Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons - Catholic Preaching and Homilies

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


May 23, 2023 15 mins

Friends, we come to the great Feast of Pentecost—the feast, par excellence, of the Holy Spirit. A critique of the Western Church is that we don’t speak sufficiently of the third person of the Trinity, and there might be some truth to that. I’d like to follow Vatican II in trying to bring the Holy Spirit very much into the forefront. Our readings today show us the great power of the Spirit—a power that unleashes great saints, fiery ...

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Friends, right at the end of the Easter season and in anticipation of Pentecost, we come to the great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. We should do a theological reflection on this feast—how we should and shouldn’t understand the Ascension, and what it means for Christ’s work in the world—because it is key to understanding the dynamics of the Christian life.

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Friends, on this Sixth Sunday of Easter, the Church gives us a kind of foretaste of Pentecost. In all three readings, we hear descriptions of the work of the Holy Spirit—the animating principle of the Mystical Body. What are the signs that the Holy Spirit is at work? Let’s look at five of them.

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May 2, 2023 14 mins

Friends, there is an enormously important line in our first reading today that we might just pass over: “The number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” Priests were so important in Jewish religious life, and these priests knew that Jesus was the fulfillment of the whole tradition of temple sacrifice. We, all the baptized, do not just admire Christ’s su...

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April 25, 2023 15 mins

Friends, for this fourth Sunday of Easter, we have a magnificent first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It’s one of Peter's great kerygmatic speeches—the kerygma means the basic proclamation of the faith—and a master class in evangelization. Christianity has become so commonplace for so many of us; we think being a Christian just means being a nice person. But listen now as this chief of the Apostles, this friend of Jesus, be...

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April 18, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we come to this Third Sunday of Easter, and our Gospel is Luke’s account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This masterpiece is a summation of the spiritual life, and it starts with two disciples of Jesus walking the wrong way.

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April 11, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we continue our celebration of the Easter season on this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Mercy, St. Thomas Aquinas says, is compassion in regard to someone else’s suffering; thus, God’s mercy is his compassion reaching out to us precisely in our suffering. Keep that in mind as we walk through the Gospel passage for this week from John: the extraordinary account of the risen Jesus appearing to his disciples. C...

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April 4, 2023 14 mins

Friends, Happy Easter! Christ is risen—Alleluia, Alleluia! Recently, I had a public conversation with the popular historian Tom Holland. Someone from the crowd asked him, “What’s the call of our time?” and he said, “Let Christianity be weird.” When I was coming of age, there was a tendency to reduce Christianity to just another vague mysticism or moral system. If that’s all Christianity is, who cares? I’m with Tom Holland: let Chri...

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March 28, 2023 14 mins

Friends, on Palm Sunday, the culminating point of Lent, the Church reads from one of the great Passion narratives from the synoptic Gospels. But I want to look at the second reading today—a passage from the second chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, the heart of which is a hymn or poem. These words go back to the very beginning of Christianity, and they serve as a beautiful summary statement of the faith. Paul is reflectin...

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March 21, 2023 17 mins

Friends, on this Fifth Sunday of Lent, our Gospel is John’s story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Let’s face it: we are all haunted by death. No matter what we accomplish in this life, we know that it will all be swallowed up in the end. The fear of death broods over the whole of life. But does death have the final say?

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March 14, 2023 15 mins

Friends, on this fourth Sunday of Lent, our Gospel is one of the most magnificent stories in the Gospel of John: the healing of the man born blind. John is a theological master, of course, but also a literary master, and this story is beautifully crafted as a sort of icon of the spiritual life. This is not only a story about something that Jesus did; at a deeper level, this is a story about all of us.

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March 7, 2023 14 mins

Friends, on this Third Sunday of Lent, we are again getting back to spiritual basics, and the first reading from Exodus and the Gospel from John both focus on the symbol of water. Water in the Bible can be a negative symbol of destruction, but it can also be a positive symbol of life—not just physical life but the divine life of grace. Water for thirsty bodies symbolizes the water of grace for thirsty souls.

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March 1, 2023 13 mins

The readings for the Second Sunday of Lent brought to mind my good friend Bishop David O’Connell, who was killed last month. He was one of the most Christ-like people I have ever known—a man of deep spiritual conviction, with a profound sense of the power of the Holy Spirit. Like Abraham, he followed the Lord’s call from his homeland of Ireland to serve in the United States, working among the poor and with members of gangs. He call...

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February 21, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we come now to the holy season of Lent, our preparation for Easter. I've often said that Lent is a time to get back to basics. It’s like when you're starting the football season and have to get back to fundamentals of the game, or when you're getting back to playing golf after a long winter away and have to remember the fundamentals of the swing. So in the spiritual order there are certain fundamental truths, and the readi...

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February 14, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we continue our reading of the marvelous Sermon on the Mount. We cannot read this sermon as one ethical teaching among many. Everyone from Plato and Aristotle all the way up through Kant and Hegel have a moral philosophy—an understanding of how humans ought to behave. This is precisely the wrong way to read the Sermon on the Mount, because no one—ancient or modern, religious or nonreligious—sounds like Jesus. His radical c...

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February 8, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we have the privilege of continuing to read from the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus himself lays out his basic teaching. What we find today is Jesus as the new Moses. Like Moses, he goes up on a mountain, and he receives and then gives a new, intensified Law. Jesus wants the corrective power of the Law to go beyond merely the behavioral level and to get down to the level of the heart. We are not called to spiritual medio...

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January 31, 2023 14 mins

Friends, we are reading from the marvelous Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. This week, we hear Jesus compare his disciples to three things: the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a mountain. What do all three of these things have in common? They do not exist for themselves; rather, they exist for something else. How is your Christianity impacting the world around you—making it better and getti...

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January 25, 2023 15 mins

Friends, our Gospel for this Sunday is one of the great passages of the New Testament—namely, the Beatitudes from the fifth chapter of Matthew. "Beatitudo" just means happiness, and the one thing we all want is to be happy. Well, here is the Son of God telling us how—so let’s pay close attention!

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January 17, 2023 13 mins

Friends, this liturgical year, we are reading from the Gospel of Matthew, and Matthew is written precisely for a Jewish audience. This is why, over and over again, we find Matthew putting Jesus within an Old Testament context. And in our readings for this weekend, the Church juxtaposes a prophecy from Isaiah with its fulfillment in Matthew: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the...

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January 10, 2023 13 mins

Friends, we return this Sunday to Ordinary Time, and the Church gives us a rather extraordinary reading from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Seeing Jesus, John the Baptist says something that we repeat at every single Mass: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." Many Christians don’t know what this phrase means; they think that it has to do with Jesus’ gentleness or innocence. But John is drawing o...

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