Truth, beauty, and goodness are the three transcendentals that draw people to belief in God. As important as rational arguments and beautiful artwork are for preserving and sharing the faith, Christian goodness has proven to be an explosively powerful means of evangelization over the centuries. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron explains the history of Christian moral goodness and discusses how this unique way of charity continues to bring people to Christ. Finally, a listener asks who inspires Bishop Barron.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and Bishop meets William Friedkin
  • 3:33 - How is Christian moral goodness unique and attractive?
  • 6:57 - How did the early Christians evangelize through goodness?
  • 9:58 - Does our Christian goodness remain distinct amidst our modern culture?
  • 11:50 - What did the medieval Christian goodness look like?
  • 13:51 - How was Saint Francis one of the greatest evangelists of all time?
  • 16:04 - How did Saint Teresa of Calcutta become the most powerful evangelist of the twentieth century?
  • 17:54 - How did Saint Gregory the Wonderworker encourage evangelization?
  • 20:25 - As Christians, how do we remain charitable even when we don't feel motivated to be radically good?
  • 22:17 - How do we evangelize with goodness today?
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: Who inspires Bishop Barron?

Bonus Resources

Lent is a time where Catholics go "into the desert" and confront all the sins that keep us from perfect communion with God. We offer Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that we might be strengthened for our journey into the Divine Life. During this trial (and all trials), Catholics can take heart in the certain joy of Easter, the great Christian hope of the Resurrection. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron explains the hope on offer in Christianity and discusses how we can cling to this unique hope regardless of our circumstances. Finally, a listener asks how to cultivate an emotional connection with God.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and recap of the 2017 LA. Congress
  • 2:30 - How would you define hope?
  • 5:25 - What's the difference between hoping for something and placing your hope in something?
  • 7:20 - Why is it important to put our hope in God?
  • 10:0o - What about putting our hope in romantic love and family?
  • 14:00 - If we put our hope in God, can we expect to get what we want from life?
  • 15:40 - How does putting our hope in God change us?
  • 18:20 - How is the Christian hope different from other religions?
  • 19:55 - How does having a spirit of detachment allow you to find hope in Christ?
  • 23:14 - How living a hope-filled life comes down to loving others as Christ loved us.
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: How can one cultivate an emotional connection with God?

Bonus Resources

Is it ever necessary to label ourselves? Is it ever ok to label anyone else? Not according to internet celebrity and spoken-word poet, Prince Ea, whose viral video entitled "I Am Not Black, You Are Not White" claims that labels are the root of all social ills and that our identity is entirely separate from our physical reality. The video has reached over 100 million views on Facebook and over 11 million views on Youtube with an overwhelming approval rating (300 to 1 like to dislike ratio). The most liked comment on Youtube reads, "They showed this to us in school." In this episode of The Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron critiques each segment of the argument posed by the young poet and explains the philosophical history behind this radical, yet widely accepted argument. The listener question asks for a book suggestion that encourages teens to return to the Church.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's recent happenings
  • 1:58 - Segment 1: "Our bodies are just cars", Bishop's response
  • 6:18 - What are some of the dangers of bifurcating our selves and our bodies?
  • 7:40 - Segment 2: "Who we truly are is found inside", Bishop's response
  • 11:50 - What is the difference with the Catholic perspective on bodies and labels?
  • 15:10 - Segment 3: "Every war has started over labels", Bishop's response
  • 18:15 - How are labels used in the book of Genesis?
  • 21:30 - Segment 4: "Until we stop thinking so small we won't be free to see each other as we truly are", Bishop's response
  • 26:39 - Listener Question: What book would Bishop recommend to bring teens back into the Church?
Bonus Resources  
The Religious Education Congress, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Religious Education, is America's largest annual gathering of Roman Catholics, bringing together nearly 40,000 every year for a four-day event! 2017 marked the 20th year that Bishop Robert Barron has been in attendance. In addition to several interviews and book-signings Bishop Barron participated in at this year's Congress, he also gave a keynote in the central arena. This episode of The Word on Fire Show was recorded live at the Word on Fire booth in the exposition hall. During the show the good bishop answers questions from the expo audience as well as the audience watching live on Facebook.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:10  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's 20th year at the Congress and his talk on the "nones"
  • 4:00 - What would Bishop Barron ask Thomas Aquinas if he was able to meet him?
  • 6:58 - How do you see Hispanic Catholics evangelizing to future generations?
  • 9:20 - Catholic Stuff You Should Know priests discuss podcasting for evangelization
  • 13:45 - What are some good takeaways from the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar?
  • 15:20 - What is Bishop Barron's vision for evangelization and catechesis?
  • 21:30 - What's the next filming project for Word On Fire?
  • 23:30 - How should we deal with sin without beating ourselves up when we fail?
  • 28:00 - What is the difference between meditative prayer and contemplative prayer?
  • 32:10 - How can God be three persons and not fall into any genus, the genus of personhood?
  • 35:45 - How can teachers help combat the myth that science refutes religion?
  • 42:30 - How do we reconcile the book of Genesis with scientific facts about creation?
  • 47:35 - What is the best way to bring an inactive Catholic back to the faith?
  • 49:30 - What is one bit of advice for all of us facing the crisis of attrition within the Catholic Church?

Bonus Resources

Does God exist? That is the question Catholic comedian and television host, Stephen Colbert, debated with his Late Show guest, the popular actor and outspoken atheist, Ricky Gervais. The YouTube video clip of the two men going "head to head on religion" has gone viral, quickly garnering over 2.5 million views. In this episode of The Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron breaks down each segment of the discussion and offers helpful insights for everyone fascinated (or haunted) by questions about God. The listener question asks whether atheists or theists bear the burden of proof when it comes to these debates.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's trip to Georgia for a Pivotal Players promotion
  • 4:00 - Colbert to Gervais, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
  • 7:36 - What is the difference between asking why the universe exists and h0w the universe exists?
  • 12:05 - Colbert to Gervais, "Do you believe in a prime mover?"
  • 14:05 - Gervais explains what he believes an agnostic atheist is.
  • 16:57 - Gervais to Colbert, "You deny one less God than I do"
  • 20:52 - Colbert to Gervais, "Do you ever have a feeling of great gratitude for existence?"
  • 25:47 - Gervais explains to Colbert that Science is repeatable but holy books are not.
  • 29:20 - Listener Question: Do atheists or theists bear the burden of proof during debates about the existence of God?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
Normally, in each episode we take one listener question. But we've received such a large number of outstanding questions from around the globe that we’ve decided to devote another episode to answering a range of questions from listeners like you. Bishop Barron answers several questions, rapid fire, on many different topics. Be sure to visit LentReflections.com to sign up for FREE Lenten reflections from Bishop Barron. A reflection is sent to your email each day during Lent with an accompanying prayer graphic from Word on Fire.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Intro: Bishop Barron talks about Marriage as a sacrament
  • 2:23 - Why was it necessary for Jesus to be baptized?
  • 5:47 - Why is Jesus named "Jesus" and not Emanuel as the prophet predicted?
  • 7:39 - Why are there so many names for God in the Old Testament, is "God" sufficient?
  • 12:21 - By what means was Jesus able to avoid sin?
  • 15:50 - What does Chesterton mean when he says, "The pint, the pipe, and the cross can all fit together."?
  • 18:40 - Why did God allow the devil to exist?
  • 22:05 - Besides Saint Joseph, what saints should new husbands and fathers study?
  • 23:55 - Is there certain a disposition towards goodness that some people are born with while others are prone to struggle?

Bonus Resources

Are you saved? This is a question we have heard from our Protestant friends regarding the state of grace for individual souls. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron discusses the Catholic response to this question and in doing so reveals the rich, multivalent message of the Cross. The listener question asks about original sin. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's trip to Hawaii for the Red Mass
  • 5:00 - How should we respond to the question, "Are you saved?"
  • 8:10 - What are we being saved from?
  • 11:30 - Why is the Old Testament important for understanding salvation?
  • 13:35 - Why does God use the act of crucifixion to affect our salvation?
  • 18:08 - What's the difference between individual salvation and the idea that God saved humanity on the Cross?
  • 19:45 - What roll do the sacraments play in salvation?
  • 22:47 - Where did Martin Luther differ from the Church?
  • 26:10 - Listener Question: How do we inherit original sin?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
Bishop Robert Barron is a bona fide bibliophile. Any quiet moment outside his holy hours, he can be found at his workbench writing a book or on his patio reading one. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron discusses some new and notable books that he's read, which range from the scholarly insight of Dietrich von Hildebrand to the poetic storytelling of Sally Read to the popular encouragement of Rick Warren. The listener question comes from a college student who wonders how God can be all-loving to his people and rain fire down on cities in the Old Testament. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's 2017 goals and resolutions
  • 3:15 - Who is Dietrich von Hildebrand and why does he matter?
  • 5:30 - What was the liturgical movement that took place in the 1920's and 30's.
  • 7:00 - According to Hildebrand, how does the faith and liturgy shape a well-cultivated personality?
  • 10:00 - Who is Sally Read and what is her story?
  • 14:0o - What is the way of beauty and why is it important?
  • 18:20 - What is the premise of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church
  • 21:10 - What are some of the things that Evangelical churches do right in terms of church growth and health?
  • 20:35 - What can Catholics learn from the mega church model?
  • 25:33 - Listener question: If God exists non-competitively with his creation and is all-loving, why does he rain down fire on cities?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
The much-anticipated “Silence”, based upon the Shusaku Endo novel of the same name, is a worthy addition to the Scorsese oeuvre. It is marked by gorgeous cinematography, outstanding performances from both lead and supporting actors, a gripping narrative, and enough thematic complexity to keep you discussing the film for the foreseeable future. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron discusses his insights about “Silence” [SPOILER ALERT]. The listener question comes from a young child who wonders where we were before God made us. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's Christmas vacation and silent retreat
  • 3:35 - What is the premise of “Silence”?
  • 4:55 - What was Bishop Barron's reaction to reading the book for the first time?
  • 5:45 - How would you react if your great spiritual hero abandoned the faith?
  • 6:58 - What is the significance of the moment when the priests arrive in Japan
  • 9:25 - How do we approach the question of whether or not we would keep our faith under persecution?
  • 11:35 - What do we make of Fr. Rodriguez's conclusion that it is ok to step on Jesus' face?
  • 14:45 - How do we approach the idea that we can do something wrong in order to create a greater good?
  • 16:45 - Why has the Christian faith had such difficulty flourishing in Japan?
  • 20:35 - What does Bishop Barron think about Martin Scorsese?
  • 24:10 - Who is the hero of this film?
  • 25:20 - Question from listener: How did we start before we were born?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
On the first day of the calendar year, the Church celebrates The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This day honors the Blessed Virgin Mary under the aspect of her motherhood of Jesus. With her great "yes" to the Divine Will, Mary effectively reverses the negative trajectory caused by the great "no" of the world's first woman, Eve. Today's episode of the Word on Fire Show discusses how Mary, the Mother of God, represents the New Eve who ushers forth the New Adam, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. The listener question asks about the perpetual virginity of Mary. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  Introduction: Bishop celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe in Los Angeles
  • 5:08 - Why is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God so important
  • 7:02 - What is the controversy behind calling Mary "The Mother of God"?
  • 9:40 - Why were people parading through the streets when Mary was named "Theotokos"?
  • 11:05 - How does Mary compare to Eve?
  • 14:13 - What is the theological foundation for reverencing Mary?
  • 16:10 - Was Mary aware of her role in salvation history?
  • 18:16 - How should we understand the Angel's words to Mary, "Hail, full of grace"?
  • 19:40 - How is Mary the first disciple?
  • 21:03 - How should we respond to Protestants or those who say that we ought not reverence Mary?
  • 22:40 - Question from listener: What is the necessity of the Marian doctrine regarding Mary's perpetual virginity?

Bonus Resources