In this section, you will find previous years podcasts from Bishop Robert Barron for every Sunday of Year A. They have been compiled hear for your convenience. Visit Word on Fire for more podcasts and videos.
July 12, 2020
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.
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.
Our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, shows that God’s word is not so much descriptive as creative: it produces what it says. In the very intelligibility of the material world, we can sense this reality-producing power. We can also sense it in the Biblical word, an invitation into divine friendship. But we encounter it most powerfully in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. To what extent do we permit this reality-changing Word to take root in us? That is the challenge of our readings for today.
God is a farmer who sows the seed of his love liberally, on good and bad soil, to saint and sinner alike. There is no limit to God’s willingness to save. If we are the least bit cooperative, the grace of God will cause life to spring up in us thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.
July 19, 2020
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 and inexhaustible in meaning are these three parables! Take some time to read and contemplate these parables in light of your own suffering and faith as we seek the Kingdom of God.
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.
In our Gospel for today, we hear the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus speaks of the mysterious, and often frustrating, intertwining of good and evil. Don’t be too eager, he says, to tear out the weeds, for you might, in the process, compromise the wheat. Listen, as I try to search out the meaning of this important and complex parable.
One of the most mysterious and yet practically applicable of Jesus’ parables is at the heart of today’s Gospel. The wheat and the weeds are allowed to grow together until the harvest, just as, strangely, good and evil are allowed to exist side-by-side in the affairs of the world. Why is his true? Because God deigns to bring good out of evil.
July 26, 2020
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.
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.
At the conclusion of chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel, the chapter of parables, Jesus says, “the scribe who is learned in the Kingdom of God is like the householder who brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new.” The one who is wise in the ways of God escapes the ideologies of both left and right–the idolatry of both the new and the old. Focused on God alone, he is able to see the value in both novelty and tradition.
The Kingdom of God is like a treasure that we miraculously find; it is like a pearl for which we diligently search; it is like a net that will gather us in. Jesus offers these three great images for God’s reign.
August 2, 2020
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!”
It all begins with grace, and it all ends with grace. Bernanos’ country priest summed up Christianity with the phrase “Toute est grace,” everything is grace. God gives graciously, gratuitously, superabundantly–and then we are called to respond with a similar exuberance. The more we give back to God, the more we get, and then we must give that back again, so as to get even more in return. This is the loop of grace which is spoken of from beginning to end of the Bible. And all of our readings for today touch on it specially.
The compassion of Jesus creates the Church. We are the instruments of the Lord’s love for the world. How do we cooperate with him? By giving him even the little that we have and waiting for him to multiply it!
August 9, 2020
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.
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.”
Often in the Bible, water functions as a symbol of chaos and sin: the waters at the beginning of creation, the waters of the Red Sea, the waters of Noah’s flood, etc. Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the abyss in the beginning, so the Son of God walks on the waves. This signals God’s lordship over all of the forces of destruction that confront us. As long as we look to Jesus, we can walk on those same waters with him.