To Light a Fire on Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age by Bishop Robert Barron, with John L. Allen, Jr., 2017.
This book-length conversation between Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, and John Allen, Jr., award-winning Vatican journalist, touches on a wide range of subjects including God, atheism, social media, prayer, beauty, and why the Church matters today. Below are comments made by two Catholic laymen that tell why this book is one worth reading:
“Bishop Robert Barron is truly a shepherd after God’s own heart, proclaiming the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith, and leading souls to the knowledge and love of Christ. He makes Scripture come alive. He calls attention to the seeds of the Word that surround us in creation and culture. And he answers the contemporary challenges of secularism and the new atheism with clarity and charity. John Allen has provided a privileged glimpse into the mind and heart of a true master of evangelization.”
—Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper
“Bishop Robert Barron is the most accomplished evangelist and catechist in the Catholic Church today. Everyone eager to help make Catholicism a ‘Church permanently in mission’ should read this stimulating conversation. Everyone.”
—George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning
The Mass - The Liturgy of the Word
The scriptures are inspired by God. “Inspiration comes from the Greek word theopneustos which means “God breathed.” (2 Tim 3:16) The Scriptures are like Jesus himself; fully human and fully divine.
The order of our readings reflects the order of God’s redemptive plan.
Our Liturgy contains 5 different readings from the Bible:
- 1st Reading. Usually connected to the Gospel. St. Augustine said that the New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is explained by the New. 14% of the Old Testament is used for these readings throughout the 3 year cycle.
- Responsorial Psalm. It is chosen on the themes of the 1st Reading and the Gospel.
- 2nd Reading. 71% of the New Testament is covered throughout the cycles.
- Gospel Acclamation, Alleluia - The Hebrew word for Alleluia means “Praise God!”
- Gospel – We stand to welcome the Lord Jesus who is about to be proclaimed. (Neh. 8:5)
We make the sign of the cross on our forehead, mouth and chest at the start of the Gospel. We ask that our spirits, our lips, and our hearts by purified to welcome the Word of God. We also ask to understand the Word that we will hear (head), spread it to others (lips), and keep it alive in our hearts.
Sunday Masses have a 3 year cycle. Year A: Matthew, Year B: Mark, Year C: Luke. John is used for Lent and various other times during each year.
Weekday Masses have a one year cycle of the Gospels and a two year cycle for the 1st readings. The 1st readings go through various books in either the Old or the New Testament in sequence and are not tied to the Gospel readings in these weekday Masses.
God’s Word is the truth that sets us free but we have to respond to it. We must listen to learn as disciples. The 3 R’s of scripture reading are: reading, reflection, and response. We should read the readings prior to Mass attendance, discuss it afterwards, and then respond by living it out in our lives.
The Mass - The Homily
The priest applies the texts of the Bible to our own lives. The word homily comes from the Greek word homilein, which means to interact verbally with a person; to explain. After Mass, we should discuss it with one another and give feedback to the homilist. How has the homily impacted your faith life?
The Mass - The Creed
It is the summary of our faith and the story of scripture. It was originally used at baptisms as a personal (I believe) profession of faith. The Creed is not only a statement of our belief, but it is also a prayer as we offer ourselves, praying to be strengthened and encouraged, praying to be made one with the Church. The Creed is omitted on weekdays.
Two options: Nicene and Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene was set up by the Councils of Nicaea (325) and of Constantinople (381) and ratified by the Council of Chalcedon (451) as a response to heretical movements.