Bishop Robert Barron’s Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

By Bishop Robert Barron

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 Mar 5, 2020

Pablo Gonzalez
 Jan 23, 2019
I love the way the Bishop explains the readings. I have heard all the episodes and they all help you to get closer to God and understand the meaning of been Christian.

Keith Burrhus
 Jul 18, 2018
Inspiring, deep, rooted in scripture and the contemporary world.

Description

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

Episode Date
The Word That Accomplishes Its Purpose
14:41

This week, we hear from the book of the prophet Isaiah, and the theme of this short passage is the Word of God. How wonderful that we are hearing one of the greatest speakers of the Word precisely on this topic. How central to ancient Israelite religion was the Word! Biblical Israel knew itself to be a people to whom God uniquely had spoken. They savored his Word as it was preserved in the Torah and as it was spoken by the prophets and the sages of their religion. And the divine Word, Isaiah knows, is not a bland description of a state of affairs, but an effective principal. God’s Word makes things happen, changes things, brings life.

Jul 08, 2020
Zechariah and the New David
14:37

Our first reading for this weekend is derived from the ninth chapter of the book of the prophet Zechariah, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets of the Old Testament. The background for the prophecy contained here is that Israel saw itself as the specially chosen people of God, whose mission was to bring the light of the Lord to all the nations of the world. At the time of David, this ambition seemed more realistic, but things fell rather quickly apart. And yet, oddly, they continued to hope. God would cause Israel to fulfill its destiny, precisely by raising up a king like David.

Jul 01, 2020
Elisha and the Shunemite Woman
13:46

Our first reading for this weekend is taken from the marvelous second book of Kings, and it deals with the prophet Elisha, who was the chosen successor of the prophet Elijah. The narrative is, on one level, very simple and charming, but it also presents a kind of icon of the relationship between priests and their people.

Jun 24, 2020
Carrying the Word of God
14:07

Today I have the special pleasure of preaching on a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, someone that we hear from relatively rarely throughout the liturgical year. Along with Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, Jeremiah is one of the so-called major prophets of Israel. This means not only that he was a great and influential figure but also that he wrote (or at least inspired) a book of some weight and importance. What was the theme of Jeremiah’s preaching and prophesying? It was terrible—which is one reason why he was known as “terror on every side.”

Jun 17, 2020
Supersubstantial Bread
13:07

This is the first celebration of Corpus Christi—the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ—after the Pew Forum study showing that 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Vatican II said that the Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Christian life—so it is clear that something has gone seriously wrong. Therefore, it is with renewed interest and focus that we should look to the readings for today’s feast.

Jun 10, 2020
The Strange Doctrine of the Trinity
15:28

Today we come to the wonderful Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Trinity: the strangest and most distinctive of all of the doctrines of Christianity; the preacher’s nightmare; the ultimate Rubik’s cube of theology. The Trinity has been characterized in a number of ways—some good, some bad—and we invoke it every single time we make the sign of the cross. Yet most of us live our practical spiritual lives as if the Trinity didn’t matter at all. So what are we to make of it? The Church sets this up by giving us some interesting readings for today.

Jun 03, 2020
The Birthday of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
14:10

On this great feast of Pentecost, I would like to say “happy birthday” to every Catholic listening to me, for we hold, in our traditional theology, that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. It would behoove us on this our birthday to reflect on the nature of the Church. In the Creed, which we recite every Sunday, we find the familiar phrase, “We believe in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.” All four of these marks can be seen from the beginning, at that first Pentecost, because all four are gifts of the Holy Spirit.

May 27, 2020
The Ascension of the Lord
14:08

We come today to the great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, which sheds so much light on who we are as Christians and what we are supposed to be about as a Church. I want to focus on the Ascension from two perspectives: the “political” and the liturgical. Both are very important to understand what it means to speak of the Ascension of Jesus.

May 20, 2020
Give a Reason for the Hope That Is in You
13:19

For this sixth Sunday of Easter, I would like to continue with the first letter of St. Peter, which is our second reading for this weekend. Peter says, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” In many ways, this is the master text for theologians and apologists up and down the centuries to the present day. Something that is distinctive to biblical Christianity is that, from the beginning, it has been very interested in doctrine and expressing doctrine clearly and articulately.

May 13, 2020
An Icon of the Church
15:57

For this fifth Sunday of the Easter season, I should like to return to our consideration of the Acts of the Apostles. Our passage for today is taken from the beginning of the sixth chapter of Acts, and it concerns the Church—its growth, its unity, and its structure—in a way that is compelling for our time.

May 06, 2020
Suffering for Doing Good
14:47

For this fourth Sunday of Easter, I would like to concentrate on our second reading, which is from the first letter of Peter, a beautiful text that we consult only rarely in the course of the liturgical calendar. It seems eminently clear from the totality of this letter that it was written to a suffering, probably persecuted, Church. Therefore, how to deal with adversity, negativity, even the threat of death was an existential concern of this community. Peter gives his readers an extraordinary and deeply Christian principle: “Beloved, if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God.”

Apr 29, 2020
Emmaus and Genesis
14:04

It is my privilege this third Sunday of Easter to preach on one of the most magnificent texts in the New Testament, a masterpiece within the masterpiece: the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I would like to offer a somewhat novel interpretation, one that takes its inspiration from the style of the Church Fathers and draws a correlation between this narrative with the third chapter of Genesis.

Apr 21, 2020
Three Tasks of the Church
15:25

All throughout the Easter season, we will read at Mass from the wonderful Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke’s description of the adventures, challenges, and achievements of the early Christian community. His purpose is to show what “Apostles,” people sent by the risen Jesus, were doing. This is why it is so important that we, their distant spiritual descendants, should pay close attention. Our passage for today is from the second chapter of Luke’s work. We hear this pithy account: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” I have written before of Joseph Ratzinger’s characterization of the three basic tasks of the Church, and they are on evidence here.

Apr 15, 2020
God's Great Yes to Humanity
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 08, 2020
Into the Cacophony of Sin
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 01, 2020
Let Him Go
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 25, 2020
A Man After God’s Own Heart
14:06

Our first reading for this weekend gives us a glimpse of one of the most powerful texts in the Bible—indeed, one of the truly great literary works that has come down to us from the ancient world. I’m talking about the story that we refer to as first and second Samuel. At the heart of this narrative—rich in theology, psychology, history, politics, human relationships—is the figure of David, who along with Abraham and Moses is one of the most important characters in the Old Testament. And as we look at this passage and meditate upon his story, a number of very important Lenten spiritual themes emerge. 

Mar 18, 2020
By the Waters of Meribah
14:21

Our first reading for today is the famous quarreling of Israel by the waters of Meribah in the book of Exodus. We find the chosen people in the midst of the desert—which is to say, in the process of conversion, on the way from the slavery of sin to the freedom of God. But all conversion takes time; those on the way always tend to look back. And so we hear: “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?” Here in the very middle of Lent—our own season of conversion—are we finding it hard, annoying, frustrating? Would we rather go back? Probably. But this is the decisive moment: Do we head back to Egypt, to slavery? Or do we trust that the Lord is guiding us?

Mar 11, 2020
Listening to a Higher Voice
15:24

Last week, we looked at the familiar material from the third chapter of Genesis. God’s human creatures fell, precisely in the measure that they stopped listening to the voice of God and listened to the voices of the tempter and their own desires. This week, in chapter twelve, we see the beginning of God’s great rescue operation. And just as the trouble began when God’s human creatures refused to listen to the divine command, the solution began when one human being—a kind of new Adam—listened.

Mar 04, 2020
The Disobedience of Adam and Eve
14:36

We enter once more into the very holy season of Lent: a time of preparation; a desert time; a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; a time to return to the basics. And so how wonderful that the Church gives us, for this first Sunday of Lent, a passage from the very beginning of the Bible, a story of universal and enduring significance. We hear of the creation and fall of mankind. But we will not properly understand this epic tale until we see that it has to do with us.

Feb 26, 2020
Be Holy
13:55

As we continue our focus on the Old Testament texts, we turn this week to the nineteenth chapter of the book of Leviticus. As the name suggests, the book has a good deal to do with the Levites, who were the priests of ancient Israel. Accordingly, there is much talk of ritual, sacrifice, taboo, the clean and the unclean, etc. In a word, the book of Leviticus was laying out the practices by which Israel set itself apart from the other nations. But the holiness of Israel was only a function of the supreme holiness of the God of Israel. Israel was meant to be different, because God is different. 

Feb 19, 2020
Choosing to Keep the Commandments
13:51

Our first reading for this weekend is taken from a book that we don’t consult that frequently in the course of the liturgical year—namely, the book of Sirach. It is presented as a series of sayings of Jeshua ben Sira, a wise Jewish elder. Our reading is taken from the fifteenth chapter of Sirach, and it has to do with the awful fact of our freedom.

Feb 12, 2020
Love as a Panacea
14:42

I would like to concentrate on the marvelous passage from chapter 58 of the prophet Isaiah, which is our first reading for this weekend. This final section of Isaiah was written, the scholars tell us, after the return of the captives from Babylon, when Israel was trying once again to find its way. And so we find some very practical spiritual advice about engaging in concrete acts of love.

Feb 05, 2020
The Lord Returns to His Temple
14:12

There is a tendency, I’m afraid, to flatten out and sentimentalize the meaning of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. We see it as just a charming tale of a little child being entrusted to the protection of God at the beginning of his life. But there is more going on here—a lot more. To understand it, the Church gives us the somewhat enigmatic reading from the book of the prophet Malachi.

Jan 29, 2020
In the Land of Zebulon and Naphtali
14:23

Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah and our Gospel are tightly linked, for St. Matthew, in articulating the meaning of Jesus, cites (as is his wont) an Old Testament text—namely, our reading from the eighth and ninth chapters of Isaiah. The prophet speaks of conflict in the land of Zebulon and Naphtali, and then of a great light that shines in that area, signaling the victory of God.

Jan 22, 2020
It Is Too Little for You to Be My Servant
14:38

I want to focus this week on the extraordinary passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah, for it reveals a central dynamic of all of biblical revelation, and indeed of the spirituality of every Christian: that the Lord’s election is not for the sake of the elect, but for the sake of the whole world.

Jan 15, 2020
Knowing Who We Are
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 15, 2020
Vitae Spiritualis Ianua
14:08

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 gifted with 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 08, 2020
The Light of the Nations
14:12

Today’s readings for Epiphany speak of a light that shines on Israel, the chosen people, but that is meant for the whole world, a light that is a beacon summoning all the nations. And that Light is Jesus Christ himself. As the prophets predicted, this Light is the illumination of all the world, the Light to whom all seekers are destined to come.

Jan 03, 2020
Herod and Joseph
14:07
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 25, 2019
Dream Big
13:53

The Bible turns upside-down the way we think about the God-human relationship. In almost every other religion or philosophy, God or the gods are the powerful forces who have to be supplicated, begged, and prayed to in order for human beings to get what they want. But the Bible presents an entirely different picture. As I have often said, the Bible is not the story of our quest for God; it is the story of God’s quest for us. Both the first reading and the Gospel for this fourth Sunday of Advent make this subversion evident.

Dec 18, 2019
What You Hear and See
14:18

On this third Sunday of Advent, we hear for the first time this season of the great figure of John the Baptist. It’s not really possible to understand Jesus apart from his precursor. All four Gospels compel us to come to grips with John. His job is always the same: he points to Jesus. If we’re staring at John, we’re missing the point. Well, in our Gospel for today, John indicates the Lord in a most distinctive manner.

Dec 11, 2019
The Messiah’s Work
14:40

Last week, I spoke of preparing for the coming of the Lord using the great image from the second chapter of Isaiah: the Lord’s holy mountain. How do we make this mountain the highest mountain? On this second Sunday of Advent, I want to follow the Church as she invites us to look at another chapter of Isaiah—namely, the magnificent eleventh chapter, which describes the world that emerges at the coming of the Messiah.

Dec 04, 2019
Getting the House in Order
14:10

We come once again to Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year and the great season of waiting. Christian life has a permanent Advent quality, for we are always expecting the coming of the Lord. Now, Jesus came, he will definitively come, and he is coming even now—for the risen Lord wants to take up residence in us today. So Advent is, perhaps most immediately, a preparation for that coming; we are getting ourselves ready to receive the Christ who wants, even now, to be born in us. Well, how do we do this? Our readings for this first Sunday of Advent give us some wonderful instruction.

Nov 27, 2019
March in the Army of the True King
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 20, 2019
A Theology of Work
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 do authentic work—of whatever kind—we participate in God’s ongoing creation and providence. Don’t follow the instinct to secularize work; but rather see your daily labor, however humble, as part of God’s plan to bring you to joy.
Nov 13, 2019
The Martyrs and a Higher World
13:50

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 06, 2019
The Love of Predilection
14:13
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 30, 2019
Paul at the End of the Race
13:59

Our gorgeous and deeply moving second reading this week is taken from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. I wonder whether I might invite especially the elders among us to attend carefully to this letter. It is the letter of an old man at the end of his life’s work, passing advice and authority on to his younger colleague. As he often does, Paul makes a comparison to sporting events. There is something at stake in the Christian life, something worth striving for. It is like a great race, in which we strive to win. We are meant to make it to the goal line—and perhaps the last miles will be the hardest.

Oct 23, 2019
Persistence in Prayer
14:35

The Bible and the great Tradition are massively interested in prayer, especially the prayer of petition. There are many types of prayer—meditation, contemplation, adoration, etc.—but the most basic and most practiced form of prayer is the prayer of petition, of asking God for something. Studies have shown that everyone prays, that even professed nonbelievers pray. It seems to be born of a profound instinct in the human heart. We ask God for things; we beg; we implore; we desire; we long. But what precisely is petitionary prayer, and how does it work? Our first reading and Gospel for this weekend shed a good deal of light on this issue.

Oct 16, 2019
The Path to Healing Is a Humble Path
14:36

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

Oct 09, 2019
Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed
14:29

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

Oct 02, 2019
Don’t Forget the Poor
14:34

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

Sep 25, 2019
Yes and No to Power
14:19

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

Sep 18, 2019
A Coin, A Sheep, A Son
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 11, 2019
The Cost of Discipleship
13:47

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

Sep 04, 2019
Ignatian Detachment
14:12

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

Aug 28, 2019
The Narrow Gate
13:44

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

Aug 21, 2019
Fate of the Prophet
13:36

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 14, 2019
Fate of the Prophet
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 14, 2019
The Hero’s Journey
14:19

The Jungian psychologist Jordan Peterson is, in many ways, an early twenty-first century version of Joseph Campbell, and perhaps the central archetype that they both explored is that of the hero’s journey. As both Campbell and Peterson have recognized, the Bible is a treasure trove of hero’s journey stories. But what makes the biblical accounts so distinctive is that God is the one who is drawing and prompting the journey; in fact, the Bible tells the story of God’s own hero’s journey!

Aug 07, 2019
Bigger Barns or Treasure in Heaven?
14:53

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 31, 2019
Abba Father, Bring us Jesus
13:52

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 24, 2019
Martha, Mary, and the Attitude of Discipleship
14:02

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 17, 2019
HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD
14:05

During the twentieth 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 10, 2019
Boasting in the Cross
14:15

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 03, 2019
Walking Truly and Completely with Him
13:43

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 26, 2019
Corpus Christi
14:24

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 19, 2019
Begotten Not Made
13:54

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.

Jun 14, 2019
The Holy Spirit and Mission
13:50

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.

Jun 14, 2019
The Ascension of Jesus
13:55

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.

Jun 14, 2019
The Spirit and the Bride Say, “Come”
13:49

On this seventh and final Sunday of the Easter season, I want to bring to a close my meditation on the extraordinary book of Revelation. With the disclosure of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Biblical narrative effectively comes to a close—and that’s true. But what we find today, in the very last words of the entire Scriptural corpus, is a kind of liturgical coda, a final prayer, a call and response between the Lord and his Church.

May 29, 2019
The Great Story Comes to an End
14:29

On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we are coming to the end of the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible. We are approaching, in a word, the climax of the Biblical revelation, the point toward which the entire story had been tending. And we hear of the heavenly Jerusalem, a city with no temple—for the city itself, in its entirety, has become a temple, a place of right praise.

May 22, 2019
The New Jerusalem
13:52

We are coming now toward the end of the book of Revelation, which means toward the end of the entire Biblical story. Writers will often draw the beginning and end of their work together; somehow the end is anticipated in the beginning, and the beginning is recapitulated at the end. There is something like that going on in the Bible. God has no intention of giving up on his creation or simply destroying it. The divorce that happened in the garden of Eden is overcome; and now the bride is ready for the Bridegroom.

May 15, 2019
The Imperialism of the Martyrs
13:16
The book of Revelation is an unveiling of a new state of affairs, the new things that are on offer in light of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Though it looks like worldly power holds sway, real power belongs to the army of those who have chosen to follow the crucified and risen Savior. The martyrs have come from all corners of the world, and they have spoken many languages. And this is the army that, up and down the centuries, has undermined the foundations of the fallen world. This is the great fighting force that Jesus has unleashed and continues to unleash.]]>
May 08, 2019
Heavenly Praise
13:54

In today’s reading from Revelation, John is in the heavenly court and he sees angels, elders, and living creatures, countless in number, all standing around the throne and crying out in loud praise. This is a supreme liturgical act, an act of right praise. And whom are they worshiping? Not a mighty prince, not a great warrior, not a cosmic force, but a lamb, one of the meekest and tiniest of animals, who has been slain—Jesus Christ. The Church saw this evening sacrifice as the perfect act of praise—and now the cosmic Church is gathered around it and associating itself with it.

May 01, 2019
Apokalypsis
13:46

The Church has placed the book of Revelation at the end of the Bible, as the culmination of the entire Biblical narrative—precisely because it has relevance for all Christians of anytime, very much including ourselves. Something of central importance is revealed in this book. Something that was hidden to us and is now unveiled. And it has everything to do with Jesus and his resurrection from the dead—which is why we are reading from this book during the Easter season.

Apr 24, 2019
Three Easter Lessons
14:28

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.

Apr 19, 2019
The Master Has Need of You
14:07

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.

Apr 11, 2019
Misery and Mercy
13:48

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.

Apr 03, 2019
Theonomy
14:00

One the greatest Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, Paul Tillich, made a distinction between heteronomy (law from another), autonomy (law from oneself), and what he called “theonomy” (law of God). This week, we have the privilege to consider what is arguably the most magnificent and spiritually rich of Jesus’ parables—the story of the Prodigal Son—and in this familiar story, you’ll see the dynamics of these three approaches on clear display.

Mar 27, 2019
Why the Burning Bush is Such Good News
14:05
Mar 21, 2019
The Glorified Body
13:54

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.

Mar 13, 2019
Three Questions from the Desert
14:18

Lent is a time of paring down—a time spent in the desert, if you will—as exemplified by Jesus’ forty 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.

Mar 06, 2019
The Danger of Blind Guides
14:02

Our Gospel for this weekend comes from the end of the Sermon on the Plain, which is St. Luke’s version, more or less, of the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew’s account. Jesus has been operating as the definitive spiritual teacher here, and at the end of his address, he has some strong things to say about false spiritual teachers. Every spiritual teacher and guru is eager to tell you what’s wrong with you. But unless they’ve surrendered to Christ and found salvation in him themselves, they are absolutely in no position to help you. 

Feb 27, 2019
Grace and the Aporia of the Gift
14:02

The philosopher Jacques Derrida reflected on what he called the aporia or dilemma of the gift. The upshot seems to be that it is virtually impossible truly to give a gift, for gift-giving always locks us into an economy of exchange and obligation. But there is one great exception to the Derridean dilemma, and that is the Lord God. Jesus’ recommendations in the magnificent Gospel for today are not for the natural person, but the supernatural person, who loves with the very love of God.

Feb 20, 2019
A Salt and Empty Earth
14:24

I would like to focus on the brief but extremely powerful passage from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, which is our first reading for this weekend. It is taken from the seventeenth chapter of the prophet’s book, and the context is a fierce upbraiding that Jeremiah is giving for the idolatry of the people. What we have here is the pithy formula, the simple program, that ought to govern our spiritual lives at the most fundamental level.

Feb 13, 2019
Invasion of Grace, Confession of Sin, Acceptance of Mission
14:05

There is a wonderful parallel between our first reading and the Gospel this week. The first reading is taken from the sixth chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, and it has to do with the call of Isaiah; and the Gospel is from the fifth chapter of Luke, and it deals with the call of the first disciples of Jesus. Both stories, in remarkably similar ways, lay out the essential dynamics of the spiritual life.

Feb 06, 2019
The Primacy of Love
14:07

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 30, 2019
Learning Who We Are
14:56

The dramatic scene presented in the Book of Nehemiah presents a people who had forgotten their identity and learned, 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, 2019
The First of Signs
14:18

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 at a wedding. This is an indication that the relationship of God and humanity will be transformed, reconciled, and renewed in Jesus Christ.

Jan 16, 2019
Following the Star
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—we find the object of our spiritual longing.

Jan 02, 2019
Hannah, Her Son, and the Holy Family
12:57

Lots of people today will tell you what makes a family well-adjusted, functional, and peaceful. But in this week’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 26, 2018
A New David
13:49

The New Testament authors consistently reached to the Old Testament for their categories of understanding. Hence, Jesus is the Torah in person; the new and definitive Temple; the prophet par excellence; the fulfillment of the covenant; etc. But one of the most important of these Old Testament points of reference is the Mashiach, the anointed one, the Messiah—which is to say, the new David.

Dec 19, 2018
Rejoice Always!
14:10

Like most of the prophets, Zephaniah trades in a fair amount of doom and gloom—but he also dreams of the great day of victory and vindication. The Apostle Paul—the former rabbi Shaul, who had studied the prophets and their works under the great teacher Gamaliel—came to see that in the Paschal Mystery, in the dying and rising of Jesus, the totality of Zephaniah’s message was realized. The destruction that Zephaniah and the others foresaw came massively true in the destruction of Christ’s body on the cross. However, having gone all the way down, God in Christ brought the human race all the way up. Therefore, rejoice! 

Dec 12, 2018
Mountains and Valleys
14:10

In our Gospel for today, Luke invokes the most significant cultural and political players of that time and place; but then, just as he did in the Christmas story, he pulls the rug out from under us. The word of God, the definitive guide to life, came not to one of the major players in their palaces, but to this isolated oddball, this mad prophet wearing animal skins and eating locusts. And this oddball prophet, who speaks the word of God, is ushering in a whole new way of ordering one’s life.

Dec 05, 2018
A New Fixed Star
13:42

This Sunday is New Year’s Day, in the liturgical sense of the term. With the first Sunday of Advent, we commence the liturgical year of 2019. And New Year’s day is always a good time for resolutions, taking stock, starting over again. I want to interpret our Gospel for this Sunday, which portrays Jesus is full apocalyptic mode, in that spirit.

Nov 28, 2018
What Does It Mean to Say that Christ Is King?
13:58

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 21, 2018
Daniel and the New Kingdom
13:56

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, 2018
A Tale of Two Widows
14:18

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 the grace in your life will increase in the measure that you give it away.

Nov 07, 2018
Hear, O Israel
14:13

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the defining prayer of 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. We Christians too claim—or better, are claimed by—this great prayer. But what does it mean?

Oct 31, 2018
Coming Home from Exile
14:00

Our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah treats of a theme that is basic throughout the Bible: the motif of the return from exile. Like two great hinges on which the Old Testament turns are the stories of Exodus and Exile. Israel finds itself enslaved in Egypt, but God liberates the people; later, the northern tribes are carried off by the Assyrians; and later still, the southern tribes are carried off by the Babylonians. But exile was also a kind of spiritual metaphor, a trope for having wandered far from the Lord. 

Oct 24, 2018
Substitutionary Sacrifice
14:16

Friends, all three readings for this weekend center around a theme that was very familiar to the ancient audiences who first took them in but that is rather alien to us. I’m talking about the theme of substitutionary sacrifice. A very basic problem that we have when we seek to understand this idea is that we are marked, through and through, by a strong individualism: everyone acts and speaks for himself and takes responsibility for his own actions. But ancient people lived within a far more collective or corporate consciousness.

Oct 17, 2018
Riches and Wisdom
14:16

The first reading for this weekend and the Gospel, which are meant to be read in tandem, are very good examples of what I’ve called principles of spiritual physics. They lay out some ideas and relationships that are fundamental to the spiritual order—laws, if you will. And both readings have a good deal to say about riches. 

Oct 10, 2018
The Biblical View of Marriage
13:55

Our first reading for this weekend is of pivotal significance in the Bible, for it lays out some of the fundamentals of human anthropology and the Christian vision of marriage. It behooves us to take a careful and attentive walk through this brief but highly significant passage from the second chapter of the book of Genesis.

Oct 03, 2018
Would That Everyone Could Be a Prophet
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 preoccupations.

Sep 26, 2018
The Undoing of Original Sin
14:31

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 26, 2018
Faith Perfected by Love
14:43

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 12, 2018
Ephphatha
14:20

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 05, 2018
Laws and Laws
14:15

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 29, 2018
Wisdom's Meal
14:09

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 15, 2018
Spiritual Food
14:12

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 08, 2018
Food for Freedom
13:37

In today’s first reading, we see God giving the Israelites mysterious bread on their way to the land of liberation. We need this same food ourselves, to sustain us for freedom, and that’s what the Lord provides in the Eucharist.

Aug 01, 2018
The Mystery of the Mass
14:18

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 25, 2018
Looking for a Shepherd
13:54

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 24, 2018
Summed Up in Christ
14:13

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 11, 2018
The Mission of the Prophet
13:39

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 06, 2018
God Did Not Make Death
13:48

The Book of Wisdom offers us the strange assertion that God did not make death, for he formed humanity to be imperishable. This revelation directs us towards the truth that death is much more than merely the dissolution of the body; it 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 27, 2018
He Must Increase and I Must Decrease
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
14:14
Apr 11, 2018
Divine Mercy
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
14:08
Jan 31, 2018
A Prophet Like Moses
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
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
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
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
Following the Star
14:20

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 02, 2018
Keeping Your Family Holy
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
And Now I See
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
To Treasure Revelation
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
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
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”
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
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
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
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
The Love of Predilection
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
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
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”
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
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 misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary". Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God, which is simple enough to say, yet to live by faith means to surrender your entire life over to God, abandoning your own desires and becoming a servant under the realization that everything you have (including your very existence) is a grace, a gift. As we see in the lives of the saints, amazing things happen when we make this transformation; indeed, that which begins with a mustard seed of faith can grow, by the grace of God, to bless the whole world.
Sep 28, 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man
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
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
The Awful Gospel of the Cross
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
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
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
Faith and the Reasoning of the Religious Mind
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
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
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
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 - Psalms 8:4-9
Reading 2 - Romans 5:1-5
Gospel - John 16:12-15


Jul 13, 2016
Hearing the Voice of God
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 - Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Psalm - Psalm 69:14-37
Reading 2 - Collosians 1:15-20
Gospel - Luke 10:25-37


Jul 06, 2016
Boasting in the Cross
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 - Psalm 8:4-9
Reading 2 - Romans 5:1-5
Gospel - John 16:12-15

Jun 30, 2016
Walking Truly and Completely with Him
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
Wall and Bridges
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
Walls and Bridges
14:12

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 that 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 20, 2016
The First of the Signs
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
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
Hannah, Her Son, and the Holy Family
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
14:15

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 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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
15:00

This week, the Church’s Gospel is again 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—a presence which is the fulfillment of the ancient temple of Israel. The ark of the covenant contained the law of God and the manna from heaven, and was surrounded by the mysterious “showbread” or “bread of the presence.” Now, in the true tabernacles found in our churches, we find the living law, the true manna, and the definitive bread of the presence.

Aug 02, 2015
The Mystery of the Mass
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
14:49
Feb 01, 2015
Radical Christianity
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...?"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Apocalypse and the Resurrection
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
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 Hard Texts of the Old Testament
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
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
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
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
15:05
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
15:12
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
15:05
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
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
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
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
15:04
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
15:04
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
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
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
15:06
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
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
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
15:02
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
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
15:07
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
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
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
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
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
15:07

Our first reading for Mass this week contains the defining prayer of 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. We Christians too claim—or better, are claimed by—this great prayer. But what does it mean?

Nov 04, 2012
Seeing the World Anew
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
15:06
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
15:06
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
15:06