Podcasts from Bishop Robert Barron for every Sunday of Year A are listed here for your convenience. Visit Word on Fire for more resources.
Bishop Barron’s Homilies
- 1 WEEKSUNDAY+ 1 WEEK+ 2 WEEKSVIDEO HOMILIES
Bishop Robert Barron2017
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.
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.
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.
Lent is, of course, a penitential season, but Advent is as well. We get in touch with our sinfulness during Advent precisely because we want to prepare ourselves for the coming of a Savior. If there is nothing to be saved from, then there is no point in rejoicing at the arrival of Jesus the Lord. The prophet Isaiah offers us a number of powerful images for sin in our first reading for this Sunday. It behooves us, as an Advent spiritual exercise, to meditate on them.
The French spiritual writer Simone Weil said that the core of the Christian life is waiting, watching, expecting. We cannot save ourselves, but we can look with rapt attention to the one who can. In this sense, we are, permanently, an Advent people.
Bishop Robert Barron2017
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.
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?
In the very first line of his Gospel, St. Mark tells us that he is going to share with us Good News, Glad Tidings, about Jesus, the Son of God. In many ways, the rest of the text is but a playing out of the implications of that statement. In this homily, I explore the meaning of the phrase "Good News" in connection with Jesus.
The God who comes to save us is one who rules with a strong arm, who brings a reward and recompense, who gathers and feeds his sheep, who clears a highway before him. All of these rich metaphors and images are from the prophet Isaiah, the greatest of the Old Testament Advent figures.
Bishop Robert Barron2017
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.
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.
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.
Our first reading for this Sunday is an especially sacred one in the Christian tradition, for it was precisely this passage from Isaiah that Jesus chose to comment upon when he first rose to speak at the beginning of his public ministry. Using Isaiah's imagery, Jesus spells out for us the meaning and purpose of his work: to heal the brokenhearted, to declare liberty to captives, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.
Bishop Robert Barron2017
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.
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.
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.
For the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church asks us to juxtapose stories of David and Mary. David decides that he wants to build a temple for the Lord, but God does not favor his plan; Mary hears what God wants to do through her, and she acquiesces. It is always a matter of following the promptings of the divine will and not our own desires, even when we are convinced that those desires are good and holy. Thomas Merton said, "Lord, the fact that I think I'm following your will doesn't mean that I am in fact doing so..." That acknowledgement takes great humility and spiritual perception.
The greatest of the Advent figures makes her appearance in the Gospel for today. Mary the mother of God is the new Eve, the one who, through her expectation and obedience, undid the sin of Eve and Adam. They tried to seize God's gifts; Mary accepted them as a grace.
The One True King — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
The Enemy of Melancholy — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
You Must Rethink Your Spiritual Life — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Your Life is Not About You — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Does It Matter What You Believe? — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Why Does God Allow Suffering? — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
How to Heal a Broken Relationship — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Words Should Not Be Weapons — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
How to Lose Your Soul (And How to Save It) — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Mighty Ones, Look Upon Your Works and Despair — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Why God Chose You — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
The Worst of Religion, the Best of Religion — Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon