Archive of year B sermons from Bishop Robert Barron, and other featured podcasts
4th Sunday of Easter (C)
Bishop Barron Sunday Podcast
Fr. Andrew Ricci
Friends, during this Easter season we’re reading from the book of Revelation, that marvelous, final book of the Bible. In today’s reading, John sees mystically, across space and time, across the Christian centuries, all those people from all over the world who would give their lives for Christ. This army of martyrs compels a choice: Which army do we fight with? The army of the world, or the army of the Lamb, standing as though slain?
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.
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.
The first reading for this Sunday, taken from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, recounts the expulsion of Paul and Barnabas from Antioch. Paul’s radical message of the Lordship of Jesus subverts all other power and authority. It is a public proclamation that is a challenge to all.
During the Easter season, we are reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Though John, Philip, Peter, and James are all featured in Acts, the “star” of the text is clearly Paul, missionary and evangelist. Who was this extraordinarily important figure, the man that many say, after Jesus himself, was most influential on the development of Christianity? For the next three weeks, I will be exploring the life, thought, and work of Paul the Apostle.
The book of Revelation is, literally, God’s last word to us. It is the most populated, most exciting, most bizarre, bloodiest and most mysterious book in the Scriptures. I believe that the best interpretation is the simplest: it reveals that Jesus Christ is the Lord of history and that those who follow him are, despite all trials, on the winning side.