In this episode of the Word on Fire Show we hear one of the world's great theologians unpack one of the richest texts in all of ancient scripture. Thomas Aquinas College hosts Bishop Robert Barron, as he speaks on "David Dancing Before the Ark: The Liturgical Theology Implicit in 2nd Samuel" as part of the St. Vincent de Paul Lecture and Concert Series. In Part One of the Bishop's great talk, he describes David as a new Adam, a priestly figure whose liturgical practices bring to bear revelations about the strangeness of God.
IMPORTANT: Use coupon code SAM5 to save $5 on your copy of 2 Samuel by Bishop Barron

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The Internet has produced the most profound shift in communications since the printing press, and many in the Church are using it to spread the Gospel. But how best to do it? How do we share our faith online without succumbing to the toxicity and vitriol that saturate much of the digital world? Bishop Barron discusses these questions today and shares his own advice for becoming an online missionary. A listener asks how he should respond when sharing his faith on Facebook provokes criticism.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:18  - Three digital milestones at Word on Fire
  • 2:25 - How Bishop Barron got started with new media evangelization
  • 5:35 - Most surprising part about YouTube
  • 6:44 - Engaging YouTube commenters
  • 7:37 - How the Internet is like a "new Areopagus"
  • 9:15 - Why Bishop Barron's online style is effective
  • 11:03 - How Bishop Barron handles online vitriol
  • 15:32 - Social media's unique dynamic
  • 16:55 - Do we need a theology of new media?
  • 21:08 - Bishop Barron's advice for new media evangelists
  • 23:19 - What role should new media play in priestly formation?
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: How should we discuss our beliefs on social media?

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Bob Dylan is one of the most spiritually interesting songwriters of our generation. In today's episode, Bishop Barron reflects on some of Dylan's best-known hits to show how they subtlety put Biblical themes on display. A listener wonders if Bishop Barron has any tips on how to evangelize in a secular workspace.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Bishop Barron at the Bob Dylan concert last weekend
  • 2:40 - Can Bob Dylan serve as a gateway to God?
  • 4:45 - Who is Bob Dylan?
  • 8:32 - Why Bob Dylan is best read as a spiritual poet
  • 10:11 - Bob Dylan's religious views
  • 12:17 - Biblical elements of Blowin' in the Wind
  • 15:39 - Bishop Barron on Like a Rolling Stone
  • 21:41 - Bob Dylan and the Resurrection
  • 22:10All Along the Watchtower and the Book of Isaiah
  • 26:41 - Finding Jesus in Dylan's Make You Feel My Love
  • 28:43 - Question from listener: How can we evangelize in a secular workspace?

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What is Catholic social teaching and what does it have to say about the economy, business, and our everyday work lives? That's what Bishop Barron explains in this episode. Surveying the insights of popes and saints, he shows why the Catholic Church rejects socialism and embraces a nuanced, careful endorsement of the market economy.
Venerable Fulton Sheen is remembered as one of the greatest Catholic evangelists of the twentieth century. A master of both television and radio, he shared the Gospel with millions using his unique blend of wit, humor, and insight. Bishop Barron reflects on Sheen's legacy and the lessons he offers us. A deacon listener asks how Bishop Barron prepares his own homilies each week.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:56  - Bishop Barron's summary of the New Evangelization Conference in Latrobe, PA
  • 1:45 - Who was Archbishop Fulton Sheen?
  • 4:54 -  One thing we must do before we evangelize
  • 6:42 - The significance of a Catholic priest on primetime, network TV
  • 8:47 -  How Sheen reached 30 million viewers through his TV show
  • 11:02 - Sheen's strategy for evangelizing a broad audience
  • 13:05 - Would Fulton Sheen be on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram?
  • 14:32 - The importance of Sheen's book, The Mystical Body of Christ
  • 17:29 - The common thread connecting Ronald Knox, G.K. Chesterton, and Fulton Sheen
  • 18:26 - How Sheen's "Holy Hour" grounded all his writing and preaching
  • 20:40 - Sheen's commitment to do a "Holy Hour" every day during his priesthood
  • 22:42 - Bishop Barron's experience giving the "Tre Ore" talks at St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: How does Bishop Barron prepare his homilies?

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It's been widely hailed as the greatest sermon ever preached and a masterpiece of religious and social ethics. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7, commences with the "beatitudes", a series of eight blessings that Jesus gives to those who suffer, mourn, and express purity of heart. Bishop Barron walks through each beatitude and unveils its deeper meaning. A listener asks whether, according to Thomas Aquinas, God loves everyone the same or has a special hatred for sinners. NOTE: Click here to donate to our new Pivotal Players series and receive your free gifts!

Topics Discussed

  • 0:26  - Bishop Barron's new film series, CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players
  • 1:34 - What does "beatitude" mean?
  • 4:35 - How the beatitudes of Jesus are different than other religious teachings
  • 6:25 - How can the "poor in spirit" be blessed?
  • 7:32 - How will those who mourn be comforted?
  • 9:15 - The future promise of comfort for those who mourn
  • 10:06 - What does it mean to be "meek"?
  • 11:21 - How will the meek "inherit the land"?
  • 12:12 -  How God satisfied those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness"
  • 13:49 - What "blessed are the merciful" means
  • 15:09 - How the mercy we express is tied to the mercy we receive
  • 16:55 - How do we become "clean of heart"?
  • 18:39 - Pornography and the "clean of heart"
  • 19:37 - Why peacemakers will become children of God
  • 20:55 - Cardinal George and the eschatological dimension of peacemaking
  • 22:51 - Why religious persecution can be a form of blessing
  • 25:27 - Question from listener: Does God love everyone the same or hate sinners?

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We all face the Big Questions of life. Whether we're religious or not, we wonder about God, identity, meaning, morals, and death. Bishop Barron tackles some of these Big Questions and compares how the world generally answers them with how the Catholic Church responds. A listener asks about the relationship between God's providence and our free will.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:14  - The power of spiritual fatherhood
  • 2:44 - Father Barron, Bishop Barron, or Grandpa Barron?
  • 2:54 - Question #1 - Does God exist?
  • 6:19 - The big "why?" question
  • 8:40 - Question #2 - Who am I?
  • 12:05 - What about those who reduce all life to "genetic machines"?
  • 13:11 - Question #3 - What is the meaning of life?
  • 17:21 - Do we just make up meaning for ourselves?
  • 18:54 - Question #4 - What is moral and immoral?
  • 23:00 - How do we discover what's right and wrong?
  • 26:18 - Question #5 - What happens after death?
  • 30:22 - Bishop Barron's one-sentence answer to each Big Question
  • 31:27 - Question from listener: Where does God's providence end and our free will begin?

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There's a common tendency to read the opening chapters of Genesis as scientific texts. But is this the best way? Or even the right way? Bishop Barron offers guidance on how to properly understand the Biblical creation story. A listener wonders how we should manage the relationship between Church and state.

Topics Discussed

  • 1:05 - The most surprising part about being a bishop
  • 2:29 - How do people often misread Genesis?
  • 5:01 - Why the Genesis narratives cannot be scientific
  • 6:23 - What genre is Genesis 1-2?
  • 7:43 - The main theological insights in Genesis 1-2
  • 9:41 - How Genesis 1-2 points forward to the non-violence of Jesus
  • 11:29 - The objects of creation are not worshiped
  • 14:39 - Why it's important that the world is created, not divine
  • 16:49 - What it means that man was made in God's "image and likeness"
  • 18:25 - The first man as the first philosopher
  • 20:24 - How the Church Fathers read Genesis
  • 21:58 - What Genesis 1-2 is ultimately trying to teach us
  • 23:16 - Question from listener: how do we balance the relationship between Church and state?

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As Bishop Barron shows in his new book, Vibrant Paradoxes, Catholicism is both/and, not either/or. It celebrates the union of contraries—grace and nature, faith and reason, Scripture and tradition, body and soul—in a way that the full energy of each opposing element remains in place. In this episode, Bishop Barron explores several examples of this both/and embrace. A listener asks about the difficult passage in Acts 5 involving Ananias and Sapphira.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:22 - Exciting upcoming events for Bishop Barron
  • 2:04 - What does it mean to say Catholicism is "both/and"
  • 5:29 - G.K. Chesterton on red, white, and the Church's healthy hatred of pink
  • 7:42 - Why Catholics "want it all"
  • 8:38 - The extreme demands of sin and mercy
  • 11:25 - Why reason and faith are no mutually exclusive
  • 15:58 - Faith/reason in the realm of science
  • 17:59 - Bruce Jenner and the dichotomy of matter and spirit
  • 21:59 - How discipline leads to real freedom
  • 25:53 - The path from suffering to joy
  • 27:59 - Question from listener: how can we reconcile the loving, non-violent Jesus with the angry God who kills Ananias and Sapphira?

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Thomas Aquinas not only shaped the Church, but influenced much of Western civilization. Who was this great saint? What are some of his important writings? And how should we begin to read his masterful Summa theologiae? Bishop Barron offers some answers in this week's episode. A bright 14-year-old listener asks about Bertrand Russell's famous criticism of Aquinas, and how to respond.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:27 - Updates from Bishop Barron's life
  • 1:53 - How did Bishop Barron discover Thomas Aquinas?
  • 3:23 -  Who was Thomas Aquinas?
  • 4:45 - Surveying Aquinas' major works
  • 7:42 - Best entry-level books on Thomas Aquinas
  • 10:03 - Aquinas' unique disputatio style
  • 13:07 - How Thomas Aquinas would engage the New Atheists
  • 15:36 - Why is it worth reading Thomas Aquinas?
  • 17:16 - How should we begin reading the Summa theologiae?
  • 19:40 - The landscape and structure of the Summa
  • 21:44 - Why Aquinas is a spiritual master
  • 24:40 - Question from listener: how to respond to Bertrand Russell's crtiqiue of Aquinas?

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