jesus comes preaching the kingdom of God, by which he was taken to be announcing the fulfillment of the Daniel prophecy. This is the apocalypse, the great unveiling: a new kingdom has come, a dominion that will last forever.

Nov 15, 2015
Elijah, the Widow, and a Story of Trust
00:14:15

The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, a section of which is our first reading for this weekend, is a narrative that just keeps generating spiritual significance, the longer you think about it and study it. Two desperate people confront one another, and each is called upon to make an act of faith. In the practically impossible act of double trust that follows, both are benefitted, and they both exemplify the law of the gift: your being increases in the measure that you give it away.

Nov 08, 2015
A Tale of Two Widows

Today’s scriptures highlight two widows and two very important biblical principles: God reveals himself precisely at that moment of our greatest vulnerability and need, and that the grace in your life will increase in the measure that you give it away.

Nov 08, 2015
What Does It Mean to be a Saint?
00:14:03

One problem with our great feast day today is that it can make sanctity seem like something that is the special preserve of a handful of spiritual heroes—and not the ordinary goal of the Christian life. But the whole purpose of the Church—priesthood, the Mass, the sacraments, good preaching, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy—is to make saints. There is only one real sadness in life: not to be a saint. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Nov 01, 2015
Master, I Want to See
00:14:09

The story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus is a spiritual icon of enormous power. Bartimaeus is evocative of anyone who, aware of his sin, blindness, and incapacity, hears the summons of Jesus to come into the Church, the place where vision will be restored.

Oct 25, 2015
Real Spiritual Power
00:14:08

When the ego grabs power and honor for itself, things get dangerous and dysfunctional very quickly. The ego will want to use power, not for God’s purposes, but for its own exaltation & defense. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus confronts a misguided desire for power within both James and John so as to direct them to real spiritual power, which offers them — and us — the greatest freedom.

Oct 18, 2015
The Rich Young Man and the Hunger for Eternal Life
00:14:30

In today’s Gospel we hear the story of the rich young man who desires eternal life. We all have a hunger for God and goodness. Jesus teaches us that, in order to attain friendship with God we must be disciplined and must give up the things that keep us from satisfying our desire for God.

Oct 11, 2015
Sexuality, Love, and Marriage
00:14:09

This week’s readings offer a reflection on human sexuality, love and marriage. These readings show us that sexuality is a good, joyful thing when it is ordered towards, and transfigured by, love.

Oct 04, 2015
Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet
00:14:17

Our first reading from the Book of Numbers and the Gospel reading from Mark both highlight a very interesting spiritual predicament, one that is presented numerous times throughout the Bible. It might be summed up as the inclination for members of the Church to subvert the mission of the Church because of their own ego driven desires and pre-occupations.

Sep 27, 2015
The Undoing of Original Sin
00:14:33

One of the most important doctrines of the Church is the doctrine of original sin, which asserts that something it off with us. We see the effects of it everywhere, and we also see many attempts to solve the problem of sin on our own. The only way to be healed, however, is to give ourselves over to Jesus, like the little child in today’s Gospel reading.

Sep 20, 2015
Faith Perfected by Love
00:15:24

Today’s second reading from the letter of James discusses the relationship between faith and love. We need a strong faith, but faith without love is lifeless so we must respond to grace and faith with acts of love.

Sep 13, 2015
Ephphatha
00:15:06

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man who is deaf and dumb. When we read this account at the spiritual level, we see that he cures those who are deaf to the Word of God and hence unable to speak it clearly. How relevant this message is to our own time!

Sep 06, 2015
Law and Laws
00:15:00

All of today’s readings pertain to law. We Americans are a fairly litigious society. Lawyers are thick on the ground and many of our Founding Fathers were students of law. We have a kind of love-hate relationship with the law, like most people in history. Today’s readings offer a key lesson: whenever we reverence something, we surround it with laws. Laws protect the integrity of good things. And for the saints, the law of God is planted within their hearts.

Aug 30, 2015
Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?
00:14:57

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ followers reacting to his shocking teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood by saying, “This is a hard saying; who can accept it?” To understand Jesus’ meaning, we must understand that he’s not using symbolic or metaphorical language. He’s speaking words of “Spirit and life” which bring into being precisely what they signal.

Aug 23, 2015
Wisdom’s Meal
00:14:54

Today’s first reading personifies Wisdom as a woman who invites people to a feast, lavishly offering food and wine. In today’s Psalm, we echo that invitation: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” But to join the banquet of the Lord, we need to turn away from other food. We spend our whole lives eating from troughs that never satisfy our hunger - wealth, power, pleasure, honor. But in John 6, which is today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to feed on himself, Wisdom incarnate, the only food that will ultimately fulfill our hunger. Mass Readings Reading 1 - Proverbs 9:1-6 Psalm - Psalm 34:2-7 Reading 2 - Ephesians 5:15-20 Gospel - John 6:51-58

Aug 16, 2015
Spiritual Food
00:15:03

In our first reading today, Elijah is dejected and requests that the Lord take his life. But an angel touches him and orders him to get up and eat. Strengthened by food, he journeys to the mountain of God, Horeb. We’re all acquainted with the need for physical food, like Elijah, but we also need spiritual food. If we don’t feed our souls, we will become spiritually lethargic and unhealthy. Where do we find that nourishment? The answer comes in John 6, our Gospel reading for today.

Aug 09, 2015
Bread of Life
00:15:00

Again, the Church’s Gospel is taken from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. The principle concern of this Gospel is to provide testimony to the enduring presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This presence is foreshadowed in the mysterious “showbread’ of the ancient temple of Israel. The promise that is symbolized in the “showbread” is fulfilled in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the Church partakes of the its own “showbread”, though no longer merely a symbol, it is the “Bread of Life”- the life and presence of Christ.

Aug 02, 2015
The Mystery of the Mass
00:15:02

The sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, from which we will be reading these next several weeks, is a sustained meditation on the meaning of the Mass and the Eucharist. Our passage for today, when read symbolically, illumines the major movements of the Mass.

Jul 26, 2015
Looking for a Shepherd
00:15:01

In today’s first reading, God announces that he himself will shepherd his people. Yet a few sentences later, he suggests that he will raise up a righteous human king to reign and govern wisely. So which is it - will God become king or will he establish a human king? The answer, which the Gospel reading unfolds, is both. In the person of Jesus, the divine shepherd, the scattered people of God find their way home.

Jul 19, 2015
Summed Up in Christ
00:14:56

For many people in the West, liberty seems to trump everything. We avatars of the egodrama, we worshippers at the altar of freedom, say that our choice is supreme. We don’t want anyone to constrain our pursuit of money, success, power, influence, safety, or physical health. But what matters in the end is not to place our wills in the position of ultimate concern. Everything in nature, history, science, and our careers is, in the end, summed up in Christ.

Jul 12, 2015
The Mission of the Prophet
00:14:24

This week’s scriptures illuminate the identity and mission of a prophet- a calling that belongs to all the baptized by virtue of our Baptism. God appoints the prophets to a specific mission. This mission is to speak God’s word of truth. God’s word of truth is not a private or personal opinion, but the Word of God communicated through human words. The prophet speaks God’s word of truth to those within and those outside the Church. Prophets do not seek to proclaim a message that is easy to be accepted, but seek to speak God’s word of truth, no matter how hard it might be to hear and accept. Christ is the paradigmatic example of the identity and mission of the prophet.

Jul 05, 2015
God Did Not Make Death
00:14:33

The Book of Wisdom offers us the strange assertion that God did not make death, but formed humanity to be imperishable. This revelation directs us towards the truth that death is much more than merely the dissolution of the body, but is the full impact of the power of sin over our lives. This power is especially evident in our fear of death. The dormition of the Mother of God offers us a sign that Christ has given to humanity a way, that takes us, not only beyond our fear of death, but beyond death itself. The way of Christ enables us to face the power of death with trust, rather than fear.

Jun 28, 2015
The Storm at Sea
00:14:56

The story of Jesus calming the storm at sea is an archetypal description of the church down through the ages. We find ourselves in the midst of storms, but as long as Christ sails with us, we can find peace.

Jun 21, 2015
Walking By Faith and Not By Sight
00:14:34

Sometimes God does things we can’t understand. This is where our need to walk by faith and not by sight comes in play. We trust in God’s purpose, and his purpose often manifests itself in the least likely of sources-the mustard seed, for example. A young man on a cross, dying alone and mocked, was the mustard seed out of which a global religion, one billion strong, grew. This is the story of so many other influential Christians, such as Francis of Assisi, Charles Lwanga and Mother Teresa. They could have been easily overlooked, forgotten, ignored, but instead they sprouted into among the most revered in our history. This is a lesson of not giving up. It’s a lesson of walking by faith, and not by sight.

Jun 14, 2015
The Trinity as Call to Action
00:14:31

It’s often joked that Trinity Sunday is “the preacher’s nightmare.” But while the Trinity can be viewed as the most arcane and inaccessible Christian doctrine, it’s also the most ordinary and obvious. Every Catholic invokes the Trinity whenever he crosses himself in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, every single baptized person has been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we’ve been sealed by the Trinity, brought within its dynamic, and sent out on mission.

May 31, 2015
Pentecost and the Gift of Language
00:14:49

Today’s readings recount the unforgettable events of Pentecost. Language is our primary mode of communication. How wonderful, therefore, that the principle gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is tongues - speech, language - enabling the first disciples to establish heart-to-heart communication with the peoples of the world. The Holy Spirit himself is nothing but communication for the Spirit is nothing other than the love that connects the Father and the Son. When the disciples, filled with Holy Spirit, go out to communicate on Pentecost, they effectively unite the world by gathering what sin has scattered.

May 24, 2015
Ascension Sunday: The Relationship Between Heaven and Earth
00:14:54

We tend to read the Ascension along enlightenment lines, as if Christ has gone to a distant, irrelevant place. The reality point is this: Jesus, in ascending into heaven, has not gone “up, up, and away.” Rather, he has gone to heaven to direct operations more fully here on earth. Jesus has not abandoned earth, but rather, he intends to return in order to bring about the full reconciliation of heaven and earth. In the mean time, he has commissioned his follows to begin that work now… within the Church.

May 17, 2015
God’s Marvelous Choice
00:15:02

Today’s Gospel present the distinction between a generic spirituality which emphasizes our decision for God, and authentic Christian Faith, which is the recognition that God has chosen us in Christ. It is God’s choice, his election of us in Christ, as not only his followers, but his friends, that matters most.

May 10, 2015
The Vine and the Branches
00:14:48

‘I am the Vine, and you are the branches.’ Jesus is not simply an inspiring teacher to whom we listen. He is a force in which we participate, a body in which we are cells and molecules, a river in which we swim. There is an organic relationship between Jesus and his creation. That is why Jesus can make the startling statements that he makes in today’s Gospel. Our existence, our life, our thought – all of this comes from the Logos, and apart from Him, we can bear no fruit.

May 03, 2015
The Good Shepherd
00:14:56

Jesus sums up a long Biblical tradition when he says ‘I am the good shepherd.’ The prophets and the psalmist had yearned for a time when God himself would come to shepherd his people Israel. This yearning is realized in Jesus himself. What makes him good? The Gospel for today specifies two things: his willingness to lay down his life for his sheep, and the fact that he knows his sheep personally, recognizing their voices.

Apr 26, 2015
The Strangeness of the Resurrection
00:15:15

Authentic Christianity does not present Jesus as a ghost, an abstraction, or a disembodied soul. It presents him as risen from the dead, glorified and resurrected at every level. This good news of Easter was strange and unnerving 2,000 years ago and remains so today.

Apr 19, 2015
Divine Mercy
00:15:28

On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we remember the dedication of this day by Saint John Paul II in honor of St. Faustina’s vision of Christ, in which the Lord’s heart radiated forth with divine mercy for the world. But what does mercy mean? It designates the suffering of the heart, a type of compassion, a deep, loving identification with people in their suffering. It is the characteristic of God, for God is love. Nothing in the world would exist if it were not, at every moment, loved into being by God—a great act of tender mercy. How is this love made manifest in us? Precisely through following God’s commands and through forgiveness. 

Apr 12, 2015
The Empty Grave
00:15:27

Many people enjoy visiting the graves of famous people, from Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, IL to St. Peter in the Vatican. We feel a sense of peace and finality around graves. But the one thing we would never expect in a cemetery is action. Yet that’s precisely what we find at the center of Christianity, as St. John recounts in today’s Easter Gospel.

Apr 05, 2015
The Passion Narrative of Mark’s Gospel
00:15:12

The Gospels are passion narratives with long introductions, dominated by Jesus’ death and resurrection. On this Palm Sunday, as we near the climax of the Lenten season, we should examine four odd details in St. Mark’s account of the Passion of Christ.

Mar 29, 2015
United in the Blood of Jesus
00:15:20

The best way to understand the history of salvation is to understand it as the story of covenants between God and his people. In the Old Testament, covenants are typically sealed in blood and sacrifice. In today’s first reading, Jeremiah prophesies a new covenant forged by the shedding of blood— Christ’s blood on the Christ— which makes the whole world into the New Israel. Through the blood of that covenant, we share in the Divine Life.

Mar 22, 2015
Hesed All the Way Through
00:15:04

The Divine Love is the great theme of the Bible. One of the great mistakes we can make is to project onto God our way of being and our subjectivity. God’s love is unconditional, not fickle and vacillating. His love is “hesed,” which means “tender mercy.” This love is visible, par excellence, in the Incarnation.

Mar 15, 2015
The Ten Commandments
00:15:14

Although most of our parents’s generation knew the Ten Commandments by heart, few Christians today can recite them. The liturgy today invites us to refocus on these timeless commands, which provide a path to a flourishing moral life.

Mar 08, 2015
The Mystical Transfiguration of Christ
00:15:22

The story of the Transfiguration of Christ has beguiled the Christian mind for centuries. It is the clearest New Testament evocation of mystical experience, the experience of spiritual things within the ordinary and the keen conviction that the spiritual reality is greater and more beautiful than ordinary experience. “Mystical” means there has been contact with a Person, the person of God.

Mar 01, 2015
The Ark, the Mass, and Re-Ordering the World
00:14:48

As Lent commences, the pews will be filled with people escaping the chaos of the modern world and finding a place of peace and order within the ship-like safety of the Church. In today’s readings, we hear the peculiar story of Noah in the book of Genesis, which correlates with the Mass. We find in the ark a remnant of God’s right order as he remakes the world through the purifying waters of the flood. We, too, are called to preserve the life of the world within the symbolic “ark” of the Church, but only to let that life out for the good of the World.

Feb 22, 2015
Evangelizing Out of the Encounter
00:14:37

The strange and unsettling Gospel account of the leper approaching Jesus is the manifestation of the deeply held notions of purity and impurity, notions that were uprooted by the God who entered into every part of our human condition to heal it and make it whole. In the Gospel and today, healing incites a mission. We, like the leper, must share how the encounter with Christ has changed our lives.

Feb 15, 2015
The Spirituality of Pain
00:15:40

Why would an all-powerful and all-loving God allow his people to suffer so much? That’s one of the oldest and most difficult theological questions. Our first reading from Job and our Gospel from Mark provide some fascinating answers.

Feb 08, 2015
Greater than the Greatest Prophet
00:14:49
Feb 01, 2015
Radical Christianity
00:14:40

When Christianity is reduced to deism or moralism, we turn the Gospel into a faint echo of the surrounding culture. But today’s readings propose something much more substantive than spiritual bromides or ethical directives. They suggest a new world breaking into the old.

Jan 25, 2015
The Call of Samuel
00:14:33

The story of the call of Samuel is illuminating for our time of corruption and cleansing. I argue that the sex abuse scandal in the church should be read through the lens of this narrative.

Jan 18, 2015
Priest, Prophet, and King
00:14:47

All the baptized participate in Christ. Since Christ is the fulfillment of the priest, prophet, and king that means that all the baptized are those as well. Although this statement may seem odd since we do not naturally think of ourselves this way, we must become more conscious of what it means to be grafted onto Christ. Our baptism grafts us onto the Body of Christ, making us all share in His Person. If his Person is priest, prophet, and king, then so are we.

Jan 11, 2015
Feast of the Epiphany
00:15:06

Our modern culture suggests a tension between spirituality and religion. But the Magi in today’s Gospel demonstrate that when spirituality is lifted up by revelation - when the Magi are told by the religious leaders where the Messiah is to be born - that we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Jan 04, 2015
Keeping Your Family Holy
00:14:58

The Bible is not particularly sentimental about families. What makes a family holy, as far as the biblical writers are concerned, is its willingness to surrender to the purpose of God. We see this in a number of key figures, including Joseph, Anna, and Simeon.

Dec 28, 2014
Adam, David, and Jesus
00:14:58

Adam had a kingly mission. However, he became a bad king. David was meant to restore kingship to its proper form. However, he failed too. But Christ, the Lord, is the King who sets everything aright and restores creation. His kingdom rivals all others.

Dec 21, 2014
A Not Very Cozy Advent
00:14:47

Christ proclaims himself as the King of everything. This is a bold claim for it puts everything under him. However, he is a very different King than what we typically expect. So with the arrival of this King, we must change all our expectations.

Dec 14, 2014
The Victory of God
00:14:46

Today we hear the first line of St. Mark’ Gospel, which in a sense contains the whole Gospel message. It expresses the euangelion, the good news of Christ the King, whose victory over death brings salvation to God’s people. Advent is all about coming under the reign of this newborn king.

Dec 07, 2014
We Need a Savior
00:14:39

The single biggest challenge of the Advent season is to feel our need for a savior. The truth is, we can’t solve our problem through an act of the will, because the perversion of the will is the problem. We need help. We need the intervention of a loving God who will shape us anew. We need a savior.

Nov 30, 2014
He Reigns! The Solemnity of Christ the King
00:14:48

When Israel begins to long for a new David, the true David and true king of the world, we witness the longing for God. Jesus Christ is precisely this king: the Davidic king, and God ruling his creation. His ministry reveals the nature of his kingship, from the manger to the cross.

Nov 23, 2014
Parable of the Talents
00:14:44

Your being increases in the measure that you give it away. That’s the law of the gift, and it can be found from end to end of the Bible. One application of this law has to do with faith itself. Your faith will grow only in the measure that you give it away, sharing it with others.

Nov 16, 2014
St. John Lateran and the Meaning of Church Buildings
00:14:42

Today we celebrate the great Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, which is the Pope’s cathedral church. It’s a time to remember that while the Church is, properly speaking, the people of God, church buildings do nevertheless matter. They are meant to recapitulate the Temple, the New Jerusalem, Noah’s Ark, and the Mystical Body of Jesus.

Nov 05, 2014
All Souls’ Day and the Mystery of Immortality
00:14:48

Near death experiences, the loss of a loved one, other other out-of-body occurrences point toward the truth that we are meant to be born out of this world into a higher one, even though this transition is often a traumatic one. The reality that our mind wants not just particular truths, but the Truth Itself, indicates our orientation to God. We are our bodies, rooted in this world, but we are more than our bodies. This mysterious capacity within us the Church calls “the soul.” And at the end of our earthly lives, the soul is breathed out, not into non-being, but into the hands of God.

Nov 02, 2014
Pier Giorgio Frassati and Social Justice
00:14:42

Is the Catholic Church a proponent of social justice? Yes, according to this week’s readings. They reveal a compassionate God, who hears the cries of the poor and then encourages us to reciprocate his love. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati understood this well. The young saint heeded both of Jesus’ Great Commandments by loving God and, therefore, loving his neighbor.

Oct 26, 2014
Caesar and God
00:15:14

Jesus places everything in its proper relationship to God. But he also chastises those who are involved in power games. God is ultimately in charge and rules over even Caesar.

Oct 19, 2014
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
00:14:50

Many devout believers find the parable of the wedding feast in the Gospel of Matthew difficult to understand. The story is meant to stir us up with its exaggeration, to signal the spiritual destruction that follows from refusing the divine invitiation. We are meant to see how valuable an invitation we have received and how odd it is that we would choose to reject it.

Oct 12, 2014
Peace Beyond Understanding
00:15:00

At the end of his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul reveals the secret to a peaceful life. Serenity of spirit, born of the confidence that one is linked to God, arrives when we surround ourselves with God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.

Oct 05, 2014
Taking Spiritual Responsibility
00:14:22

Today’s readings show that one can and should stand before God, individually, and assume spiritual responsibility. That responsibility is not collective but personal. It confronts each of us with the question, “Where I do stand in response to God’s invitation?”

Sep 28, 2014
Going Beyond a Mercenary Love for God
00:14:31

The Bible constantly warns against a merely mercenary relationship with God—a friendship of convenience or self-interest. We should not love God simply because doing so will produce many consolations in our life. We must enter a true relationship, where we fall in love not with his benefits, but with him.

Sep 21, 2014
Venerating the Cross
00:14:18

When we live in convenient darkness, unaware of our sins, we will never make spiritual progress. We need the light, however painful it is. Once that light reveals to us our sin and dysfunction, then we can rise. That’s what we discover on the cross of Jesus. We meet our own sin, and we also meet the merciful savior, who has taken that sin upon himself in order to swallow it up.

Sep 14, 2014
Correcting a Brother
00:14:23

Should we address someone who is in the wrong? This week’s Gospel cautions against gossip and malicious criticism, but it also explains how to frtuifully correct someone and bring them to the truth.

Sep 07, 2014
“But for Wales…?”
00:15:03

All must be aware of the possibility of losing one’s soul in pursuit of gaining the world. One will inevitably face opposition from the world. Will you give in? Christ’s demand of love is difficult and many do not want to follow it because it entails suffering. But in order to follow Christ you must consciously and purposely walk the path of suffering love.

Aug 31, 2014
Inscrutable and Faithful
00:14:52

The God of Israel is mysterious and inscrutable and at the same time is totally faithful and loving. Like the children of a loving parent, we might not always be able to understand God’s plan but we can rest assured knowing that He always loves us and will always take care of us.

Aug 24, 2014
How Great Is Your Faith
00:14:33

The story of the persistent Canaanite woman has intrigued and puzzled Christians for two thousand years. Why would Jesus treat this pious woman with what seems like indifference, even hostility? Why does he refuse (it seems) to answer our own prayers? The solution can be found in the very Biblical category of testing.

Aug 17, 2014
Elijah and Peter
00:14:32

Elijah is a contemplative who has the eyes to see and the ears to listen. God does not appear in the glory of the world. Rather, he appears in a silent way. Weed out of your heart all of those fears and desires that prevent you from discerning the silent presence of God.

Aug 10, 2014
Grace
00:14:33

Our readings for this weekend are filled with grace, the free gift that God is. Our relationship with God gets off on the wrong foot the moment we see it in an “economic” or calculating way. God, who needs nothing from us, simply wants to share his life with us. And this is why he says, through the prophet Isaiah, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water!”

Aug 03, 2014
Solomon’s Prayer
00:14:33

God says to Solomon in our first reading, “Ask for anything, and I will give it to you.” What would you say if you heard that invitation? Solomon asks for wisdom and not for wealth or power or victory. Find out why that answer is so pleasing to God.

Jul 27, 2014
Three Parables; Three Spiritual Lessons
00:14:29

Jesus’ parables in today’s Gospel tell us how and why the Kingdom of God emerges. It does so often through struggle, quietly and clandestinely, and through infiltration rather than direct confrontation.

Jul 20, 2014
The Prodigal Sower
00:14:29

God sows his Word into each of our hearts liberally. He does not solely give his grace to those he knows will bear fruit. He sows the Word in everyone, but it doesn’t flourish for each person due to circumstances (secularism, anxiety, the allurement of the world), but strive to counter that by letting the Word open you to the implications of his Lordship. God is always giving himself to you, listen and act.

Jul 13, 2014
The Yoke’s On Me
00:14:31

What is it like to have Christ for a king? All three of this Sunday’s readings examine this very question in some way. The answer is to submit to his kingship and accept his yoke upon your shoulders to make your life an offering to his plan.

Jul 06, 2014
Peter and Paul
00:14:19

This week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of Peter and Paul, two of the most important figures in the history of the Church. While they were different in various ways—Peter is the archetype of the order and office of the Church, and Paul represents theology and evangelization—they are united in their love of Jesus and are celebrated together for this reason.

Jun 29, 2014
Bread in the Desert
00:14:48

All of us are on a spiritual journey from sin to salvation. Like the Israelites longing for a return to Egypt, many of us occasionally desire our old addictions, providing the anxious ego with comfort and security. Far from Egypt, the Promised Land is the spiritual space of complete dependence upon God. But the Israelites are not there yet. They need to eat the manna from heaven. For Catholics, this is the Eucharist. It is the means to getting God’s divine life within us.

Jun 22, 2014
Drink of the Holy Spirit
00:14:49

Everyone thirsts for the divine life. No one is content without it, even proclaimed secularists. Christ has come to give us that life and he calls us to seek it in him. Although no one will be fully satisfied in this life, the more we partake in the person of Christ, the more we will be fulfilled.

Jun 08, 2014
Meeting of Heaven and Earth
00:14:55

The mysterious and wonderful feast of the Ascension of the Lord which celebrates Christ glorified “at the right hand of the Father”. The key to unlocking the marvels of this event is to recover a specifically Biblical understanding of the relationship of heaven and earth.

Jun 01, 2014
The Spirit of Truth
00:14:37

This Easter season, the Church has asked us to meditate on the Acts of the Apostles. Today Jesus tells us to wait for the coming of the Spirit, which will descend upon them and empower them in their work. It is up to Christians today to continue the work of the apostles and spread the mission of Christ.

May 25, 2014
Temple Talk
00:14:30

This week’s readings all have to do with the holy temple in Jerusalem. The temple was the meeting place of divinity and humanity and was the focal point of Jewish life in Israel. We should all be living temples in our own way and bring God to the rest of the world.

May 18, 2014
The Great Hope of Easter
00:14:41

Easter Sunday represents God’s great yes to humanity. Throughout history, humanity has turned its back on God, but the Lord has constantly sent rescue operations to bring us back into community with him. The resurrection of Christ is the definitive rescue operation and is our great hope for salvation.

Apr 20, 2014
Treating Death as a Trifle
00:14:43

This week’s Gospel tells the story of Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead. In this story we learn that sin is a kind of death, and that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Through Jesus, death is not the end.

Apr 06, 2014
Coming to See
00:14:30

This week’s Gospel from John tells us the story of the man born blind. Jesus offers the blind man healing and the man accepts Jesus and is conformed to him.

Mar 30, 2014
What is the Matter With Us?
00:14:38

The first reading for this week is the section of Genesis which describes the creation of humans and their fall from grace. The readings in the first week of Lent remind us to revisit the spiritual fundamentals. The story of the Fall reminds us to let what belongs to God remain with God and not to set ourselves up in opposition to God.

Mar 09, 2014
Extreme Demand, Extreme Mercy
00:14:25

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus intensifies the moral law and raises the bar higher than it ever had been. Christ’s goal, and the Church’s goal, is to make saints. His moral demands are great, but so is his mercy. He always offers grace and forgiveness when we falter so that we can always have hope in our stuggles for sanctity.

Feb 16, 2014
Salt, Light, and a City Set on a Hill
00:14:25

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his disciples to salt, light, and a city set on a hill. All these things exist not for themselves, but for something else. In the same way, Christians are meant to make the world a better place. Christians are meant to be salt, light, and a city on a hill.

Feb 09, 2014
The Presentation of the Lord
00:14:30

This week we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. In ancient Israel the Temple was the most important place in the world. It was the dwelling place of the Lord; it was where divinity and humanity embraced. But the nation of Israel had gone away from right worship of God. The Christ child is the divine and human in one and thus brings humanity back on line with God.

Feb 02, 2014
Land of Zebulon, Land of Naphtali
00:14:51

This week’s reading from the prophet Isaiah emphasizes God’s tendency to bring the best from the worst situations, light from the darkness. Throughout the Bible we see wonderful things come from the most unexpected places, and this is reflected in our own lives as well. Very often our greatest goodness can come from the darkest places of our beings.

Jan 26, 2014
Isaiah and Paul
00:14:20

This week’s readings reveal Isaiah and Paul as missionaries, as evangelists. Isaiah’s mission is to unite the people of Israel, and then spread the same light the the rest of the world. Paul recognizes that Christ is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s mission and offers himself as a servant of that fulfillment.

Jan 19, 2014
The Slave of Christ
00:14:18

This week’s second reading is the beginning of st. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul identifies himself as the slave of Jesus. His has given his entire life and will over to Christ. He exists to serve the purposes of Christ, and reminds us that we all share in that mission.

Dec 22, 2013
Eden, The Mountain, and The One Who Baptizes with Fire
00:14:38

This week’s readings take us to chapter 11 of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah looks back to the garden of Eden and the world in right alignment with God, and then looks forward to the Messiah who will set right what has gone wrong in God’s world. Sin interrupts right order, justice, and goodness. The righteous king will restore justice when he rules on his holy mountain.

Dec 08, 2013
The Mountain of the Lord
00:14:36

This week we enter into the great season of Advent. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how every nation streams towards God’s holy mountain. As you enter the Advent season, think about this holy mountain. Is the mountain of the Lord higher than every other mountain for you? Do you stream toward it with your whole being?

Dec 01, 2013
March in the Army of the True King
00:14:34

It is extraordinarily significant that the liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. The fact that Christ is the King is the culmination of the whole story the Bible tells from Genesis to Revelation.

Nov 24, 2013
Apocalypse and the Resurrection
00:14:14

As the liturgical year comes towards its end the Church considers apocalyptic Scriptures. This week’s Gospel from Luke reveal the full significance of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a world changing event that altered everything in the human experience from religion to politics to nature.

Nov 17, 2013
The Resurrection of the Body
00:14:27

This week’s reading from second Maccabees and Luke’s gospel are wonderful meditations on the resurrection of the body. In second Maccabees seven brothers are executed for refusing to violate their religious laws, but they express hope and faith that they will get their bodies back in a glorified state after death. In the gospel Christ upholds the hope for a glorified redemption and resurrection of the body.

Nov 10, 2013
The Love of Predilection
00:15:11

In Luke’s Gospel we read the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus, as chief tax collector, was considered a very bad man in first century Israel, but Christ greets him with love. It is the love of God that causes everything to be, and comes before everything we do. God does not love us because we do good; we do good because God loves us.

Nov 03, 2013
The Hard Texts of the Old Testament
00:15:14

The Old Testament is full of violent accounts that seem contradictory to the idea of the merciful, compassionate God of the New Testament: Joshua exterminates the tribes living in the Promised land, Samuel hacks the helpless Agag to pieces, and God orders Saul to kill every living thing when he conquers the Amelikites, to name but a few. The key to interpreting these texts is the figure of Christ as the sacrificed lamb in the Book of Revelations. If we keep Christ in mind then we will know that we have misread the Bible if we read it in such a way that it encourages violence or hatred

Oct 20, 2013
Humility and the Healing Power of God
00:14:54

This week’s reading from 2 Kings 5 contains some wonderful lessons on humility and obedience. We all suffer from some pestilence, whether it be physical, spiritual, or emotional, and we all seek healing. We need to find the humility to accept God’s cure for our spiritual ailments, just like the general Naaman does when Elisha orders him to wash in the river Jordan to cure his leprosy.

Oct 13, 2013
The Just Shall Live By Faith
00:14:57

In this week’s reading the prophet Habbakuk questions the ways of God, quite understandably. The evils throughout the world can be discouraging, but even though wickedness can seem unjustifiable and suffering can seem utterly meaningless God is in charge and is working His purpose out. The right response to suffering and evil is faith.

Oct 06, 2013
The Awful Gospel of the Cross
00:15:10

This week’s Gospel contains one of the greatest challenges Jesus ever offered to his disciples: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Here Christ is emphasizing the great spiritual principle of detachment. In order to live healthy spiritual lives we must love Christ most of all, with everything else finding its meaning in relation to God.

Sep 08, 2013
Humility: The Queen of the Virtues
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This week’s readings focus on the importance of humility. Humility is the foundation for the whole of spirituality. In order to truly pursue truth and goodness, it is necessary to let go of the ego and realize that everything we have and are is a gift from God.

Sep 01, 2013
I Have Come to Cast a Fire Upon the Earth
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Jesus’ words from our Gospel this week inspired the name for my program, Word on Fire. Jesus speaks of the divine judgment that will fall like a cleansing fire on the earth. This is not opposed to God’s love, but is rather what God’s love looks like to a fallen world.

Aug 18, 2013
Faith and the Reasoning of the Religious Mind
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God cannot be analyzed scientifically the way one would study the things of the world, but God can be approached through religious reasoning, or Faith. Faith is often criticized as unintelligent tomfoolery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Catholic tradition reveals that Faith is a rational reaction to God in the religious person. It is the reasoning of the religious mind.

Aug 11, 2013
The Great Yes and The Great No
00:14:56

Very often we find ourselves drawn towards extremes: puritanism or hedonism, idolizing the world or demonizing the world. The proper Catholic balance involves a balance—a yes and a no—to both extremes. We should enjoy the world we have been given while understanding that it is not as important as the God who gave it.

Aug 04, 2013
Kingdom Prayer
00:15:16

How central is the Lord’s Prayer to Christianity! Basically this prayer is about ordering ourselves to God and letting his way of being order all levels of our lives. But we must not think that we will easily orientate ourselves to God. There are powerful forces that resist this, and we must not be naive about them. The Lord’s Prayer is the itinerary for our spiritual journey.

Jul 28, 2013
Boasting in the Cross
00:15:10

St. Paul tells us in our second reading that he boasts in the cross of Jesus. To any of his hearers in the first century this would have sounded like madness. Paul can boast in this shameful thing precisely because God has raised Jesus from death and thereby placed the world-the realm of hatred, violence, and division-under judgment. Now we must have the courage to leave the world and enter into the new creation which is the body of Christ.

Jul 07, 2013
The Sin of David
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Today’s first reading describes the sin of David with Bathsheba, David’s attempts to cover up his crime, and the subsequent punishment for his sin. Even God’s chosen king fell into terrible sin. Each person must always be on their guard against temptation for although God offers grace, it is not cheap grace.

Jun 16, 2013
Making Something From Nothing
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This week’s readings are for the people who feel that they have no hope. Even in the darkest of times, God can create something from nothing and can bring grace back into our lives. In the first reading, the prophet Elijah brings the old widow’s son back from the dead; in the Gospel, Christ does the same thing; and in St. Paul’s letter, he recounts his conversion from a fierce persecutor of Christianity to its great advocate. In every case God made something from nothing and injected grace back into someone’s life, and He can always do the same for us if we are open to Him.

Jun 09, 2013
The Gift of the Eucharist
00:15:15

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

Jun 02, 2013
Pentecost and Sinai
00:14:49

This week is the great feast of Pentecost. Christ rules his Church from Heaven by sending his Spirit into the Church all over the world. We participate in the reign of Christ whenever we act in accordance with the Spirit.

May 19, 2013
No Temple in the New Jerusalem
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In this week’s reading from the Book of Revelation the narrator describes the arrival of the Holy City of the New Jerusalem. The visionary sees a great city and notes that there is no temple because the whole city has become a temple, a place of right praise. God created the whole world to shine in the divine light, and the visionary sees the fulfillment of this hope.

May 05, 2013
Fishers of Men
00:14:43

Today’s reading from the Gospel of John offers a compelling meditation about the importance of Christ for the activities of the Church. Christians are meant to be fishers of men, but when we operate according to our own agendas and efforts we will catch nothing. We must act under the Lord’s direction. If we follow Christ we will do great good indeed.

Apr 14, 2013
Every Saint Had a Past, Every Sinner Has a Future
00:15:07

This week’s scriptures present the hope of moving forward. All of us have sins and vices in our past. Christ offers us the possibility for forgiveness and a bright future in grace no matter how sinful our pasts are.

Mar 17, 2013
The Prodigal Son
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In this week’s Gospel reading we hear the story of the Prodigal Son. Here, Christ provides a reflection on the nature of love and our relationship with God. God gives us gifts; we must receive them and give them back. Only when we accept grace freely and give it away will we live in a proper relationship with God.

Mar 10, 2013
The More
00:15:11

There are moments in life when we sense that there is something more real, important and enduring than anything we normally experience. The story of the Transfiguration is a moment when The More breaks through. In these moments we feel God’s presence strongly, and we must be awake when these breakthroughs happen.

Feb 24, 2013
The Wedding Banquet that Overflows with Wine
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We begin Ordinary Time with the wedding at Cana, a rich, spiritual story with great implications for the Church. Both weddings and wine are consistently used symbols in scripture, and each is utilized to a powerful degree to explain the Incarnation, grace, the Sacraments, and the fulfillment of God’s love for us.

Jan 20, 2013
A New Ark for a New Covenant
00:15:10

The greatest and most revered of Israel’s kings was David. It is from the family of David that the Messiah would come into the world and to the surprise of Israel and of the world, the Messiah who is born from the House of David, is the God of Israel himself! Mary, the Mother of God, is therefore to be likened to a new Ark of the Covenant, for in her womb, the God of Israel dwells and makes himself not only Israel’s Messiah, but in wonder of the Incarnation, he becomes for us a new and everlasting covenant.

Dec 23, 2012
Look to the Son of Man
00:14:42

At the start of this new liturgical year, we hear Luke’s account of Jesus speaking about the end to all we believe to be permanent - the earth, the sky and order will all be disrupted. This isn’t meant to scare us, but to remind us of what is permanent, on what we can depend. Jesus is the link to this stability and truth, and in this realization we may find unending peace.

Dec 02, 2012
True Kingship
00:15:11

At the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. But Christ’s kingship is different from any with which we’re familiar - his kingdom “does not belong to this world.” His kingship doesn’t demand violence, but truth. Following him brings us closer to God’s grace.

Nov 25, 2012
The Good News of the Apocalypse
00:15:06

Today’s readings deal with the end of time and the great cosmic battle. In the Gospels, Christ fights against the powers of darkness, defeats them through the Resurrection, and brings His people together.

Nov 18, 2012
Hear, O Israel
00:15:07

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the most sacred prayer in the Jewish tradition, the “Sh’ma”. In the Gospel, when asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus, a pious Jew, recites this prayer from the book of Deuteronomy. Listen as I explicate this central and decisive statement of Biblical faith.

Nov 04, 2012
Seeing the World Anew
00:15:14

This Sunday’s Gospel presents the extraordinary story of Christ’s healing Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is blind. Christ gives him not only the ability to see the world, but to see the world anew through the revelation of his Grace. The Christian way of life is best described as a new way of seeing and it is through this vision, illuminated by the light of Christ, that we are invited to know and see the world as God in Christ intends.

Oct 28, 2012
True Ambition
00:14:35

In today’s Gospel, the apostles James and John ask Jesus to be given positions of glory in Christ’s kingdom. Jesus reminds us that His moment of glory is His death on the Cross, and that if we want to partake in this glory we must commit to a self-sacrificing love, not a self aggrandizing ambition.

Oct 21, 2012
Envy and Ambition
00:15:16

The danger of jealousy and envy is that it is as much damaging to others as it is to ourselves. When we are envious, or even ambitious for the purpose of outdoing others, it knocks us off our center and we lose our orientation toward Christ. To his disciples, Jesus presented the model of a child - one who thrives under authority, strives for obedience, and lives in the present. Envy lives in the past and the future, but God’s grace is available now.

Sep 23, 2012
The Dilemma of the Law
00:15:10

One of the great tensions in the spiritual life is between loving the law and being free of the law. I argue in this homily that learning to swing a golf club is a very good analogy in this regard. Listen and find out why.

Sep 02, 2012
Really, Truly, and Substantially Present
00:15:12

The Lord Jesus is not speaking metaphorically about eating his flesh and drinking his blood - he has come to make of his own Body and Blood real food and drink. This revelation was and continues to be a stumbling block for many, but the faithful accept the mystery of the gift of Christ’s Real Presence that is given to the Church in the Blessed Sacrament.

Aug 26, 2012
The Word of God Made Flesh
00:14:22

Today’s Gospel comes again from the sixth chapter of John. Here Christ discusses the necessity and reality of the Eucharist as the Word of God made Flesh.

Aug 19, 2012
The Bread of Life, The Body of Christ
00:15:50

Today’s readings are from First Kings and the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Our passage for this weekend discusses the Eucharist as the necessary antidote for spiritual exhaustion. We all need the Body of Christ to nourish our souls and keep us in communion with God.

Aug 12, 2012
The Twelve and the New Israel
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This week, Mark relays the story of Jesus giving the Twelve Apostles their “marching orders,” the instructions on how they would go out and spread the word to the world. Notably, he tells them to go “two by two,” laying the foundation for the communal nature of the Church. They are to bring nothing but the simple tools to keep them moving forward, and they are be resolute in fighting the demons of the world-injustice, corruption and dysfunction. These were as much instructions for the Apostles as they are instructions for us to fulfill the mission of the Church today.

Jul 15, 2012
A Thorn in the Flesh: Why We Suffer
00:15:04

Saint Paul conveys a unique and powerful perspective on suffering. What he called a “thorn in the flesh,” was a suffering so great that it burdened him, prompted him to beg God for relief. But it is in this sort of suffering that we most acutely understand God’s love. When all falls away, we have him, we cling to him and we are saved. And when we bear suffering leveled by others and offer it to Christ, we absorb it, we take it out of circulation, and ease the burden for others.

Jul 08, 2012
Faith and the Law
00:15:11

The Book of Leviticus outlines laws, practices and directives of things, people and animals that are unclean and shouldn’t be touched. But Jesus decisively touches the unclean, allows himself to be touched, and sets about a new course for those who follow him. The new laws ask followers to believe in him, trust in him, and become a part of his community.

Jul 01, 2012
He Must Increase and I Must Decrease
00:15:08

John the Baptist is one of the most important figures in Christianity, and provides a window into the tradition of the Jewish priesthood and the historical context of the day. John chose the river Jordan to baptize, a conscious move to display the forgiveness of sins against the backdrop of the Jewish history of Exodus and liberation. Yet while he was baptizing in the desert, likely an exercise in protest of the corruption in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was heralding the coming of Christ, one who will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jun 24, 2012
The New Temple
00:15:02

To truly understand the significance of the Mass, we must understand the importance of blood sacrifice to Judaism in Jesus’ time. On Yom Kippur, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sacrifice a goat, upon which he would symbolically place the sins of the people, and a sheep. The blood would then be sprinkled around the sacred space and over the people. Jesus offering his body and blood at the Last Supper was a deliberate extension-fulfillment-of this offering. He was the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat, upon which the temple is rebuilt-upon which reconciliation is offered.

Jun 10, 2012
Life Lived in the Spirit
00:15:15

The Holy Spirit thrives on the actions we take and decisions we make out of love, joy, peace, patience and more. These aren’t abstract ideas that result in an internal satisfaction, they have concrete ramifications, rippling out into the world and affecting real, good change. When we choose light over darkness, participate in the sacraments, the Holy Spirit fill us.

Jun 03, 2012
Living the Flesh, Living the Spirit
00:15:13

St. Paul illuminates what it means to live in the Holy Spirit, acting and living out of love, and what it means to live outside of it, acting and living out of selfishness, hatred, immorality and impurity. Every step we take to deny the forces outside of the Spirit affirms our home inside of it. And the more we live inside the Spirit, the closer we are to the Kingdom of God.

May 27, 2012
Seated at the Right Hand of the Father
00:15:02

Jesus was the meeting of heaven and earth. His Ascension returned him to God in order to reign as the world’s new king, and his orders to the disciples to build his church were to be done with his leadership and assistance. And this is our mission - much like that of the disciples - finding what it is that Christ wants us to do to continue to build his church.

May 20, 2012
Love Both Conditional and Unconditional
00:15:05

We are often mistaken in thinking that we have to love God in order for God to love us. That’s not the case. God doesn’t need our love; his love for us is unconditional. But in order to get more out of God’s love, we have to give it away. The more we give, the more we have - “a delightful stream of grace” that spreads joy among us.

May 13, 2012
Resurrection and the Forgiveness of Sins
00:15:09

St. Peter’s impassioned sermon in the temple precincts condemned the people for killing the “author of life”, but further explains that Jesus’ resurrection means that he is forgiving the people for their sin. His return heralds his rescuing us, if we let him. We are inseparable from God’s love, and will be forgiven for our sins.

Apr 22, 2012
Life in the Church
00:15:07

The resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples, fearful they were to be targeted next, to deliver a message of peace with a mission. This is the mission of the Church, to proceed in spreading the news about Christ imbued with the life-affirming, sin-forgiving power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a mission that will connect us to God.

Apr 15, 2012
The Return of the King
00:15:03

Entering Holy Week, we see numerous stirring examples of Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. From the direction he enters Jerusalem to his mode of transport, we find again and again how he is the one intended to reclaim the temple and prove to the world that he is indeed the son of God, chosen to save us through his revolutionary example of love and forgiveness.

Apr 01, 2012
Listen to Him
00:15:12

One of the most unsettling accounts in the Bible, that of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son, ironically shows His goodness and love for us. If we put our faith in God, if we listen to God, if we obey God, we will be rewarded. A few of Jesus’ disciples witnessed it with the Transfiguration, and we too can witness it if we trust in God’s will for us, if we have faith.

Mar 04, 2012
Jesus Among the Angels and Beasts
00:15:02

Lent begins with a passage about Noah and flood. It’s representative of not only sin, but of God’s good grace. It’s also a fitting entree into Jesus’ journey into the desert, also symbolic of sin, and how his presence there infuses a forgotten, desolate place with life and goodness. When we are racked with sin, it is Christ who can infuse us with life and goodness.

Feb 26, 2012
I Am Doing Something New!
00:15:10

This Sunday’s Gospel tells the story of the paralytic man whom Jesus forgave and commanded to walk. Paralysis is an effective allegory for sin-how it traps and immobilizes us. God’s desire for us is movement, for his love can shatter our paralysis and free us from our sinful past. God is not a “no”, but a resounding “Yes.”

Feb 19, 2012
All Are One in God
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The leper in Mark’s gospel, a feared presence to the ancient Israelites, is made clean by Jesus’ benevolent touch. A connection is formed, to each other, to God, that reminds us all of the comforting power of communion, the healing nature of our Creator.

Feb 12, 2012
He Speaks With Authority
00:15:08

In Mark’s gospel, we see find Jesus exorcising an unclean spirit from a man in the temple, doing so as both the messenger and the message. Jesus unites the divided, purges the false, and fulfills the teachings. He is the authority - the truth - we seek.

Jan 29, 2012
The Spiritual Drama of Jonah
00:15:02

A divine calling, whether the meaning is revealed in this life or the next, always requires our biblical heroes to do more than they feel they are capable. But all of us must answer, regardless of the call. Jonah provides a very “human” example of how difficult the work may be, and how the result might not be what we anticipate, but that it is always worthwhile and reflects God’s will that we enact the purpose that brings our life to its proper fulfillment.

Jan 22, 2012
Staying With the Lord
00:15:10

When we witness something beautiful, something important, we desire to share it with others, just as St. John did when he said to his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God” - and just as those disciples did when they spread the good news of the Messiah. We quest to know God, to follow God, but more important is God’s quest for us and our willingness to heed his call.

Jan 15, 2012
Herod and the Magi
00:15:03

Herod sees all from the confines of his ego, trying to make the world conform to his plans. The Magi look outside of themselves, looking for an order that they will conform to. By focusing their attention away from themselves, they are spiritually liberated to follow the star of Bethlehem. This is the liberation that Christ grants us. He allows us to escape the jail cell of our egos to join the liberating current of his love, leading us closer to eternal life.

Jan 08, 2012
In the Beginning was the Word
00:15:07

The Prologue of the Gospel of John sums up the whole of the Christian message. It tells the story of a re-creation through the Word made flesh. All will be restored to union with the Godhead. This is the good news Christians continue to proclaim.

Dec 25, 2011
Adam, David, and Jesus
00:15:05

Adam had a kingly mission. However, he became a bad king. David was meant to restore kingship to its proper form. However, he failed too. But Christ, the Lord, is the King who sets everything aright and restores creation. His kingdom rivals all others.

Dec 18, 2011
Language Fit for a King
00:15:15

Fr. Barron comments on the new Roman Missal. This new translation is more fit for the celebration of the liturgy because it helps us address Christ in language befitting a King.

Nov 20, 2011
The Great Spiritual Law
00:15:09

The great spiritual law is the law of the gift. Although counter-intuitive, it is the way of the Spirit. Giving your life away for love increases life within you. You partake in the flow of the divine life. Hence, happiness is found in loving acts.

Nov 13, 2011
Three Tasks of the Church
00:15:06

Christ calls us to worship the Father, teach and evangelize in his name, and serve and care for him in the poor. The Church is the Body through, in and with which we do these things. But the meaning of this all is placing God at the center of our lives.

Oct 23, 2011
The Wedding Feast
00:15:12

Jesus tells the story of a King who is inviting people to the wedding banquet for his Son. Some ignore it. Some actively kill the messengers. But this does not deter the King from inviting all to the banquet. Listen to the invitation of the Lord and actively respond to it. That is a decision you will not regret.

Oct 09, 2011
Parable of the Tenants
00:15:03

The parable of the tenants is an allegory that presents the relationship of Israel to Christ, but more than this it reveals a necessary truth about the spiritual life: that we are “tenants” in regards to the gifts that God has given us, and when we construe our relationship to God’s gifts as being that of “owners”, rather than “tenants”, the consequences can be quite dire.

Oct 02, 2011
Let Go Rather than Grasp
00:14:50

The magnificent hymn in the Letter to the Philippians reveals that at the heart of the Gospel is the mystery that the Lord Jesus did not grasp or cling to the prerogatives that properly belonged to him as God, but emptied his divine glory into our humanity so that we might share in his divine life.

Sep 25, 2011
Seeing the World from God’s Perspective
00:14:59

Sometimes Christ does not seem fair. The Parable of the Day Laborers evokes this sense of injustice. Those who do not work as long and hard as the others get the same reward. However, Christ wants us to move beyond our sense of justice and see all according to love, God’s perspective. Gratitude for the gift transforms our natural disposition to judge who deserves what into a disposition of thanksgiving.

Sep 18, 2011
The Gates of Hell
00:14:53

In the eyes of the world, the Christian way of being is strange. All Christians are called out of the world and into a new way: Christ’s way. Christians must be very clear about how they are different from the world and confidently proclaim it. They must stop trying to fit into the ways of the world and rather tell the world to conform to Christ. Christ will break down the Gates of Hell and invade all that resist his Love.

Aug 21, 2011
The Little Ones
00:15:01

The purpose of Jesus’ teachings is that we allow the divine life to surge through us so that we become transformed in Christ, making us more like Him. All our knowledge should serve this end. However, some learned people can use their knowledge to puff up their egos and put others down. The “Little Ones” are the people whose entire life is about helping others participate in the divine life so they may fully flourish.

Jul 03, 2011
The God Who Is Love
00:14:49

God is Trinity. He is fundamentally a relationship: a lover, a beloved and the love between them. In other words, God is a complete openness and receptivity to the other. He is love. Now, we believe we are made in the image of God. Thus, we become fully alive to the degree that we imitate God.

Jun 19, 2011
The Spirit of Power and of Truth
00:14:51

The Scriptures for this Sunday offer some glimpse of the Holy Spirit in advance of the great feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is the heavenly grace that enlivens the Church in all aspects of its mission.

May 29, 2011
The Co-Inherence of the Mystical Body
00:15:13

No man is an island. One of the messages of the Gospel is that all reality is interconnected. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. How organic the Bible is! This view of reality is the exact opposite of the American individualism that currently pervades our culture.

May 22, 2011
The Shepherd’s Voice
00:15:02

God speaks to us in many ways, especially though the conscience. Since God is a Person, his voice will reach our consciences and lure us to conform our lives to the life of his Son, Jesus Christ. In addition to listening to Christ thought the scriptures, through the teachings of the Church, through the lives of the saints, and through the liturgy, listen to Him speaking to your conscience. He will set you free.

May 15, 2011
The Road to Emmaus
00:14:53

Like the two disciples walking towards Emmaus, a symbol of worldly power and security, and away from Jerusalem, the center of sacrifice, we need to be stopped in our tracks. Christ appears to them, but they do not recognize him. They do not recognize him because they are walking the wrong way. The recognition of the pattern of Christ’s life does come until the Eucharistic act which presents the pattern of sacrificial love. Then they immediately go back to Jerusalem, the place of suffering love.

May 08, 2011
The Risen Christ in the Midst of His Church
00:14:52

Jesus has come to bring us the divine life. Under his influence we become peaceful, unafraid, evangelizing, and forgiving. Through the Church, saints are made. This is because Christ is at the very center of the Church.

May 01, 2011
He Is Risen!
00:14:57

Our first reading for this Easter day is Peter’s great kerygmatic speech on Pentecost morning. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter addresses the Jerusalem crowd, telling them the impossibly good news that Jesus of Nazareth, a man who moved through their ordinary towns and villages, has been raised from the dead. The Easter faith of the Church is not an abstraction, not a vague claim about God’s fidelity or our hope for immortality. Rather, it is the startling assertion that God has brought this man Jesus back from the dead. May we bask in the glow of this still surprising revelation.

Apr 24, 2011
Lazarus and the Power of Death
00:14:55

Death is not a condition God desires for us . Rather, God wants us to have life. However, death is a reality; but it is not the final word. Christ is the final Word - namely, the life-giving Word. Christ brings Lazarus back to life. He desires to do the same for us.

Apr 10, 2011
Coming to Spiritual Vision
00:14:52

The healing of a man blind from birth is an archetypal story of coming to spiritual vision. Sin prevents us from seeing clearly. Christ is the light and he wants us to walk in his light. But we resist. Fortunately, if we stop resisting, Christ will enable us, like Adam in Eden, to walk in easy fellowship with God.

Apr 03, 2011
One Who Is Greater Than Our Father Jacob
00:14:54

The story of Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan woman is a kind of template by which we can understand our own encounter with the Lord.

Mar 27, 2011
Seek Ye First
00:14:58

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given to you.” Make God the center of your life, and you will be spiritually ordered in Christ’s image. If you make wealth and security your center, you will be empty. You make the choice: will God be your center?

Feb 27, 2011
Be Perfect
00:14:45

Jesus calls us to love. But few consider the radical nature of this calling. It entails loving the other, even our enemies, regardless of the response of the one who is loved. If you fail, and you often will, turn to God for the grace to live out this strange way of Christ.

Feb 20, 2011
Preaching the Radical Word
00:14:40

Like a good healer, Jesus has not come simply to behaviorally modify us; he has come to heal us at the root of our being, eradicating all dysfunction from our most basic core.

Feb 13, 2011
Blessed Are We
00:14:47

The Beatitudes reveal the true path of joy is found not in grasping at power but in the willing surrender to God’s mysterious grace.

Jan 30, 2011
Following the Lord
00:14:47

All of us want to live to the fullest. However, most of us never find the one thing that will inspire us to dedicate our whole lives to it. It is amazing to hear of how the first people who responded to Christ dedicated their whole lives to him. Their encounter with Christ sent them on a path they never dreamed of. Paradoxically, this path was marked by great joy and suffering; but, nevertheless, they lived life to the fullest.

Jan 23, 2011
Paul’s Opening Words to the Corinthians
00:14:50

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he highlights the beauty of baptism and how it sweeps the baptized person into God’s great theo-drama. God calls us out of the world of our narrow egos to partake in his redeeming plan of love of which the Church is the vehicle. Follow Christ, and peace will be given to you.

Jan 16, 2011
Herod and Joseph
00:14:47

It seems as if those in worldly power rule the day. King Herod tyrannically ruled his territory, making sure he was always the most powerful. Any apparent threat to his power was quickly squashed. Herod represents all who assert themselves over and against others. He seeks the death of the other. Joseph represents those who support the other and do not see Him as a threat. By basing themselves in God, other people are not threats but brothers and sisters. Christianity will always be foolish to those who aspire to power.

Dec 26, 2010
Ahaz, Isaiah, and Joseph
00:14:52

The problem with our world is that most people do not dream big. In experiencing hardship, we have a tendency to assume the worst, thinking narrowly. The Biblical vision is the opposite of this. Biblical figures see the world through the infinite possibility of God - based in their faith in the Lord. Ahaz refused to be surprised by God’s possibility. Isaiah was ready to be surprised. This confidence in God allowed him to dream big.

Dec 19, 2010
The Virtue of Hope
00:14:46

Hope is not this-worldly optimism. In fact, from a purely natural perspective, pessimism is the right attitude. Hope is that supernatural virtue which orders our desire toward heaven and the things of heaven. What Isaiah talks about in our first reading is not an expectation that will be realized here below, but only in a transfigured world on high.

Dec 12, 2010
The Bracing Figure of John the Baptist
00:14:57

The first step in the spiritual life is simple: you must see your life not as your own project but as a vehicle for God’s purposes. However, we are all absorbed in our own lives, forgetting that the road to God is one of self-forgetfulness. This disposition helps us to focus on Christ and his mission. But in order for us to do this we must be cleansed of all attachments and baptized in the fiery love of God.

Dec 05, 2010
God’s Holy Mountain
00:14:51

Thomas Merton once wrote, “Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. And he is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God.” Only when we are in communion with God will we be in communion with ourselves and our fellowman. This simple formula summarizes Israel’s mission of gathering all peoples in right praise to God on Mt. Zion. Although the world is divided in countless ways, Israel’s gathering mission is realistic because Christ, the Messiah, is Lord, and all things will be gathered in himself. For this we wait in joyful hope.

Nov 28, 2010
Christ the King
00:14:56

Our first reading for Mass this Sunday is taken from the opening chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. There is no stronger statement of the absolute primacy, centrality, and importance of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament. Jesus, Paul tells us, is the beginning and the end, the icon of the invisible God, the one in whom all things exist and for whom they are destined. And then the Gospel shows us this cosmic King nailed to the cross. This wonderful irony is at the heart of the Christian proclamation: the King of the Universe is a crucified criminal, who utterly spends himself in love.

Nov 21, 2010
What Remains?
00:14:55

All things pass away. Political and religious institutions, the family, bodily health; nothing lasts. Everything dies. So often we seek our fulfillment and salvation in these things. But Christ is telling us not to. He is telling us to seek the one thing that will last: Himself. So long as we cling to Him will our lives be secure. He is the rock of our salvation.

Nov 14, 2010
Eternal Life
00:14:56

Today’s Gospel reading tells us about the Sadducees trying to lead Jesus into a ridiculous conclusion. To them the Jewish teaching on marriage seems irrational. However, Jesus shows us that not everything that appears cloudy to our intellect is sub-rational. Rather, some times it may be supra-rational - beyond the finite intellect - making it rational, but the rationality of another dimension. The claims of Faith may not be comprehensible to our intellects now, but we believe that they will once we are in his eternal presence.

Nov 07, 2010
Salvation Has Come to This House
00:14:55

Zacchaeus is a man who has wandered far from God. But, often enough, people like Zacchaeus come back, again and again, to God because they cannot eliminate their hunger for Him. Once they open themselves to Christ he places himself in the most intimate parts of themselves, living there. Christ does not enter just a fragment of your life; he enters the whole thing! This is salvation. Let Christ shake and transform you.

Oct 31, 2010
Finding Justification
00:14:57

Religion serves a unitive purpose. In uniting the person to God, religion unites people together. However, many religious people forget religion’s purpose. They like to puff up their egos, reveling in their ability to live according to the Law. Seeing themselves as better than the rest, they forget that grace only comes to those who realize they are sinners. The tax collector, realizing he is a sinful man, does not focus on himself, but focuses his gaze and hunger on God - the source of salvation. Justification comes to those who do likewise.

Oct 24, 2010
Moses and Amalek
00:14:47

The church militant is the church at war with all the destructive powers that want to undermine its unity. The Israelites battle the people of Amalek, a battle that symbolizes the spiritual warfare that each of us, as members of the church, personally undergoes. There is no escaping this reality, and so we must fight. But our fighting is unusual: we fight with peacemaking, forgiveness, education, etc. Our fighting is only sustained through prayer and the prayers of others. Please pray that the Church is strengthened in its fight against evil in the world.

Oct 17, 2010
Naaman the Syrian
00:14:54

From the worldly perspective, the worst thing a powerful person can do is admit his/her weaknesses to others. If done so, the person loses his/her position of power. Naaman the Syrian, a man of power, is an example of humility. He does not let embarrassment stand in the way of admitting to his weakness. By doing so, he is healed and offers right praise to God. Like Naaman, admitting one’s weaknesses is the first step to proper worship.

Oct 10, 2010
Rich Man, Poor Man
00:14:57

Most of us find the homeless to be unnerving and annoying, telling ourselves not to give them money because they might use it for drinks or drugs. But think of the story of Lazarus and the rich man, and did they have different fates! Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s bosom and the rich man to the nether world, where he was tormented. The torment for the rich man began by locking himself in his narrow ego, going against his calling to give. As Catholic social teaching remind us, we cannot remain indifferent to the poor. They must always be taken into consideration or else we go to hell.

Sep 26, 2010
A Warning Bell in the Night
00:14:57

Most of us spur into action when we believe that our financial state is in dire straits. Why don’t we act in the same way in regards to our spiritual state? Today people need the same spiritual concern that people had in the past. They need to want to establish a relationship with God, that which is of paramount importance. So wake up, and place God at the center of your life!

Sep 19, 2010
Logic of Justice, Logic of Grace
00:14:45

The God Jesus describes does not operate according to the same logic we do. In fact, He seems to be crazy. If God is supposed to be like the Shepherd who abandons the ninety-nine to find the lost one and the woman who diligently searches her whole house for a penny, then he must be crazy. But that is not so. God operates according to the logic of grace, defying our logic of justice. Being a Christian is learning how to operate according to God’s logic.

Sep 12, 2010
The Hopeful Vision of Mass
00:14:45

The Letter to the Hebrews is a sustained reflection on the Mass as the source and summit of the Christian life and the pivot around which history turns. Writing from a developed understanding the Temple, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews shows how Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is the sacrifice that has and will restore the communion between God and creation. As a re-presentation of this act, the Mass makes present to us our final destiny: communion with God through Christ.

Aug 29, 2010
The Narrow Gate
00:14:40

To gain eternal life is to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It is to walk the path of love, surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to flow through you to the wider world. Is this an easy task? No. The Gospel of Luke tells reminds us that the gate is narrow precisely because it is in the very shape of Jesus Himself, and entrance through the gate involves conformity to his state of being. The path of love is traveled by taking up one’s cross every day.

Aug 22, 2010
Mary the Warrior
00:14:41

In contrast to our conventional view of the Virgin Mary as a shrinking violet, the book of Revelation presents her as a warrior who has brought into the world a new way of dealing with worldly power: Christ (i.e. Love itself). If we do not approach the world as a battlefield between love and violence, we will become spiritually blind. But the Virgin Mary, as warrior, helps us see this reality while assuring us that her Son has already conquered.

Aug 15, 2010
Giving and Receiving
00:14:53

In the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Christ assures us not to be afraid. Fear is a spiritual state that causes us not to trust in the lordship of God and to play master of our lives. However, with the awareness that God has given all to us, we’ll realize that we are basically a gift. Gifts are meant to be given, so confidently give yourself away. Do not fear that you will become nothing by giving yourself away for by doing this the divine life fills you anew.

Aug 08, 2010
To Have and To Be
00:14:59

Maturity comes in facing the reality of death and the transient nature of the world. In this regard, the Book of Ecclesiastes is full of wisdom: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”; Everyone who thinks they are going to find their happiness in possessing the goods of the world will eventually have to face the truth that they will not. All passes away. Therefore, spend your time building a good spiritual disposition for you never know when your life will be demanded of you. My advice: devote yourself to love.

Aug 01, 2010
Martha, Mary, and the Attitude of Discipleship
00:14:46

Although the little story of Martha and Mary has been interpreted throughout the centuries as a parable dealing with the “active” and “contemplative” approach to the spiritual life, it can be read as Christ’s invitation to all people to partake in his inner circle of discipleship. Christ overturned the social conventions of his time by summoning all people to discipleship. Thus, we must remove all barriers to discipleship for all people.

Jul 18, 2010
Hearing the Voice of God
00:14:46

During the 20th century, moral relativism was in vogue in elite cultural circles, but now it is the dominant moral outlook of the broader culture. Against this, C.S. Lewis argued for “the universality and inescapability of the moral law.” Although there are subtle moral differences between cultures, if we look close enough, we can discern fundamental moral agreements. The Catholic tradition says that this moral bedrock is a reflection of the Eternal Law in the mind of God. It is the voice of God within us. Listen to that voice.

Jul 11, 2010
Being American, Being Catholic
00:14:54

We Americans embrace freedom. However, a proper understanding of freedom must inform our celebration of it. In both classical philosophy and the Bible, “freedom is not so much individual choice as the disciplining of desire so as to make the achievement of the good, first possible, then effortless.” This freedom may seem confining, but it is actually liberating for it aligns oneself to the truth. In Christ, by whom we are created equal in dignity, we become free. As Catholics, we can embrace America’s protection of equal rights, but we must be critical of modern interpretations of freedom.

Jul 04, 2010
Elisha and the Nature of True Freedom
00:14:54

Freedom is not self-determination, but finding and doing what God wants you to do. Biblical figures did not choose their God-given role; God chose it for them. Thus, in order for us to fulfill our mission perfectly we have to get rid of all obstacles to freely following Christ. This means that we have to get rid of all that prevents us from perfectly loving God, neighbor, and self.

Jun 27, 2010
Sin and Grace
00:15:01

The Gospel present two tales of sin and grace, Christ’s encounter with a repentant woman and the parable of the two debtors. Both illuminate for us not only the necessity of personal conversion, but our willingness to forgive those who have sinned.

Jun 13, 2010
The Sacrifice that Makes Saints
00:14:59

The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.

Jun 06, 2010
God Has Spoken
00:14:56

Karl Barth said, “The central claim of Christianity is that God has spoken.” The uniqueness of this claim has lead Christians to refer to God as a Trinity. The Trinity denotes God as speaker, the Word spoken (i.e. Christ) and the interpreter of the Word (i.e. Holy Spirit). It is always better to have the author interpret his word for you when reading his works. This is how the Church understands the Holy Spirit in helping her understand God’s Word.

May 30, 2010
The Guidance of the Holy Spirit
00:15:07

The first reading for this Sunday, taken from the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is about the Council of Jerusalem that allowed Gentiles into the Church. This Council, like all councils, is full of disputes. But it must never be forgotten that the Holy Spirit is guiding and directing the Church.

May 09, 2010
A New Heaven and a New Earth
00:14:58

The second reading for this Sunday, taken from the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation, completes the Biblical story. The Bible tells us that the world will be transformed into a new heaven and a new earth through the One who “makes all things new.”

May 02, 2010
The Lordship of Jesus
00:14:48

The first reading for this Sunday, taken from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, recounts the expulsion of Paul and Barnabas from Antioch. Paul’s radical message of the Lordship of Jesus subverts all other power and authority. It is a public proclamation that is a challenge to all.

Apr 25, 2010
The Structure of Discipleship
00:14:53

Our Gospel for today, taken from the wonderful 21st chapter of St. John’s Gospel, is filled with mystical and symbolic allusions. The disciples in the boat are evocative of the church; Jesus on the shore calls to mind the eschatological fulfillment toward which the church is journeying; Peter calls to mind both sinful Adam and the promise of redemption. In all of it, we see a picture of discipleship.

Apr 18, 2010
My Lord and My God
00:14:53

Despite the locked doors, the risen Jesus stands in the midst of the disciples. This is a beautiful icon of the Church, the community gathered around Jesus and filled with his spirit. When the Lord, first appears, Thomas is not there and hence does not believe. Only when he returns to the apostolic circle does he encounter Jesus and make his great confession. This detail reminds us that we see the risen Lord only in the church and through its mediation.

Apr 11, 2010
The Impossibly Good News of Easter
00:15:00

The Church’s Easter proclamation is the strangest message ever delivered: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. His resurrection is not merely a symbolic statement about Christ’s historical importance or the affirmation that his cause goes on. Nor is the resurrection simply about some change in the the apostle’s minds in regards to Christ after his death. The resurrection is about the real body of Jesus.

Apr 04, 2010
Which King? Whose Kingdom?
00:14:57

Today the Church proclaims the Passion of Christ. The story of the Lord’s suffering and death haunted the minds of the first Christians. All the Gospels center around it and find their fulfillment in it. The special emphasis in this years account, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is Christ’s struggle with the false kingdoms of the world.

Mar 28, 2010
All Is Loss
00:14:54

In our second reading for this Sunday, St. Paul lays out his resumé. In terms of the Judaism of his time, Paul was about as accomplished as one could hope to be: he was a defender of the tradition, steeped in the wisdom of his people, and blameless under the law. But after seeing Jesus risen from the dead, Paul said that he counted all of those achievements as loss and refuse. So we, he implies, should not base our lives on our accomplishments, degrees, social status–but rather on Christ crucified and risen.

Mar 21, 2010
The Father and the Sons
00:14:34

The parable of the prodigal son is a portrait of God’s gracious love and two negative responses to that love. Both sons, in their own ways, indicate the disposition of the soul in estrangement from God.

Mar 14, 2010
A Tale of Two Trees
00:14:56

Today’s scriptures present stories of two trees: the burning bush, that represents the reality of a soul that is receptive to God’s presence, and the fig tree, which represents God’s presence resisted and refused.

Mar 07, 2010
Transfigured Prayer
00:14:56

The startling event of the Transfiguration displays a model of prayer. The mountain represents the place of Divine encounter, the radiance of the Lord displays the interior life of the soul in relationship to the Divine life, the conversation with the prophets is a symbol of the communion of saints. All this culminates is a sending forth in mission.

Feb 28, 2010
The True and False Messiah
00:15:03

Today’s Gospel presents the dramatic scene of the Lord Jesus’ confrontation with the evil one. The evil one attempts to frustrate the Lord’s mission by tempting him to become a “false” messiah by succumbing to sensual desire, exercising worldly power, and using the power of God for ego driven purposes. These temptations are intended, not just to frustrate the Lord in his mission, but our own mission as well.

Feb 21, 2010
Whom Will You Trust?
00:14:56

Our life takes shape in relation to that which we are willing to trust. What then is worthy of our trust? Worldly powers can disappoint and will all ultimately fail us. The Scriptures insist that we trust in the Lord’s promises, promises that are proved to be true through the Resurrection of Jesus from dead.

Feb 14, 2010
Shaking the Foundations
00:14:59

Grace shakes us to the foundations, provoking in us a keen awareness of our own sinfulness, and offering us the liberating power of the forgiveness of our sins. Once transformed by God’s grace, we are sent out on mission and through our mission, we share with others the Grace that we have received.

Feb 07, 2010
A Messiah for All the Nations
00:14:50

Today’s scriptures clarify that the mission of the Messiah will not just be for the benefit of Israel, but for all the nations. Through the Jesus the Messiah, the Lord offers all peoples a share in his own divine life.

Jan 31, 2010
Learning Who We Are
00:14:56

The dramatic scene presented in the Book of Nehemiah presents a people who had forgotten their identity and learning, as if for the first time, who they really are. It is the mission of all those who remain invested in the Faith of the Church to give testimony to their brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding all, that in Christ, we have received a unique and wonderful identity- and it is only when we know who we are that will be able to find our purpose and accomplish the mission that Christ has given to us.

Jan 24, 2010
Christ and World Religions
00:14:56

Although Christianity is the fullness of Truth, other religions, to a certain degree, participate in that Truth. The Magi, coming from Gentile cultures, seek the truth and find it in Christ.

Jan 10, 2010
Religion, Science, and the Journey of the Magi
00:14:56

The story of the Magi illuminates important dynamics in the relationship of religious conviction and scientific investigation. There need not be any necessary conflict between the religion and science, as wise men of every age are drawn, not only to investigate the wonders of creation, but to draw closer to Christ, through whom all things have been made.

Jan 03, 2010
Joy Before the Ark of God
00:14:56

The image of John the Baptist leaping in joy in the womb of his mother at the sound of the greeting of the Blessed Virgin Mary hearkens back to the Old Testament image of David, leaping and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. The New Testament is properly understood when one references patterns or events that are described in the Old Testament.

Dec 20, 2009
Be Ready!
00:14:53

The prophecy of Baruch finds its fulfillment in the revelation of Christ, who brings the troubled history of God’s people to its fulfillment and reveals God’s eternal purpose for Jerusalem, the Temple, the Messiah and for Israel itself.

Dec 06, 2009
The End of the World as We Know It
00:14:50

The apocalyptic imagery of this Sunday’s scriptures directs us to appreciate the finite nature of all worldly things and the truth that the only reality that endures in this world of inevitable change and loss is the Lordship of God in Christ.

Nov 29, 2009
There’s a New King in Town
00:15:02

Christ’s kingship cannot be properly understood outside Israel’s expectations for the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth fulfills these expectations, yet in surprising and unexpected ways.

Nov 22, 2009
The Last Battle
00:15:02

The scriptures for this Sunday represent a biblical genre called “apocalyptic”, which means “unveiling” or “revelation.” The extraordinary revelation of these particular scriptures is that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the battle against the fallen powers of heaven and earth has been won and a new age has begun, the age of the Church.

Nov 15, 2009
The Communion of Saints
00:15:02

The magnificent diversity of the Saints indicates to us that we have been called to holiness. Holiness is about more than a kind of humanisn, but a deliberate and sincere discipline of life by which we imitate Christ and accept his presence in all the circumstances of our lives.

Nov 01, 2009
Called From Darkness Into His Light
00:15:02

The story of Bartimeaus is a model of the spiritual journey. The desire for Christ engenders in us spiritual healing, which is delivered in a profound illumination of Christ’s identity, the acceptance of which leads us into the Church.

Oct 25, 2009
The Suffering Servant
00:15:02

This Sunday’s readings highlight the idea of redemptive suffering. The revelation of Christ changes our disposition towards the difficulties of life, filling these experiences with the potential for goodness. In his Incarnation, Christ did not evade the often harsh realities of human experience, but he accepted them, knowing that he would be with us in all things. The challenge for us is that in the face of the inevitable challenges of life is this: will we accept hardship as an occasion to grow in holiness and deepen our relationship with the Lord.

Oct 18, 2009
The Necessity of Spiritual Heroism
00:15:02

Today’s Gospel identifies the spiritual itinerary of discipleship, the movement from living out the Faith in accord with merely what is basic and the challenge of applying oneself to the demands of spiritual heroism. Christ does not let us remain comfortable with what amounts to only an adequate response to his call, he asks for more, and our relationship with him is expressed in our response.

Oct 11, 2009
The Theology of Marriage
00:15:02

Marriage is not just some secular act or social arrangement. Rather, it is brought about by God for God’s purposes. Marriage is properly understood, first and foremost, as a theological act. The purpose and meaning of marriage is revealed in the mystery of God’s own life (the Trinity) , in God’s relationship to creation, and in Christ’s relationship with the Church.

Oct 04, 2009
The Way of the One
00:15:00

Peter’s magnificent confession of faith in the Lord Jesus illuminates, not only his divine identity, but it provides for us a great spiritual lesson in regards to how necessary it is to curtail the self striving of the ego in its need comfort and glory. In this regard, Christ invites, not only Peter, but all of us, into a new way of being in which negation of the ego and the practice of self denial enable us to grow in our capacity for love.

Sep 13, 2009
You Gotta Serve Somebody
00:15:36

The Book of Joshua provokes us to consider one of the most important questions of the spiritual life- whom will you serve? Will it be the Lord or some other concern? Making something finite the ultimate concern of one’s life is a grave spiritual predicament. Only is the Lord is ultimate and it is only when we recognize this truth that the other concerns of our life can be properly ordered and become spiritually fruitful.

Aug 23, 2009
Remaining Attentive to the Lord
00:15:41

The first reading for this Sunday is taken from the Old Testament Book of Kings. In this reading we are introduced to the Prophet Elijah, who is nearing the end of his mission. This particular scripture has much wisdom to share with us in regards to our own passage through the mid point of our lives and the necessity of remaining attentive to the Lord and open to his purposes.

Aug 09, 2009
A New Shepherd; A New Kingdom
00:15:39

We should never seek our final security in the things that worldly rulers and kings can provide. It is only through the shepherding of Christ that we find our way to good pasture.

Jul 19, 2009
The Way of the Prophet
00:15:39

If you walk the path of the prophet, you will abandon your own “career” and learn to follow the promptings of the Spirit. Also, you will be opposed. Once you accept and internalize those two lessons, you are ready to be a bearer of God’s word.

Jul 12, 2009
Corpus Christi
00:15:40

The Eucharist is the holy meal that God wants to share with his people. It is also the sacrifice that makes that meal possible in the midst of a fallen world. To understand the eucharist, we have to keep these two dimensions in mind.

Jun 14, 2009
The Center of Our Faith
00:15:40

The Trinity is not simply a theological connundrum for scholars to fuss about. It stands at the very heart of our faith, since it expresses the fact that God is love. Our whole salvation depends on this great truth.

Jun 07, 2009
Feast of the Ascension
00:15:40

The Ascension of the Lord empowers the Church to fulfill its messianic mission: to gather the nations of the world into a relationship with the God of Israel.

May 24, 2009
The Vine and the Branches
00:15:30

The image of the vine and the branches indicates that our relationship with Christ is greater than that of merely a teacher to his students. Instead, we are related to him on all levels of our existence because Christ is the eternal Logos through whom all things are made.

May 10, 2009
Resurrection and Metanoia
00:15:31

The readings for today effect a correlation between the resurrection of Jesus and conversion. The biblical word for conversion is “metanoia” which has the sense of “going beyond the mind that you have.” What would it be like to move from a death-haunted consciousness to resurrection-haunted one? It would involve a conversion.

Apr 26, 2009
Resurrection and the Love of This World
00:15:43

From the time of Marx, Feuerbach and Freud, we’ve heard the critique that religion is a wish-fulfilling fantasy, a game of “pie in the sky when you die.” The readings for this second Sunday of Easter give the lie to this criticism, for they show how those who were convinced of Jesus’ resurrection were also deeply commited to a more just society.

Apr 19, 2009
The Resurrection of Jesus is Not a Myth
00:15:38

There are some debunkers of religion around today who want us to believe that the story of the resurrection is just another iteration of the myth of the dying and rising god that can be found in many ancient cultures. Nothing could be further from the truth. A careful reading of the Easter accounts shows that they have to do with a very particular, historical individual and with a very particular, unrepeatable event.

Apr 12, 2009
Dealing With the Mess
00:15:36

Life is grim. It is marked by conflict, division, inextricably difficult situations. And brooding over all of it is the fact of death. How do we deal with this mess? We can’t, but God can. In Christ, he takes on the dysfunction and sin of the world and takes it away through the divine mercy. Walk through the Passion narrative with this idea in mind.

Apr 05, 2009
Planting the Law Within Us
00:15:41

Jeremiah 31:31contains the great prophecy that the Lord will one day place his law within our hearts. In the Old Testament, God’s law was written on stone and often appreciated as an imposition, a burden. But Jesus is the Law incarnate, the Torah made flesh. Therefore, when we eat his body and drink his blood, we take the law into our hearts, and thus we realize the prophecy of Jeremiah.

Mar 29, 2009
Reading the Signs of the Times
00:15:34

How do we know what’s going on? How do we read the signs of the times? We could do so politically, sociologically, culturally, or economically. But the Bible insists that the world should be read theologically. What precisely is God doing and why? This sermon is about how to do this.

Mar 22, 2009
The Ten Commandments
00:15:44

Scott Hahn refers to these famous laws as ‘our declaration of dependence.’ They teach us how to center our lives radically around God and his demands. They signal our total dependence upon the Lord. How wonderful that we meditate on them in the midst of Lent.

Mar 15, 2009
The Terrible Aqedah
00:15:44

The story of the Aqedah, the Binding of Isaac, haunted the Israelite religious imagination. In it is contained one of the most important spiritual lessons in the Bible: everything we are and everything we have belongs, finally, to God. Knowing this is our liberation.

Mar 08, 2009
Get on the Ark
00:15:30

As Lent commences, we are given the great image of Noah’s Ark. This story is not just a charming tale that we tell to the kids; in it is contained the whole message of salvation, if we but know how to decipher the symbolism.

Mar 01, 2009
God’s Great Yes
00:28:59

Paul tells us that with Jesus Christ it was never yes and no, but only yes. This means that in Jesus all the promises made to Israel have come true. I will tell you why this great Yes of Jesus still matters for us.

Feb 22, 2009
Becoming Fit for Worship
00:15:45

In our Gospel for today, a leper comes to Jesus and asks to be healed. He is suffering, not only from a physical malady, but from ritual uncleanness, rendering him incapable of worship. Jesus the Messiah has come to gather the scattered tribes of Israel to the worship of the true God and so he reaches out to the leper. That same Christ seeks to gather so many of us who have wandered away from the worship of the true God.

Feb 15, 2009
A Prophet Like Moses
00:15:40

Moses promised that a prophet like himself would one day arise among the Israelites and that he would have the very authority of God. It is precisely this authority that Jesus claims. And this is why, in his regard, we have to make a choice.

Feb 01, 2009
The Time of Fulfillment
00:14:37

We hear in today’s Gospel Jesus’ inaugural address. He tells us that the time of fulfillment is now. This means that the whole of Israelite history is summed up in his person. He is the new Temple, the true prophet, the everlasting covenant, and the definitive Torah. And this means that all people must make a decision about him.

Jan 25, 2009
Epiphany
00:14:33

The feast of Epiphany gives us the occasion to reflect on a distinction that is much in vogue today between spirituality on the one hand and faith on the other. The Magi represent all that is good and true and beautiful in religious seeking. But they come to the tradition of Israel to find the right focus for their spiritual quest.

Jan 04, 2009
What Makes a Family Holy?
00:14:33

The Bible is not particularly sentimental about families. What makes a family holy, as far as the biblical writers are concerned, is its willingness to surrender to the purpose of God. We see this in a number of key figures, including Joseph, Anna, and Simeon.

Dec 28, 2008
Reading the New Testament in Light of the Old
00:14:33

The church fathers saw so clearly that we will never understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. Our readings for this weekend show how the angel’s words to Mary at the annunciation are intelligible only in light of God’s promise made, ten centuries before, to David.

Dec 21, 2008
Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks
00:14:33

In our second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, we hear the strange recommendation to pray always, rejoice in every circumstance, and give thanks at all times. How is this possible? Only when our lives have been radically reconfigured around Jesus Christ.

Dec 14, 2008
Prepare the Way of the Lord
00:14:33

The theme of preparing a highway for the Lord emerges from the time of the exile. When the Babylonian captivity was coming to a close, the prophet Isaiah envisioned God making a highway in the desert to facilitate the return of his people to Jerusalem. From what captivity of ours is God leading us this Advent?

Dec 07, 2008
The Potter and the Clay
00:14:33

Our first reading for this first Sunday of Advent gives us the master image of God as the potter and we, his creatures, as clay. St. Irenaeus said that God’s provident direction of our lives is easy as long as the clay of our hearts remains supple and moist. Trouble comes only when we allow the clay to harden.

Nov 30, 2008
Dedication of St. John Lateran
00:20:39

We celebrate today the feast of the dedication of St. John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church as bishop of Rome. This gives us the occasion to speak of the importance of all church buildings, images of the temple in Jerusalem.

Nov 09, 2008
All Souls Day
00:14:33

Why do we speak of the “soul?” We do so because there is something in us that links us to the eternal. Though the body fades away, the core of the person does not. And therefore, we remain connected to those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. We should pray for them in the hopes that one day we might live in communion with them.

Nov 02, 2008
The Three Tasks of the Church
00:14:33

Pope Benedict has said that the church has three basic jobs: to care for the poor, to evangelize, and to worship. These three are on clear display in our three readings for the weekend.

Oct 26, 2008
Render to Caesar
00:14:52

The Gospel for today raises the famously complex question of the relationship between “religion” and “politics.” Though there is a legitimate distinction between the two, this can never turn into a separation. We should certainly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we must never forget that even Caesar belongs to God.

Oct 19, 2008
The Sacred Banquet
00:14:33

One of the most powerful and enduring symbols of God’s intention toward the world is the sacred banquet. God wants his life to flow into us and through us to one another. The result of this is life and life to the full. The question posed by the Gospel is this: when the invitation to this banquet comes, do we answer yes or no?

Oct 12, 2008
Lessons from the Vineyard
00:14:33

In both the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew, we find the image of the vineyard as a symbol of Israel. As Jesus develops this image, we see both the glory and the tragedy of Israel-as well as the promise that the church will emerge as the bearer of the God of Israel to the nations.

Oct 05, 2008
Old Adam or New Adam
00:14:33

Our second reading contains one of the most precious texts in the Christian tradition, Paul’s description of the mind of Christ. While the old Adam clung to godliness and hence fell, the new Adam let go of his divinity and hence reversed the momentum of the fall. What does it mean to be conformed to God? It means to embrace the path of self-emptying love. Which Adam do we choose? The Old or the New?

Sep 28, 2008
As High as the Heavens
00:14:33

The Biblical manner of dealing with the problem of evil is neither to deny the fact of evil nor the fact of God’s existence. Rather, it is to stress the transcendence and inscrutability of God’s ways. What looks like pure evil or dumb suffering to us finds its place within the providential plan of a mysterious God.

Sep 21, 2008
The Triumph of the Cross
00:14:33

We will understand the power of this feast only when we grasp how very strange it is to speak of the cross as a triumph. Paul’s great hymn in his letter to the Phillipians helps us to grasp how the cross fits into the narrative of God’s salvation.

Sep 14, 2008
Fraternal Correction
00:14:33

The command to love compels us to engage in the difficult task of fraternal correction, but it enjoins us to do so carefully, always aware that it can slide easily enough into a game of ego-inflation. The Gospel gives us some very practical advice in this regard.

Sep 07, 2008
The Problem of Suffering
00:14:33

Most of the great religions and philosophies of the world center around the issue of suffering. Stoicism, Buddhism, Platonism all propose different paths to overcome suffering. Jesus proposes to his disciples the distinctively Christian path of embracing suffering in the act of self-sacrificial love.

Aug 31, 2008
Ekklesia
00:14:33

Jesus tells Peter that he will build his ekklesia on the rock of Peter’s confession. The word ekklesia means “called out from.” To be a member of the church is to be called personally by Christ out of the world and into a new way of being.

Aug 24, 2008
Christ, the Son of God
00:14:33

The Church never tires of confessing the divinity of Jesus, for in that confession, the Church finds its whole identity. Over the centuries–and in the present day–many have tried to portray Jesus as no more than an inspired teacher. But the disciples who witnessed Christ walking on the water know better. They confess “truly, you are the Son of God.”

Aug 10, 2008
The Sower
00:14:33

We have the special privilege of hearing Jesus himself interpret one of his parables. He tells us the three basic reasons why the Word is not accepted into our hearts: lack of understanding, lack of discipline, and lack of prioritization.

Jul 13, 2008
Take My Yoke Upon You
00:14:33

The Gospel for today allows us to overhear a conversation between the Father and the Son. We learn that the Son receives everything from his Father, that he is, in a word, yoked to the Father. When the Lord tells us to take his yoke, he is inviting us to pull with him, receiving through him the life that he receives from the Father.

Jul 06, 2008
Old Adam, New Adam
00:14:33

In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us that Jesus is the new Adam or the second Adam. He means that Christ sums up the history of Israel and renews the human race.

Jun 22, 2008
Election
00:14:33

One of the key themes of the Bible is the divine election, the fact that God chooses. But God chooses, not on the basis of merit, but simply through and because of his grace. And he chooses, not to glorify those whom he elects, but rather to give them a mission of love. Accordingly, he chose Israel so that it might be a priestly nation; and he chose the twelve so that they might proclaim the kingdom, and he chose us the baptized that we might be conduits of his grace to the world.

Jun 15, 2008
Getting Straightened Out
00:14:33

Paul’s letter to the Romans explores the great theme of justification, the process by which we become rectified or straightened out in regard to God. Key to this process, says Paul, is faith, that is to say, trust in the Lord. What has thrown us off-kilter is precisely a tendency to rely on our own powers. But when we, like Abraham our father in faith, learn to trust, then the divine life can flow into us and through us to the world.

Jun 08, 2008
Rock or Sand?
00:15:03

What is the foundation of your life? How goes it with your heart? Are you building your spiritual house on sand or on rock? These are the fundamental questions that both the book of Deuteronomy and the Gospel of Matthew pose for us as we return to Ordinary Time.

Jun 01, 2008
Panis Angelicus
00:15:03

In 1264, Pope Urban IV asked Thomas Aquinas to compose the office for the newly established feast of Corpus Christi. Thomas’s texts are both beautiful and profound. By studying them, we can learn much of the Church’s theology of the eucharist. He tells us that Christ serves us, with his own hands, the bread of angels.

May 25, 2008
Why the Trinity Matters
00:15:03

There is no question more important than this one: who is God? The doctrine of the Trinity is the Christian answer to that question. The Trinity is simply a doctrinally exact way of stating the belief that God is love. If love is what God is, then in the very being of God there must be lover, beloved, and love.

May 18, 2008
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
00:15:03

The feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the church. Our readings show us the four major features of the church: it is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. What do these four things mean? Listen to the sermon!

May 11, 2008
The Dangerous Spirit
00:15:03

Jesus assures his disciples that, if they pray for it, the Holy Spirit will definitely come upon them with great power. At the same time, he reminds them that the presence of the Spirit always awakens opposition and persecution. So ask for the Holy Spirit, but be prepared to suffer on his account.

May 04, 2008
Five Signs of the Spirit
00:15:03

As Pentecost approaches, the church gives us readings redolent of the Holy Spirit. Our passages for this Sunday speak in various ways of the presence of the Holy Spirit: bold speech, signs and wonders, joy, intellectual curiosity, and love.

Apr 27, 2008
The Priesthood of the Church
00:15:03

All the readings for today are, directly or indirectly, about the priesthood, that office that all of the baptized share. To be a priest is to be a mediator between God and human beings and to be a person who offers right praise. This identity should play itself out in all that you do.

Apr 20, 2008
Peter Proclaims Jesus is Lord
00:15:03

Peter’s sermon on Pentecost morning is the model for all evangelical proclamation. He declares that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah, and this straightforward, unambiguous confession leads to conversion on the part of the people. When our preaching about Jesus is wishy-washy, unclear, tentative, we shouldn’t be surprised that no one listens.

Apr 13, 2008
Emmaus and the Pattern of Redemption
00:15:03

The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus teaches us how to see. When we listen to Christ explain the Scriptures to us, we understand the pattern of his life and death. And when we eat his body and drink his blood, we see precisely who he is: God’s love made flesh.

Apr 06, 2008
The Mission of Easter
00:15:03

Essential to the Easter message is mission: we are sent by the risen Jesus to do his work in the world. It is never enough that we contemplate his risen splendor; we must become his forgiveness-bearing presence to those around us.

Mar 30, 2008
Back to Basics
00:15:03

For the first Sunday of Lent, the church brings us back to spiritual training camp and encourages us to review the basics. We are in the garden with Adam and Eve and in the desert with Jesus. When the devil approaches us, do we respond as they did, or as he did? Everything else will flow from that decision.

Feb 10, 2008
How to Be Happy
00:15:03

In the beatitudes, the Son of God tells us what every one of us, deep down, wants to know: how to be happy. So we must listen with great attentiveness. At the heart of the program is the beatitude: blessed are the merciful. This is because mercy is a participation in the divine life itself. All of the other beatitudes center around and relate to this one.

Feb 03, 2008
The Work of the Messiah
00:15:03

Our Gospel passage from the 4th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel tells us, in very short compass, what the work of the Messiah was. Jesus proclaims the kingdom, commences the gathering of the tribes of Israel, and takes on God’s enemies. We who are grafted on to him must do the same.

Jan 27, 2008
Behold the Lamb of God
00:15:03

John the Baptist’s designation of Jesus as Lamb of God is, I submit, largely misunderstood. It has little to do with Jesus’ meekness, mildness, or humility and everything to do with his being the victim of a sacrifice. To find out why this is such good news, listen to the sermon!

Jan 20, 2008
The Bending Low of the Son of God
00:15:03

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a celebration of God’s great humility. In order to rescue us sinners, God the Son bent low and stood with us in the muck and mud of our dysfuction. This was so that he could draw us up to his glory.

Jan 13, 2008
Faith, the Friend of Reason
00:15:03

One of the truths that is manifested on Epiphany (that’s what the word “epiphania” means) is the compatibility of faith and reason, of religion and science. The Magi were scientists, astronomers interested in tracking and measuring the heavenly bodies. But they also saw in the orderliness of the universe evidence of God. Their search for Christ symbolizes the fact that all of science leads finally to God.

Jan 06, 2008
Holy Family Values
00:15:03

Paul lays out for the Colossians (and us) the virtues that make a family healthy. They include compassion, patience, bearing the burden of the other and, above all, love. To find out precisely what these terms mean, listen to the sermon!

Dec 30, 2007
Ahaz and Joseph
00:15:03

Both Ahaz and Joseph are being summoned out of a narrow perspective and encouraged to dream big, to think of their lives within the context of God’s purposes and plans. This makes them prime Advent figures.

Dec 23, 2007
Repent!
00:15:03

John the Baptist sums up the Advent season. He lives in the desert, the place of no distraction, and he speaks a message of repentance and the confession of sin. Advent is a great time to clear away all that separates us from Christ. It is a time of repentance.

Dec 09, 2007
Incoming!
00:15:03

Advent is from the latin word adventus, which means coming or arrival. Some arrivals are positive; others are downright threatening. The Gospel for today paints a somewhat dark picture of the coming of the Son of Man, likening it to the flood of Noah. When Christ comes, we have to change, and that’s often wrenching.

Dec 02, 2007
David and Jesus
00:15:03

Along with Moses and Abraham, David is the most important figure in the Old Testament. The first Christians read Jesus in light of these heroes of the Old Testament.

Nov 25, 2007
The Birth Pangs of the Messiah
00:15:03

Our readings for today are apocalyptic, which means that they describe the end of an old world and the beginning of a new one. The new world in question is the world of Christ’s lordship. To enter into that spiritual space, we have to go through earthquake, famine, and war. But this is, finally good news!

Nov 18, 2007
Resurrection of the Body
00:15:03

Both our first reading and Gospel for today present the distinctively Biblical view of what happens to us after we die. We do not so much escape from the body as begin to live in a transformed and transfigured body, what Paul calls a “spiritual body.”

Nov 11, 2007
Zacchaeus
00:15:03

The story of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke is a kind of spiritual itinerary. If we attend to it carefully, we will learn the essentials of the life of grace.

Nov 04, 2007
Paul’s Farewell Discourse
00:15:03

The second letter to Timothy is Paul’s parting advice to his young colleague and spiritual son. He speaks of being poured out like a libation, of being ready for a great journey, of having fought the good fight and run the successful race. All of these images are illuminating for us as well.

Oct 28, 2007
The Struggle With Amalek
00:15:03

An awful lot of people probably find our first reading for this week offensive. We hear that Israel mowed the Amalekites down with the sword. How can this terrible story of conquest be a revelation of God’s intentions? Listen as I offer the surprising interpretation that Origen of Alexandria offers.

Oct 21, 2007
The Lessons of Naaman
00:15:03

The story of Naaman the Syrian is not terribly well-known, but it contains some marvelous spiritual lessons for all of us. It tells us of the importance of patience, humility, perseverance, prayer–and above all following our weakness as it leads us to God.

Oct 14, 2007
The Lament of Habakkuk
00:15:03

The prophet Habbakuk expresses what most of us feel at some point in our lives: how can God be so indifferent to suffering? Listen carefully to the answer he receives from the Lord.

Oct 07, 2007
The Poor At Our Gate
00:15:03

Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Sep 30, 2007
Loss Of A Sabbath Consciousness
00:15:03

Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Sep 23, 2007
The Reckless Abandon of God’s Love
00:15:03

God does not love as we do, in a calculating manner. He makes his sun to shine on the good and the bad alike and his rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. This means that he is like the Good Shepherd who seeks even the one sheep who is lost and like the father who welcomes back even the prodigal.

Sep 16, 2007
The Path of Dispossession
00:15:03

Jesus tells us that we must get rid of all of our possessions, including the people that we have turned into possessions. It is in this sense that he encourages us to “hate our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.” In the measure that these nearest and dearest are possessions of one’s ego, they are a block to salvation.

Sep 09, 2007
The Addiction of Honor
00:15:03

The lust for honor interrupts the great banquet that God wants us to enjoy. This is why Jesus interrupts the interruption in today’s Gospel, urging people purposely to take the lowest place and to entertain only those who cannot repay the favor. We must free ourselves of the addiction to honor!

Sep 02, 2007
Jacob Neusner, Benedict XVI, and the Vocation of Israel
00:15:03

In his new book, Pope Benedict engages in a fascinating dialogue with the American rabbi Jacob Neusner on the identity and meaning of Jesus. In this sermon, I will tease out the implications of this debate, especially in regard to the vocation of Israel.

Aug 26, 2007
Trusting the Darkness
00:14:55

Authentic faith has nothing to do with credulity or intellectual naivte. It has everything to do with placing one’s trust in the God whom we cannot, even in principle, know with clarity. It is the willingness to follow the promptings of God, even when we don’t see where they might lead.

Aug 12, 2007
The Lessons of Qoheleth
00:14:55

Both our first reading and Gospel function as a slap in the face, cold water, a wake-up call. They show how passing, ephemeral, and unreliable are the goods of this world. The idea is to set our hearts, as Paul says, on the higher things, rooting our lives in God.

Aug 05, 2007
The Lord’s Prayer
00:14:55

Our Gospel for this week is of the utmost importance, for we hear the Son of God himself teaching us to pray. In this homily, I walk rather carefully through the major petitions of the Our Father, noting how central this prayer is to Christian life and spirituality.

Jul 29, 2007
Paul’s Suffering
00:14:55

Paul says in our second reading that he “makes up in his own sufferings what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” This means that Paul-and all of us-have the enormous privilege of participating in the act by which Christ saved the world, an act of suffering love. How do you interpret your own pain? Might it be a participation in the salvation of Christ?

Jul 22, 2007
The Natural Law
00:14:55

What the church calls “the natural law” is, as Moses suggests in our first reading, close to us, in fact, written on our hearts. Thomas Aquinas said that this natural, moral law is a reflection of the eternal law of God and is, in turn, the ground for all of our positive laws. When the relationship between God’s law, the moral law, and political law is lost, our society suffers.

Jul 15, 2007
Gospel Freedom
00:14:55

Our readings for this weekend are completely counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. We put a huge premium on freedom and self-determination in regard to choosing our careers. But this is not the Biblical perspective. Elisha accepts the mantle of prophecy, simply because God commands him, and he leaves everything behind. Jesus tells a man to follow him, even if that means not attending his own father’s funeral. In the determination of the meaning of your life, what, or better who, finally matters?

Jul 01, 2007
Great Canticle of Zechariah
00:14:55

Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Jun 24, 2007
A New Creation
00:14:55

Easter is the dawn of a new creation. St. John tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early on the morning of the first day of the week. This is meant to call to mind the first day of creation, when God said, “Let there be light” and brought order out of chaos. From the meaninglessness of death, God brings eternal life. This is the central and revolutionary message of Easter.

Apr 08, 2007
The Burning Bush
00:14:57

Moses sees a bush that burns but is not consumed. This is a lovely symbolic expression of the way God relates to the world. The closer God gets, the more we become radiant with his presence. God’s proximity does not mean our destruction or the compromising of our integrity; rather it is the means by which we become fully ourselves.

Mar 11, 2007
The Father in Faith
00:14:57

Abraham was chosen by God as the founder of a people who would be the means by which God would save the world. His great mark is faith, that is to say, trust. Faith is what Adam and Eve couldn’t muster (they grasped at godliness) and from this followed the agony of the world. God commenced a rescue operation by setting Abraham in quest of a promised land.

Mar 04, 2007
The Three Temptations
00:14:57

As we once again commence the penitential season of Lent, it is good to get back to basics. We journey with Jesus into the desert, and with him, we confront the three basic temptations: sensual pleasure, power, and glory. Only when we set aside our obsessions with these three things can we be free to serve the Lord.

Feb 25, 2007
Enemy Love
00:14:57

The most troubling and challenging of Jesus’ teaching is the command to love our enemies. In this homily, I explore four good reasons why it is so important to engage in this most difficult act of love.

Feb 18, 2007
Where Do You Put Your Faith
00:14:57

The readings for this weekend pose a blunt question: whom, finally, do you trust? “Trust” is meant here in an absolute sense. Where do you base your life? In God or in the things of this world? How you answer that question determines pretty much everything else.

Feb 11, 2007
What is Love?
00:14:57

In the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul sings a hymn to love. He tells us that love is “patient, gentle, kind, not snobbish” and that it “never fails.” Love, after all, is what God is: willing the good of the other as other. When we love, therefore, we are sharing in the very life of God.

Jan 28, 2007
The Paradox of Walls
00:14:57

Nehemiah, the 5th century governor of Judea, has an important spiritual lesson for us today. Nehemiah led the project of re-building the walls of Jerusalem after the return from exile. Walls, which set a community apart, are essential for identity and clarity of purpose. If the church is to be a world-transforming agent, it must, first, know clearly who she is and what makes her distinctive.

Jan 21, 2007
The Task of the Church
00:14:57

As we enter into ordinary time, we reflect with St. Paul on the ordinary task of the church: the discernment and exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How do we use the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, healing, and faith?

Jan 14, 2007
Biblical Family Values
00:14:57

There are family values in the Bible, but they might not be the ones you’d expect. The Biblical authors–both Old Testament and New–put a stress, not on sentiment and personal connection, but rather on mission. They see the family as a place where one’s vocation from God is prioritized and cultivated. We see this theme on clear display in both the Hannah story and the account of the finding in the Temple.

Dec 31, 2006
The Inexhaustibly Fascinating Figure of Mary
00:14:57

On the final Sunday of Advent, the Church invites us to consider the inexhaustibly fascinating figure of Mary. The Mother of God is a figure of faithful Israel, the people who for so many centuries waited for the coming of the Messiah. She is, accordingly, the new Eve, the new Moses, the true Isaiah and Ezekiel. In meditating upon her, we come to a deeper appreciation of the Christ she bore.

Dec 24, 2006
What Should We Do?
00:14:57

Our Gospel for today centers around a question that is bracing in its directness and simplicity. A group of people come to the Baptist and ask “what should we do?” The spiritual life is about a set of behaviors and practices, focused, as John the Baptist specifies, around the work of justice.

Dec 17, 2006
Return Home
00:14:57

In our first reading for this week, we hear the prophet Baruch predicting the return of the children of Israel to Zion. God will level the mountains and fill in the valleys so as to make a highway for them. In the Gospel, John the Baptist announces a similar preparation for a similar return, but this time it is the return of Israel from the exile of sin and death, facilitated by the coming of the Messiah.

Dec 10, 2006
The Second Coming
00:14:57

The readings for this first Sunday of Advent focus, not on the historical coming of Jesus at Bethlehem, but rather at his eschatological coming at the end of time. Knowing that all of history tends toward and culminates in Jesus changes radically the way we live now.

Dec 03, 2006
Pilate and Jesus
00:14:57

In the confrontation between Pilate and Jesus we see, according to Benedict XVI, a clash of two visions of politics. Pilate, who cynically dismisses any claim to know the truth, allows Jesus’ fate to be determined by the will of the majority. But Jesus reminds Pilate that his legitimate political authority comes to him, not from the people, but “”from above,”" that is to say, from certain moral values rooted in God.”

Nov 26, 2006
Christ the High Priest
00:14:57

For the past several weeks, we have been reading from the extraordinary letter to the Hebrews, the principal theme of which is the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Jesus can be the ultimate bridge-builder between God and us, precisely because in his own person he reconciles divinity and humanity. True God and true man, Christ is true priest.

Nov 12, 2006
The Chief of the Nations
00:14:57

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the most sacred prayer in the Jewish tradition, the “Sh’ma.” In the Gospel, when asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus, a pious Jew, recites this prayer from the book of Deuteronomy. Listen as I explicate this central and decisive statement of Biblical faith.

Oct 29, 2006
The Voice of Ambition
00:14:57

James and John want to sit at Jesus’ right and left when the Lord comes into his glory. What they don’t realize is that his glory is the moment of his crucifixion. To be at his right and his left at his enthronement is, therefore, to be crucified with him, to be willing to give oneself totally away. Be careful what you ask for!

Oct 22, 2006
I Asked for Wisdom and Prudence
00:14:57

If an angel of the Lord stood before you and invited you to pray for one thing, what would it be? The book of Wisdom suggests today that you should pray, not for power or wealth or beauty or health, but for the wisdom that would enable you to use any and all of those gifts well. Let the first reading for this week be a sort of spiritual exercise for you.

Oct 15, 2006
The Two Become One Flesh
00:14:57

Our readings for this week are all about marriage. In the Catholic understanding, a married couple do not so much receive a sacrament as they become a sacrament. They realize that their marriage is not about them; rather it is a vehicle through which God’s purposes are being worked out.

Oct 08, 2006
Cut It Off or Cut It Out
00:14:57

Jesus certainly manages to get our attention in this week’s Gospel. Don’t literalize his language, but feel its power. Are you willing to eliminate certain things from your life–ways of grasping, ways of walking, ways of seeing–that are compromising your friendship with God? What, precisely, are you willing to sacrifice?

Oct 01, 2006
The Warfare Within; The Warfare Without
00:14:57

We have been reading for the past several weeks from the letter of James, which is a treasure-trove of practical wisdom. James tells us this week that outer conflicts flow from a war of passions within each individual. How do you find the inner peace that will conduce to outer peace? Listen to the sermon!

Sep 24, 2006
The True Davidic Messiah
00:14:57

Another homily from Fr. Robert Barron and Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Sep 17, 2006
Law and Laws
00:14:54

Whatever we reverence–baseball, good music, golf, the spiritual life–we are surrounded with laws. Law is meant to preserve and enhance the integrity of certain basic goods. But law also carries with it a shadow side, namely, a certain legalism and fussiness. Our readings for this weekend explore these various aspects–positive and negative–of religious law.

Sep 03, 2006
Many Went Away
00:14:54

The Eucharist has been, from the beginning, a source of conflict and division. This is, of course, not Christ’s will, for the eucharist is supposed to be the great unifier. Nevertheless, for the past two thousand years, the radical doctrine of the real presence has compelled some to rebel. Why is this? Take a listen.

Aug 27, 2006
My Flesh is Real Food; My Blood is Real Drink
00:14:57

Our Gospel for this weekend is the climax of Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Given every opportunity to offer a symbolic interpretation of his words concerning his body and blood, Jesus intensifies the realism of his statement: “My flesh is real food; my blood is real drink.” All Catholics must wrestle, in season and out, with the implications of this claim.

Aug 20, 2006
Myth and History
00:14:53

In our second reading for this weekend, St. Peter tells us that, in sharing the Christian story, he was not trading in “cleverly concocted myths.” There is a sharp distinction to be drawn between myth and history, and it matters enormously that Christianity is not a mythic system, but an historical religion. This feast of the Transfiguration gives us the opportunity to reflect on this difference.

Aug 06, 2006
The Cross is Our Peace
00:14:53

We continue our reading of Paul’s extraordinary letter to the Ephesians. We hear that the cross of Jesus has broken down the wall of enmity which divided Jews and Gentiles. At the very center of Christianity is the conviction that the death of Jesus on the cross represented God’s victory over all the dark forces that divide us. What looked like ultimate defeat was in fact God’s triumph over the power of division.

Jul 23, 2006
The Five Act Drama
00:15:02

For the next several weeks, we are going to be reading from Paul’s magnificent letter to the Ephesians. In our passage for today, we learn that we are situated within the context of a great theodrama, written and directed by God, and designed to lead us to eternal life. The Biblical drama has five acts: creation, the fall, the formation of Israel, Jesus Christ, and the Church. We read the Scriptures in order to discern the contours of that drama and, more importantly, our place within it.

Jul 16, 2006
The Call of the Prophet
00:14:59

Every baptized person is conformed to Christ: King, Priest, and Prophet. Thus speaking the divine truth (prophecy) is not the concern of priests and bishops alone, but of all members of the church. From Ezekiel and Mark, we can discern a number of qualities of the prophetic office. First, the prophet does not speak his own word, but God’s. Second, the prophet is given a difficult assignment. And third, the prophet is summoned, not to success, but faithfulness.

Jul 09, 2006
The Daughter of Jairus and the Book of Leviticus
00:14:55

In order to understand the power of our Gospel reading for this week, we must attend to the book of Leviticus. In that great rule-book of Israelite life, we hear that contact with a hemorrhaging woman or with a corpse would result in ritual uncleanliness. When Jesus touches the hemorrhaging woman and the dead daughter of Jairus, he is not made unclean; in fact he makes them clean. In so doing, he redefines what it means to be a member of the true people of Israel.

Jul 02, 2006
The ‘De Profundis’ Prayer
00:15:02

Psalm 130 begins with the words, “out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord.” Throughout the great tradition, the prayer “”de profundis,”" (out of the depths) has been one of the most powerful expressions of our reliance upon God. When our lives have bottomed out, when we are lost and at the end of our strength, we turn to God. The cry of the apostles in the boat, as the waves crash over the side and threaten to drown them, is a New Testament example of this prayer. Do you need to pray it today?

Jun 25, 2006
The Mass and Sacrifice
00:14:57

For this feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord, I reflect on the Mass as a sacrifice. Sacrificial language runs right through all of our readings for today, just as it runs through the whole of Israelite history. In Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God’s fidelity unto death finally meets a human obedience unto death–and in that meeting, the covenant is fully realized, and salvation is accomplished. The Mass is the re-presenting of that world-changing event.

Jun 18, 2006
God Is Love
00:14:59

On the feast of the Trinity, we reflect on the uniquely Christian definition of God: God is love. Love is not something that God does, or an attribute that God has; love is what God is. This means that God must be a play between lover, beloved, and love–between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jun 11, 2006
Pentecost and the Tower of Babel
00:14:47

All the Jews in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost heard the disciples preaching in their own languages. This miracle of the Spirit is the reversal of the Tower of Babel, when God scattered the nations and confused their languages. The Holy Spirit is the solution to the spiritual problem of the one and the many. In God alone can the many come together fruitfully as one.

Jun 04, 2006
The Da Vinci Code (Part 2 of 2)
00:14:45

This week I discuss two more themes that emerge in the Da Vinci Code: the Gnostic Gospels and anti-Catholicism. Much of the storyline of the Da Vinci Code flows from the controversial Gnostic tellings of the life of Jesus. These are, in fact, far less historically reliable than the canonical Gospels–not to mention less theologically sound. And the book as a whole should be classed in the genre of anti-Catholic screed. We shouldn’t be hysterical about American anti-Catholicism, but we also shouldn’t be naive about it. I promise that this is my last word about the Da Vinci Code! Next week we’re back to the Scriptures.

May 28, 2006
The Da Vinci Code (Part 1 of 2)
00:14:59

I don’t like departing from the Scriptures in these homilies, but the appearance of the movie based upon the wildly popular novel The Da Vinci Code warrants a response. The central claim of the book–that Jesus is not divine–stands directly opposed to the central and defining claim of the Church. The Da Vinci Code argues that the divinity of Jesus was a fourth-century invention. Nothing could be further from the truth. This week and next, I will address this question and some others that arise from the Da Vinci Code.

May 21, 2006
Christ Living His Life in You
00:14:56

Jesus Christ is infintely more than a moral ideal, a saint whom we admire from afar. In accord with the image from the Gospel for today, he is the vine upon which we have been grafted like branches. This means that he is our life blood, the very energy of our existence. Therefore we should read our lives this way: Jesus Christ is living his life in us.

May 14, 2006
The Risen Lord
00:14:49

Luke paints a fascinating portrait of the risen Jesus in our Gospel for today. He stands in the midst of his disciples, gathering them as the new Israel; he shows them that he is densely, physically real, even going so far as to eat a piece of fish in their presence. Jesus is not a phantom or a dream or a disembodied ideal; he is a living person in whom we find peace.

Apr 30, 2006
The Disquieting Grave of Jesus
00:14:56

Graves are usually places of peace, repose, and meditation. We sit by a gravesite or we stroll through a cemetery in order to reflect on lives well lived or on the mystery of death. But there is nothing peaceful or meditative about the grave of Jesus, and there never developed within the Christian tradition a cult of the tomb of the Lord. This is because this grave has been robbed–and by the most intriguing grave-robber of all: the living God.

Apr 16, 2006
The Master Has Need of You
00:14:58

The donkey upon which Jesus rides into Jerusalem is a wonderful image for discipleship. He is a simple, humble, unassuming creature–and he is pressed into service because the Master has need of him. We like to organize our lives according to our projects and plans, but the key is allowing ourselves to be used according to Christ’s needs and purposes. The whole point is to become, like the humble Palm Sunday donkey, a Christopher, a Christ-bearer.

Apr 09, 2006
God’s Cleansing Anger
00:14:51

God sometimes expresses his anger at his people Israel. This is not an emotional snit into which God falls; rather, it is a way of expressing his passion to set things right. So God permits the destruction of the Temple and the carrying off of Israel into exile in order to purify and cleanse. When catastrophe befalls us, we should trust in the strange providence of God. God is always about the business of enhancing life.

Mar 26, 2006
Speaking to Moses and Elijah
00:14:57

For a Jew of Jesus’ time, Moses and Elijah would symbolize the Law and the Prophets, the two major divisions of the Scriptures. Jesus’ conversation with them during the Transfiguration symbolizes something that is emphasized throughout the New Testament, namely, that Jesus fulfills, brings to completion, both the Law and the prophets. He fulfills the promise implicit in the Old Testament.

Mar 12, 2006
Angels and Wild Beasts
00:14:39

Our readings for the first Sunday of Lent highlight the cosmic and universal nature of God’s redemptive purpose. The covenant of Noah was made, not just with Noah and his family, but with “all living things.” We see this universality on iconic display in the Gospel. Jesus goes into the desert and he is “waited on by angels and accompanied by wild beasts.” Jesus’ redemption affects all dimensions of creation, seen and unseen.

Mar 05, 2006
New Wine and New Wineskins
00:14:54

The new wine that Jesus speaks of is the Gospel itself, the Good News that God has joined our human condition. In order to take in such a message and to conform our lives to it, we must expand. If we remain in the narrow confines of the old self, we won’t be able to handle the richness and fullness of the Gospel message. So change! Conform yourself to the love that Christ is. Become like new wineskins.

Feb 26, 2006
Carrying Souls to Christ
00:14:54

In the wonderful Gospel story for today, the paralytic gets to Jesus only because there are four friends willing to carry him to the Lord. Are there people around you–friends, co-workers, family-members–who are, for various reasons, paralyzed in regard to their relationship to Christ and the Church? And are you willing to carry them? That is the evangelical question that this Gospel poses.

Feb 19, 2006
Giving God the Glory
00:14:57

In our second reading, St. Paul tells us to do everything–even such simple acts as eating and drinking–for the glory of God. We should make sure that the light shines, not on us, but on God. And here’s the wonderful paradox: since God needs nothing, whatever we give to him comes back magnified to us. This is why the saints shine with a special radiance, a luminosity greater than anything they could have produced on their own.

Feb 12, 2006
The Compulsion to Evangelilze
00:14:57

St. Paul tells us in our second reading that preaching the Gospel is not a matter of choice for him; it is a compulsion, a necessity. In the homily for this week, I talk about St. Peter and St. Edmund Campion, two Christians who, 15 centuries apart, felt that same pressing obligation to proclaim Jesus Christ. Do we have it?

Feb 05, 2006