About the Book
“I want these talks to be evangelical. That means they are proclamations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” These words are from Fr. Robert Barron’s first Word on Fire broadcast for WGN in Chicago in 2000, which inaugurated over twenty years of regular sermon recordings from one of the leading preachers of the digital age. Today, his weekly Sunday Sermon podcast now reaches over a hundred thousand people every week, and Word on Fire has made Christocentrism the first principle and pillar of its growing movement.
Proclaiming the Power of Christ: Classic Sermons is a collection of some of Bishop Robert Barron’s greatest homilies. Exploring both Old and New Testament texts, Bishop Barron brings his characteristic blend of erudition and relatability to a variety of subjects: the mystery of God, Jesus the Christ, life in the Spirit, holy men and women, liturgy and prayer, and faith and culture.
From its humble beginnings in Chicago to its worldwide reach to millions today, Word on Fire emerged out of Bishop Barron’s masterful preaching. But that preaching—as these classic sermons demonstrate—emerged out of a mission: to proclaim Christ in the culture and to draw people into his Church.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE: Lighting A Fire On The Earth
PART ONE: The Mystery of God
Chapter 1 - The Awful Holiness of God
Chapter 2- Giving God The Glory
Chapter 3- The Greatest Commandment
Chapter 4 - Training In the Divine School
Chapter 5- Faith and Reason
PART TWO: Jesus the Christ
Chapter 6 - Christ The King
Chapter 7- The Risen Lord
Chapter 8- Breaking, Singing, Pulling Away
Chapter 9 - Magi Came From The East
Chapter 10 - The Good Samaritan: A Portrait of Christ
Chapter 11- The Mystery of Light
PART THREE: Life in the Spirit
Chapter 12 - The Hymn to Love
Chapter 13 - The Law of the Gift
Chapter 14 - The Ambitious Heart
Chapter 15 - The Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
Chapter 16 - A Living Sacrifice of Praise
Chapter 17 - The Angels and the Beasts
PART FOUR: Holy Men and Women
Chapter 18 - The Tax Collector's Conversion
Chapter 19 - Falling in Love with God
Chapter 20 - Peter Maurin and Matthew 25
Chapter 21 - Tu Es Petrus
PART FIVE: Liturgy and Prayer
Chapter 22 - The Mystery of the Mass
Chapter 23 - The Rules of Prayer
Chapter 24 - Real Presence
Chapter 25 - Priest, People, and Rite
PART SIX: Faith and Culture
Chapter 26 - Biblical Family Values
Chapter 27 - Being American, Being Catholic
Chapter 28 - "I Saw No Temple in the City"
Chapter 29 - The Lessons of Nehemiah
Chapter 30 - "What Is Truth?"
Chapter 31 - Ephphatha!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What People Are Saying...
One of my earliest predecessors in the office of ‘papal preacher’ in the sixteenth century used to say to his students of homiletics, ‘When after your preaching people crowd around you, telling you how much they have enjoyed your sermon, go to your room and cry: you failed. On the contrary, when after your sermon people leave the church in silence, pressing their hat upon their head and stealthily beating their breast, rejoice and give thanks to God: you succeeded.‘ After reading the sermons of Bishop Barron gathered in this book, many times I felt like one of these last ones and I am sure many others will feel the same.
—Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap.
Preacher of the Papal Household
Bishop Barron’s poetic expounding of the Word through his sermons evokes a stylistic throwback to the early Fathers of the Church. His lyrical erudition and thoughtful relatability provide meaning and context to the Scriptures in ways that both provoke and encourage us to explore more profoundly our own personal relationship with Jesus. His writing not only conveys the intellect of our rich, storied, and sacred tradition but prominently reminds us, without a doubt, of the true nature and heart of God’s love for his people. These sermons/essays glimmer like jewels with the fiery truths of faith and have led me to grow exponentially in my understanding of what it means to be a devoted follower of Christ.
Actor (“Jesus” in The Chosen), producer, director
A sermon is not a lecture, but a good sermon will teach. Bishop Robert Barron's sermons do that in spades. He respects his listeners’ faith and intelligence by feeding the soul while offering a feast for the mind. It's one reason his listeners include so many Protestants—today Christians of all stripes hunger for such preaching.
former editor in chief of Christianity Today
Jesus Christ formed many of his disciples through the art of story-telling. Bishop Barron’s sermons are effective precisely because he imitates the model of Jesus in his approach to proclaiming the Word of God. Through engaging the reader with stories about the lives of the saints and using insights from the early Church Fathers, philosophers, theologians, mystics, and artists, Barron invites the reader to a deeper intimacy with God in the Sacred Scriptures through his unique method of telling the most important story in salvation history.
—Fr. Josh Johnson
Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, author of Broken and Blessed, and host of the “Ask Fr. Josh” podcast
What a treasure! This collection reminds us anew of Bishop Barron’s great gift for weaving together scripture, history, literature and art to bring God’s Word alive. Take and read — and re-read! — and experience the work of a master preacher at his best.
—Deacon Greg Kandra
logger and founder of “The Deacon's Bench” and author of A Deacon Prays
A great homily from a great homilist takes the greatest truths and makes them radically accessible and applicable to the hearer in a way that draws them more deeply into the mystery of Trinitarian life and divine love. Through the pages of Proclaiming the Power of Christ, Bishop Barron makes thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition and timeless truths of God’s love available to those willing to read and reflect on these messages. The reflections found in these pages will certainly lead the restless heart of the reader more deeply into the peaceful mystery of Christ’s redeeming love.
—Fr. Stephen J. Gadberry
Diocese of Little Rock and Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute
Robert Barron's reflections on the scriptures weave vast learning, beautiful prose, and his own vivid faith into a seamless whole. First given as homilies, they are, for the reader, authentic meditations written by an engaging and learned younger priest theologian. A model for the preacher, these pages are solid food for everyone in the household of the Faith.
—Lawrence S. Cunningham
Professor Emeritus at University of Notre Dame