Mary Ortwein. "When God Has a Better Idea" A Catholic Moment. August 12, 2023 I remember reading something by Peter Kreeft that included these words of wisdom. “God has three answers to prayer: “Yes,” “later,” and “I’ve got a better idea.” I’ve mulled that over for months, and I’ve seen it hold true again and again.
Fr. John O’Connor. "All Times and Seasons" Torch. July 4, 2023 Jesus clearly has a lot to contend with. Disciples of John the Baptist have gone to ask him if he is the one ‘who is to come’, the Messiah. In response, Jesus asserts both his Messiahship and the great value of John the Baptist’s ministry.
Mary Ortwein. "Living Stones" A Catholic Moment. May 6, 2023 What do you see in today’s picture? Some pebbles in a bowl? Yes. A rosary? Yes. You see that—and there is more. These are my prayer rocks. I am resurrecting them, because I need them just now.
Br. John Blazo, MM. "Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. October 23, 2022 The reading from Sirach tells us that, while having no favorites, God listens to the voice of the poor. The orphans, widow, sick and materially poor get God’s attention. Pope Francis says the life of Jesus “reminds us Christians that we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth.
John Bergsma. "The Cry of the Poor" The Sacred Page. October 22, 2022 Several years ago, Christians around the world were shocked and saddened by the execution of twenty-one Egyptian Christian men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and fell under the power of ISIS. This martyrdom is just one of the more dramatic examples of abuse and oppression that seems so prevalent in the contemporary world. Where is God in all this?
Mary Ortwein. "What’s the Difference?" A Catholic Moment. October 22, 2022 What do you mean, Jesus? What’s the difference? In the parable you tell today, it is very clear you take a dim view of the Pharisee making a list in his head of the good things he does and feeling good about it. On the other hand, in your Word recorded in 2 Timothy, the list Paul makes of what he has done is held up as a model for the young evangelist Timothy and for us.
John Bergsma. "The Battle of Prayer" The Sacred Page. October 15, 2022 Usually we think of men of prayer and men of war as complete opposites. A monk in a habit—such as St. Francis—is a man dedicated to peace, a total contrast to one clad in armor brandishing weapons. Yet the Readings for this Sunday combine the imagery of war and prayer in interesting ways that provoke our thoughts about the nature and reality of supplicating God.
Mary Ortwein. "Measuring Prayer" A Catholic Moment. October 15, 2022 I am on retreat this weekend at St. Meinrad, my almost-heaven home on earth. It is a private retreat, structured only by praying with the monks and meals. My chosen topic for reflection is my prayer life.
Fr. Nicholas Crowe. "Joshua and Amalek" Torch. October 12, 2022 We heard in our first reading that Amalek came and waged war against Israel. The biblical scholars tell us that Amalek was a nomadic tribe that lived on the borderlands between the desert and the Promised Land. Its not hard to imagine why the sudden arrival of Israel in their territory might have concerned these people. Where resources are scarce, a new competitor represents an existential threat to the community.
Fr. Richard Finn. "The Consolation of the Spirit" Torch. September 27, 2022 Across the Day Treatment Unit, the nurse picked up my high levels of anxiety. It can be frightening to learn you have no neutrophils, no white blood cells with which to fight infection or heal bruises. Knowing I was a priest, she slipped me a post-it note. It invited me to read from today’s second reading St Paul’s reminder to Timothy that through the laying on of hands God had given me a spirit not of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
Mary Ortwein. "In a Storm" A Catholic Moment. August 13, 2022 A prayer group was discussing body positions for prayer—better to kneel, sit, or stand? Arms raised? Hands folded? What difference did body position make? The members didn’t notice an electrical worker in the back of the room, but he was listening to them. Finally, he came forward, “I couldn’t help but listen to you talk. I just want to say the best, most intense prayer of my life was one night during a storm when I was hanging upside down on a utility pole. God heard, answered, and here I am.”
John Bergsma. "Bargaining with God" The Sacred Page. July 23, 2022 Who has the guts to bargain with the Divinity? Abraham, the father of the Israel, does. In the Readings for this Sunday, we find united several themes: persistence in prayer, the justice and mercy of God, the generosity of God.
Mary Ortwein. "Intercessory Prayer" A Catholic Moment. July 23, 2022 Last Sunday we had a visiting priest who titled his homily “Let go, let God in.” As I talked with him after mass, he smiled and said, “What I was hoping to accomplish was to help people pray like a prayer warrior, not like a battle ax.” His words and his message apply even more appropriately to this week’s readings.
Fr. Matthew Jarvis. "Saying Yes" Torch. July 20, 2022 Does God answer prayers? The Psalmist seems to think so: ‘On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.’ A wise person once said that God always answers prayers; it’s just that the answer sometimes is No!
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "A Cloud of Witnesses" A Catholic Moment. November 1, 2020 Historically, Pope Boniface IV was the first to institute All Saints Day on May 13 in 609 AD when he dedicated the Pantheon in Rome as a church in honor of the Virgin Mary and all martyrs, though without any intention of making it a universal celebration.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "One God, Same Salvation" A Catholic Moment. August 16, 2020 The Liturgy of the Word on this 20th Sunday Year A celebrates God’s eternal desire that all men be brought to salvation. Each of the readings speaks of the expansive and universal nature of the “Kingdom of God,” in contrast with the theory that salvation was offered first to the Jews and through them alone to the rest of the world.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "Let them be. reliving the experience of a Patient God" A Catholic Moment. July 19, 2020 The readings today draw us closer to the mystery of the kingdom. The first reading and the Gospel are meant to widen our vision about the attitude of God towards the world and the created beings. He shows himself as a God rich in mercy and patience to those who do not live in conformity to his will, but then his mercy and patience cannot be wasted forever.
Fr. Benjamin Earl. "But Why?" Torch. July 1, 2020 Children who wish to be learned and clever, wise and understanding, will not cease to ask questions, will want to learn, and will want to change for the better. And if they ever stop asking questions then there is the danger – I use the word advisedly – that they will have grown up.
Fr. Robert Gay. "Consecrated in Prayer" Torch. March 5, 2020 Our second Sunday in Lent puts before us a great manifestation of the Glory of God which happens on Mount Tabor. It is a theophany, a manifestation of the Divine, and has features both old and new, and shows itself as such in its details. First, let’s look at the features it has in common which other such manifestations in the Scriptures.
Judy Walter. "Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. February 9, 2020 In Judy Cannato’s beautiful book, “Radical Amazement,” she reflects on how planet Earth was in darkness for billions of years because there was no receptor on earth to receive the light of the sun.
Ron Rolheiser, OMI. "The Frustrating Struggle for Humility" ronrolheiser.com. October 28, 2019 It’s hard to be humble, not because we don’t have more than enough deficiencies to merit humility, but rather because there’s crafty mechanism inside of us that normally doesn’t let us go to the place of humility. Simply put, as we try to be self-effacing, humble, and non-hypocritical, variably we take pride in that and then, feeling smug about it, we become judgmental of others.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "God loves the Humble" A Catholic Moment. October 27, 2019 The Psalmist today says that “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Ps 34); not just the weak and the oppressed but the poor in spirit. Thus the readings today teach us that the only key to unlocking the heart of God in prayer is humility; for the humble are not just admired by God, but they are the ones that he justifies.
Fr. Roberto Rodriguez, MM. "Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. October 27, 2019 The readings for this Sunday present to us two different models of faith and prayer. The first reading reminds us that God is a God of Justice who hears the cry of the poor. The responsorial psalm reaffirms this truth about God. Saint Paul, in the second reading, knowing that he is about to finish his time in this world, tells us also that truly God is a just Judge, who is always close to his people.
Fr. David McLean. "Become a good hypocrite!" Torch. October 23, 2019 Church leaders are often confronted by those who assert that they don’t go to Church because it is full of hypocrites. There is the temptation to reply with the retort that there is always room for one more. A better approach may be to refer them to today’s gospel reading, which addresses hypocrisy in its various forms in a more subtle way.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "Pray Until Something Happens" A Catholic Moment. October 20, 2019 Therefore, if we must survive the “valley of war”, we must learn to climb the “mountain of prayer.” It is only in this secret place of prayer that God offers us his hand to hold for a connection capable of disconnecting us from the troubles of this life. The first reading and the Gospel reveal to us one of indispensable characteristics of a true believer; “A search for God through persistent prayers”.
Fr. John Farrell. "Prayers and Prayerfulness" Torch. October 16, 2019 St Luke tells us that Jesus gives us this parable in today’s gospel for a definite reason. We are to keep on praying and not give up on prayer. What are we to understand by constant prayer? Obviously Christian life is not to be spent saying endless Hail Marys or even Our Fathers.
Fr. Richard Ounsworth. "Nonsensical Prayers" Torch. July 24, 2019 You can’t prove that the Catholic Faith is true. If you could, I suppose it wouldn’t be faith any more. But I would claim that you can and should try to show that it’s not nonsense. If our religious beliefs were nonsense, we would not be able to hold them to be true and continue to claim, as we do, to be rational animals.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "God our guest" A Catholic Moment. July 21, 2019 In the quest to concretize our reflection, I deemed it fitting to share an observation which may be familiar with most of us.
Joseph LaCombe. "Feel His Warmth" A Catholic Moment. March 24, 2019 I love to stare at a fire. I love the comfort that it provides. Not only does it provide a physical warmth, but for me, it also stimulates a spiritual and mental warmth. Whether it’s in the fireplace on a cold winters night, or a summer campfire – fire mesmerizes me. The crackling of the wood as the flame – from blue to orange to yellow – yields to sparks that fly upwards and disappear into the sky. The refreshing smell of the burning wood, the flames dancing – it’s primal. As old as time itself. If you stare into it, it almost becomes spiritual. You reflect about life. Yourself. It’s almost hypnotic. Fire is alive. Perhaps this is why God comes to Moses through a burning bush.
Joseph LaCombe. "Rise to the Challenge" A Catholic Moment. February 10, 2019 One of the things I really love about sports is how the really good players make those around them better. When you have someone who is not only a great athlete, but a great leader and motivator – it makes their teammates better. I’ve seen it over and over. And I’ve experienced it. They motivate others to rise up to the challenge and play at a different level.
Joseph LaCombe. "Anxiety" A Catholic Moment. December 16, 2018 Anxiety. Worry. Fear. All things we struggle with in our daily lives. We too often think about the things that have not come to pass nor ever will be. A figment of our imagination. But for so many of us, it becomes all too real.
Susan Gunn. "Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. September 8, 2018 In the Africa region, every Maryknoll missioner works with those affected by HIV and AIDS in some way. Maryknoll Father John Sivalon wrote, “I doubt that there is anyone in sub-Saharan Africa who can actually say that they don’t know somebody personally who has been affected by the AIDS epidemic. In Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mozambique and elsewhere, from presidents to peasant farmers, they have all seen either their own children, their nephews and nieces or their neighbors and colleagues’ children die. They have seen their spouses and peers die. And below the surface, for everyone, there is an underlying fear that maybe they also are sick.”
Joseph LaCombe. "Call In a Prayer-Strike" A Catholic Moment. July 23, 2017 There’s a scene in the Mel Gibson movie, We Were Soldiers, where Gibson’s character, Lt. Col. Hal Moore is leading his regiment in the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam in 1965. In this particular scene, the battle has gotten sporty, as Col. Moore puts it, and he and his men were surrounded by the enemy.
Fr. Jim Noonan, MM. "29th Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. October 16, 2016 We are all in mission to one another. When we meet one another in prayer, we leave behind our judgments, our prejudices and biases, our seeing each other as so different from ourselves. We come together on a level playing field, hoping for peace, justice, kindness, understanding, health, happiness and so many things that we pray for.
Joseph LaCombe. "Persistent Prayer" A Catholic Moment. October 15, 2016 Today was a day of distractions. You ever have one of those? Some days, you just have things that make it hard to focus. Unless you’re a hermit – you know what I mean. It seems like every time I got ready to focus on a task today – trying to solve that problem at work, or trying to explain running cadence to kids at Cross-Country practice, or even trying to sit and write this article – I heard, “Hey Joe!” Or, “but coach!” Or, “Dad?”
Fr. Benjamin Earl. "Why Do We Pray?" Torch. October 12, 2016 Prayer is so woven into the fabric of what it is to live as a Christian that perhaps sometimes we forget to ask that simple question: “why do we pray?”. And if we forget to ask why we pray, then there must be a danger that one day we may simply forget to pray altogether.
Joseph LaCombe. "Answered Prayers" A Catholic Moment. July 23, 2016 I have always loved the song, “Unanswered Prayers”, by the American Country Music Artist Garth Brooks. It’s about a man who, when in high school, prayed every night for the love of another girl. She was all he could think about and he wanted to be with her forever, but it just didn’t work out.
Fr. Martin Ganeri. "The School of Prayer" Torch. July 19, 2016 This Sunday’s readings are about prayer and, more specifically about petitionary prayer. We are invited to pray to God for what we need in the expectation that God will answer our prayers and will give us what is good for us.
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Glowing with God" Torch. February 16, 2016 Why did Jesus appear, suddenly, and so changed, to his closest followers? The gospels are meant to raise these questions. They were written, to report the strangest and most important event in human history, something quite unlike anything else we are told. That was the point of writing them.
Joseph LaCombe. "Pray for Your Calling" A Catholic Moment. January 9, 2016 I think one of the most overlooked aspects of Jesus, is really just how much he prayed. The New Testament is littered with His wisdom and miracles that He performed, and rightly so. But through it all – during the good times and the bad times – he prayed devoutly to His Father. The Gospels talk often about how He prayed before doing something, while He was doing it, and he would withdraw by Himself and pray after it was over.
Carolyn Berghuis. "Let There Be Peace on Earth" A Catholic Moment. December 24, 2015 Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, and what a glorious day it is! The light who, not only created us, the light whom we live, move and have our being within has entered into the world. Yes, our Savior is our Alpha, our Omega – our everything! Today’s Gospel so beautifully reveals the fullness of the truth of Christ. Oh how many exquisite hours we could spend bathing in the beauty of Christ as we meditate on today’s readings. However, as I often do when I read scripture I ask myself why the Church selected these particular readings today.
Fr. Simon Gaine. "Enwrapped In Prayer" Torch. December 16, 2015 The Psalms of David were the prayer book of Jesus, as they were the prayer book of his own Jewish people. He was praying psalms at the end of his life, as he lay on the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? … Into your hands, I commend my spirit.’ Psalms of lament, psalms of praise, all written centuries before the coming of Christ, found their fulfilment in his prayerful offering of himself for our salvation.
Fr. John O'Connor. "Eternally Loved" Torch. June 30, 2015 I remember hearing a radio programme where someone made the following remark: “You know, to grow up knowing that you are loved and accepted is an enormous birthright.”I do not claim to have great experience in such matters, but I have enough to be able to say that people’s experiences of having been loved or not having been loved, of having been accepted or not having been accepted, can have a major impact on the shape of our lives.
Laura Kazlas. "Take My Yoke Upon You and Learn From Me" A Catholic Moment. July 6, 2014 The scriptures for Mass today are all about Jesus. The old testament reading is a prophecy about Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem, riding on an ass, which he fulfilled. Isn’t the first reading from the old testament beautiful? It describes Jesus perfectly:
Fr. Simon Gaine. "Down from the Mountain" Torch. March 16, 2014 Today’s Gospel has more than one thing to say to us about Lent. We can easily think Lent is just about ourselves, putting ourselves in order, training ourselves to love ourselves in more healthy way. Fasting is the Lenten penance that most easily comes to mind, something by which we train ourselves to love ourselves in a healthy and moderate way.
Fr. Richard Finn. "Humble Prayer" Torch. October 27, 2013 There’s no doubting the good deeds of our Pharisee! His fasting, his tithes, are exemplary. Like his prayer in the Temple, they are a public witness to God’s sovereignty over Israel and over his Israelite. What’s more, his fasting is itself a prayer: the Pharisees fasted twice each week in intercession for Israel. And his tithing is a mark of respect both for the priests and for the poor to whom tithes were distributed.
Fr. Peter Harries. "A Surge of the Heart" Torch. October 20, 2013 Luke especially records Jesus telling us stories, parables, involving some disreputable characters. On recent Sundays we have heard about the manager who was commended because he continued swindling his boss big-time even as he was being disciplined and sacked. We have also heard about the foolish shepherd who abandoned the 99 sheep to the wolves and thieves and went off to look for the wayward lost sheep.
Fr. Bruno Clifton. "Persistent Prayer" Torch. July 28, 2013 It is a feature of Luke’s gospel that Jesus is often to be found praying. And, it is no surprise that having observed this frequent activity of Jesus, his disciples are moved to want to pray like him. So, Jesus takes the opportunity not only to teach them a prayer, but also to teach them the way to pray: persistently. To pray persistently is to pray like Jesus. What does that mean?
Laura Kazlas. "It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask" A Catholic Moment. July 28, 2013 Abraham was sure brave in pleading with God to save the inhabitants of Sodom in the first reading for mass today. This city was filled with such wickedness and sin that God wanted to destroy the entire city. But, Abraham bargained with God. He bargained with the creator of the universe and begged Him for their lives. We know that this was in a large part because Adam’s nephew Lot and his wife were living in this city, but still, Abraham fought for their lives and any other righteous people who lived in that city.
Fr. Gregory Pearson. "Staying the Course" Torch. April 16, 2011 Gethsemane provides the final lesson in discipleship given by Jesus before his execution and exaltation, and that lesson is rooted in prayer.
Fr. John O'Connor. "Urgency and Eternity" Torch. October 16, 2010 In the readings this weekend we are given some insight into how our requests to God relate to time, our time and God’s time.
Fr. Mark Edney. "The Praying Game" Torch. July 25, 2010 ‘I am their father, says God. Our father who art in heaven. My son told them all about my being their father. […] That’s how they seem to me now. That’s how I see them. That’s how I’m forced to see them.’
Fr. Dominic Ryan. "The Imitation of Christ" Torch. February 10, 2008 At its most basic, Christian life is about imitating Christ, Christ as presented to us in the gospels. So given that today’s gospel recounts Christ going into the wilderness to be tempted, must we do the same also?
Fr. Robert Pollock. "Asking and Being Asked" Torch. July 29, 2007 When we ask a question we expect an answer. In the course of our lives, we ask, and we must ask, many questions. We ask questions for different reasons in different contexts. We ask for directions when we are not sure where we are. We ask when we do not know something, and we want to learn and understand. To understand something well, we have to ask many questions.
Fr. Rudolf Loewenstein. "In God's Time" Torch. May 14, 2006 Most of what we read or hear in today's Gospel presents us with very little difficulty, but there is one particular phrase that can sometimes cause puzzlement to people, however simple or innocuous it sounds: 'you may ask what you will and you shall get it'. Now commonly I and many others would take that phrase to mean that if I wanted something enough and asked God for it, then I would get what it is I wanted.
Fr. Rudolf Loewenstein. "How do you pray?" Torch. October 24, 2004 One of the questions that anyone who seeks to enter a seminary or religious institute or order is bound to be asked is how they pray, and what they pray. It is important, after all, to establish what a person’s relationship with God is like — and one way of doing this in the first instance is to ask that person how they pray.
Fr. Paul-Martin White. "Done Speedily" Torch. October 17, 2004 Through radio, television, the internet, and many other means of communication, people in every corner of the globe can be in instant contact with each other. Scientists on Earth are able to be in contact with robots on Mars and receive photographic images of the planet.
Fr. Timothy Calvert. "Praying into Divine Friendship" Torch. July 25, 2004 If a character on a soap opera is shown praying, we are usually supposed to infer that they are either a religious maniac who should be avoided at all costs, or in the middle of an overwhelming crisis in their lives, so overwhelming that they need to make a call to a distant God. God, it seems, is far away, and by praying we can persuade him to help us out of our tricky situation.
Fr. Colin Carr. "Lost to the Temple" Torch. December 28, 2003 This could be a manifesto of the confidently tough-minded, of those who pride themselves on their independence and resist attempts to get them into a committed relationship to a person or a party. But it could equally be the lament of a person who feels isolated, unsupported, vulnerable to exploiters and bullies.
Fr. Aidan Nichols. "The Articulation of Desire" Torch. October 21, 2001 The readings of today’s Liturgy are meant to say something about one part of the God-man relationship, the part we call the ‘prayer of petition’.
Fr. Richard Ounsworth. "Asking God" Torch. July 29, 2001 Petitionary prayer – asking God for the things we need, or even just for things we want – is a very peculiar activity; after all, surely God already knows what we need, and has already decided whether or not to respond. What arrogance to think that we can change God’s mind! And of course we know that God’s will is eternal and unchanging, for he sees and knows all things before one of them comes to be.
Ron Rolheiser, OMI. "Praying for Pentecost" ronrolheiser.com. July 3, 2001 Every generation needs to experience pentecost for itself. It needs God’s spirit and it needs it in its own particular way.
Rachel Kronberger. "Fifth Sunday of Lent" Australian Women Preach. March 26, 2023 Rev Rachel Kronberger lives on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations in inner suburban Melbourne. She was ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia in 2002 and since then has served in congregational ministry. She is currently the Minister in Placement at Wesley Church Melbourne, where she preaches twice most Sundays, rejoicing in the steadfastness of God.
Bishop Robert Barron. "A Friend of the Lord Jesus" Word on Fire. March 5, 2023 Friends, 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 called those he served to a deep life of prayer and spiritual transformation in Christ, a mystery revealed in the Gospel account of the Transfiguration.
Natalie Ray. "A Tale of Two Men" Australian Women Preach. October 23, 2022 Natalie is a Senior Assistant Minister at NorthLight Anglican Church. Natalie became a Christian in her late teens from a background of new age spirituality and witchcraft. Since then, Natalie has served in churches and para-church organisations in Canada and Australia, completing Bachelors and Masters degrees at Moore Theological College. She is an ordained Anglican minister in the Diocese of Sydney.
Jenny Close. "Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time" Australian Women Preach. October 16, 2022 Dr Jenny Close writes: My first degree was in Fine Arts (painting) and then I trained as a teacher. For many years my working life was shared between secondary school teaching for Brisbane Catholic Education and freelance liturgical art making. Later I was employed by Brisbane Catholic Education to work in multimedia: video, animation and book illustration.
Fr. Juan P. Ruiz. "Persistence and Insistence in Prayer" Juan Point at a Time. August 4, 2022 Christ is more than encouraging when it comes to prayer. He's persistent and insistent that we trust in God's goodness.
Bishop Robert Barron. "What Is the Lord's Prayer About?" Word on Fire. July 24, 2022 Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father. This prayer, which is probably recited millions of times a day all over the world, includes some of the best-known words on the planet. But what do they mean? It might be good for us to walk slowly through Luke’s version to see what this great prayer is about—and what we are asking for when we pray it.
Moira Byrne Garton. "Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time" Australian Women Preach. July 24, 2022 Dr Moira Byrne Garton grew up in rural South Australia. She moved to Adelaide after high school and joined a Catholic youth group where she met Matthew, who she later married. In 2001, they moved to Canberra with their two very small children. Two more were welcomed in Canberra so they now have four young adult children.
Bishop Robert Barron. "How Will You Evangelize Today?" Word on Fire. July 3, 2022 Friends, as we continue now our reading of the Gospel of Luke, we have today a great portrait of the Church—what the Church looks like, what its central concerns are, and what the demands upon it are. The setting is Jesus sending out seventy-two disciples. Put yourself in that position: all of us baptized people are disciples of the Lord, and we’re in a relationship with him. He is sending us out on mission.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Priests, Prophets, and Kings" Word on Fire. January 9, 2022 Friends, when we are baptized, we are grafted onto Christ, who has anointed us all as priests, prophets, and kings. Let’s live out that identity.
Fr. Addisalem Mekonnen. "Homily" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. October 24, 2021
Bishop Robert Barron. "Pray, Fast, Give Alms" Word on Fire. February 14, 2021 Friends, Lent is a marvelous opportunity to deepen our lives of prayer, to temper our desires for food and drink, and to engage in a graced time of alms giving. Let’s use this season to get our bodies and our behavior patterns in order, to show our love and service in very concrete ways.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Persistence in Prayer" Word on Fire. October 20, 2019 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.
Richard Rohr. "Divine Pitch and Catch" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 11, 2019
Fr. Stephen Thorne. "Pray and keep it moving" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. May 12, 2019
Richard Rohr. "The Real Situation" Center for Action and Contemplation. December 17, 2016
Bishop Robert Barron. "Prayer and Pride" Word on Fire. October 23, 2016 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.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Integrated and Variegated Body of Christ" Word on Fire. October 16, 2016 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.
Richard Rohr. "God Is Listening, but It Changes YOU!" Center for Action and Contemplation. October 15, 2016
Bishop Robert Barron. "Abba Father, Bring us Jesus" Word on Fire. July 24, 2016 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.”
Richard Rohr. "Primary, Naked Speech" Center for Action and Contemplation. July 24, 2016
Bishop Robert Barron. "How Great Is Your Faith" Word on Fire. August 17, 2014 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.
Richard Rohr. "Prayer Gives You What You Need, Not What You Want" Center for Action and Contemplation. October 20, 2013
Richard Rohr. "Prayer Changes Us, Not God" Center for Action and Contemplation. July 28, 2013
Bishop Robert Barron. "Finding Justification" Word on Fire. October 24, 2010 Religion serves a unitive purpose. In uniting the person to God, religion unites people together. However, many religious people forget religion’s purpose. They like to puff up their egos, reveling in their ability to live according to the Law. Seeing themselves as better than the rest, they forget that grace only comes to those who realize they are sinners. The tax collector, realizing he is a sinful man, does not focus on himself, but focuses his gaze and hunger on God – the source of salvation. Justification comes to those who do likewise.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Moses and Amalek" Word on Fire. October 17, 2010 The church militant is the church at war with all the destructive powers that want to undermine its unity. The Israelites battle the people of Amalek, a battle that symbolizes the spiritual warfare that each of us, as members of the church, personally undergoes. There is no escaping this reality, and so we must fight. But our fighting is unusual: we fight with peacemaking, forgiveness, education, etc. Our fighting is only sustained through prayer and the prayers of others. Please pray that the Church is strengthened in its fight against evil in the world.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Transfigured Prayer" Word on Fire. February 28, 2010 The startling event of the Transfiguration displays a model of prayer. The mountain represents the place of Divine encounter, the radiance of the Lord displays the interior life of the soul in relationship to the Divine life, the conversation with the prophets is a symbol of the communion of saints. All this culminates is a sending forth in mission.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Struggle With Amalek" Word on Fire. October 21, 2007 An awful lot of people probably find our first reading for this week offensive. We hear that Israel mowed the Amalekites down with the sword. How can this terrible story of conquest be a revelation of God’s intentions? Listen as I offer the surprising interpretation that Origen of Alexandria offers.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Lord’s Prayer" Word on Fire. July 29, 2007 Our Gospel for this week is of the utmost importance, for we hear the Son of God himself teaching us to pray. In this homily, I walk rather carefully through the major petitions of the Our Father, noting how central this prayer is to Christian life and spirituality.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The ‘De Profundis’ Prayer" Word on Fire. June 25, 2006 Psalm 130 begins with the words, “out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord.” Throughout the great tradition, the prayer “de profundis,” (out of the depths) has been one of the most powerful expressions of our reliance upon God. When our lives have bottomed out, when we are lost and at the end of our strength, we turn to God. The cry of the apostles in the boat, as the waves crash over the side and threaten to drown them, is a New Testament example of this prayer. Do you need to pray it today?
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Ways of Prayer" Word on Fire. July 25, 2004 The Bible speaks often of prayer, that intimate communion and conversation with God. Our readings for this Sunday present, if I can put it this way, the rules of prayer. First, we must pray with faith and confidence; secondly, our prayer must be accompanied by forgiveness; thirdly, we must pray with persistence, and finally, we must pray in the name of Jesus the Lord. Why does our prayer not “work?” Perhaps it’s because we are not following the rules.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The One Thing Necessary" Word on Fire. July 18, 2004 Both our first reading and Gospel for this week speak of the importance of keeping our attention riveted on God. The three angels visit Abraham, and he drops everything in order to receive them with hospitality; Jesus comes to her home, and Mary sits at his feet, listening to his words. When God is the absolute priority in our lives, everything else that we are worried about about falls into place. Augustine said, “love God and do what you want.” This implies that once God is the unambiguous center of our lives, we can confidently arrange and respond to all of our particular concerns.
Bishop Robert Barron. "A Portrait of the Church" Word on Fire. July 4, 2004 Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is the account of Jesus’ sending of the seventy-two disciples. In the instructions he gives them, we can discern an outline of the life and work of the Church down through the ages. At our best, we are missionary church, empowered by prayer, marked by simplicity of life, bearing health and salvation, and proclaiming the reign of God.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Witty Response" Word on Fire. August 18, 2002 The Syro-Phoenicean woman stands for all those who are marginalized, ostracized, ignored, set aside. Through her persistance and cleverness, she obtains what she wants from Jesus. The Church must be that body of people who listen to the persistant cries of the poor and the forgotten.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Pray, Fast, and Give Alms" Word on Fire. February 10, 2002 During the great season of Lent, the Church recommends three very concrete acts: prayer, fasting, and the giving of alms. These are actions that involve the body as much as the mind; and they are things that we “do.” Lent is not so much a time to fuss about one’s “interiority” as a time to get going!
Bishop Robert Barron. "Real Prayer" Word on Fire. October 28, 2001 Irish writer Iris Murdoch says that the rarest and best moments in life occur when the web of our egotism and self-absorption is broken through. This can happen through great art and great compassion. It can also happen through authentic prayer, modelled by the publican in Jesus’ famous parable.
Bishop Robert Barron. "An Icon of the Church" Word on Fire. October 21, 2001 The Old Testament story of the battle between Israel and the Amalekites is a symbolic presentation of the church. In the struggle against evil, there are fighters, pray-ers, and those who support the pray-ers. The Church is an amalgam of interdependent and mutually supporting missions.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Rules of Prayer" Word on Fire. July 29, 2001 The Bible seems to indicate that certain “rules” ought to govern and inform our prayer. A first is faith: we must passionately believe that God can do what we are asking for. A second is forgiveness: if we want the grace of God to flow to and through us, we must remove the resentments and angers that block it. And third is praying in Jesus’ name: when we ask things of God we should do so in the stance and spirit of his Son.
Luke 6:12 "Follow Jesus in Prayer" If we are Christians, are we spending time in prayer as Jesus did?
Luke 10:40 "Do Not Burden God" Are we letting our problems overcome how we approach Jesus in prayer?
Ezra 9:6 "Ashamed of Sin" Are we really repentful of our sins before we ask God for forgiveness?
1 Timothy 2:1 "Pray for Others" What is preventing us from praying for our enemies?
1 Thessalonians 1:2 "Thankful For Church" Are we reaching out to our sisters and brothers for us all to remain in communion with God?
Psalm 66:17 "Praise God First" When we pray, are we allowing time to glorify God instead of just asking for things?
Matthew 15:23 "Blocking God" Are we blocking others from praying to Jesus or do we feel rejected by other Christians?
Matthew 14:12 "Take It to Jesus" When life over burdens us, do we take it to Jesus or do we try to deal it all by ourselves?
Psalm 99:6 "God Answers" How and when do we approach God in our daily prayer?
Matthew 6:7 "Babbling to God" Where is our focus when we pray to God? Is it on ourselves or God?
Matthew 5:44 "Praying for Enemies" Although it is difficult, we as Christians must love our enemies.
Psalm 146:2 "God in My Soul" Are we being grateful and thankful to God throughout our day?
Tobit 8:8 "Prayer Before Bed" What can the married couple of Tobiah and Sarah teach us today?
Mark 10:38 "Asking Jesus Ambitiously" Are we properly focused on Jesus' resurrection or are we still seeking earthly things?